Just as your skin changes throughout pregnancy, your dietary needs will also need adjusting. For vegan or vegetarian Mamas, a healthy (and scrumptious) pregnancy is achievable with a lil' information and meal planning.
Beginning in your second trimester, it's time to pack on the extra calories and nutrients for your growing baby. Just as you'd choose toxin-free pregnancy skin care, shop for organic, local and seasonal veggies to get the best flavor and avoid harmful pesticides.
Depending on your dietary restrictions, you may choose to alter some of our suggestions below.
Protein: Three servings of proteins a day are recommended to pregnant Mamas. And luckily for vegans and vegetarians, there's plenty of ways to get this vital nutrient. Look for legumes (soybeans, chickpeas, assorted beans), nuts and seeds (walnuts, pistachios, cashews, peanut butter) and hearty whole grains (brown rice, whole grain cereals, barley, quinoa).
Another fantastic way to get protein is with soy. Versatile and ranging in different textures, there's surely a soy product you'll fall in love with. From soy chips to steamed edamame and hearty tempeh, this otherwise bland bean can be prepped in lots of creative dishes.
Calcium: Drink or eat four servings of calcium to ensure you're getting 1200 mg. of calcium in your daily diet. If you're lactovegetarian, feel free to guzzle down milk for this part.
But if you'd rather stay away from the dairy, pour a glass of calcium-fortified orange juice, snack on almonds, soy products or sesame seeds. For leafy greens, turn to arugula, spinach or collard greens.
Iron: Chow down at least three servings of iron daily to ensure you're getting the recommended 27 mg. of iron in your diet. To load up on the iron, add these items to your grocery list: spinach, Jerusalem artichokes, lentils, collard greens, pumpkin seeds, barley, prunes and broccoli rabe. Since iron is difficult for even meat-eaters to get, your practitioner may advise you take iron supplements as well.
Vitamin B12: Consume at least one source of B12 a day. Since B12 is mainly found in meat products, vegetarians and vegans are at risk for not getting enough of this vital nutrient. If you consume dairy products, get your B12 fix through milk, yogurt and cottage cheese. You may also choose to nibble on swiss cheese, which is a rich source of B12. And don't forget the nutritional yeast, as well -- it's the perfect topper on veggies, stews, rice and even popcorn!
For vegans, pick up tempeh or a box of crunchy cereal fortified with B12. Likewise with iron, your practitioner may insist you take B12 supplements as well.