Indian Pregnancy Diet and Nutrition
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
Wondering what RDA is all about? Well, it’s the daily requirement of nutrients that your body needs as recommended by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), suggested for Indian women with a moderate activity level is given below along with an explanation of the functions and sources of all the major nutrients required during pregnancy.
Before conception, you should consume approximately 1900 to 2200 kcal/day. This is your daily energy requirement. However, during pregnancy, your energy requirements are higher and you will need to consume between 2200 to 2500 kcal/day.
These requirements should be supplemented by a balanced combination of carbohydrates (cereals like whole wheat, ragi, jowar and parboiled rice), protein (pulse and legumes), vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables) and fat in moderation.
The keyword here is quality and not quantity. It’s not about how much you eat, but what you eat.
1. All foods provide energy, which is expressed in technical terms as Calories. You require an adequate amount of energy to keep your strength up and perform bodily functions. You need to provide your body with 2200 to 2500 kcal of Energy per day depending on your body weight. Eat energy-dense foods like Masoor Dal and Palak Khichdi.
Masoor Dal and Palak Khichdi
2. Protein (65gm/day) in your maternal store is required for a good overall growth and development of your fetus.
Good source of protein are
Pulses like moong dal, chana dal, matki etc.
Dairy products (milk, pasteurized cheese, paneer, curds etc.
Cereals like quinoa and buckwheat.
Nuts like almonds and walnuts.
Some veggies like broccoli.
Try Healthy Moong Chaat which is a very good example for this group.
Healthy Moong Chaat
3. Calcium (1000 mg/day) is required for the development of fetal bones and teeth.
So stock up by eating plenty of these foods
• Dairy products (milk, pasteurized cheese, paneer, curds etc.)
• Whole cereals like ragi.
• Dark green leafy vegetables like cauliflower leaves, chawli leaves, spinach, mint, fresh coriander etc.
• Til (sesame seeds)
Try Paneer, Palak and Methi Stuffed Roti which are a good combination of a dairy products and leafy vegetables is loaded with calcium.
Paneer, Palak and Methi Stuffed Roti
4. Iron (38 mg/day) is an essential component of haemoglobin that supplies oxgen to each cell of the human body. In addition, it is required for the fetal red blood cell production. So do have iron in the required quantity or else you might become anaemic. Have no fear on that account for Mr. Iron’s here!!
Foods with high iron sources are
• Dried beans, peas and lentils
• Cereals like bajra and buckwheat and pulses and beans like moong, chana, matki etc.
• Dates and garden cress seeds.
• Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, mint, fresh coriander, cauliflower greens and vegetables like broccoli.
• Til (sesame seeds), nuts (almonds cashewnuts) and jaggery. Do not forget tempting muthias made of Palak Methi na Muthia to enrich your iron stores.
Palak Methi Na Muthia, Gujarati Recipe
5. Folic acid (400 mcg/day) is an essential vitamin required almost 12 weeks before you conceive and also during the first trimester for the growth and development of the brain and spine of the fetus. Folic acid is also required throughout the pregnancy for the formation of blood. Its deficiency leads to anaemia in the mother.
Raise your folic acid levels by enjoying
• Potatoes eaten with their skin on (i.e. unpeeled). Be sure to scrub the peel very clean.
• Vegetables like cluster beans (gavarfali), spinach, peas, broccoli, beetroot and ladies fingers
• Cereals and pulses
• Nuts(almonds, cashewnuts and walnuts) and sesame seeds (til)
Try Sprouted Kabuli Chana and Palak Subzi which is a good storehouse of this vitamin.
Sprouted Kabuli Chana and Palak, Folic Acid Rich Recipe
6. Fat is a concentrated source of energy and a daily requirement of 30 gm/day is essential. The fat that accumulates throughout your pregnancy acts as an energy reserve. When the supply of kilocalories is inadequate, the accumulated fat is used to support the needs of your rapidly growing fetus. Try using ghee in small quantities with other healthy ingredients as done in the recipe of Nachni Ladoos.
Nachni Ladoos, Ragi Ladoo
7. Vitamin C (40 mg/day) is imperative to make yourself immune against infections and diseases. It is also required for the formation of collagen which is a protein that provides structure to the bones, cartilage, muscles and blood vessels.
Boost your vitamin C levels with
• Citrus fruits like oranges, sweet lime and lemon
• Vegetables like cabbage, coriander leaves and capsicum. Try Fruity Bean Salad which will nourish you with plenty of vitamin C and Add that zing you need.
Fruity Bean Salad
8. Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene 2400 mcg/day) is required for clear vision, healthy skin and immunity for both you and your baby. Excessive vitamin A can however lead to toxicity and can be harmful. It is usually not necessary to supplement your diet with any other form of vitamin A (e.g. in tablet form). If you consume the following natural food sources mentioned below.
Maintain your vitamin A levels with
• Yellow orange vegetables like carrot and pumpkin
• Fruits like mango, papaya and tomatoes
• Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, mint and fenugreek
• Whole milk
A simple Tomato Raita will be pleasing for your stomach and provide you plenty of vitamin A too.
9. Vitamin D is synthesized through sunlight which aids the absorption of calcium in the body. Hence, there is no dietary recommendation for this nutrient in our tropical climate.
10. Eggs are one of the best sources of Vitamin B12. Try Egg Paratha which will perk up your vitamin B12 levels.
11. Iodine is one of the major important minerals which is required for your baby’s brain development. To maintain adequate iodine levels in your body, use iodised salt in your daily cooking. Now-a-days most of the salt brands available in the market are rich in iodine.