Why should I learn pregnancy meal plan? Healthy baby from a healthy mother is expected by everyone. But to achieve this goal we must have a proper planning. We cannot leave this fact up to luck. It is true that some of the conditions and factors of fetal and maternal health are beyond our control. Still we can take conscious decisions. We take timely decisions considering social factors, health factors, environmental factors and nutritional factors during pregnancy which significantly affect health of mother and child. So here we go for pregnancy meal plan.
Can instinct decide pregnancy meal plan?
It is true that we all like myths and believe myths. Because they are recommended by our close ones, we believe it. But most of the time they are proved to be false. A common myth regarding eating during pregnancy is that women know what they should eat during pregnancy by their instinct. But fact is that our usual meal plan lacks some important nutrients that we must take carefully. Again, a hormonal change in the mother or family traditions leads the mother to crave for different non food items and some foods of rare importance. Picas are such women who crave for nonfood items such as laundry starch, chalk, cigarette ashes, and soil or clay. This type of eating practice can be extremely harmful to the mother and the fetus. So we cannot trust instinct. Nutrition advice by experts like doctors is more reliable.
Pregnancy meal plan during first trimester
Pregnancy meal plan during first trimester has same recommendation as for a woman when not pregnant. It is recommended that about 2200 kilo calorie should be consumed by an active average 24 year pregnant woman during the first trimester. The plan should include:
- A fair amount of calcium like three cups of calcium-rich foods from the milk group or use of calcium-fortified foods to make up for any gap between calcium intake and need
- Good amount of protein like six ounce equivalents from the meat & beans group
- As a source of vitamins and minerals and fibers about three cups from the vegetable group and two cups from the fruit group
- As a good source of energy near about seven ounce-equivalents from the grain group
- As a source of good lipid like essential oils six teaspoons of vegetable oil
Choices from the milk group should include low-fat or fat-free versions of milk like that of yogurt, and cheese. Along with calcium these foods provide protein and carbohydrate, as well as other nutrients. Protein should come from both animal and vegetable sources. These foods also provide extra iron and zinc needed. A variety of vitamins and minerals come from the vegetable and fruit group. While choosing vegetables and fruits good vitamin C source should be chosen, and one cup should be a green vegetable or anything other rich in folate. Most of grains should be whole-grain and enriched foods. These whole grains or ready-to-eat breakfast cereal significantly contribute to meet many vitamin and mineral needs. Essential fatty acids are derived from plant oils. Up to 300 kcal can be added to allow for weight maintenance.
Pregnancy meal plan during second trimester and third trimester
In the second and third trimesters, about 2600 kcal are recommended for this woman. The plan should now include:
- Three cups of calcium-rich foods from the milk group or use of calcium-fortified foods
- Six and half ounce equivalents from the meat & beans group
- Three and half cups from the vegetable group and 2 cups from the fruit group
- Eight ounce equivalents from the grain group
- Seven teaspoons of vegetable oil
400 kilo calories extra can be added who have more weight bigger surface area etc. We are going to discuss later a daily menu based on the 2600 kilo calorie plan for pregnancy for women in the second or third trimesters. This menu meets the extra nutrient needs associated with pregnancy. Women who need to consume more than this and some do for various reasons should incorporate additional fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain breads and cereals, not poor nutrient sources such as desserts and sugared soft drinks.
What about meal plan for vegans during pregnancy?
Lactoovovegetarians or lactovegetarians generally do not face special difficulties in meeting their nutritional needs during pregnancy because they have sources of all nutrients in adequate amount. They should be concerned primarily with meeting vitamin B-6, iron, folate, and zinc needs as the non vegetarian mothers. So like other women a vegan should carefully plan a diet during pre-pregnancy period and pregnancy to ensure sufficient protein, vitamin D , vitamin B-6, iron, calcium, zinc, and a supplemental source of vitamin B-12. The basic vegan meal plan should be modified to include more grains, beans, nuts, and seeds to supply the necessary extra amounts of some of these nutrients. Multivitamin and mineral supplement also is generally advised to achieve micronutrient needs. Iron and calcium supplements should not be taken together as they compete for absorption.
Now here is an idea of a 2600 kcal daily menu that meets the nutritional needs of most Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women. What important nutrient it contains is also listed there.
|One cup Kellogg’s Smart Start cereal||Present||present||present||present||present|
|One cup orange juice||present|
|One cup fat-free milk||Present||present|
|Two tbsp peanut butter||present||present||present||present|
|Two stalks of celery||present|
|One slice whole wheat toast||present||present||present|
|One cup plain low-fat yogurt||present||present|
|Half cup strawberries|
|Two cups spinach salad with two tbsp oil and vinegar dressing||present||present|
|One slice whole-wheat toast||present||present||present|
|One and half ounce provolone cheese||present||Present|
|Five whole-wheat crackers||present||present||Present|
|One cup grape juice|
|Three ounces lean hamburger broiled||present||present||present|
|Half cup baked beans||present||present||present||present|
|One hamburger bun||present||present|
|Half sliced tomato|
|One cup cooked broccoli||present||Present|
|One tsp soft margarine iced tea|
|Granola bar (about two ounces)||present||present||present|
You should only practice small but frequent feeding, nothing else. You regular meal plans can be an ideal plans, if you maintain the eating time. Different studies showed, timing is a significant factor for maintaining proper weight and good health. What if you have gestational diabetes? Gestational diabetes meal plan is different and calorie specific. You can also try them, no matter if you have the disease or not.