Meal planning and preparation are vitally important skills for any household. Firstly, they afford one much greater control over the nutritional value of your family’s meals. This allows you to give them the micro and macro nutrients they need within a healthy caloric limit to be well nourished. This will help your children to develop in strong and healthy ways. Secondly, they are instrumental in maintaining a healthy household budget. Meal planning ensures that when you shop, you shop only for the ingredients you need for your family meals. And, meal planning when you’re pregnant ensures your baby’s health is being maintained too. You are also less likely to be swayed by the allure of special offers and promotions which can lead to excess spending.
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Meal planning when you’re pregnant is doubly important. You’re no longer just eating to nourish yourself. Now you are eating to facilitate your unborn child’s healthy growth too. Even from a 5 weeks pregnant ultrasound you can see that your baby is about to grow at an exponential rate. You will need to keep yourself well nourished to help him or her develop soundly. If you’re on a plant based diet, however, meal planning is triply important.
Plant based pregnancy
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics concedes that a woman can have a perfectly happy and healthful pregnancy on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Like any other pregnant woman, a woman who chooses a vegan diet can’t afford to be cavalier with her nutrition. Because she is drawing her nutrition from a narrower range of sources (i.e. plant based sources) she needs to ensure that her meal planning allows her a balanced diet. Her diet will still require all the nutrients that she and her baby need. Fortunately, by incorporating the following into your meal planning, you can ensure that your baby is born happy and healthy and that you spend your pregnancy powered by plants.
When you're pregnant your meal planning is doubly important. You’re no longer just eating to nourish yourself, you’re eating to facilitate your unborn child’s healthy growth.
A pregnant woman need to build up her blood volume during pregnancy or she may suffer from anemia which can increase the risk of a preterm birth and a low birth weight baby. While omnivores get their iron from sources like red meat, vegans must ensure that they load up on all those tasty iron rich foods like broccoli, spinach, black beans and kale. The occassional bar of dairy free dark chocolate certainly won’t hurt either.
It’s okay to B processed some times
There’s no denying that we’re over reliant on processed, pre-packaged foods these days. Many vegans eschew processed foods like tofu, tempeh and seitan in the pursuit of a diet consisting entirely of whole plant foods. Unfortunately, however, crucial vitamins like B12 and folic acid are not found in plants, although they are found in some plant based foods. Tofu, soy milk, nutritional yeast (which many vegans use as a cheese substitute) and some breakfast cereals contain these important nutrients which can prevent neural tube defects to the spine and brain which can occur in the early stages of pregnancy.
You should also consider taking a prenatal multivitamin or at least a vitamin B12 supplement (most omnivores are also B12 deficient too), and a microalgae omega 3 supplement for good measure, even if you’re getting a lot of nuts and seeds in your diet.
Meal planning in any pregnancy is super important. However, meal planning when you’re pregnant and vegan is even more essential. If you do, both you and your baby will thank you.