Does a vegetarian mom need to change her diet?
As vegetarians, you can have healthy babies without compromising your dietary principles at all as long as you pay more attention to choosing your meat-free menus. Make sure you get all of the following nutritions:
If you are an ovo-lacto vegetarian, then you can easily get enough protein from eggs and dairy products. If you are a vegan, you may take dried beans, peas, lentils, tofu, and other soy products.
Animal-Free Protein List
Legumes (half protein servings)
¾ cup cooked beans, lentils, split peas, or chickpeas
½ cip cooked edamame
¾ cup green garden peas
1 ½ ounces peanuts
3 tablespoons peanut or nut butter
¼ cup miso
4 ounces tofu (bean curd)
3 ounces tempeh
1 ½ cups soy milk
3 ounces soy cheese
½ cup vegetarian “ground beef”
1 large veggie “hot dog” or “burger”
1 ounce sou or high-protein pasta
Grains (half protein servings)
3 ounces whole wheat pasta
⅓ cup wheat germ
¾ cup oat bran
1 cup uncooked oats
2 cups whole grain ready-to-eat cereal
½ cup uncooked quinoa
4 slices whole grain bread
2 whole grain pitas or English muffins
Nuts & Seeds (half protein servings)
3 ounces nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, or almonds
1 ounces sesame, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds
The ovo-lacto vegetarians can get enough calcium from dairy products. Vegans can drink calcium-fortified almond milk and juice to get as much calcium as milk, ounce for ounce. Other non-dairy dietary sources of calcium include dark leafy green vegetables, sesame seeds, almouns, and many soy products, such as soy milk, soy cheese, tofu, miso, and tempeh.
Vitamin B12 is found only in animal foods. But it doesn’t mean vegetarians have no choice. Firstly, there are still some dietary sources that have B12, such as B12-fortified soy milk, fortified cereals, nutritional yeast, and fortified meat substitutes. Meanwhile, you can take supplemental B12, together with folic acid and iron.
The body produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but it is not possible for pregnant vegetarian moms to get enough of what they need. Therefore, a vitamin D supplement is necessary. Ask your practitioner about testing your vitamin D levels and prescribing a supplement as needed.