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Vegan Pregnancy Diet

Updated on August 3, 2014

Vegan Pregnancy Diet

Happy Pregnancy! Now that you are pregnant you are probably wondering what you should be eating. As long you are eating healthy and vegan, there is nothing that you need to change, except for the amount of calories that you are consuming. If you need help figuring out what to eat or want vegan pregnancy nutrition advice, this lens will be your saving grace.

This lens will provide you delicious and healthy tips and recipes to have the best pregnancy.

There are meal plans and nutrition information, too!

Vegan Pregnancy Meal Plan

Adapted from the VRG

When I got pregnant, I resorted to the VRG for help. They offered a meal plan for my pregnancy, but I adjusted it to my own liking. Here is a fantastic and delicious way to eat through your pregnancy:

Day 1:

Breakfast

1 cup oatmeal with maple syrup and 1TBSP peanut butter

1 banana

1 cup fortified soymilk

Morning Snack

½ whole wheat bagel with 2tsp fig butter

1 apple

Lunch

Veggie burger on whole wheat bun with mustard

1 cup steamed broccoli

Medium apple

1 cup fortified soymilk

Afternoon Snack

½ cup blueberries and 1 cup whole grain chex mix

1 cup fortified soymilk

Dinner

¾ cup adzuki beans stir-fried with 1 cup vegetables (carrots and bok choy)

1 cup brown rice

Medium orange

Evening Snack

Whole grain crackers with 2 Tbsp. peanut butter

4 ounces pineapple juice

Day 2

Breakfast:

1 cup oatmeal with 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds

1-2 ounces chopped walnuts

1/2 apple

1 cup fortified, unsweetened soy milk **

Morning Snack:

6 oz container of fruited soy yogurt

Lunch:

1 slice whole wheat bread with vegan trans-fat free tub margarine

2 cups lentil soup

raw vegetables with a vegan dip or dressing

Afternoon snack:

2 brown rice cakes and 10 baby carrots with 1/2 cup hummus

Dinner:

1 cup chopped fruit, like pineapple, melons, etc.

1 cup whole grain pilaf (like Kashi that you cook)

1 serving soy-based meatball substitute, tofu, or tempeh, seasoned to taste

1/2 cup tomato sauce

2-3 servings of vegetables (try to serve different kinds; for example, a salad with greens and other raw chopped veggies, plus a serving of steamed broccoli or other vegetable)

flax oil-based salad dressing

Evening Snack:

1 oz (22 each) almonds with 1/4 cup dried fruit OR 2 oz whole grain crackers with 2 tablespoons nut butter

1 cup fortified, unsweetened soy milk

A Vegan Pregnancy

Some Basics

Here are the basics about pregnancy, nutrition, and having a happy, healthy pregnancy:

Weight Gain

If you were underweight prior to your pregnancy, you should try to gain 28-40 pounds. Average weight women should aim for a 25-35 pound weight gain, and overweight women should strive to gain 15-25 pounds. Adolescents may need to gain 30-45 pounds. A general trend is to have little weight gain for the first 12 weeks. Then, in the second and third trimesters, a weight gain of a pound a week is common.

Many vegans begin pregnancy on the slim side and may gain weight very slowly. If this sounds like you, you will need to eat more food. Perhaps eating more often or eating foods higher in fat and lower in bulk will help. I found it easiest to drink extra calories and treated myself to a soy milk shake (soy milk blended with fruit and tofu or soy yogurt) in the evening for a few weeks when weight gain was low. Other concentrated sources of calories include nuts and nut butters, dried fruits, soy products, and bean dips.

Protein

You will probably get lots of questions about whether or not you are getting enough protein. Current recommendations for protein in pregnancy call for 25 grams more of protein per day in the second and third trimesters for a total of 71 grams of protein 4. One study showed that the average non-pregnant vegan woman was eating 65 grams of protein daily 5, almost enough to meet the needs during pregnancy. If your diet is varied and contains good protein sources such as soy products, beans, and grains, and you are gaining weight, you can relax and not worry about getting enough protein.

Vitamin B12

The regular use of vitamin B12 supplements or fortified foods is recommended for all pregnant vegans. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in the developing fetus. Fortified foods include some breakfast cereals, some soy milks, and Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula nutritional yeast.

Folate

Folate has been in the news because of its connection with a type of birth defect called neural tube defect. Studies have shown that women who have infants with neural tube defects have lower intakes of folate and lower blood folate levels than other women. Folate is needed early in pregnancy (before many women know they are pregnant) for normal neural tube development. Many vegan foods including enriched bread, pasta, and cold cereal; dried beans; green leafy vegetables; and orange juice are good sources of folate. Vegan diets tend to be high in folate, however, to be on the safe side, women capable of becoming pregnant should take a supplement or use fortified foods that provide 400 micrograms of folate daily.

Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA)

DHA is a type of fat that is mainly found in fatty fish. It seems to be important in the development of the brain and the retina, a part of the eye. Some DHA can be made from another fat called linolenic acid that is found in flaxseed, flaxseed oil, canola oil, walnuts, and soybeans. Choosing these foods regularly and avoiding foods containing trans-fats that can interfere with DHA production, can help to enhance DHA production. Some women may opt to use a vegan DHA supplement produced from microalgae.

Iodine

Pregnant vegans should use iodized salt at the table or in cooking to insure adequate iodine intake. Slightly more than half a teaspoon of iodized salt meets iodine needs in pregnancy while the iodine needs of breast-feeding women can be met by ¾ teaspoon of iodized salt. Other options are a low-dose iodine supplement (check - iodine may already be in your prenatal supplement at 100% of the Daily Value, and, if it is, additional iodine is not needed) or limited use of sea vegetables.

Super Foods for the Pregnant Vegan - No Brainers, but Nice to Know You're Already Doing Something Right

BEANS AND LEGUMES

Beans and legumes are good sources of protein, fiber, calcium, iron, thiamin, and niacin. They are a crucial part of a vegetarian diet. Make a big batch of beans when you have time and freeze them in small containers.

WHOLE GRAINS

Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, millet, and oats supply fiber, minerals, B complex vitamins, and protein.

BLACKSTRAP MOLASSES

Blackstrap molasses contains high amounts of calcium and iron, plus magnesium, potassium, copper, and chromium. Buy organic, unsulphured molasses and use it to sweeten porridge, smoothies, and baked goods.

NUTS AND SEEDS

Nuts and seeds are good sources of fiber, protein, minerals, and essential fatty acids. Be sure to eat flaxseeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, and/or walnuts to get omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for baby's brain and nervous system development as well as your own health. Nuts and seeds can be eaten raw or toasted. Small seeds like sesame and flax must be ground in a coffee grinder, seed grinder, or blender in order for nutrients to be utilized. Nut and seed butters are delicious on crackers or toast or used as a dip or sauce.

A Great Day of Food

Frugal Vegan Mom

This is from one of my favorite blogs:

Breakfast:

-"Orange Julius" smoothie with clementines, banana, splash of soymilk, and ice.

-Toast (Trader Joe's sprouted bread) with almond butter and jam.

Lunch:

-Leftover soup - Nathan made a huge pot the other day, simple and hearty with boullion base, potatoes, corn, pinto beans, mushrooms, and brussel sprouts. I added some frozen collards to mine for extra nutrition.

-Cucumber slices and toast with homemade hummus.

Dinner:

-More soup.

-Big bowl of steamed broccoli with nutritional yeast and spaghetti sauce (from a jar).

Bedtime Snack:

-A few dates and a granola bar.

Lend an Opinionated Voice

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    • profile image

      Betty 2 years ago

      I was struck by the hotnsey of your posting

    • orange3 lm profile image

      orange3 lm 5 years ago

      Oatmeal with maple syrup, peanut butter, banana and soymilk - sounds so good to me! Thanks for the information.