Your vegetarian convictions or preferences don’t have to limit your diet, even in pregnancy. While proteins are crucial for a healthy mom and baby, they come naturally in a number of vegetarian options. Consult with your doctor and your local produce department for healthful, delicious options, in pregnancy and beyond.
Salads give pregnant women an opportunity to use healthy ingredients, in tasty and personalized combinations. Start with a layer of leafy green vegetables, full of folic acid, iron and calcium. Spinach, kale and arugula are all dark green options. Add your favorite fruits and vegetables, preferably locally grown options that are still full of nutrients. Chop half-inch squares of tofu, full of protein, and add to the salad. Sprinkle the whole thing with nuts, seeds and dried fruits, which bring iron and protein to the dish. Pour vinaigrette with olive or other healthy oil over the top of the salad. If eggs are part of your diet, hard-boil eggs, chop them and include them in your salad, for a simple protein.
Pasta dishes are satisfying and full of nutrients necessary for a healthy baby. If you need a ground beef substitute for a tomato sauce, purchase a package of tempeh, ground and packed soy beans. Tempeh is a vegetarian source of protein and iron. Break the tempeh into pieces, and sauté it with spices and olive oil. Stir in a selection of your favorite vegetables, including leafy greens, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower. After the vegetables have cooked and softened, mix in a marinara or other sauce. Cook noodles that are fortified with folic acid. If you prefer to make your own noodles, make them with folate-fortified flour. Cover your noodles with a hearty dollop of tempeh and vegetable sauce. Top with a calcium-rich and vitamin D-fortified cheese.
Make soup to incorporate iron-rich and folic acid-filled ingredients in your diet. Start with a vegetable stock or seafood stock, if your diet allows for that. Cook leafy, dark green vegetables, such as kale, bok choy or collard greens, full of iron and folic acids. Rinse canned protein-rich beans such as kidney beans, navy beans and lentils, in a colander. Add to soup, with chunks of protein. Season with thyme, oregano, cumin and your other favorite spices. Add them to your soup. Purchase or make a loaf of bread, fortified with folic acid. Dip the bread in your soup or serve alongside, with a calcium-rich butter.