I want to preface this post by saying that I am in no way saying that vegetarianism is best. I do not believe that I am any healthier than someone who eats meat or ate meat in their pregnancy. This is just my story of my vegetarian-pregnancy and what I did to be sure both my baby girl and I were healthy.
When I became pregnant I had multiple people ask me if I was going to start eating meat for the baby. Their justification for this question was because they, “didn’t think the baby would be able to get enough protein,” without the inclusion of meat in my diet. I have heard this time and time again in some variation since I became a vegetarian 3 years ago. People are always worried about the amount of protein a vegetarian is able to get. This is due to the overwhelming media and major cooperation influence of the importance of animal products for our health.
It is recommended that pregnant woman intake about 75 to 100 grams of protein in a day. But this does not immediately mean that you need to be eating meat. There are plenty of plant-based protein sources out there, you just have to be a bit more mindful of what you are taking in.
During my pregnancy, I did my best to not supplement with soy products. I would occasionally cave and have a veggie burger, or some orange “chicken.” But for the majority of my pregnancy I utilized these sources of vegetarian protein:
- Greek Yogurt. This is a power house of protein. My favorite was the 0% fat, unsweetened kind. I would add my own liquid stevia, cinnamon and blueberries to my bowl and start my day off with a meal packed with protein and probiotics (which help fight the increase chance of yeast infections in pregnancy). 1 cup of Greek Yogurt gets you 23 grams of protein.
- Egg Whites. Yes, between this and the yogurt I would be classified as a Lacto-Ovo vegetarian, but vegetarian nonetheless. I would eat egg whites almost every day with at least one meal. Either with veggies, or just by themselves with toast. ½ cup of egg whites will get you 13 grams of protein.
- Lentils. Lentils are a vegetarian protein staple. They are extremely versatile and can be used for things such as taco meat, chili, or my husbands favorite- shepherds pie. Including these in easy meals throughout the week provide you 18 grams of protein per cup.
- Beans. Beans and legumes are essential to a vegetarian diet. Black beans alone weigh in at 15 grams of protein per cup. Add them to almost anything savory that you are eating for a great protein and fiber boost.
- Protein Powder. Hopefully I didn’t lose you. Protein powders get a bad rep for either being full of chemicals, or the misconception that you are going to gain weight, or you don’t work out enough to utilize a protein powder. Yes, there are powders that are full of things you, and your baby, definitely do not need. And Yes, there are powders made for weight gain, or that should be used when lifting heavy or extensive cardio. But there are powders, such as Her Whey Protein, that can offer essential vitamins along with 20 grams of protein, without heavy metals or synthetic ingredients. Adding this to a morning smoothie, or half the serving size for a mid-day snack, will surely boost your protein intake. Check out the blog post by Wellnessgeeky.com listed in the reference section for more protein powders safe for pregnant women.
In addition to these 5 power-houses, every day fruits and vegetables can add up to 5 grams of protein per serving. Packing as many veggies in your meals as possible, and featuring one or more of these 5 will guarantee that you are getting more than enough protein for you and your sweet baby.
Did you go the vegetarian-route in your pregnancy? What were your tips and tricks? Let me know below!
Julia (2018, June 13). Best Protein Powders for Pregnancy And Breastfeeding . Retrieved from https://www.wellnessgeeky.com/best-protein-powders-pregnancy-breastfeeding/
Pregnancy Nutrition: Eating Healthy While Pregnant. (2017, May 10). Retrieved from http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/pregnancy-nutrition/
Protein statistics come from Myfitnesspal.com
Vegetable Photos downloaded from Freeimages.com