“The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” Indeed!! Very true. Pregnancy is one of the most important phase of a woman’s life. The concern is not just about the mother- to -be’s health but also the foetus growing in the womb, needing utmost care and nurture. All women are concerned as to what one should eat and what should be avoided during PREGNANCY. From the time of conception to 6 months of life the baby depends entirely on the mother for its nutrition. A healthy mother provides the right nutrition to the baby. Did you know a pregnant woman needs just 350 calories extra? That is just one extra meal!!! Eating for two is a myth and excess weight gain leads unnecessary complications during labour. Have a balanced diet that gives enough nutrients. Now let’s have a look at what a balanced meal looks like.

 COMPLEX CARBS: rice, wheat, millets:  The most important source of energy, fibre, vitamins and minerals. You need 3 servings of 100gms each. Go in for whole wheat rotis, multigrain bread if you have to have bread, ragi, jowar bhakri is also a good option. So say yes to roti, paratha, theplas, bhakri say no to MAIDA. No white bread, pasta, nan, junk food. For pasta one can opt for the whole wheat or multigrain one. Rice and rice items are beneficial. Pulao, biryani not fat laden though, steamed rice, khichdi, jeera rice are good rice options.

 PULSES: The lentils, dals, beans provide protein the building blocks of the body. For vegetarians this is the main source of protein. At least 2 servings of these are recommended one serving being 30 gms.so go high on your sambhar, rasam, dals, chole, rajma, dal tadka, usal and missal. Just soak the pthe pulses well before cooking. Each Indian household has some variety of dal or beans cooked daily. For non-vegetarian it can be one serving of pulses and one serving of non-vegetarian food like egg, meat chicken or fish.

 MILK AND MILK PRODUCTS: Two servings of these provide you with the necessary calcium. Calcium is of utmost importance during pregnancy. It also provides you with proteins, phosphorus and vitamins. Milk, paneer, dahi, lassi, buttermilk, milkshakes, smoothies all should be had. Go for low fat version so as to avoid adding calories and putting on excess weight. Cheese is another option that can be had occasionally. It being processed and high on calories with excess salt can be had as an occasional treat. One serving is 250 ml so 500 ml in a day.

 VEGETABLES: Store house of nutrients like folate, vitamins ,iron, minerals vegetables are a must have. Palak, drumsticks,cabbage, beet root, carrots, peas, green leafy vegetables, beans the string beans, fava beans, French beans, gourds etc all are good. Along with the nutrition it provides fibre helps keep constipation at bay a major concern for pregnant women. Have your soups and salads as mid meals. Variate with the vegetables. Have a rainbow of veggies. One needs to have 4 servings in a day 100gms make a serving.

FRUITS: again like veggies should form an important part of your diet. At least two serving of 100 gms each is what you should look at. Fruit salad, fruit chaat, just a fruit, smoothie, fresh juice are a few options. Don’t like a fruit add it to yogurt and have. Make shrikhand at home and add a fruit pulp to it. Have a dry fruit instead. Have it the way you like it. Like it cold juice a melon or strawberries or grapes and make popsicles. Do not strain the juices. FATS: oil, ghee, butter:  30ml in a day. Go low on these. Sweets also should be had sparingly. These are high on calories and low in nutrients. Though needed do not go overboard.

NUTS: Almonds, Walnut, pistachio etc. These are good for the pregnant women and should be used as snacks. Rich source of iron,mufa,pufa and omega 3. To be had in moderation.

 IRON AND FOLIC ACID: are extremely important during pregnancy. Sesame seeds are rich in folic acid make them a part of your diet. Eat more greens, beet and sprouts for that extra iron. To sum it up Eat a wholesome balanced diet cooked at home with love. Eat at regular intervals to avoid the heartburn and keep morning sickness at bay. Avoid the junk, processed foods, colas and caffeine in excess. Hydrate well. Above all sleep well and stress less. Do some form of light exercise. Walking is the best exercise. Yoga relaxes mind and body both. If at all you need medicines opt for natural ones like Stay healthy.