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Kavita Devgan's Recipe For A Happy, Healthy Pregnancy

Kavita Devgan

Kavita Devgan
06 March 2020

This article is authored by Kavita Devgan. Kavita is an acclaimed nutritionist with 20 plus years of experience as a weight loss and holistic health consultant.

When you are pregnant you need to be even more careful about what you plate. After all, a healthy pregnancy is a healthy baby in the making, and there is no way that you can take chances with that at all.

What the mother eats, influences not just the general health but also the neurological and physiological development of the foetus, and only a well-nourished woman can optimally nourish the baby growing inside her. Besides, a healthy diet is imperative to gain enough energy and stamina during pregnancy. That is why pregnant women must learn how to max both, their happiness as well as their health quotient.

Healthy Pregnancy Diet

First, the basics

Calorie requirements vary from women to women but most women need approximately 300 extra calories per day to meet the increased metabolic needs of pregnancy. That said, don’t eat in excess to avoid gaining too much weight (it’ll be a task shaking it off after delivery!). Get enough fibre through fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grain breads and cereals. Avoid processed or refined foods and eat un-polished legumes. Eat variety of foods to score a wide range of essential nutrients. Stay hydrated; drink about eight to ten glasses of fluid (2 to 2.5 litres) daily during pregnancy.

Protein Rich Food Pregnancy

Take protein seriously

Average daily requirement of protein is 0.8 - 1 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. That means an average woman weighing 60 kg will need about 48 - 60 gm of protein per day. The need for protein though goes up substantially during pregnancy as it is needed to form new cells and build the body of the foetus. According to Nutrition Foundation of India, during pregnancy, this requirement goes up by 23 grams per day and a deficiency can have a drastic negative effect on the health of both the mother and the foetus / baby.

Focus on both right quantity (required number of grams) as well as high quality protein to meet the needs. Get it from animal products like meats, milk and eggs or vegetarian sources like nuts and seeds, milk and other dairy products, pulses and soya products. Vegetarian women must get all the essential amino acids by eating a wide variety and making smart pairs by combining vegetables with grains and legumes or seeds.

Don’t fight the fat

Fat provides compounds that are essential for cells to form. They also deliver vitamin E that protects growing cells. So, stick to good fat sources. Focus on omega 3 (fatty fish, flax seeds, walnuts) and good fats like nuts and seeds and avoid trans fats (fried and processed foods) completely.

The necessary nutrients

The necessary nutrients

Iron needs greatly increase during pregnancy to support the increase in maternal blood volume, formation of haemoglobin, normal development of the foetal circulatory system, and foetal iron that the baby will continue to use after birth. Get it from: Dark green leafy vegetables (cauliflower greens, mustard greens, chulai or amaranth, parsley, mint) Dried beans (especially soya, cowpea, kidney, bengal gram roasted) Dried fruits like raisins, dried apricots and dates. Fruits like prunes, water melon Eggs (especially egg yolks) Liver, red meat Sea food Whole grains (bajra, buckwheat), iron-fortified cereals Iron from vegetables, fruits, grains, and supplements is harder for the body to absorb. If you mix some lean meat, fish, or poultry (haem iron) with beans or dark leafy greens at a meal, you can improve absorption of vegetable sources of iron up to three times. Also, foods rich in Vitamin C like citrus fruits, amla, guava, capsicum and other fresh fruits help increase iron absorption.

Adequate zinc levels in pregnancy help prevent infectious diseases, avoid abnormally long labour, and support foetal growth. Zinc and iron are found in many of the same foods (meats, and dried beans).

Calcium is an important mineral that a mother-to-be needs. An increase in dairy products like skim milk, cheese, yoghurt, puddings etc., is an easy way to consume lots of calcium. Good non- dairy sources of calcium include salmon, broccoli, beans, sesame seeds, figs, beans, and almonds.

Folic acid, a B vitamin that is needed to prevent anaemia in the mother and neural tube defects in the baby. The body also needs folate to produce and maintain new blood cells. Include green leafy vegetables, wheat germ, unpolished rice, whole cereals, dried legumes, nuts, fresh oranges in daily diet.

Finally, a word of caution - Don't take supplements without consulting your doctor. Too much vitamin A, B6, C, D, E, or K, or too much zinc, iron, or selenium, can be harmful during pregnancy. Striking a balance through your diet is the key.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 



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Your baby’s first solids: How your infant can shift smoothly from breastmilk to other foods

Dr. Dharini Krishnan

Dr. Dharini Krishnan
09 January 2021

This article is authored by Dr. Dharini Krishnan, an award-winning Consultant Dietitian, she believes that for a healthy body and mind, we must combine modern medicine with native Indian practices which are proven to benefit us.

Every step of raising an infant is fraught with stress, as parents agonize over whether they are making the right decisions. One of the biggest transitions parents worry over is the shift from breast milk to solid foods.

Fortunately, the process can be easy and comfortably managed if parents follow a few simple strategies.

Infant growth and nutrition

Eat Breakfast

The first year of a baby’s life is a time of rapid and intense growth. Usually, the baby doubles its birth weight at about six months and triples it at about one year. All of the physiological systems of the infant body undergo rapid growth. The baby’s height also increases by about 10-12 inches in the first year after birth.

Brain development is another crucial area of rapid growth. Infants are born with 100-200 billion neurons or nerve cells, but these are not fully mature. During infancy and toddlerhood, the brain forms thousands of connections between its nerve cells.

Infants also develop several sensory and motor reflexes, as well as motor skills related to crawling, standing and walking.

All of these developments require large amounts of energy, as well as a range of nutrients. While breast milk forms a necessary part of the infant diet, therefore, it is not sufficient by itself.

Transitioning from breastmilk to solid foods

Skin Care

Shifting to solid foods is a gradual and progressive process that can be carried out in a series of well-planned steps. The first food infants can be introduced to are grains in the form of porridge, since they provide energy in the form of carbohydrates to fuel the infant’s growth. In south India, ragi is often preferred because it is a rich source of calcium, iron and protein, besides providing carbohydrates. These grains have to be dehusked by soaking, grinding and straining to make them easy to digest.

Next, infants can be introduced to a new vegetable every week. Parents can begin with carrots and watery vegetables, followed by beans, and finally leading up to cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. With fruits, parents can start with stewed apple, followed by mashed ripe bananas, and then other soft fruits. Harder fruits should be blended before being fed to infants.

With proteins, green gram dal is the best to start with, while some proteins like chana dal should preferably be given only after one year. Non-vegetarian proteins like egg, fish and chicken can also be started after the first year.

If breastfeeding is stopped after the first year for any reason, cow’s milk or curd can be given. Once the child reaches the age of one, he or she can eat most of the foods that the rest of the family eats, provided nothing is too oily or spicy.

In terms of preparation, parents should start with pureed or mashed foods, followed by food cut into very tiny pieces. Eventually, they can move to finger foods and then hard foods such as small apple pieces or boiled beans.

Feeding fussy children

For many parents, children growing fussy about eating is a major cause for concern. However, many children become fussy when parents focus too much attention on the feeding process in some way. When children start sitting up, they should be encouraged to pick up pieces of their food and eat it themselves. They should also be encouraged to sit and eat with the rest of the family from the first year onwards. If they learn from other members of the family to eat different varieties of foods, they are likely to develop healthy eating habits. On the other hand, if parents try to only feed children particular foods that they initially develop a liking for, they are more likely to grow fussy.

Transitioning from breastmilk to solid foods can seem a complex and difficult task for many parents. However, there are a few simple strategies that parents can follow to simply things for themselves and their babies. Done right, introducing children to solid foods can be a joyous experience of discovery for parent and child.



DISCLAIMER

The views and opinions expressed, and assumptions & analysis presented in this content piece are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

 

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