By Ayushi Gupta
“Healthy bodies make healthy babies, so you have nothing to lose,” said Heidi Murkoff. The importance of a nutritious diet for pregnant women is critical for the well-being of the baby and the mother-to-be. Pregnancy takes quite a toll on the mother's body. Taking small easy steps such as drinking sufficient amounts of water or monitoring your BMI, can go a long way and even prevent complications during birth.
Mrs. Aditi Mehrotra, an expert dietician, and nutritionist with 23 years of experience, in a recent interview, debunked common myths and shared valuable advice to the relief of young mothers, "It’s easy to confuse good tips handed down from grandmothers with a lot of myths and unscientific claims surrounding pregnancy. As a thumb rule, it’s important to remember that a mother’s diet needs to be wholesome, nutritious, and full of rainbow-colored fruits, veggies, and grains”. She added, "Mothers' needn't worry much, as the demand for high amounts of calcium, protein,iron and folic acid can be met by a diverse diet, that can be accompanied by supplements.”
Looking for the best diet plan? Here are some nutrition tips by Mrs. Aditi Mehrotra for pregnancy diet: during and after!
Prenatal or pregnancy nutrition tips for women
“Do not limit yourself! It’s common for women to stick to regular staples such as rice or wheat, whereas, sustainable grains and super-grains are a crucial part of a protein-rich, wholesome, and balanced diet” advised Mrs. Mehrotra in conversation with Meghana Narayan, answering any queries and questions mothers face. When asked about other important tips, she pointed on a few given below:
1. Prevention- The first trimester is a critical one, on account of higher chances of birth defects and miscarriage. Mothers should be very particular and cautious about their diet. Avoid eating foods during pregnancy that contain preservatives or additives.
2. Nutrition rich diet - A mama-to-be needs 10% more proteins and a large number of vitamins and minerals. Nutrients such as folic acid, iron, calcium can be consumed through turmeric, jaggery, and fruits. A 5-6 min walk in the sun outside between 11 am to 2 pm, can provide vitamin D naturally.
3. Morning sickness- It is not just limited to mornings, as popularly believed. ‘I recommend them to eat something odorless, a simple dry toast, biscuit or cookie, or a handful of nuts’, says Mrs. Mehrotra. Some women feel food cravings, while others feel nauseous, it’s just the body’s way of indicating that there is some kind of nutrition deficiency.
4. Supplements- The gynecologist and her advice should be looked into for recommending supplements. We don’t just recommend the pregnant lady to take a multi-vitamin, there are vitamins specific for physiological needs or challenges, that are given after analyzing the needs. For example, we often don’t tend to eat iron and folate in the required amounts, and sometimes the body can’t absorb them from food sources. So, if iron-rich food is being taken, we recommend vitamin C supplement or it can go in a glass of lemonade, as it would enhance the absorption of nutrients.
5. Rainbow diet- A well-planned diet that covers different colored fruits, vegetables, and grains should be incorporated. This would automatically include various vitamins and other nutrients. For example, you can make a quick salad with 4-5 vegetables or fruits, wholesome food for pregnant women.
6. Myths- “Taking a diet that contains mainly white-colored food would give a fair complexion to that baby” observed the nutritionist, and explained such myths are not backed by scientific evidence.
Here is the link for an enlightening conversation with Mrs. Mehrotra about various points to keep in mind pre and post-pregnancy.
Postnatal/ postpartum nutrition tips
“Everyone almost always talks about prenatal, but what about postpartum?" observed Mrs. Mehrotra throughout her experience. Trying to emphasize the importance of the mother’s diet and nutritional status after pregnancy. She recommended the following:
1. After the child-birth, for 20-21 days, a mother needs to take care of herself the most, or it might lead to post-partum depression, culminating in difficulties in lactation and digestion of food.
2. As a mother ends up burning immense amounts of calories breastfeeding, she needs to drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration.
3. Many vegetables help in lactation such as bottle gourd and chia seeds which are rich in antioxidants and omega-3.
4. Studies show that babies fed on mother’s milk, compared to the babies that were fed on formula milk had more acceptance. As the formula milk lacked variety.
5. Avoid eating packaged food like chips etc., that have preservatives and flavor enhancers as it can be harmful to the baby.
6. Jaggery is a very good cleanser and helps contract the uterus in the first 40 days, and is an immunity booster for the mother and her baby.
7. Almonds, nuts, banana, milk, yogurt, oats, and fruits are healthy for a lactating mother and the baby.
Importance of Ragi:
Underlining from her personal experience as a mother, Mrs. Mehrotra commended the role ragi has played during and after her pregnancy, "Not only is this a super-grain but is a very rich source of protein and iron, a perfectly wholesome grain. It can be added to the daily diet for pregnant women, as it is not only sleeping inducing to help the mother rest well but also, provides a serotonin rush and the release of feel-good hormones. It can help with depression and digestion and boosts immunity. An absolute must-have!”, said a delighted Mrs. Mehrotra.
Searching for a way to add nutritious and protein-rich ragi in your daily diet?
Your cravings end now. Here are two delicious ragi recipes that can be enjoyed as breakfast, lunch, or snacks. Don’t wait, enjoy these mouthwatering dishes now, that makes a delightful food for pregnant women.
Ragi vegetable uttapam
1. 1 ½ bowl of Slurrp Farm Millet Dosa Mix
2. 1/2 bowl fresh curd
3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
4. 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
5. 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
6. 1/4 teaspoon chaat masala
7. 1 bowl chopped capsicums of 3 colors
8. 1/2 bowl each chopped onions and tomatoes
9. Tomato sauce as required
10. A pinch of black pepper
11. 2-3 tablespoons oil
1. Take a bowl and mix millet dosa mix, Fresh curd, salt, red chili powder, and other spices to form a medium consistency. Add water if needed. Let it rest for 10 min.
2. Heat a non-stick pan on medium flame, and grease it with oil.
3. Use a big spoon to spread the batter on the pan in the shape of Uttapam. Spread some tomato sauce on the other side and then spread the chopped vegetables on top of it.
4. Flip the Uttapam and roast both sides till its well-cooked. Enjoy it by sprinkling some chaat masala!
Ragi Wheat Bread
1. One cup Slurrp Farm Sprouted Ragi Powder
2. One cup whole wheat flour (atta)
3. 100 gm Slurrp Farm Jaggery Powder
4. One Tsp refined oil
5. 1/2 Kg chopped spinach
6. One cup of curd
7. One tsp baking soda
1. Mix all the ingredients well, till they become consistent.
2. Spread it evenly in a baking dish.
3. Bake it at 180 degrees for 40-45 minutes.
Choose nourishment and nutrition for yourself and your little one today. You are his/her guardian angel!