Preconception

Posted on July 29, 2009. Filed under: Pregnancy recipes | Tags: , , , , |

Pregnancy is one of the most wonderful periods in a woman’s life. A time to look back with joy, be indulged beyond your wildest dreams, to look forward with barely suppressed excitement and a quiet certitude and faith in the powers above that all will be well.

All that you eat before and during your pregnancy is largely responsible for not only your health but your baby’s too! This is why right before you conceive, till the time you are traveling through your pregnancy, you should eat a well-balanced healthy diet.

Live for today and eat healthy, eat as much as you need and best of all eat food that you enjoy. This is a time for you and yourself – and your baby. We want to ensure that this is a happy period. Remember,”You are only pregnant and not a patient”. So go ahead and enjoy these special 9 months….

Planning A Baby?

Everybody loves babies
And for a woman, having a baby is like making a dream come true. So let this dream weave itself into reality.

The joy and excitement of bringing a new life into this world is not only pleasurable but also demands a lot of responsibility. You should be ready to accept it as a challenge by maintaining a healthy diet so as to nurture the new life growing within you.

A woman who is well nourished before conception begins her pregnancy with reserves of essential nutrients like protein, minerals (Iron and Calcium) and vitamins (Folic Acid, Vitamins A & C) to meet the needs of a growing fetus.

You might be apprehensive during your pregnancy, worrying that what you do and what you eat is not good enough. Well, let’s put those thoughts aside and work at putting your fears to rest and by looking after yourself and enjoying your pregnancy, to giving birth to a beautiful, healthy baby.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are planning to have a baby

Maintain a weight that is appropriate for pregnancy as this is a better indicator of maternal health during your 9 months of gestation. Even if you are slightly overweight or underweight, there is no reason to panic as long as you are at a weight level that you are comfortable with.
Here is a formula to help you determine what weight is appropriate for your height.
Height (cm – 105 = Ideal Body Weight (kgs) (105 is a standard figure derived for women from Broca’s index for ideal body weight.)

Do not smoke or drink alcohol or use any recreational drugs.

Select a gynaecologist and an obstetrician whom you trust and most importantly, feel comfortable with.

Have a complete medical checkup, including blood analysis, which will indicate your iron, hemoglobin and folic acid status as these nutrients are vital during your pregnancy, and are required in large quantities for the fetal growth and development. It is important that you build up their reserves before you actually conceive.

Your Diet during Pregnancy

Although the phrase “balanced diet” is so commonly used in our daily lives, very few of us actually know what it means. This is simply because we are unaware of what a balanced diet should comprise of.
I remember being absolutely at a loss for I did not know which food consumed by me had what dietary composition. It was only later that I understood the meaning of the term “balanced diet” which refers to eating a variety of foods chosen from each of the six major nutrient groups i.e. protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water.

A balanced diet will also enable you to have an easy pregnancy that is free of complications like heartburn and free from digestive disorders like constipation, diarrhoea etc.

To assure a healthy pregnancy, you should supplement your diet with these major nutrients from the basic food groups mentioned below:

Cereals like wheat, jowar, bajra, ragi (nachni), rice etc.

Pulses like dals (moong dal, chana dal etc.)and legumes (matki etc.) Cereals like wheat, jowar, bajra, ragi (nachni), rice etc.

Pulses like dals (moong dal, chana dal etc.)and legumes (matki etc.)

Dairy products like milk, pasteurized cheese, paneer, curds etc.

Fruits like banana, chickoo etc. and Vegetables like green leafy vegetables and other vegetables like peas, pumpkin etc.

Fats like ghee, oil, butter, sugar and jaggery should be consumed in moderation.
Have plenty of water and other fluids like juices, soups, buttermilk and milk shakes.

Now that you know exactly what a balanced diet should comprise of, here’s a self-explanatory food guide, to know the various food groups and the quantities you should eat.

Food Groups Examples Number of Servings you need daily What makes  1 Serving? Recipes

Cereals

Whole wheat, rice, unpolished jowar, bajra, nachni (ragi), bulgur wheat (dalia), whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread etc.

6 to 10 servings

1 slice of bread or 1 chapati or 2 phulkas or 1/2 cup of rice or pasta,cooked

High Fibre Bread Paushtic Roti, Bajra Khichdi, Easy Cheesy Vegetable Pasta

Pulses

Moong dal, toovar (arhar) dal, sprouted moong, lobhiabeans, kabuli chana (chick pea), rajma, etc.

2 to 3 servings

1/ 2 cup of raw or 1 cup of cooked pulses

Moong dal Dosa, Hariyali Dal, Subzi dal, Chick pea Salad

Vegetables

Leafy: Spinach (palak), fenugreek (methi), lettuce, raddish leaves etc.  Others:        carrots, beetroot, cucumber, french beans, gavarfali (cluster beans) etc.

3 to 5 servings

1 cup of raw or 1/2 cup of cooked leafy vegetables or 1/2 cup of raw or cooked other vegetables

Spinach Malfatti, Methi Palak Dhokla, Fruit and Lettuce Salad, Dal and Vegetable Idli

Fruits

Pineapple, sweet lime, orange, guava etc.        Dried fruits like almonds, cashewnuts, walnuts etc

2 to 3 servings

1/2 cup of chopped fruits or 1 big piece of fruit (melon wedge) or 1 cup of fruit juice or 1 cup of fruit juice or 1/4 cup of dried fruits.

Orange Sesame Tabbouleh, Date and Banana Shake Guava Drink, Til Chikki

Dairy    Products

Milk, curd, cheese and  paneer

2 to 3 servings

1 glass (200 ml) of milk or 1/4 cup of chopped paneer or 1/4 cup of shredded cheese.

Dahi Chane ki Subzi, Kalakand, Caramel Custard

Fats and  Sugar Ghee, oil, butter, sugar and  jaggery

In moderation*

Lapsi, Carrot Pancakes

* Fats and Sugar: Approximately 2 tablespoons of fat and 2 teaspoons of refined sugar can be consumed per day. Fats should be consumed in moderation, as some foods like walnuts, sesame seeds and even cereals contain invisible fats which are also a part of our diet. Excessive fat can also disturb the absorption of important nutrients like calcium in your body, apart from making you put on weight.

Recommended Dietary Allowances

Wondering what RDA is all about? Well, it’s the daily requirement of nutrients that your body needs as recommended by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). This is the RDA or Recommended Dietary Allowance suggested for Indian women with a moderate activity level. It will also explain you the functions and sources of all the major nutrients required during pregnancy. Before conception, you should consume approximately 1900 to 2200 kcal/ day. This is your daily energy requirement.
However, during pregnancy your energy requirements are higher and you will need to consume between 2200 to 2500 kcal/day.

The keyword here is quality and not quantity. It’s not about how much you eat, but what you eat.

The major nutrients are as follows :

Energy

You need to provide your body with 2200 to 2500 kcal of Energy per day. All food groups provide energy, which is expressed in technical terms as kilocalories or what we commonly referred to as Calories. You require an adequate amount of energy to keep your strength up.

Protein

Protein (65gm/day) in your maternal store is required for a good overall growth and development of your fetus.
Good sources of protein are

Pulses like moong dal, chana dal, matki etc.
Dairy products (milk, pasteurized cheese, paneer, curds, etc.)
Soyabean and its products e.g. tofu and soya chunks are an excellent source of vegetarian protein
Subzi Dal is a very good example for this group.

Calcium

Calcium (1000 mg/day) is required for the development of fetal bones and teeth.
So, stock up by eating plenty of these foods

Dairy products (milk, pasteurized cheese, paneer, curds, etc.)
Soyabean and its products, eg tofu and soya chunks
Dark green leafy vegetables
Til and ragi
Try Paneer Palak Methi Rotis which are a good combination of a dairy product and leafy vegetables. Also try Kalaland laden with calcium.

Iron

Iron (38mg/day) is an essential component of hemoglobin that supplies oxygen to each cell of the human body. In addition, it is required for the fetal red blood cell production. So do have iron in the required quantity or else you might become anemic. Have no fear on that account for Mr. Iron’s here!!
Foods with high iron sources are

Dried beans, peas and lentils
Cereals and pulses
Dried fruits like raisins and dates
Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, mint, fresh coriander, cauliflower greens and vegetables like broccoli and pumpkin.
Til, nuts (almonds, cashewnuts) and jaggery
Try Usli, Vegetable Stew and do not miss the tempting dhoklas made of Methi and Palak (see recipe of Methi Palak Dhokla) to enrich your iron stores

Folic Acid

Folic acid (400 mcg/day) is an essential vitamin required almost 12 weeks before you conceive and also during the first trimester for the growth and development of the brain and spine of the fetus. Folic acid is also required throughout the pregnancy for the formation of blood. Its deficiency leads to anaemia in the mother.
Raise your folic acid levels by enjoying

Potatoes eaten with their skin
Vegetables like cluster beans, spinach, peas, broccoli, beetroot and ladies fingers
Cereals and pulses
Soyabean and its products, e.g. tofu and soya chunks
Nuts (almonds, cashewnuts and walnuts) and til (sesame seeds)
Soya Mutter ki Subzi is a good supplier of this vitamin.

Fat
Fat is a concentrated source of energy and a daily requirement of 30g/day is essential. The fat that accumulates throughout your pregnancy acts as an energy reserve. When the supply of kilocalories is inadequate, the accumulated fat will be used to support the needs of your rapidly growing fetus.
Vitamin C Top
Vitamin C (40 mg/day) is imperative to make yourself immune against infections and diseases. It is also required for the formation of collagen which is a protein that provides structure to the bones, cartilage, muscles and blood vessels.
Boost your vitamin C levels with

Citrus fruits like oranges, sweet lime and lemon
Amla
Vegetables like cabbage, coriander leaves and capsicum
Orange Yoghurt Shake and Fruity Bean Salad will nourish you with plenty of vitamin C.
Vitamin A Top
Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene 2400 mcg/day) is required for clear vision, healthy skin and immunity for both you and your baby. Excessive vitamin A can lead to toxicity and can be harmful. So it will not be necessary to supplement your diet with any other form of vitamin A (e.g. in tablet form) than the following natural food sources mentioned here.
Maintain your vitamin A levels with

Yellow orange vegetables like carrot and pumpkin
Fruits like mango, papaya and tomatoes
Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, fenugreek etc.
Whole milk.
Carrot Pancakes made specially for you provide plenty of vitamin A.
Vitamin D Top
Vitamin D is synthesized through sunlight which aids the absorption of calcium in the body. Hence, there is no dietary recommendation for this nutrient.
Vitamin B12 Top
In comparison to non-vegetarian foods, vegetarian diets are deficient in Vitamin B12. But don’t let that hamper your spirits as soya milk and soya products in particular provide an appreciable amount of that vitamin.
Try the Soya Nugget Upma to perk up your vitamin B12 levels.
Iodine Top
Iodine is one of the major important minerals which is required for your baby’s brain development. To maintain adequate iodine levels in your body, use iodized salt in your daily cooking.
You can also get iodine from the natural sources like

Cereals (rice, wheat, jowar etc.)

The Fresh Feast (Cooking Right)

“Pick and choose all you want,
Don’t freeze if you please,
Fresh vegetables is the way,
Boil, steam and sauté,
So why not eat it every day.”

Now that you are more acquainted with the RDA, it would be beneficial for you to follow these few tips to preserve the nutrients present in the food during your cooking process.

1. Buy only the freshest fruits and vegetables available in the market. Seasonal fruits are the most nutritious as they ripen without the usage of additional chemicals and are more reasonably priced.
2. Refrigerating food for long period results in the loss of vital nutrients. So buy in small quantities and cook for the day!
3. As far as possible, eat vegetables and fruits unpeeled so that your body receives the right amount of fibre and nutrients. Vegetables and fruits like cucumber, potatoes and carrots have vital nutrients right under the peel which we lose out on if we peel them. Remember to scrub these vegetables thoroughly before you eat them as they may contain a thin film of mud and pesticides. However, in case of tough skinned vegetables like turnips or yam (suran) whose skins are inedible, scrub them thoroughly and then gently scrape a thin layer off using a knife or a peeler
4. Soaking vegetables in water for a longer period of time will make them lose many valuable, water-soluble vitamins like vitamin B and vitamin C.
5. Vegetables should be cooked carefully so that they retain most of their nutrients during the cooking process. Therefore, it is better to sauté or steam vegetables rather than to boil them. If you do boil the vegetables, use the minimum quantity of water and cook only until the vegetables become tender. Whenever possible, cook food in large pieces as vegetables cut into small pieces lose more nutrients. Preferably, cover your foods while cooking to preserve the volatile nutrients.
6. Preparing a fresh salad or raita just before meals is the best habit to adopt. Squeezing lemon on salads is great as it contains vitamin C, which helps in the absorption of iron. Eat salads like Energy Salad and Tossed Salad, since they will surely refresh you.
7. Do include a large amount of sprouts in your diet as sprouting aids in easy digestion. Sprouting destroys the anti nutritional factors like phytates that are present in legumes. They are called anti nutritional factors as they hamper the absorption of vital nutrients like iron and calcium from the food. These complex substances (phytates) are broken down to simpler forms when you sprout them, making them more easier to digest. Sprouted legumes have higher vitamin C, iron and calcium levels than those that are not sprouted. Sprouted Bengal gram (chana) and sprouted green gram (moong) are excellent sources of vitamin C. So, here’s to happy sprouting!! Try Sprout and Fruit Bhel or Sprout Pulao
8. Avoid using soda bi-carbonate while cooking as it destroys most of the essential nutrients present in the food.
Nuts and Oilseeds (til etc.)



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Its like you learn my thoughts! You appear to understand so much approximately this, like you wrote the ebook in
it or something. I believe that you simply could do with a few p.
c. to force the message home a bit, but other than that, that is wonderful blog.
An excellent read. I will definitely be back.


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