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A healthy diet during pregnancy is essential, but women in this phase don’t have the energy to make elaborate meals. Here are 5 quick to make, healthy to eat foods for pregnancy.
Ah, Pregnancy! When you get to grow a whole human being in your body. What a glorious feeling that is! A time when you are urged to eat for two (wrongly) and eat more fruits and vegetables than you ever have in your life till then.
If you are unlucky, though, your body reacts by resisting every attempt to put food in it – often, for the first three months and sometimes, for a particularly sorry bunch, all through the way. It becomes a battle waged with your body to nourish it and the baby inside, come what may.
Apart from throwing up at the smallest whiff of food, mums-to-be also have to deal with a great deal of small aches and pains. But the biggest of them is fatigue. Growing a baby is a hard job and the body takes every bit of energy from the mother to get on with it, leaving the poor mum exhausted on a permanent basis.
So, how do you deal with the two? You need to eat, good, nutritious food but you are absolutely wrecked most of the time. What you need are some simple, yet fun ways of getting the essentials in you; but with some tricks thrown in, so you are not wiped out entirely at the thought of making the dishes.
This post is supported by Danone Nutricia. Danone Nutricia is a New Generation Nutrition Company that offers a full range of products for pregnant mothers, infants, young children as well as adults. For more information on diet during pregnancy and other information related to pregnancy, motherhood, infancy and toddlerhood, do visit them at www.danonenutricia.in and like them on Facebook – Danone Nutricia India.
The first thirteen weeks are the most vital – and the scariest. You need headspace to get used to your new status, deal with the morning sickness that has you in its grip and try to absorb the million pieces of advice that are launched your way the minute you see the blue line on the stick.
Nutrition-wise, your body needs an extra boost of folic acid to aid in the proper growth of the spinal column and the bone structure. Spinach is a great source of folic acid and is a very versatile leafy veggie that can be used with anything. Toss it into salads, or into your mixed pulao for that extra hit of iron and folic acid. Blanch it and mash it into the atta you make for your nightly roti. (Expecting mothers should also consult your gynaecologist on folic acid supplementation, since it is possible that food alone will not give you the amount you need during pregnancy).
Or, my personal favourite, make it into yummy Palak Paneer. Paneer gives you a good dose of protein and calcium and is odourless and mild-tasting, so it doesn’t set off your morning sickness (which, contrary to its name, hits you in the evening!)
An easy recipe for Palak Paneer: Blanch and puree a bunch of spinach. Cover and cook it in a kadai with some salt and water. In a smaller pan, take a tablespoon of oil, add in cumin seeds, a slit green chilli, finely diced onion, a teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste and sauté. Toss this into the palak puree and mix well. Cook on low flame till the pungent raw smell leaves the dish. Drop in cubed paneer and drizzle a good dollop of cream on top. Cover for 5 mins and eat it with some roti or rice, as you prefer. On a day when you are too tired to cook rice or make roti, even some brown bread will do!
This is the best time of the whole 40 weeks of pregnancy. You are not bothered by the morning sickness, and the heavy belly and extreme tiredness are far into the distance. You are filled with great bursts of energy and all is well with the world. But your taste buds still need a lot to get stimulated and most dishes taste bland to you.
So how about some lemon rasam to perk up your flagging tastebuds? Lemons are also great for any lingering nausea.
An easy recipe for lemon rasam: Soak and pressure cook a handful of toor dal. Boil a cup of water, cut a tomato into chunks and throw it in. Add salt, turmeric powder, a teaspoon of grated ginger and your favourite rasam powder. Let it boil on medium heat. Mash the toor dal well, add half a cup of water to it and add it to the boiling mixture. Add a teaspoon of asafoetida and let it come to a rolling boil. Turn off the heat. Pour over the juice of a lemon, garnish with a sprig of coriander leaves and serve hot. This lemon rasam goes well with rice or you can simply have it as a soup, by itself.
One of my personal favourites, for those days when you cannot summon the energy for elaborate meals, is this ‘fake’ instant noodles salad.
An easy recipe for vegetable noodles salad: Thickly grate, using the carrot peeler, the following vegetables: carrots, zucchini and red pumpkin. Thinly slice in red or white cabbage. Throw in a handful of sprouted lentils. Add a dash of chaat masala and garam masala and a sprinkling of chopped coriander leaves. You can add some toasted peanuts for added crunch, if you desire. It literally takes a few minutes to put together but is crunchy, yummy and totally healthy.
You are nearly at the final stretch. You have your baby sitting on your bladder and you waddle everywhere. You feel like murdering everyone and most humiliatingly, start weeping at the sight of a baby onesie or a rattle.
Now is not the time for elaborate meals. Soups are the order of the day – cold or hot, depending on the season. They fill you up and don’t take ages to make!
What’s not to love?
An easy recipe for carrot soup: Scrape the skin and pressure cook a bunch of carrots with a teaspoon of salt. Once you can get them out, blitz them in your mixer with half a cup of milk. Heat it over a low-medium flame in a heavy-bottomed pan. Flavour it with more salt and a handful of basil or coriander. Throw some grated cheese on top, if you have it. Give it a good shaking of pepper. Dig in.
Then there are those times when you crave for something sinful, something spicy; enough to set off the fire alarms. But you can’t because – heart burn! Here’s a way to get you something naughty but not so much that it will make you regret your indulgence in an hour.
An easy recipe for Spicy Paneer Sticks: Take a thick slab of paneer. Cut it into French fries-like sticks. Slice onions into thin strips too, and toast them in a hot pan, with a spoonful of oil. Add a teaspoon of ginger and garlic paste, coriander powder, cumin powder and some paprika. Add a pinch of salt. Toss in the paneer sticks and gently coat them with the masala mix. Squeeze in some lemon. Garnish with coriander if you like – and dig in!
So there you have it. Some easily made yet nutritious dishes you can make and enjoy whilst pregnant. Happy birthing!
Pregnant woman image, Palak Paneer image, carrot soup image via Shutterstock
Mother, writer, foodie, margarita lover, Lavanya is the exception to the rule that women are
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