Top 10 foods to include during pregnancy and after!

It’s celebration time! As you get ready to welcome your bundle of joy, eating right throughout the pregnancy and after delivery is key to ensuring a healthy baby and a healthy you. The right kind of nutrition in pregnancy:


  • Contributes a sense of wellbeing and improves health potential throughout life
  • Helps ensure that adequate nutrients are available to support a healthy pregnancy
  • Ensures that intake is compromised during nausea, vomiting, etc.
  • Supports foetal growth and development and protects developing organs
  • Sets up a lifecycle of nutrition balance, since a well-nourished mother is a critical point in ensuring a healthy, well-nourished baby that remains healthy as it grows


Nutrition during pregnancy


The mother’s nutritional status during pregnancy is an important factor in the baby’s growth. During pregnancy, the body needs extra nutrients and energy to meet the demands of


  • An expanding blood supply
  • The growth of maternal tissues
  • A developing foetus
  • Preparation for lactation


What nutrients do you need to support all the above?  You would need all major macro and micro nutrients from a varied selection of food groups. A balanced pregnancy diet needs to give an additional 300 calories above your normal needs, and about 10 grams more proteins from pre-pregnancy days. Fats, vitamins and minerals are all crucial elements of the balance.



While it is important to get adequate calories, it is just as important to not gain too much weight. Remember – you need not eat for two! This is a popular advice given by everyone in pregnancy but eating more than what is required leads to unwanted weight gain, which may lead to gestational diabetes and hypertension.


So, what are the top 10 pregnancy foods that will also promote a healthy weight gain and make losing the post-pregnancy weight easier?


  1. Lean proteins – from lean cuts of meat, poultry (Sea fish should be taken once a week since there are dangers of mercury poisoning)
  2. Eggs
  3. Milk and milk products including paneer, curd, yoghurt, and milk
  4. Nuts – especially almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, groundnuts
  5. Vegetables and fruits of all colours, especially green leaves like cauliflower leaves, radish leaves, amaranth, mint, spinach
  6. Whole grain pulses and split dals
  7. Millets including ragi, bajra, foxtail millet, kodo millet, etc.
  8. Whole wheat and brown rice
  9. Healthy fats including a combination of traditional cooking oils like mustard, groundnut, rice bran, gingelly
  10. Fluids in the form of clear soups, coconut water, buttermilk, fresh vegetable juices

The food groups listed above provide the special nutrients of concern both during and after pregnancy such as:

  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Calcium/vitamin D
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Fibre


What to avoid during pregnancy


There are some foods which are harmful during pregnancy and are not of much help to you when you are trying to lose post pregnancy weight either. And these include:


Caffeine:  Too much of coffee, tea, soft drinks, or chocolates leads to high caffeine intake. Caffeine makes it harder for the body to absorb iron.


Salt:  While salt is an essential mineral to balance the body fluids and functions, excess of salt may promote water retention or edema in pregnancy and can also lead to bloating post pregnancy. Limit salt intake to half to 1 teaspoon a day and avoid too much of concentrated salt in the form of pickles, bottled preserves, jams, bakery products, fast food, and chutneys.


Sugar:  Sugar adds taste to many dishes but using it in moderation is advised to avoid excess weight gain. Besides, too much sugar interferes with nutrient absorption, especially iron and folate, leading to deficiencies of both.


With careful planning and healthy eating, you can not only have a great pregnancy, but can ensure easier post-pregnancy weight loss.


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