Nutrition · Pregnancy

Vegetarian & pregnant? Tips to meet your protein needs

Vegan tofu poke bowls with seaweed, watermelon radish, cucumber, edamame beans and rice noodles.

You can easily get all your protein needs when you are vegetarian – you just need to pay attention to where your protein sources are coming from so that you get all the essential building blocks.

To help with the growth and development of your baby, protein needs increase in the second half of pregnancy due to the growth of supporting tissues, vitamins, hormones and other tissues.

Things to consider when following a vegetarian eating plan:

  • If you still eat some animal products such as eggs, milk or yogurt then you are getting all the essential building blocks through these sources.
  • If you only eat plant based foods then it’s important to include a variety of sources with plant based proteins to get all those essential building blocks.

How do you get all the essential building blocks?

  • Every day include at least one food from each protein source type.
  • Plant based protein sources come from grains, soy and fortified soy products, dried beans, peas and lentils; nuts and seeds.

This is an important habit to try when strictly following a plant based eating plan. Let me share a few of my favourite ways to use plant based protein to keep me healthy.

Ideas to add variety to your plant based protein sources:

Grains: quinoa, bulgur, breads, pasta and rice

  • Try them in salads, soups, as side dish, and stir fry.

Soy: fortified soy beverages, edamame, soy, or tofu

  • These are great for snacks, in salads, and toasted.

Dried Beans, lentils or peas: kidney beans, chickpeas; red, brown, and green lentils; split peas

  • These can be part of salads, mashed as a dip, soups, stews, dahls, wrapped, and even roasted.

Nuts: almonds, pine nuts or nut butters.

  • They can be part of snacks, combined with cereals, on salads, blended in smoothies, spread on fruits or grains.

Seeds: sesame, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds

  • Add that crunchy flavour to salads, spreads (tahini), or rolled into energy bars!

If you find a new way to add plant based proteins in your daily eating routine let us know by commenting below!

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