Plant-Based/Vegan Diet Checklist for Pregnancy

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As I came out of my first trimester of pregnancy, I started to regain my normal tastes. Vegetables were no longer enemy number one, and I wanted to eat accordingly.

The second and third trimester are when your baby needs nutrients to grow and develop her body and neurological system. Everything that your body needs can be found in plants. Some skeptics argue that meat-free diets will lead to anemia, but my iron levels were at the top of the charts! Of course, both vegans and meat-eaters alike can suffer from pregnancy-related anemia or gestational diabetes, and I don't mean to suggest that these problems can be prevented or fixed with a plant-based diet. However, your baby can be just as healthy, if not more so, without meat and dairy in the mother's diet.

I was kind of surprised that no one had posted a chart online about how exactly to eat properly for pregnancy with a plant-based diet, so I made one!

The following is an amended version of the Checklist for Daily Nutrition from The Bump. Basically, I swapped out the meat, dairy, and eggs for plant-based options, and added some information about how many milligrams of each nutrient is in a "serving."

  • Prenatal vitamin: I like the myKind Organics prenatal vitamin, or at least, I like it as much as it's possible to like a prenatal vitamin. Gets the job done!

  • Calcium: 4 servings/1000 mg needed daily
    • 1 cup of calcium-fortified orange juice: 300 mg
    • 1 cup of almond milk: 300 mg
    • 1 cup of edamame: 98 mg
    • 1/2 cup of tofu: 434 mg
    • 1 T tahini: 64 mg
  • Yellow, Green, and Leafy Veggies and Fruits: 3-4 servings
    • 1 cup kale
    • 1 cup mango
    • 1/4 cup carrot
    • Many more options here
  • Vitamin C: 3 servings/85 mg 
    • 1 cup orange juice: 24 mg
    • 1 cup mango: 60 mg
    • 1 peach: 10 mg
    • 1 grapefruit: 38.4 mg
  • Protein: 3 servings/70 g
    • 2 T peanut butter: 7 g
    • 1 cup edamame: 17 g
    • 1 cup tofu: 20 g
    • 1 cup quinoa: 24 g
    • 1 cup lentils: 18 g
    • 1 cup black beans: 42 g
    • 1 cup pinto beans: 41 g
    • 1 cup chickpeas: 39 g
    • Luna bars (Chocolate Coconut, Lemon Zest): 9 g
    • Luna bar (Chocolate Peppermint): 8 g
  • Iron: 3 servings/27 mg
    • 1 cup black beans: 9.7 mg
    • 1 cup chickpeas: 12.5 mg
    • Luna bar: 5.4 mg
    • myKind Organics Prenatal vitamin: 18 mg
  • Other Veggies and Fruits: 1-2 servings
  • Fats: ~4 servings
    • Peanut butter
    • Avocado 
    • Olives
    • Olive oil
    • Nuts
  • Fluids: 8 servings of 8 oz 
    • Water
    • Tea 
    • Etc...
Note: DHA wasn't included on this list, but it's recommended that the pregnant woman consume 12-16 oz of fish per week. As an alternative, pregnant vegans can take one DHA supplement daily. Confession: I couldn't keep the DHA supplement down, and I was concerned about how effective of a substitute it really is for eating whole fish, so I ate wild Alaskan salmon throughout my pregnancy. But hat's off to those who can tolerate the fish algae! 

Finally over morning sickness and feeling great!

Second trimester, here we go!

In the next post I'll go into more detail about how you can create a diet plan for a healthy, plant-based pregnancy! 

Marina Gafni

Marina Gafni is a 28-year-old speech pathology student. She lives with her husband in San Jose, CA.


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