Pregnancy Articles

Eating Protein Without the Meat

What Pregnant Vegetarians Need to Know

"Will my diet harm my baby?" and "How do I make sure to get enough protein?" are often the first questions a vegetarian mother-to-be asks.

Protein is important because it helps your body grow, recover from injury or illness, and provides the building blocks for that tiny baby inside you to grow. Protein comes from animal and plant sources and is made up of amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids; the body itself can make 11 of them, while the other nine are considered "essential" amino acids and must be absorbed from food.

Even though meat is a great and easy way to obtain protein, you can incorporate all nine essential amino acids into your diet without eating any meat. To do this, it's important to eat a variety of whole grains, veggies, beans, soy, legumes, seeds and nuts to make sure you absorb all the essential amino acids. Some foods are lower in one amino acid, while another might be higher. Consuming all the essential amino acids in one meal isn't necessary. As long as you eat a variety of foods on a regular basis they will combine to make complete proteins.

There are several advantages to eating a vegetarian diet:
  • You eat less cholesterol - there is no cholesterol in plant foods.
  • You will eat more fiber, which helps reduce the risks of bowel diseases and help alleviate and prevent constipation throughout your pregnancy.
Your body only requires 12 to 15 percent of your calories to come from protein. Storing protein is not possible and your body gets rid of any excess. Too much protein can actually be unhealthy. There is nothing to be concerned about when it comes to vegetarians getting adequate protein. Variety is key throughout your pregnancy.
Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
Page 1 of 1  

About The Author

Joe Downie
Joe is a certified physical fitness instructor, personal trainer, and high school soccer coach.
Joe Downie

Member Comments

There are currently no comments on this article