Plant-based Proteins for Pregnancy

Four “low-steaks” ways to up your protein intake.

Article & Photo Courtesy of Well Rounded NY

We all know that eating adequate protein is important–not only for us but also for the growing baby.  In recent years, there has been a shift towards incorporating dietary plant protein consumption versus animal protein due to the nature of our food supply and food quality.

One of the biggest reasons health professionals are advocating plant protein during pregnancy and also why concepts such as #meatlessmonday are gaining popularity is due to the fact that animal protein has to be cooked and thus denatured (food safety protocol) before consumption–therefore you’re not getting the total protein from the original piece of meat. Because food safety is especially important during pregnancy, it is important to cook thoroughly before consumption. In addition, it’s harder on the body to digest animal protein, which could cause discomfort during pregnancy since our GI system slows down as the pregnancy progresses. Therefore, increasing plant protein during pregnancy is encouraged!

Believe it or not, plant protein sources are abundant.  The most common ones are legumes, nuts and seeds.  So If you’ve been following a vegetarian or vegan diet, have no fear! You could continue the dietary pattern healthfully during your pregnancy and here’s how:

1. Incorporate legumes into your soups or baked dishes.  Consider chickpeas instead of lean ground beef or turkey for a burger patty.  Use black beans as a base for your brownies. Add kidney beans or white cannelloni beans to your soups and stews.  Whip up some hummus for a snack.  Incorporating legumes into a variety of dishes will keep you full and provide adequate dietary protein.