Pregnancy and breastfeeding place unique nutritional demands on women. Pregnant women require an extra 300 calories per day, and a nursing mother needs about 500 extra calories per day. If you're already panicking at the thought of all this influx of calories, don't worry: Producing milk burns about 600 calories per day, so you will still shed that pregnancy weight!
Everyone benefits from a healthy diet, and growing and feeding a baby are extra incentives to eat well. Most women's diets will require improvements during pregnancy, but for the vegetarian mother, these improvements don't have to include animal products.
By definition, a vegetarian diet is free from all meats including fish, fowl, red meats, and other seafood. A stricter version of vegetarian eating is known as a vegan diet. Vegans avoid all animal products such as dairy, honey, eggs, and animal-derived additives.
Getting Enough Protein
The most persistent question a veggie mom will hear is this: Where do you get your protein? The World Health Organization recommends that protein account for 6 percent of the daily calories while pregnant and 7 percent during breastfeeding, which is easily supplied by plant sources. Legumes, meat analogue products (veggie meats), tofu, tempeh, beans, nuts, and whole grain products all provide complete proteins. If a vegetarian mother incorporates eggs and some dairy products into her diet, meeting protein demands becomes even easier.