It’s clear that adequate protein intake is crucial during pregnancy for keeping you strong for labor, and helping your baby build a brilliant brain, muscles, and everything else. However, some people, like vegetarians, vegans, and those who simply don’t love meat, may have more difficulty getting that recommended amount of protein. Thankfully, there are plenty of other excellent sources of protein for the herbivores out there.
Although vegans do not eat eggs because of the fact that they are an animal byproduct, eggs are a wonderful source of protein for those who do eat them. With about 6 g of protein in each egg (almost 10% of the daily recommended amount during pregnancy), eggs are among the best non-meat sources of protein, and also contain other beneficial nutrients, like Omega-3 fatty acids, that help aid proper development.
Another animal byproduct that vegans and some vegetarians may not drink, milk is packed with protein, containing about 8 g in each cup. Milk is also loaded with calcium to help you and your baby build strong bones, and is often fortified with Vitamin D – a necessary combo during pregnancy.
Who’d have thought? Just one cup of peas contains about 8 g of protein, which is a huge amount of the recommended daily value. Peas are also loaded with fiber, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B6, all of which are important while you’re pregnant.
Of course quinoa is on the list – this heralded “supergrain” contains about 8 g of protein in a cup, and it also brings plenty of other nutrients to the table. Quinoa is really hot right now, and for good reason – it’s also loaded with folate and Vitamin B6 to help your baby develop more healthfully.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds contain tons of protein, and so long as you don’t have a nut allergy, they’re perfectly okay to eat given any other dietary restriction. Almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are among the best choices, though just about all nuts and seeds are high in protein.
Though some beans, like soybeans, are higher in protein than others, beans are another group of food where you really can’t go wrong. They also frequently contain fiber, which helps with your digestion.
The ultimate source for any vegan or vegetarian, this soy product is absolutely brimming with protein, containing about 10 g in just a half of a cup! Tofu is also an excellent source of calcium, and iron, which is crucial for the production of healthy red blood cells for both you and your baby.
Whether vegetarian or omnivore, leafy greens make up a part of any healthy pregnancy diet. Leafy greens contain varying amounts of protein, but some like broccoli and brussel sprouts are actually quite good sources. Leafy greens also have plenty of folate, calcium, Vitamin C, and other nutrients to help keep you and your baby as healthy as possible.