What is a flexitarian diet?
A flexitarian diet is mainly a plant-based diet whilst including white meat, fish and dairy occasionally. The exact amount of meat is not specified. Since flexitarians do eat animal products, they are not considered vegans. The main source of protein is from beans, lentils or legumes. You're encouraged to eat lots of wholegrains, fruits and vegetables, while limiting processed foods, refined sugars and sweets.
Is flexitarian diet safe?
Don’t worry. A flexitarian diet is safe in pregnancy. Please check for existing nutrient deficiencies e.g. iron, vitamin B12 or vitamin and replenish if needed. Some mothers who develop meat aversion during pregnancy may benefit from a flexitarian diet. Check with your doctor and dietitian before embarking on any new diets while pregnant. Avoid embarking on any drastic/fad diet during pregnancy.
When you are pregnant, what you eat becomes more important than ever. You should ensure you get adequate carbohydrates and protein to help baby to grow well, and get a good mix of vitamins and minerals.
3 essential nutrients to ensure adequacy for pregnant mums on flexitarian diet
Ensure you are taking adequate iron by consuming foods rich in iron e.g. iron-fortified cereals, dark green leafy vegetables beans, lentils and chickpeas. Consume a multivitamin supplement containing iron as prescribed by your obstetrician.
#2 Vitamin D
Select vitamin D enriched soy milk, almond milk or oat milk or consume a vitamin D supplement with calcium.
Good sources of calcium are fortified soymilks, dark green leafy vegetables, tofu and nuts.
*If you are not gaining weight well or baby is not growing well, please do not embark on a flexitarian diet as limiting your food choices may impact on your weight gain and the optimal growth of your baby.