An On‑The‑Go Pregnancy Diet for Busy Women


Dec 22, 2014


Life is busy – no less so when you’re pregnant. Today, it’s common for pregnant women to work through most, if not all, of their pregnancy and maintain social commitments to family and friends. Combined with the time it takes to battle through traffic in most cities and, suddenly, most of the day is gone. Amid all of this, ease and speed often win out over nutrition. Meals are eaten on-the-go, or out of the home, where you can’t control the quality.

But if you enjoy your fast pace, you don’t have to dial back to eat well. The tips below will help you keep up with your life and still follow a healthy pregnancy diet.

Eating at events

Wedding season is almost here, and that means one thing when it comes to meals: open counters. The food may look delicious, but you’ll need to be extra careful; buffets can be hotbeds of bacteria and viruses. Contamination can happen two ways: one, through improperly prepared or heated food, and two, through the guests themselves.

It’s best to eat at home before or after an event and to avoid the open counter entirely. But sometimes, that’s just not possible. If you must eat at a buffet, be sure to:

  • Note the counter’s general cleanliness– if it doesn’t appear well-kept and the staff are not attentive, it’s best to skip it;
  • Pick only one or two items to minimize your chances of illness;
  • Pick hot items – avoid raw fruits and vegetables, which may have been improperly cleaned;
  • Pick an item that is prepared in front of you to-order, where possible;
  • Do not consume alcohol – alcohol is absorbed by the fetus and can seriously impair its development. While some experts are divided on whether an occasional glass of wine is safe for pregnant women, it’s best not to risk consuming something with such serious side effects.

Eating out

Sometimes, you just want a break from home food. This is fine, but you’ll need to be a bit vigilant while dining out. Like at buffets, you can’t be 100% sure how a restaurant has prepared your meal, and there’s always a risk of contamination. When choosing the restaurant:

  • Pick one whose hygiene standards you trust – the dhaba down the street may have the best rolls in the city, but chances are the kitchen is less than sterile;
  • Order a hot plate –avoid raw fruits, vegetables,meat (including deli meat) and seafood;
  • Ask about the ice – make sure it’s made with filtered water;
  • Opt for the eggless – whether in the meal or in dessert, undercooked eggs can carry bacteria;
  • Question the cheese – If it’s a soft cheese, like feta or Brie, or blue-veined, like gorgonzola, you run the risk that it’s been made with unpasteurized milk and consequently contains bacteria;
  • Do not consume alcohol – that cocktail may sound as good as dessert, but it’s absolutely not worth the risk.

Eating on-the-go

Say good-bye to vada pavs. In fact, avoid street food entirely, as hygiene levels at most stands are very low, and one episode of diarrhea or vomiting can seriously weaken you and harm your baby. Snacking is not entirely taboo! Instead of hitting up the bhel puri joint near your office, carry your snacks from home. Try any of these foods for on-the-go eating:

  • Dried fruits;
  • Chikki, rajgira mixed with dried fruit or nuts;
  • Churra, kurmura, or puffed rice;
  • Muesli;
  • Theplas;
  • Roasted nuts;
  • Roasted chivda made of dals, puffed rice, flaked rice, curry leaves, or nuts;
  • Nutribars;
  • Khakras made of wheat, ragi, or bajra, with spices like jeera, ajwain, or methi;
  • Ladoos made from besan, moong dal, rava, or dried fruits;
  • Mukwas made from roasted fennel, dals, curry leaves, flax seeds, or ajwain;
  • Fresh, uncut fruits;
  • Chaas, or buttermilk;
  • Dry pickle, preserve, or chutney made with assorted vegetables or fruits nuts and oil seeds.

You might have to skip out on a few of your favorite foods this season, but a healthier pregnancy diet means a healthier you – and a healthier baby.



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Written By Ratnaraje Krishna Thar

Ratnaraje Krishna Thar, PhD, MSc. MPhil Foods Nutrition and Dietetics, is a nutritionist with a strong academic and research background, and twenty five years of experience in nutrition. She has presented research papers at national and international level, and has been active in community nutrition projects in Mumbai as well as rural and tribal areas of Maharashtra. She currently serves as faculty at Sophia Women’s Research Centre, a Nutritionist at Natural Health Centre for Better Health in Mumbai, a consultant with the Bay View Advisory Services Team and Shrimati Malati Dahanukar Trust, and handles clinical cases. She is currently working on developing a Nutrition app that will provide easy access to basic nutrition information.


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