My Indian Pregnancy Diet

I had some major food aversions when I was pregnant. The smell of roasting cumin seeds or hot ghee pushed me into a gut churning nausea I had never experienced before. I had so many cravings I couldn’t quench; fresh raspberries, halloumi cheese, strawberry yoghurt. There were many times when I only wanted orange juice and homemade pani puri. I was growing a tiny baby, I needed a healthy diet.

Ayurveda prescribes a lot of ghee with everything, even though there are so many benefits to ghee. I really could not stomach it. Ayurveda also suggest consuming something called Panchamrut. This is a combination of ghee, curd, honey, milk and sugar (representing the five elements) and often offered to God during rituals. I managed to stomach it a couple of times. The scriptures recommend that a during pregnancy, you should listen to your cravings and try (where possible sigh) to indulge them, but not to over indulge.

My Pregnancy Diet in India

The first thing I knew I had to address, as a vegetarian, was my protein intake. I started to eat a lot of soaked almonds, paneer, chickpeas, beans and my favourite, peanut butter. Did you know that peanut butter is 25% protein (compared to 27% in chicken)? There is a tasty Indian brand I can’t live without, Sundrop. I also tried my hardest to eat daal (lentils), which is something I do not like at all. Daal is an excellent source of protein, so I ate it for my baby who needed protein to grow (and for myself, I was growing in ways I didn’t know I could!).

Spinach is a good source folic acid (helps to prevent birth defects), therefore I’ve never eaten palak paneer so much in my entire life. Cabbage also became my friend, it contains a surprising amount of vitamins and minerals. I tried to have curds (containing calcium, vitamin D and good bacteria) as a side dish as often as I could. So many ‘pregnancy diet’ articles I came across recommended salmon as a source of omega-3. I got my omega-3 by sprinkling grinded flaxseed (jawas) on my food!

Fortified breakfast cereal was a life saver, not only was it a great way to boost my nutritional intake with all the added vitamins, it was so handy to have during my really nauseous episodes (something bland to fill my stomach with). Sweet tea with fresh ginger also helped me combat the nausea. I also drank fresh coconut water almost every day to stay hydrated when I was being sick!

When I discovered I was pregnant, I stopped drinking milk from the wallah (fresh from the local cow). I’ve read so many times that it is really important for pregnant ladies not to consume any milk products which haven’t been pasteurised. ‘Raw’ milk may contain the bacteria listeria, which can put baby in danger. I switched to cartoned milk immediately.

I tried to eat as many different varieties of fresh fruit and vegetables as possible to get the vitamins and minerals we both needed. My grandmother-in-law was very stern when she told me I wasn’t allowed to eat papaya or pineapple. I read that pineapple can cause contracts (I must have drank about five litres of pineapple juice during my 39th week of pregnancy trying to induce labour).

Pregnancy supplements

I tried very hard to find a multivitamin suitable during pregnancy, but I couldn’t find any anywhere. The only multivitamins I could find contained high levels of vitamin A (can be harmful in pregnancy). My obstetrician  folic acid, iron and calcium supplements and later in my pregnancy, a protein shake designed for pregnancy.


Much of the time, I really wanted to comfort eat and snack, but I tried to be strong. I allowed myself to snack a bit (they did say you should honour your cravings) but I also made sure I was having a variety of food with high nutritional value too.


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  1. Seriously! India needs to get it together and offer real multi vitamins and prenatles. The crap at the pharmacy is full of chemicals and No. Colorings….very dangerous. I brought my own large, 250 count bottles from Costco here and it was a life saver, because I was loosing so much weight not having my prenatles that contain the DHA. I also take fish oil and flaxseed oil. You can find it off Amazon India, but it is Expensive…3 times more than you will pay at a store in the States. I love your pregnancy tips blog! Especially the flying one ! Thank you! Xo


  2. Its so great that you showing that pregnant womant don’t have to eat meat to be healthy and make her child healthy too! Great advice Lauren 🙂


  3. I took pregnacare multi vits during pregnancy and also during breastfeeding – not sure if you can get them in India. I had massive cravings for cheese flavored quaver crisps (again not seen these in India) and rather bizarrely cider (even though I couldn’t stomach the idea of drinking alcohol at all for the first six months)! After pregnancy I had cravings for milky bar chocolate and ate loads – Saira must have had white chocolate flavor milk! Did you know that your milk can taste a bit like what you eat? So for example if you eat spicy food then your baby can grow up to like spicy food.


    • There is nothing like that here! Only shakes! I did take pregnacare once I was back in England though.
      Haha, I think Rohan must be getting Cadbury flavour! My niece even said the right one is chocolate and the left one is strawberry flavour… from the mouths of babes!! 😀


  4. Hi Lauren, the diet sounds great. I just have one comment about the raw milk from the milkman. Even if it is raw, Indians never drink it that way but pasteurize it at home by boiling it to death. Boiling it is pasteurizing it. But you need to stand and watch so it does not boil over. You need to boil for at least 15 seconds and stir if needed. That’s it! It is better than store bought milk!


    • Hi Priya! Yeah, we did always boil it to death but I just wanted to be extra safe because of everything I read about listeria during pregnancy. I agree it tastes so much better straight from the cow xx


      • cows are often given injections and chemicals in India for better yield, so it is not exactly pure milk, just like fruits and vegetables in India have chemicals. Unless you have a cow at home which eats natural food, you cannot ensure the quality of the milk. These days even in villages there may be problem finding authentic milk and milk products. Plus you never know Mr. Milkman may be mixing water in it. In cities you really don’t know what you are consuming.


  5. I was told no pineapple and no ginger…but papay (or pawpaw as it’s called here in guyana) was never told as a no….in fact a version of it was one thing I ate alot of during 1st trimester….I look forward to being able to have pineapple again…ginger I don’t miss at all….oh and now at 30+ weeks I’m being told no pepper


    • That is so interesting because so many people recommending I eat ginger, thanks for sharing!
      Congrats on your pregnancy, I remember those last 10 weeks really drag!
      Sending love to you and your beautiful baby unborn xx


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