“This article is mainly written for pregnant women. But the information can be used by everyone.
Being HAPPY, SMILING and being CHEERFUL are SWAG and the COOLEST thing one can do during pregnancy. Happy Food can keep you that ways throughout pregnancy at any point of time in the day
What are happy foods?
Foods those make you happy. Foods those are full of life meaning “prana”. Foods those make you feel light and gives you required energy. Foods those don’t make you feel lazy, lethargic, dead or full till nose. Basically fresh foods, freshly cooked foods, whole foods, whole fruits or freshly prepared juices, foods without preservatives, foods without chemicals.Foods those make you smile.
Don’t worry it is not going to be a gyan blog.
Happy foods bring a smile to you and your tummy. Something which fills your tummy, gives you strength, which is easy to digest and improves your gut. Happy foods make your baby move, dance and swim around in that happy tummy. Happy food keeps the acidity, bloating, constipation and every other thing happening in tummy and our heads at check.
What food must be included in your pregnancy? How to identify happy foods for you?
Let’s get straight to business. You will get tons of articles online to decide which almond, fruits or cheese to include and which one fish or papaya to not. Use below pointers to identify what works for you and what you can include before reading any of those articles.
- Include Early Morning Energy foods: It is a must have in your pregnancy. Plan this to be eaten within 30 minutes of waking up. The first thing in the morning should be one bowl full of energy- fruits, dry fruits, fresh breakfast or milk. Choose what your body likes. In our Indian culture usually for pregnant women the dry fruits bowl is the first thing they are given to eat. Add it to your pregnancy routine
- Include Colors: As many colors that many nutrients and fresh calories. A very simple rule to follow is having two different colored fruits and vegetables. Check the ONE-TWO-THREE rule below. You don’t need to measure calories or weigh your portion of food. The rule is eat when you are hungry. Don’t starve. Try to follow the pregnancy routine.
- Include Local and seasonal Foods: It’s true that local is better than imported food which doesn’t have any “prana”. Including locally and seasonally available food ensures the food is according to geography and weather. It makes a lot of difference plus keeps you happy when you can eat juicy fruits of the season from a nearby farm rather than cold storage, wax coated from California or Japan. Plus a local farmer would bring local cultural foods rich in iron, calcium, folate just for you and your little love. People care for pregnant ladies. So spend that thousand bucks on local economy.
- Include fresh or home cooked food: Foods from markets and restaurants can be modified to your choice but can never be as safe, healthy and fresh as home cooked meals. So cook yourself (a very great mood up lifter) or invest in a cook who can cook 3 meals a day for you. Buy some groceries and you can choose a variety of recipes from the Indian traditional cooking. Remember the happy food logic and give home cooked food some respect if not daily at least once a while. I am sure eventually you will like it without any convincing.
- Include Whole Meals: I know this is very tough when you are craving ice creams and desserts or chatpat chaat. Do this task give this a try have a good meal include – rice/chapatti/dosa/paratha/puri, one bowl sabzi or vegetable curry, one bowl dal, small cup dahi, tea spoon achar/chutney, half a bowl salad/poriyal/sprouts. I can bet after this whole meal you wouldn’t want to eat anything in fact you would have all the energy to do your office work /house work/ blogging/ photo session/ anything
- Include Whole Foods: With every bit of processing and packing the “Prana” of a food is reduced. I know You can afford the best quality imported food but my dear it doesn’t add life of happiness to your life. It is as good as eating stale pizza that doesn’t add to your energy in fact makes you dormant. Look for that cloth bag from your grandpa and go for shopping in the nearby farmers market, get those cashews, vegetable, fruits, rice, jowar, dals from there and enjoy the taste. I swear by the jowar roti made from freshly grinded jowar from the local farm with jaggery. it is one of my favorite foods even today
- Include Water: YES Pregnancy can make you pee a hundred times a day so ensuring equivalent amount of water intake will reduce chances of high blood pressure and improved digestion. One glass of water in morning at wake up. Half a glass after every snack of meal will surely bring benefits. Drinking water makes your pregnancy routine structured and sustainable for you
- Include day and night Snacks: Yes it’s important to have snacks ready for you. Some good options for snacking are fruits, homemade or locally made ladoo and chikki, roasted nuts and seeds, bhel, mathri, murukku, chips, basically anything made at home. You can even add pizza here for day time snacking (remember to follow other points while food preparation). But for nights include milk and apples. If too hungry then you can resort to Parle G or roti/bread/parantha
- Include variation: (if possible) keep changing menu according to weather, location and mood. Haven’t you heard change is only constant. Change ensures interest in food. Variation or change ensures body gets all types of nutrients and micro nutrients from different foods.
Which is one book to follow and look for happy food guidance?
Pregnancy notes by Rujuta diwekar is by far the best for Indian women. It provides trimester wise insights to good foods to include, routines to follow, easy cook recipes according to pregnancy stage. It helps with many tips to overcome a lot of pregnancy issues naming a few midnight hunger, pain in legs and feet, acidity, sleeplessness and bloating that too according to pregnancy.
I am deeply influenced by Rujuta for her knowledge and candid writing style. She has never asked in the book to buy any product or a membership which was a game changer for me. Her one true belief throughout the book is listen to your grandmother for cooking and health tips.
What is ONE-TWO-THREE Rule?
- One Morning Dry fruit bowl – The most important part of your day is the start. After a quick glance at your pregnancy board pick up your favorite energy bowl of the day and eat it slowly chewing as many times possible. This bowl should keep changing according to your pregnancy stage and factors like weather, location, availability and produce in the market. Stick to ONE bowl EVERYDAY rule and keep your little tummy happy.
- Two Fruits and Veggies – If you can include two fruits and two Vegetables it’s the best. You can keep the rule simple by adding different types, color, seasonal, locally or home grown vegetables and fruits. Example – have apple in morning snack, orange in evening and have bottle gourd or locky for lunch, beetroot or carrot for dinner; have sweet lime in morning snack, pomegranate in evening and have lady finger or turai for lunch, pumpkin or parwal or potato for dinner. Stick to at least TWO types of fruits and vegetables
- Three Meal – You should and you have to EAT ALL THREE MEALS Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. No excuses here. Make a menu that you and your little baby like. Meal is best when it is freshly prepared so try to EAT IT AS SOON AS IT IS COOKED to get highest amount of “Prana”. If you have to carry dabba to office heat it and have it hot but don’t miss a meal. Firstly you can get a hundred kicks from the little footballer for not eating food on time. Secondly you need to get around the whole day so eat happy food.
- One bowl of dal – My Sister in law who is a Gynecologist asked me to add one bowl of dal every day. She said “Before supplements and medicines were discovered humans would still deliver healthy babies. With good food you can ensure you get all nutrients required for this pregnancy. I cannot deny with increased pollution and decreased quality of air, water, soil, heart and mind it is best to have timely medicines for all the calcium, iron, folic acid, insulin or thyroid. But eating right foods can keep you fitter with a strong gut”
- Two glass of milk – I added milk because it was good for many things like warm milk with some cashew for good sleep and cold milk with gulkand for easing the heart burns. If you can get fresh milk that is the best of course. Remember how “Prana” can reduce with every packaging. Thicker the packaging more processed it is and less the happiness value. Remember higher the “Prana” higher the energy and happier you
- Three snacks – The best part of my blog. I have a lot of confessions I loaded my bags, closets, cupboards with junk food in the name of snacks. I had every type of unhealthy food in my fridge namely chocolate, ice-cream, soda drinks, Indian sweets, cakes, ready to eat pizza and pasta. My Closet and bag was full of biscuits, chips, bhujia. But you know what I barely ate them because I loved my little baby more than those unhealthy foods and I found healthy alternatives more interesting. I cannot add recipes here but please check online for dry foods – peanut or rajgira chikki, rice and jaggery balls, banana or tapioca chips, rice puff bhel, homemade bhakri, peanuts, chana masala, besan ladoo etc. Wet foods – dosa, idli, poha, upma, corn paneer salad, fruits, fruit salad, semiya, kuzi paniyaaram etc.
- Water 1-2-3 – Drink 1 glass of water in morning after you wake up. It helps kick start your day and freshen up before you eat your morning energy bowl. Throughout the day keeping yourself hydrated is one big and very important task. If you are not able to drink 1 glass divide to two and drink two times. If this is more divide to three and drink three times. When your routine is set it will become a habit and won’t be difficult to follow.
Leaving you on a funnier note – for questions like How much or How many – Please ask your tummy?
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Disclaimer: Please note all the information shared is based on my pregnancy experience and stories shared through generations. The data published on this page is solely for your information and you are requested to use it at your discretion. Before you start any routine, recipe, practice based on this blog please take a go ahead from your Doctor based on your case. We do not take any responsibilities or assure any form of medical procedure, remedies or tests.