pregnant woman

Part III Interview with Janneke van der Meulen

Pregnancy & Protein

I visited Janneke van der Meulen in her home in Amsterdam. She is a vegan health expert and provides talks for several companies in the Netherlands on the topic of nutrition and work performance. She is the author of 2 books: Super Quick Recovery (2014) and Eat Win-Win (2017). As a hobby she is currently training for the Olympic Games in 2020.

In this part 3 of the interview I asked Janneke how much protein pregnant and nursing women need to obtain in a day.

Janneke: The World Health Organization states that people need to have about 0.66 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight. What it refers to is dry body weight. In other words this calculation works if someone has achieved their optimal weight with their proper fat percentage. For those who gain or have gained quite some weight, it can be misleading as it might imply you need much more protein than necessary. I would like to highlight that the WHO’s guidelines for protein are to be interpreted for people who reaches their optimal weight and have a healthy fat percentage.

Whether you are pregnant, nursing or an athlete you use up more energy quickly. I often hear pregnant women saying they have such an enormous appetite. After all, these bodies are working hard by creating an entire new being. I tell these women to follow that sign by eating more whole foods.

By selecting plant-based sources such as berries, dark leafy greens, sprouts, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains you are creating the foundation for a healthy baby. Plant based sources are the building blocks to keep all processes going. Similar to an athlete’s diet, nutritional needs increase. Not only protein but also iron, iodine, carbohydrates and fats. In sum, you need to eat more.