The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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rules to eat by
Here are three up-to-the-minute rules for the healthiest possible diet for you and your growing baby.
1) Say no to low-carb “Forget low-carbohydrate diets when you’re pregnant,” says Marilyn Tanner, R.D., a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. “Smart, or complex, carbs are the way to go.” That’s because they provide energy, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Limit refined, processed “white” foods (bread, crackers, pasta, etc.). Instead, choose whole-grain products, including brown rice, along with fruits, vegetables, beans and nonfat dairy products.
2) Know where your fish comes from Some farm-raised fish contain high levels of industrial pollutants known as PCBs. When possible, eat fish that has been caught in the wild, suggests Suzanne Havala Hobbs, Dr.PH, a registered dietitian who teaches in the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. But even wild fish can be contaminated—for example, pregnant women are warned not to eat fish from Lake Michigan. Check local advisories for safety information about fish caught in your area.
3) Consider going organic Many nutritionists maintain that conventionally grown produce can be as safe as organic, but the decision is yours. “Go with your gut because you’re the one in charge of that baby inside you,” Tanner says. Or, go halfway and buy organic when selecting these 12 fruits and vegetables; according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), they contain the most pesticide residue: strawberries, cherries, peaches, potatoes, spinach, apples, celery, pears, bell peppers, imported grapes, nectarines and red raspberries. You can also reduce exposure to contaminants by eating more of the "cleanest" produce, according to the EWG: asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, kiwi, mangos, onions, papaya, pineapples and peas. And no matter what kind you buy, be sure to wash all produce carefully before eating.
Napa Cabbage Salad
PREP/cook Time: 25 minutes
1 pound thin asparagus, ends removed
1 box (12.3 ounces) silken firm tofu
2 cups spinach leaves, sliced
4 cups Napa cabbage, sliced
1 cucumber, peeled and finely diced
4 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 small radish, cut into fine matchsticks
1 T toasted sesame seeds
1 garlic clove
4 T light peanut oil
2 T rice vinegar
1 t brown sugar
1 T soy sauce
1/2 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1 T peanut or cashew butter or tahini
6 mint leaves, chopped fine
2 T cilantro, chopped
2 T basil, slivered