The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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If you can’t make it out of the office, try our simple and delicious midday meals packed with key pregnancy nutrients. Dessert included!
Easy Asian Wrap
This hand-held meal is tasty served cold or hot; to eat warm, microwave for 30 to 45 seconds. Red pepper and broccoli are loaded with vitamin C, which your body needs to absorb iron from plant sources.
Directions: Wrap 3 ounces of cooked, thinly sliced lean steak (such as flank or skirt), 1/4 cup julienned red pepper, 1/2 cup broccoli slaw, 1/4 cup thinly sliced romaine lettuce and 1 tablespoon Asian dressing in a 10-inch whole-wheat wrap.
Dessert: Low-fat key lime pie yogurt with two gingersnap cookies.
Per serving: 610 calories, 25% protein (38 g), 45% carbohydrate (69 g), 30% fat (20.5 g), 5 g fiber, 403 mg calcium, 119 mg vitamin C, 5 mg iron, 113 mcg folate.
Short-Cut Curried Chicken Salad
This salad combines sweet and spicy flavors with chewy and crisp textures. Recent studies suggest that pregnant women who eat colorful fruits and vegetables such as these may have a lower risk of having a child who develops leukemia.
Directions: Stir 2 teaspoons curry powder into 1/4 cup low-fat sour cream. Add 1 stalk chopped celery and 3 ounces chopped chicken (grilled, poached or roasted, skin removed). Stir well and serve over 1 cup washed bagged salad greens, such as a spring mix, sprinkled with 1 tablespoon poppy seed dressing. Garnish with 1/2 cup cubed watermelon and 1/4 cup blueberries.
Dessert: Baby Needs Chocolate Bellybar (nutrabella.com) and 2 tablespoons Blue Diamond Natural Oven Roasted Vanilla Bean Almonds.
Per serving: 610 calories, 28% protein (43 g), 31% carbohydrate (48 g), 41% fat (28 g), 6 g fiber, 439 mg calcium, 36 mg vitamin C, 21 mg iron, 871 mcg folate.
Butternut Squash Soup with Wild Rice
Comfort food in a snap, this hearty meal is rich in beta-carotene (essential for baby's growth) and fiber, which can help combat pregnancy-induced constipation. Spinach provides folate, which has been shown to reduce the incidence of neural-tube defects such as spina bifida when taken before and in the first stages of pregnancy.
Directions: Pour 1 1/2 cups pre-made, lower-sodium butternut squash soup (such as Pacific Natural Foods Organic Light Sodium Creamy Butternut Squash Soup) into a bowl and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper; stir well. Add 1/4 cup cooked wild or brown rice and 1/4 cup low-fat milk and stir well. Heat in the microwave for about 1 1/2 minutes or until hot. Stir well and garnish with 10 baby spinach leaves, thinly sliced. Serve with a slice of pumpernickel bread, toasted and cut into triangles.
Dessert: 1/2 cup mixed blackberries and strawberries and 1/2 cup Kozy Shack rice pudding.
Per serving: 620 calories, 16% protein (26 g), 67% carbohydrate (105 g), 17% fat (12 g), 5% saturated fat (3.5 g), 10 g fiber, 385 mg calcium, 49 mg vitamin C, 4 mg iron, 125 mcg folate.
Simple White Bean Salad
The pesto gives this vegetarian salad a kick, while the vegetables, cheese and beans provide the protein, calcium and iron expectant moms need. Beans are also one of the highest natural sources of folate.
Directions: Combine: 1/2 cup canned cannellini (white) beans, rinsed; 1 ounce cubed part-skim mozzarella cheese; 1/2 cup grape tomatoes; 1/4 cup marinated artichokes, drained; and 1 tablespoon chopped purple onion. Serve over 1 cup washed baby spinach leaves. Just before eating, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil mixed with 1 tablespoon prepared pesto. Serve with a slice of 12-grain bread.
Dessert: A red pear and chocolate biscotti, such as Devonsheer's Organic Chocolate Almond Biscotti.
Per serving: 760 calories, 12% protein (24 g), 48% carbohydrate (92 g), 40% fat (34 g), 9% saturated fat (8 g), 15 g fiber, 488 mg calcium, 38mg vitamin C, 7 mg iron, 235 mcg folate.
Pocketful of Deviled Eggs
In addition to the flavor of the Southern favorite deviled eggs, this sandwich provides a day's worth of omega-3 fatty acids. A recent study found that moms-to-be who ate foods high in this nutrient gave birth to infants with better problem-solving skills.
Directions: Stir 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise with 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard and 1 teaspoon white vinegar. Add 2 chopped hard-boiled eggs; stir gently. Sprinkle with a dash of smoked paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Split a 6-inch whole-wheat pita to form a pocket. Slide 5 slices cucumber, 4 slices tomato and 1 piece red-leaf lettuce into the pita pocket andspoon in egg mixture. Top with 1 tablespoon grated carrots.
Dessert: A navel orange and an oatmeal cookie, such as Country Choice Organic Soft-Baked Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie.
Per serving: 560 calories, 17% protein (24 g), 52% carbohydrate (74 g), 31% fat (19 g), 8% saturated fat (5 g), 12 g fiber, 246 mg calcium, 135 mg vitamin C, 4 mg iron, 193 mcg folate.