The Flexitarian Diet

Shifting the way you eat during pregnancy can give you more of the nutrients you and your developing baby need to thrive.

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In the April/May 2008 issue, we gave you tips and recipes that show you how to make the most of your prenatal diet by including more of the things you may not eat on a regular basis—such as more vegetables if you eat a meat-based diet, and more meat and fish if you usually eat vegetarian. Following is a three-day meal plan and snacks that demonstrate just how easy it is to flex your diet.

Meal Plan

To make flexing your diet as easy as possible, here's a three-day meal plan that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as some meat and fish. Whether you follow it to the letter, or pick and choose the meals that appeal most to you, be assured you're getting quality nutrition in every bite.

Recipes follow for foods marked with a single asterisk(*); vegan substitutions available for foods marked with a double asterisk (**). Nutritional information does not include snacks. During your second and third trimesters, choose two snacks per day from the following list for the additional 300 calories you and your baby need.

Vegan Substitutions** Intead of Use Asiago cheese soy-based Parmesan Beef hamburger soy veggie patty Beef tenderloin steak seasoned extra-firm tofu Butter trans-fat-free soy or corn-based margarine Grilled chicken seasoned soy "chicken-style" strips Mayonnaise soy-based mayonnaise Milk low-fat soy, almond or rice milk Parmesan cheese soy-based Parmesan Pork tenderloin teriyaki-flavored, extra-firm baked tofu Ranch dressing balsamic vinaigrette Salmon increase mushrooms, use soy-based cheese Water-packed light tuna 1/2 to 2/3 cup garbanzo beans Yogurt soy-based yogurt

DAY ONE

Breakfast

1 1/2 cups cooked oatmeal (made with 1% milk) and mixed with 2 tablespoons dried cherries and 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

1 cup 100% pomegranate juice

Lunch

Crunchy Tuna Wrap: 3 ounces water-packed light tuna** mixed with 1 tablespoon light mayonnaise**, 1 tablespoon chopped onion and 1 tablespoon chopped celery on a whole-wheat flour tortilla (8-inch)

Strawberry Spinach Salad: 2 cups fresh spinach leaves, 1/2 cup sliced strawberries, 2 tablespoons honey-roasted almonds and 2 tablespoons light raspberry vinaigrette dressing

1 kiwi fruit

1/2 cup 1% milk**

Dinner

Chinese Five-Spice Pork Tenderloin*

1 cup cooked whole-wheat couscous

1 teaspoon butter**

1 cup cooked edamame (soybeans)

1 cup 1% milk

Day One Nutritional Information: 2,115 calories, 27% fat (64 g), 50% carbohydrate (268 g), 23% protein (122 g), 35 g fiber, 16.5 mg iron, 1,275 mg calcium, 318 mcg folate, 208 mg vitamin C, 9.5 mg zinc.

DAY TWO

Breakfast

1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt** mixed with 2 teaspoons ground flax seed and 1 tablespoon wheat germ

1 whole-wheat mini bagel topped with 1 tablespoon almond butter and 1 tablespoon chopped dates

1 cup 100% ruby-red grapefruit juice

Lunch

1 1/2 cups black-bean soup

Chipotle Beef Burger* **

1 cup green, red and yellow bell pepper strips

2 tablespoons light ranch dressing**

1 cup 1% milk**

1/2 cup mango chunks

Dinner

3 ounces grilled chicken breast** seasoned with salt-free lemon-pepper blend

1 cup cooked whole-wheat penne topped with 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese**

1 cup steamed broccoli

1 teaspoon butter**

Red Onion-Orange Salad: 3/4 cup each fresh spinach leaves and romaine, 3 thin slices red onion, 1/2 cup mandarin oranges and 2 teaspoons light balsamic olive oil vinaigrette

1 banana

1 cup 1% milk

Day Two Nutritional Information: 2,200 calories, 25% fat (62 g), 54% carbohydrate (297 g), 21% protein (115 g), 36 g fiber, 17 mg iron, 1,502 mg calcium, 547 mg folate, 609 mg vitamin C, 20 mg zinc.

DAY THREE

Breakfast

Salmon and Portobello Mushroom Frittata* **

1 whole-wheat English muffin

2 teaspoons butter**

1 1/2 cups mixed fresh berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries)

1 cup 1% milk**

Lunch

Mediterranean Bean Salad: 4 cups shredded romaine and mixed greens, 1/2 cup cannellini beans, 1/3 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers, 1/3 cup marinated artichoke hearts, 8 grape tomatoes, 5 kalamata olives, 1/4 cup Asiago cheese** and 3 tablespoons light Italian vinaigrette dressing

8 whole-wheat crackers

1 cup red grapes

1/2 cup 1% milk**

Dinner

3 ounces grilled or broiled beef tenderloin steak**

1 medium sweet potato, baked and topped with 2 teaspoons butter** and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup steamed asparagus spears

1 whole-wheat dinner roll

1 teaspoon butter**

1 1/2 cups mixed melon chunks (cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon)

1 cup 1% milk**

Day Three Nutritional Information: 2,075 calories, 33% fat (76 g), 48% carbohydrate (248 g), 19% protein (98 g), 41 g fiber, 19.5 mg iron, 1,720 mg calcium, 591 mcg folate, 160 mg vitamin C, 15 mg zinc.

RECIPES

Chinese Five-Spice Pork Tenderloin

Chipotle Beef Burgers

Salmon and Portobello Mushroom Frittata

Smart Snacks

Flex Your Diet

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