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Barbecues can be one of summer's guilty pleasures. Mindlessly munching through bowls of chips, grazing on heavy potato salad and topping burgers with sodium-laden condiments can leave anyone feeling bloated, lethargic, and uncomfortable. Instead, fire up the grill and celebrate the season with our healthier menu for moms-to-be. Starchy sides and bland burgers are replaced with protein- and vitamin-rich dishes; plus, the delicious marinades in these recipes boast herbs high in antioxidants, says Breea Johnson, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., an integrative nutritionist in Chicago. Healthful additions include rosemary, olive oil, garlic, lemon, lime or fresh- squeezed orange juice. Try these six tasty recipes for your next outdoor summer feast
Bison Burgers with Sweet Onion Jam. Bison is lower in calories, saturated fat and cholesterol than ground beef, plus it packs a whopping 35 cell-building grams of protein for you and your baby. You’ll find it at health-food stores and many large supermarkets. Look for grass-fed, pasture-raised bison, which is a more environmentally friendly choice. Red miso, which helps keep blood pressure in check, helps bind this lean meat while deepening its flavor.
Green chickpeas are the fresh version of dried garbanzo beans, and they have an herby, slightly sweet and nutty flavor. They’re a great source of protein, fiber and folate, an essential prenatal nutrient that helps prevent neural - tube defects, such as spina bifida. Lemon juice offers vitamin C, which protects your baby’s developing cells. (Sniffing lemons helps ease morning sickness, too.)
Bulgur with Marinated Heirloom Tomatoes. Bulgur is made from steamed, dried and crushed wheat kernels, so it’s already precooked and only requires soaking to finish it off. A whole grain, bulgur is rich in fiber to help prevent constipation, a common pregnancy side effect. Tomatoes are at their peak of flavor in the summer and contain vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps support your immune system. Top with a little cheese if desired, but make sure it’s pasteurized. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Tofu is a great low-fat source of protein and contains calcium, iron and magnesium. Protein helps develop your baby’s tissues, calcium helps build her bones and teeth, and iron, a hard-to-get nutrient, helps lower your risk for preterm delivery. Fresh squash is a good source of vitamin A, which aids in the development of the heart, lungs, kidneys, eyes and central nervous system. Look for organic, super-firm or extra-firm tofu, which stand up well on the grill. Serve skewers on top of grilled pita bread.
Grilled Corn with Cumin-Lime Compound Butter & Fresh corn is a good source of fiber, and grilling it adds a smoky flavor. Lime juice provides vitamin C and cumin contains magnesium, which helps prevent preeclampsia. Make-ahead tip: Prepare the compound butter a day ahead so it has plenty of time to chill.
A Paloma is a Mexican cocktail traditionally made with tequila and grapefruit juice. The grapefruit and lime in this mocktail contain vitamin C, which helps your body absorb the iron needed to help build your baby’s red blood cells. In our version, agave nectar stands in for simple syrup.