It wasn’t long ago that I told my obstetrical patients to “eat right” while pregnant. But once I became pregnant, I had no idea what to eat. Could anything help this nausea? Would certain foods harm my baby? How could I fill those cravings for salt and chocolate in a sensible way?
Fortunately, I am married to a chef, whose low-fat, healthy, creative cooking provided the answers. We began planning meals together, and The Pregnancy Cookbook (W.W. Norton, 2002) was born. I personally tasted every recipe during my two pregnancies.
When planning your own meals through the next few months, keep in mind the following:
- More than half of your calories should come from carbohydrates, such as pasta, potatoes, rice and breads.
- You need just 60 grams of protein per day.
- Only 30 percent of your calories should come from fat.
Here is a selection of my favorite recipes, designed to help you through the various stages of pregnancy: the first trimester, when easy-to-digest carbohydrates can help ease nausea and boost energy; the second trimester, when cravings kick in; and the third trimester, when you need a maximum amount of iron and calcium, as well as high fiber to fight constipation.
You’ll find sweets and even chocolate to satisfy your cravings and such a variety of tastes that something is sure to please your palate.
Preconception Through Week 12
Try this soothing drink in the first trimester, when cool liquids may be all your queasy stomach can handle.
Tip: Buy fruit when it’s in season and freeze for future use. When creating smoothies, remember that banana gives the drink its creamy texture.
2 ice cubes
1 medium banana, peeled and sliced
1 cup frozen blueberries
l tablespoon orange juice concentrate
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces nonfat vanilla yogurt
1/3 cup cold water
Place the ice cubes in a blender or food processor with a metal blade. Pulse until crushed. Add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.
Nutritional information per serving (16 ounces): 315 calories, 5 percent fat (1.6 grams), 85 percent carbohydrate, 10 percent protein, .8 milligram B6, 198.6 milligrams calcium, 7 grams fiber, 66.6 micrograms folic acid, .7 milligram iron, 1.3 milligrams zinc.
Spinach and Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
This recipe is rich in spinach, an excellent source of folic acid, which is so important during preconception and the early weeks of pregnancy.
Tip: Roast the garlic the day before you make the potatoes, remove its pulp, and refrigerate. Also, don’t overmix the potatoes, or they will be gooey. A few lumps are fine.
1 large bulb garlic
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 cup skim milk, warmed
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pound spinach, trimmed, washed, drained and chopped
3 pounds Yukon gold or yellow Finn potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
Sea salt to taste
Fresh black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 275 degree F. Remove any loose skin from the garlic bulb and cut 1/4 inch off the top (nonstem side) to expose the cloves. Place in a baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour water in the bottom of the dish and cover. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until the inner cloves are very soft. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Press the garlic out of the loose skin. Then whisk together the roasted garlic, butter and milk. Set aside.
Heat oil in a wok over high heat. Add the spinach, cooking only until it wilts, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Place potatoes in a Dutch oven and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to pot. Shake over low heat to remove moisture. Remove from heat.
Add the garlic mixture to the potatoes and mash. Add the spinach to the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Nutritional information per serving (8 ounces): 252 calories, 12 percent fat (3.3 grams), 76 percent carbohydrate, 12 percent protein, .9 milligram B6, 131.3 milligrams calcium, 5.9 grams fiber, 171.1 micrograms folic acid, 4.1 milligrams iron, 1.3 milligrams zinc.