Super Salads

Full of wholesome fruits and vegetables, these salads contain vital nutrients your pregnant body needs, including calcium, folate, iron and protein.

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No matter how you toss it, a salad makes an ideal summer lunch or dinner. That’s because these easy-to-make meals truly satisfy without weighing you down. Full of wholesome, summer-fresh fruits and vegetables, entrée salads can contain vital nutrients your pregnant body needs, including calcium, folate, iron and protein. They’re filling, too, thanks to the fiber-rich produce and added protein in ingredients such as lean meat, cheese and legumes. Full-meal salads also can satisfy cravings because you can toss almost anything into a salad bowl with spectacular results. Want Italian? Think ripe tomatoes, white beans and peppery arugula. In the mood for meat? Try grilled pork over spinach with red grapes and goat cheese. They contribute terrific flavor, fiber, and important vitamins and minerals. Bon appétit!

Chicken-Arugula Salad (Shown above) Nutrient spotlight: protein One serving provides more than half your daily requirement (71 g). Serves 4 PREP TIME: 20 minutes COOK TIME: 5 minutes 12 cups arugula leaves, rinsed and patted dry 1 pint cherry tomatoes, each cut in half 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 pound chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces Salt and freshly ground black pepper 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 2 1/2 teaspoons grainy mustard 2 ounces Asiago cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)

Combine arugula, cherry tomatoes and white beans in large bowl. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, chicken tenders and several pinches of salt and pepper; sauté until juicy and just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add to salad. Whisk remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil with vinegar and mustard in a small bowl. Drizzle dressing over salad; toss to coat. Divide salad among four dinner plates and sprinkle with Asiago cheese. Nutritional information per serving (2 1/2 cups with 1/4 pound chicken tenders): 445 calories, 32% fat (16 g), 31% carbohydrate (34 g), 37% protein (41 g), 7 g fiber, 5 mg iron, 343 mg calcium, 146 mcg folate.

Flank Steak & Asparagus Salad Nutrient spotlight: folate One serving provides more than half your daily requirement (600 mcg).

Serves 4 PREP TIME: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 20 minutes 3 tablespoons garlic oil 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice Salt and freshly ground black pepper 12 cups mixed spring greens 1 pound asparagus, tough ends snapped off 4 large eggs 1 pound raw flank steak 2 cloves garlic 1 tablespoon soy sauce 4 slices whole-grain sandwich bread, toasted and cut into small squares 8 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat a grill or broiler to medium. Whisk together garlic oil and lemon juice until combined. Season with salt and pepper; set aside. Place mixed spring greens in a large salad bowl. Fill a large skillet halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add asparagus and cook for 6 minutes, or until tender yet still crisp. Remove spears with a slotted spoon; set aside to cool. Bring same skillet of water back to a boil. Poach eggs by breaking open each egg and gently slipping them into the water. Cook over medium-low heat for about 3 to 6 minutes, occasionally spooning water over the yolks to help cook them (yolks should be soft-cooked when you’re done). Rub flank steak on both sides with garlic, soy sauce and several pinches of salt and pepper. Place steak on grill or broiler pan. Cook for 4 minutes, then turn over and cook an additional 4 minutes, or until steak is rosy in the center when cut. Transfer steak to cutting board and let rest. Cut cooled asparagus into 1-inch pieces; add to salad bowl, along with toast squares. Toss salad mixture with half of dressing. Divide salad among four shallow salad bowls. Place a poached egg over greens. Cut flank steak on the diagonal into thin slices, then arrange steak slices around each egg. Drizzle salads with steak juices and remaining dressing, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Nutritional information per serving (3 cups salad, 1 egg, 1 slice whole-grain toast, 3 ounces flank steak, and 2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese): 473 calories, 49% fat (26 g), 20% carbohydrate (24 g), 31% protein (37 g), 6 g fiber, 6 mg iron, 183 mg calcium, 304 mcg folate.

Veggie Ricotta Bowl Nutrient spotlight: calcium One serving provides almost half your daily requirement (1,000 mg). Serves 4 PREP TIME: 20 minutes COOK TIME: 6 minutes 12 cups mâche (also called lamb’s lettuce; or use spinach or mixed spring greens) 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves 1/3 cup buttermilk 1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 3 teaspoons garlic oil, divided Salt and freshly ground black pepper 2 medium zucchini, trimmed and thinly sliced 1 large yellow pepper, cored, seeded and thinly sliced 2 cups petite peas 1 cup skim ricotta cheese 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Place mâche in a large bowl. Combine basil, buttermilk, sour cream, vinegar and 1 teaspoon of garlic oil in a food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Pour half of dressing over mâche; gently toss to mix. Heat remaining 2 teaspoons of garlic oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add zucchini and yellow pepper slices. Sauté for 6 minutes, or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Season with salt and pepper. Heat peas. Arrange a portion of mâche in four shallow bowls. Spoon a portion of warm zucchini-pepper mixture on one side of greens and a portion of peas on other side. Place 1/4 cup ricotta in center. Drizzle salads with remaining dressing; top with toasted almonds.

Nutritional information per serving (3 cups salad and 1/4 cup ricotta): 279 calories, 36% fat (11 g), 36% carbohydrate (25 g), 28% protein (20 g), 9 mg fiber, 3 mg iron, 483 mg calcium, 182 mcg folate.

Pork & Spinach Salad Nutrient spotlight: iron One serving provides about 1/5 of your daily requirement (27 mg). Serves 4 PREP TIME: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 16 minutes 1 pound pork tenderloin, fat trimmed 2 teaspoons olive oil 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon ground coriander Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup whole-wheat couscous 6 whole dried figs, chopped 1 cup red grapes, cut in half 2 ounces aged pasteurized goat cheese, crumbled 1/4 cup honey 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar 12 cups spinach leaves, washed

Heat grill to medium or oven to 375° F. Brush tenderloin with olive oil, then rub with cumin, coriander and several pinches of salt and pepper; grill or roast tenderloin on a foil-lined baking sheet in oven for 8 minutes on one side. Turn; cook for another 7 to 8 minutes, or until rosy but cooked through. Remove tenderloin from grill or oven; let stand for 1 minute, then cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices. While pork cooks, bring 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add couscous, stir and turn off heat. Cover saucepan; let couscous rest for 10 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork; transfer to a medium bowl. When cool, add figs, grapes and goat cheese. Whisk together honey and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl until honey dissolves. Pour half the dressing over couscous; gently toss to mix. Season with salt and pepper. Divide spinach among four large plates. Top with a portion of couscous mixture, followed by pork slices. Drizzle with remaining dressing.

Nutritional information per serving (3 cups spinach, 1 cup couscous mixture and 1/4 pound pork): 517 calories, 21% fat (12 g), 54% carbohydrate (70 g), 25% protein (32 g), 9 g fiber, 6 mg iron, 283 mg calcium, 196 mcg folate.

Get well-dressed When it comes to dressings, go homemade. Commercial salad dressings can be high in sodium and fat and loaded with sugars and chemical additives. The dressings here contain pure, natural ingredients such as olive oil, fresh lemon juice and naturally low-in-fat buttermilk. They’re easy to make and bursting with flavor. For more information on nutrition during pregnancy, go to www.fitpregnancy.com and click on “Nutrients You Need” under “Just the Facts, Mom.”

Keep it fresh >>Store salad greens and herbs wrapped in damp paper towels inside a plastic bag, seal the bag and refrigerate it. They will stay fresh for several days. >>Vegetables such as sweet peppers, zucchini and asparagus will last for a few days in the crisper. >>Leave tomatoes, pit-containing fruits (such as peaches and plums) and berries on your counter; the warm air in your kitchen will turn them sweeter.

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