When the weather turns cold, it’s tempting to dive fork-first into rich, heavy comfort foods. (Extra-large bowl of macaroni and cheese, anyone?) Sure, you want meals that are delicious and satisfying, but now that you’re pregnant, it’s more important than ever to make sure that what you’re eating is also well-balanced and nutritious.
Enter winter greens and whole grains. Not only are they low in fat, but they’re also high in many nutrients you need to have a healthy baby, such as calcium, iron, fiber and folate. And, to please that comfort-seeking part of you, they’re also hearty and full of flavor, as the following recipes will prove. So make a quick dash to the market and pick up some greens and grains—and enjoy! (Tip: When choosing greens, be sure to buy ones with fresh leaves and crisp stems.
When you get home, wrap them in damp paper towels and refrigerate in a perforated plastic bag; they’ll stay fresh for about a week. Wash them right before cooking. Also, when buying greens, keep in mind that they will cook down, sometimes to as small as one-quarter of their original size.)
What You Get From Greens & Grains
A daily dose of 1,000 milligrams during pregnancy promotes fetal bone development and strong bones in mom. Taking calcium supplements also may help prevent high blood pressure in women who are at risk. Great sources: turnip greens, oats, spinach, collards, beet greens, quinoa and brown rice.
Aim for 25 to 35 grams of fiber a day to help prevent constipation and hemorrhoids, which are common during pregnancy. Fiber also helps you feel full, which may quell the urge to overeat. Great sources: turnip greens, collards, spinach, beet greens, oats, barley and brown rice.
Research shows that getting 600 micrograms of folate (or folic acid, the synthetic form) daily helps prevent neural-tube defects in the fetus and anemia in mom. It’s best to start taking 400 micrograms daily before conception. Great sources: spinach, broccoli raab, mustard greens, oats and barley.
Getting 27 milligrams of iron daily helps prevent anemia in the mother and premature delivery. It also helps the fetus gain weight. Great sources: Swiss chard, beet greens, quinoa, oats and barley.
Note: The fat content in some of these recipes is higher than normally recommended, so choose lower-fat foods throughout the rest of the day.