Pre-cut produce is perfect during pregnancy, ready to be gussied up or gobbled straight from the bag. It even retains all the nutrients it had when it came off the farm. Our meal plan and recipes show you how to make the best of this supermarket abundance, with dishes that are halfway prepared before you’ve even unloaded your groceries.
In addition to saving yourself hours in the kitchen, these meals include all the important pregnancy nutrients you and your baby need, such as calcium, iron, fiber and protein and the right number of calories (about 2,000 to 2,200 a day). During the second and third trimesters, add two snacks from “Grab a Snack” (www.fitpregnancy.com/fastfoodsnacks), for the additional 300 calories you need daily. Recipes follow for foods marked with *. Calcium- and vitamin D-fortified soy milk can be substituted for reduced-fat (2%) milk.
Fresh and fast Skip time usually spent at the cutting board by keeping these prepackaged, pre-cut staples on hand. You can find them in your grocer’s fresh-produce department.
Shortcut Equivalent Chopped garlic 1/2 teaspoon = 1 clove garlic Diced raw onions 1/2 cup = 1 small onion Diced cooked potatoes 1-pound bag = 2 medium potatoes Minced ginger 1 teaspoon = 1 teaspoon peeled ginger Shredded carrots 2 cups = 4 or 5 medium carrots Sliced mushrooms 1/2 cup = 6 medium mushroom
(the busy woman’s meal plan) day 1
breakfast 1 whole-wheat English muffin, toasted and topped with 2 tablespoons creamy honey-peanut butter and 1 banana, sliced 1 cup 100% ruby red grapefruit juice 1 cup reduced-fat (2%) milk lunch 1 serving Portuguese Winter Soup* 2 slices Italian bread topped with 2 slices (about 2 ounces) smoked mozzarella cheese, toasted and melted 1 fresh pear dinner Chicken Strawberry Salad made with 4 cups fresh spinach leaves, 3 ounces cooked chicken strips, 3/4 cup sliced strawberries and 3 tablespoons cinnamon-glazed almonds or walnuts 4 tablespoons light raspberry vinaigrette dressing 8 whole-wheat crackers 1 cup reduced-fat (2%) milk
breakfast 1 serving Spanish Frittata* 2 slices whole-wheat toast with 2 teaspoons butter 1 1/2 cups strawberries 1 cup orange juice lunch Roast Beef Sandwich made with 2 slices Italian bread, 4 ounces sliced roast beef, 1 ounce sliced smoked mozzarella cheese and 1 teaspoon zesty mustard 1 cup red and green bell pepper strips 1 apple 1 cup reduced-fat (2%) milk dinner 1 serving leftover Portuguese Winter Soup* Caesar Salad made with 2 cups chopped romaine lettuce, 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup seasoned croutons and 2 tablespoons light Caesar dressing (made without raw eggs) 1 whole-wheat dinner roll with 1 teaspoon butter 1 cup blueberries 1 cup reduced-fat (2%) milk
Hearty Oatmeal made with 2 packets instant oatmeal, 1 1/3 cups reduced-fat (2%) milk, 2 tablespoons cinnamon-glazed almonds or walnuts and 3 tablespoons chopped dates 1 cup 100% ruby red grapefruit juice lunch 1 serving leftover Spanish Frittata* 1 whole-wheat English muffin, toasted and topped with 2 teaspoons butter 1 cup cooked green beans with 1 teaspoon butter 1 1/2 cups pre-cut cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon chunks 1 cup low-fat chocolate milk dinner 1 serving Chinese Lettuce Wraps* 1 1/2 cups cooked whole-wheat angel hair pasta tossed with 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon chopped onions, 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic and a sprinkle of soy sauce 1 cup pre-cut pineapple chunks 1 cup reduced-fat (2%) milk
breakfast 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt 1 cinnamon raisin bagel, toasted and topped with 2 tablespoons creamy honey-peanut butter and 2 tablespoons chopped dates 1 cup orange juice lunch 1 serving leftover Chinese Lettuce Wraps* 8 whole-wheat crackers 1 mango, cut into chunks 1 cup low-fat chocolate milk dinner 1 serving Roasted Vegetable Panini* Garden Salad made with 1 cup chopped romaine lettuce, 1 cup spinach leaves, 1/2 cup garbanzo beans (chickpeas), 1/4 cup diced tomato, 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms and 1 tablespoon shredded Parmesan cheese 2 tablespoons light creamy Italian dressing 1 cup blueberries 1 cup reduced-fat (2%) milk
breakfast 1 1/2 cups wheat squares cereal 1 cup reduced-fat (2%) milk 1/2 cup blueberries 1 medium bran muffin with 1 teaspoon butter 1 cup orange juice lunch 1 serving Asian Cabbage Salad* served over 1 1/2 cups cooked whole-wheat angel hair pasta 1 cup pre-cut pineapple chunks 1 cup reduced-fat (2%) milk dinner 4 ounces roasted pork tenderloin 1 cup cooked diced redskin potatoes 1 cup steamed asparagus with 1 teaspoon butter 1 whole-wheat dinner roll with 1 teaspoon butter 1 1/2 cups pre-cut cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon chunks 1 cup reduced-fat (2%) milk
Spanish Frittata Serves 6 Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 1-pound bag precooked, diced red potatoes 1/2 cup pre-chopped onions 2 bell peppers, any color, diced 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 teaspoon salt 4 egg whites 4 whole eggs 4 ounces manchego cheese, diced
Preheat oven to 350° F. Heat oil in an oven-proof 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add potatoes. Sauté until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Add onions, peppers, thyme, garlic and salt. Sauté for 8 more minutes. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites and eggs. Stir in cheese. Pour egg mixture over vegetables. Place uncovered skillet in oven for 20 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve hot.
Nutritional information per serving (1/6 wedge of frittata): 218 calories, 45% fat (11 g), 34% carbohydrate (19 g), 21% protein (11 g), 2 g fiber, 1 mg iron, 148 mg calcium, 29 mcg folate.
Portuguese Winter Soup Serves 6 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 35 minutes 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 cup pre-chopped onions 1 cup pre-cut carrot “coins” 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 1-pound bag fresh chopped kale 1/2 pound linguiça sausage 4 14-ounce cans chicken broth 1 1-pound bag precooked, diced red potatoes
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for 4 minutes. Add the kale, sausage and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Add potatoes and cook 5 minutes more. Nutritional information per serving (2 cups): 243 calories, 41% fat (11 g), 39% carbohydrate (24 g), 20% protein (12 g), 4 g fiber, 2.4 mg iron, 126 mg calcium, 110 mcg folate.
Roasted Vegetable Panini Serves 4 Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes
Nonstick cooking spray 6 cups pre-cut vegetables (such as sliced zucchini, onions, bell peppers and mushrooms) 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary Salt and pepper to taste 8 slices Italian sandwich bread 4 ounces thinly sliced smoked mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400° F. Coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Place vegetables and garlic in dish. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper. Roast vegetables uncovered until tender, about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon vegetable mixture on four bread slices. Top with mozzarella slices and four remaining bread slices. Coat a sandwich grill or skillet with nonstick cooking spray. If you are using a skillet, cook sandwich for 2–3 minutes on each side, until browned. Serve hot.
Nutritional information per serving (1 sandwich): 321 calories, 30% fat (11 g), 52% carbohydrate (42 g), 18% protein (14 g), 5 g fiber, 3 mg iron, 58 mg calcium, 93 mcg folate.
Chinese Lettuce Wraps Serves 4 Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar 2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 tablespoons honey 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch Nonstick cooking spray 2 cups pre-grated carrots 1/4 cup pre-cut chopped onions 1 cup fresh snow pea pods, thinly sliced lengthwise 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into thin strips (about 10 ounces) 12 butter lettuce leaves
In a bowl, mix ginger, vinegar, soy sauce, honey and cornstarch. Coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and place on medium heat. Add carrots, onions and pea pods. Cook and stir continuously for 3 minutes. Add ginger mixture and stir for 1 minute to thicken sauce. Add chicken and heat through. Spoon 1/4 cup of chicken mixture onto the center of each lettuce leaf and serve immediately.
Nutritional information per serving (3 wraps): 223 calories, 12% fat (3 g), 44% carbohydrate (25 g), 44% protein (25 g), 3 g fiber, 2 mg iron, 66 mg calcium, 82 mcg folate. Asian Cabbage Salad Serves 4 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: none
1/2 pound canned green beans 1 cucumber, thinly sliced 1 1-pound bag shredded coleslaw mix 1 cup pre-cut diced tomatoes 1 1-pound cooked medium shrimp, shelled and deveined Peanut dressing: 3 tablespoons peanut butter 1 tablespoon honey 1/2 cup orange juice 3 tablespoons soy sauce 1/4 teaspoon hot chili oil 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
For salad, toss beans, cucumber, coleslaw mix and tomatoes in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk dressing ingredients. Before serving, toss salad mixture with dressing and place shrimp on top. Serve cold or at room temperature. Nutritional information per serving (1 1/2 cups): 293 calories, 31% fat (10 g), 27% carbohydrate (20 g), 42% protein (31 g), 6 g fiber, 6 mg iron, 130 mg calcium, 95 mcg folate.