Get a host of essential pregnancy nutrients with six surprising (and scrumptious!) seasonal vegetables.
Baby, It's cold outside. While winter may not be the season you associate with fresh produce, a bounty of unsung winter vegetables is increasingly available. "It's important for a healthy pregnancy that you get all the vital nutrients found in vegetables year-round," says Tara Gidus, M.S., R.D., an Orlando, Fla.-based dietitian and mother of two.
Need another reason to load up on seasonal favorites like parsnips and escarole? A recent Swedish study found that a vegetable-rich diet during pregnancy can help protect your baby against type I diabetes. Here are six easy-to-prepare dishes that are full of flavor—and the nourishment you and your baby need.
Winter-white cousins of carrots, parsnips contain more fiber than their orange counterpart to help combat constipation. Plus, they're a good source of folate, which helps prevent structural defects, such as spina bifida.
A rutabaga is slighty sweeter than its more familiar cousin, the turnip. It contains vitamin C, which aids in iron absorption, and magnesium, a mineral that may ease constipation and improve blood sugar control.
A member of the chicory family, escarole looks like romaine lettuce but has a stronger flavor with a hint of bitterness. It has beta carotene to boost your immune system and folate to help prevent birth defects.
Also called celeriac, celery root tastes like a mixture of parsley and celery. It's a good source of vitamin K, necessary for your baby's bone development, as well as vitamin B6, which may help ease nausea.
Once it's cooked, spaghetti squash separates into nutty-tasting spaghetti-like strands that contain only 31 calories per cup. This oval- shaped yellow squash also boasts manganese, a mineral that plays a role in bone development.
Jicama has a crunchy flesh with a hint of apple and cucumber flavor. This root vegetable is an excellent source of hunger-quelling fiber and vitamin C, an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of preeclampsia, a pregnancy-induced hypertension.