Pregnancy Cooking and Nutrition for Dummies

Pregnancy Cooking and Nutrition for Dummies
Cooking & Nutrition
by Tara Gidus, MS, RD
Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition For Dummies®
Published by
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Copyright © 2012 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey
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Library of Congress Control Number: 2011938579
ISBN 978-1-118-08360-4 (pbk); ISBN 978-1-118-17039-7 (ebk); ISBN 978-1-118-17040-3 (ebk);
ISBN 978-1-118-17041-0 (ebk)
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About the Author
Tara Gidus is a registered dietitian (RD) and recognized expert in
nutrition and health promotion. She appears biweekly as the “Diet
Diva” on the national morning television show The Daily Buzz. Tara
is also the Healthy Eating Expert and blogger on and the nutrition advisor for American Baby magazine.
Along with being an expert in pregnancy nutrition, Tara specializes in performance nutrition for athletes and busy professionals,
teaching them how to eat right to excel in their careers. She’s the
team dietitian for the NBA’s Orlando Magic and a sports nutrition
consultant to the athletes at the University of Central Florida.
As a past spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association,
Tara acts as a resource for the media. Her expert quotes appear
frequently in various newspapers, websites, and magazines and
on television and radio. Tara owns her own nutrition consulting
business in which she’s a speaker, spokesperson, writer, and
Tara earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in dietetics and nutrition, fitness, and health and a master’s degree in
health promotion from Purdue University. She’s a Board Certified
Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD).
Tara is wife to husband, Stephen, and mother to two boys, Basil
and Levi. She loves to run, cook nutritious meals for her family,
and eat her daily dose of chocolate. She lives in sunny Florida.
This book is dedicated to every pregnant woman who strives to fill
her body with nutritious food to provide the gift of good health to
her child.
Author’s Acknowledgments
Writing this book has been an amazing experience, and I was
helped and encouraged by a few folks in particular.
Thanks to my agent, Margot Maley Hutchison, who came to me
with this project and had faith in me from the beginning. Special
thanks to my project editor, Jennifer Tebbe, who could not have
been a better sounding board as she literally lived as my target
audience as she edited the book while going through her first pregnancy. And I couldn’t have done it all without the rest of the editing team at John Wiley & Sons, Inc., especially acquisitions editor
Michael Lewis, copy editor Amanda Langferman, recipe tester
Emily Nolan, nutritional analyst Patty Santelli, and technical editor
Elizabeth Ward, RD. I truly appreciate your thoughtful oversight
and suggestions.
I was lucky enough to have lots of help from other places, as
well. Thanks to Kristina LaRue, RD, and Evie Lyras for the fun and
laughs we had while developing recipes for this book. Stephanie
Matos, you kept me stocked with good research along the way, and
I appreciate it all! I’m blessed to have many friends, relatives, and
colleagues who contributed their fabulous recipes, and I enjoyed
tasting them as I wrote this book!
I have been inspired by many amazing people in my career as a
nutrition professional and would like to especially thank Cindy
Heroux, RD, Heidi Hanna, PhD, Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, Bonnie
Taub-Dix, RD, Keri Gans, RD, Cynthia Sass, RD, Elisa Zied, RD, and
Raquel Malo, RD, for your solicited (and sometimes unsolicited)
advice and encouragement throughout the years.
Finally, I would like to thank my family. Thank you Mom and Dad,
Don and Jean Timpel, for the incredible support and love you
showed me as I grew from a child to an adult. One of my greatest
pleasures in life is seeing the joy your grandchildren bring to your
lives. Christine “Chia” Kindell, you are the second mother to my
children when I am not there, and I am incredibly grateful for the
special care and love you give my boys on a daily basis. I would
not be able to “do it all” without you!
Of course, a book on pregnancy nutrition would not have been
possible for me to write so thoroughly without having gone
through the experience myself (twice!). I thank God every day for
blessing me with my two beautiful boys, Basil and Levi. I couldn’t
ask for a better partner and best friend in their wonderful father
and my devoted and supportive husband, Stephen. I’m sorry that
I missed out on so much fun on Saturdays while working on this
book, and I’m ready now to get back to sharing those days with my
three boys!
Publisher’s Acknowledgments
We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments at
For other comments, please contact our Customer Care Department within the U.S. at 877-762-2974,
outside the U.S. at 317-572-3993, or fax 317-572-4002.
Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:
Acquisitions, Editorial, and Vertical Websites
Composition Services
Project Editor: Jennifer Tebbe
Project Coordinator: Katie Crocker
Senior Project Editor: Christina Guthrie
Layout and Graphics: Carl Byers,
Samantha K. Cherolis,
Corrie Socolovitch
Acquisitions Editor: Michael Lewis
Copy Editor: Amanda M. Langferman
Assistant Editor: David Lutton
Editorial Program Coordinator: Joe Niesen
Technical Editor: Elizabeth Ward, RD
Proofreaders: Lindsay Amones, Betty Kish
Indexer: Valerie Haynes Perry
Illustrators: Kathryn Born, Elizabeth Kurtzman
Recipe Tester: Emily Nolan
Nutritional Analyst: Patty Santelli
Editorial Manager: Christine Meloy Beck
Editorial Assistant: Rachelle S. Amick
Art Coordinator: Alicia B. South
Cover Photos: © Vitaly
Cartoons: Rich Tennant
Publishing and Editorial for Consumer Dummies
Kathleen Nebenhaus, Vice President and Executive Publisher
Kristin Ferguson-Wagstaffe, Product Development Director
Ensley Eikenburg, Associate Publisher, Travel
Kelly Regan, Editorial Director, Travel
Publishing for Technology Dummies
Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher
Composition Services
Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services
Contents at a Glance
Introduction................................................................. 1
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump............. 7
Chapter 1: Eating Right for You and Your Baby............................................................. 9
Chapter 2: Expecting to Expect: Good Nutrition before Pregnancy........................... 17
Chapter 3: Nourishing Your Bump: Proper Nutrition while Pregnant....................... 29
Chapter 4: Knowing What to Avoid during Pregnancy................................................ 49
Chapter 5: Weighty Matters: Managing Pregnancy Pounds........................................ 63
Chapter 6: Overcoming Embarrassment: The Unpleasant
Unmentionables of Pregnancy...................................................................................... 75
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy.............................. 91
Chapter 7: Completing the Puzzle: Discovering How to Eat while Pregnant................ 93
Chapter 8: Making Safe and Healthy Choices When Dining Out............................... 105
Chapter 9: This or That: Making Grocery Shopping Decisions................................. 117
Chapter 10: Presenting Baby-Bump-Friendly Kitchen Basics................................... 135
Chapter 11: Meal Planning with Your Growing Belly in Mind................................... 149
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy................................. 157
Chapter 12: Rise and Shine: Breakfast and Smoothie Recipes.................................. 159
Chapter 13: Adding Fuel to Your Day: Snack, Appetizer, and
Salad Recipes.......................................................................................................... 175
Chapter 14: The Land, Sea, and Air: Main Dish Recipes............................................ 201
Chapter 15: Plants, Please! Meatless Side and Main Dishes...................................... 227
Chapter 16: How Sweet It Is: Dessert Recipes............................................................. 253
Chapter 17: Cook It Fast: Speedy Recipes Ready in 10 Minutes or Less.................. 271
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking
about but Should...................................................... 285
Chapter 18: Help Me, Doc! Situations That Require Medical Attention................... 287
Chapter 19: Mommy-and-Me Food Allergies............................................................... 297
Chapter 20: After the Arrival: Caring for You and Your Baby................................... 303
Chapter 21: Losing Those Lingering Pounds............................................................... 317
Part V: The Part of Tens............................................ 329
Chapter 22: More Than Ten Nourishing Foods for Your Whole Pregnancy........... 331
Chapter 23: Ten Tricks for Getting Back to Your Pre-Pregnancy Weight................ 337
Appendix: Metric Conversion Guide............................ 343
Index....................................................................... 347
Recipes at a Glance
Breakfast Foods
Apricot Oatmeal Bake................................................................................................ 163
Berries and Cream French Toast.............................................................................. 164
T Broccoli Hash-Brown Quiche.................................................................................... 171
T Chocolate Banana Blast Smoothie............................................................................ 173
T Cottage Cheese Pancakes.......................................................................................... 165
T Decaf Mocha Smoothie.............................................................................................. 274
T Greek Omelet............................................................................................................... 170
T Homemade Maple Berry Crunch Granola................................................................ 162
T Oh, Baby! Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins.............................................................. 161
T Pomegranate Power Smoothie.................................................................................. 174
Sausage Asparagus Frittata........................................................................................... 169
T Southwest Avocado Breakfast Burrito..................................................................... 167
T Spinach, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich........................................................................ 168
Appetizers and Snacks
Apple Cinnamon Trail Mix......................................................................................... 177
Asian-Style Chicken Wings............................................................................................. 187
Avocado Shrimp Martinis.............................................................................................. 183
Chicken Lettuce Wraps.................................................................................................. 189
T Crunchy Garbanzo Beans.......................................................................................... 179
T Dill and Chive Veggie Dip........................................................................................... 275
T Fig and Olive Bruschetta............................................................................................ 184
T Minty Watermelon Salsa............................................................................................ 181
T Quinoa Nut Mix........................................................................................................... 178
Sausage-Stuffed Baked Potato Skins............................................................................. 188
T Steamed Artichoke with Garlic-Herb Dipping Sauce.............................................. 185
T Sun-Dried Tomato and Ricotta Stuffed Mushrooms............................................... 186
T Truffle-Flavored Popcorn........................................................................................... 180
White Chicken and Pineapple Flatbread...................................................................... 190
Asian Chicken Spinach Salad........................................................................................ 198
T Cranberry Gelatin Salad............................................................................................. 200
T Creamy Grape Salad................................................................................................... 199
T Deconstructed Greek Salad....................................................................................... 197
Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato, and Pepper Salad......................................................... 195
Fruity Poppy Seed Salad............................................................................................ 193
T Honey Orange Grapefruit Salad................................................................................ 276
Mixed Greens with Chicken, Cantaloupe, & Red Grapes Salad................................. 192
T Roasted Beet and Pistachio Salad............................................................................ 196
T Three-Bean Artichoke Salad...................................................................................... 277
T White Bean and Portobello Salad............................................................................. 194
Soups and Chilis
Black Bean Chili.......................................................................................................... 232
Broccoli Cheese Soup................................................................................................ 230
Souped-Up Split Pea Soup.......................................................................................... 231
Tomato Bulgur Soup................................................................................................... 229
Beef Entrees
Beef and Bean Quesadillas............................................................................................ 205
Beef Empanadas.............................................................................................................. 204
Cocoa-Rubbed Grilled Steaks........................................................................................ 209
Good to the Last Lick Casserole................................................................................... 203
Indian Lentil Slow Cooker Beef Stew............................................................................ 207
Italian Stuffed Steak Rolls.............................................................................................. 208
Nana’s Moussaka............................................................................................................ 206
Poultry and Pork Entrees
Chicken Hummus Pita.................................................................................................... 278
Chicken Kabobs.............................................................................................................. 224
Crispy Lime Chicken Tenders....................................................................................... 223
Curry Chicken Salad....................................................................................................... 222
Parmesan-Herb-Crusted Pork Chops........................................................................... 218
Peachy Chicken Barley Pilaf.......................................................................................... 225
Rosemary Chicken on Asparagus Risotto................................................................... 221
Sauerkraut and Turkey Sausage Pasta Bake............................................................... 220
Spinach, Date, and Blue Cheese Chicken Panini......................................................... 226
Super Easy Pulled Pork.................................................................................................. 217
Turkey Cheeseburger Chowder.................................................................................... 219
Seafood Entrees
Garden Fresh Paella........................................................................................................ 215
Mango Avocado Salmon................................................................................................. 212
Pecan-Crusted Tilapia with Pear and Fig Chutney..................................................... 213
Spaghetti with Clam Sauce............................................................................................ 211
Thai Scallops with Noodles........................................................................................... 214
Vegetarian Entrees and Side Dishes
Baked Ziti with Tofu................................................................................................... 240
Broccoli, Beans, and Feta Pasta................................................................................ 250
Giant Beans with Spinach and Feta.......................................................................... 237
Havarti Pear Grilled Cheese on Pumpernickel........................................................ 280
Homemade Gnocchi with Pesto................................................................................ 249
Quinoa Tabbouleh with Garbanzo Beans................................................................ 235
Ratatouille with Cannellini Beans............................................................................. 234
Roasted Eggplant, Olive, and Goat Cheese Homemade Pizza............................... 251
Sesame Asparagus...................................................................................................... 281
Sesame Noodle Salad................................................................................................. 239
Sloppy Lentil Joes....................................................................................................... 236
Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)............................................................................. 245
Steamed Broccoli with Mustard Sauce and Cashews............................................ 243
Sweet Potato Hash...................................................................................................... 246
Tofu Vegetable Stir-Fry.............................................................................................. 238
Vegetable Lasagna...................................................................................................... 248
Wheat Berry Edamame with Dried Fruit.................................................................. 241
Zucchini Patties.......................................................................................................... 244
Apple Cinnamon Crêpes............................................................................................ 269
Banana Mini Trifle....................................................................................................... 257
Chocolate Butterscotch Chip Bundt Cake............................................................... 264
Chocolate Lover’s Sippable Sundae......................................................................... 262
Dark Chocolate Cherry Pistachio Bark.................................................................... 261
Fruit Cookie Pizza....................................................................................................... 266
Fudgy Peppermint Black Bean Brownies................................................................. 260
Grilled Bananas........................................................................................................... 284
Kiwi Custard Pie.......................................................................................................... 256
Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes...................................................................................... 268
Mango Coconut Rice Pudding................................................................................... 258
Mixed Berry Frozen Yogurt....................................................................................... 255
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pie............................................................................ 263
Pineapple Spice Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting................................................ 267
Ricotta Parfait............................................................................................................. 283
Sautéed Summer Fruit over Ice Cream.................................................................... 282
White Chocolate Berry Oatmeal Cookies................................................................ 270
Table of Contents
Introduction.................................................................. 1
About This Book............................................................................................... 1
Conventions Used in This Book...................................................................... 2
What You’re Not to Read................................................................................. 3
Foolish Assumptions........................................................................................ 3
How This Book Is Organized........................................................................... 3
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump.................................. 4
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy........................................................ 4
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy............................................................. 4
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should............... 5
Part V: The Part of Tens......................................................................... 5
Icons Used in This Book.................................................................................. 5
Where to Go from Here.................................................................................... 6
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump.............. 7
Chapter 1: Eating Right for You and Your Baby . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Delving into Pregnancy Nutrition................................................................... 9
Knowing which foods to avoid............................................................ 10
Gaining your baby weight slowly and steadily................................. 11
Overcoming Pregnancy’s Not-So-Fun Side
Effects with Simple Food Tricks................................................................ 11
Discovering How to Eat.................................................................................. 12
Making Healthy Choices................................................................................ 13
Picking the nutritious options at restaurants
and grocery stores............................................................................ 13
Preparing good-for-you-both meals.................................................... 14
Sticking to Good Nutrition When Faced with Unique Circumstances..........14
Thinking Ahead to Life Post-Delivery........................................................... 15
Figuring out your body’s post-pregnancy nutrition needs.............. 15
Getting back in shape........................................................................... 16
Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition For Dummies
Chapter 2: Expecting to Expect: Good Nutrition before Pregnancy. . . . 17
Preparing for the Baby Bump....................................................................... 17
Understanding why you should eat right (and exercise) now........ 18
Getting your body ready...................................................................... 19
Managing current health conditions.................................................. 21
Conception Troubles: Recognizing How Diet Affects Fertility.................. 22
Nutrients that may influence your fertility........................................ 22
The controversies surrounding alcohol and caffeine...................... 24
Discovering Why Your Weight Matters....................................................... 26
Chapter 3: Nourishing Your Bump: Proper Nutrition
while Pregnant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Eating for Baby and You: Balancing Calories
Eaten and Calories Burned........................................................................ 29
First trimester (weeks 1–13): Don’t
purposely take in extra calories...................................................... 30
Second trimester (weeks 14–27): Take
in an extra 300–350 calories............................................................. 31
Third trimester (weeks 28–40): Take
in an extra 450–500 calories............................................................. 33
Figuring Out Where Your Calories Should Come from.............................. 34
Carbohydrates: Energy for the body.................................................. 35
Protein: Cell building and repair......................................................... 36
Fat: Nervous system development and function.............................. 37
Getting the Nutrients You Need.................................................................... 38
Folate (folic acid).................................................................................. 39
Iron......................................................................................................... 39
Calcium.................................................................................................. 40
Choline................................................................................................... 40
Omega-3 fatty acids.............................................................................. 41
The rest of the essential pregnancy nutrients.................................. 42
Discovering the Numerous Benefits of Fiber.............................................. 44
Knowing how much fiber you need.................................................... 44
Filling up on fiber-rich foods............................................................... 44
Sneaking more fiber into your day..................................................... 45
Realizing Why Proper Hydration Matters................................................... 46
How much fluid do I need?.................................................................. 46
Where should my fluid come from?................................................... 46
What if I can’t stay hydrated?............................................................. 47
Living a Vegetarian Lifestyle while Pregnant.............................................. 47
Chapter 4: Knowing What to Avoid during Pregnancy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Foods That Aren’t Safe during Pregnancy................................................... 49
A Warning on Herbals.................................................................................... 52
Table of Contents
Focusing on Foodborne Illnesses Caused by Bugs.................................... 53
Campylobacter....................................................................................... 54
E. coli...................................................................................................... 54
Listeria.................................................................................................... 55
Salmonella.............................................................................................. 55
Toxoplasma............................................................................................ 56
Tackling Food-Related Toxins....................................................................... 57
Mercury.................................................................................................. 57
Pesticides............................................................................................... 58
Plastics................................................................................................... 58
Going without Your Daily Alcohol or Caffeine Fix...................................... 60
Lose the booze...................................................................................... 60
Moderate your caffeine intake............................................................ 61
Coping strategies for life with less caffeine and no alcohol............ 61
Chapter 5: Weighty Matters: Managing Pregnancy Pounds. . . . . . . . . 63
Gaining Weight Gradually.............................................................................. 63
How much to gain................................................................................. 64
What to do when you’re not gaining enough.................................... 65
Preventing Excess Weight Gain.................................................................... 65
Potential complications from gaining too much............................... 66
How not to gain the “Pregnancy 50+”................................................. 66
Adding Exercise to Your Routine:
You’ve Got to Move It, Move It.................................................................. 67
Safety guidelines to consider.............................................................. 69
Suggested exercises for pregnancy.................................................... 70
Exercises to avoid................................................................................. 74
Chapter 6: Overcoming Embarrassment: The Unpleasant
Unmentionables of Pregnancy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75
Morning Sickness Can Happen Morning, Noon, or Night.......................... 75
Dealing with nausea.............................................................................. 76
Understanding how vomiting may prevent you from
getting enough nutrients.................................................................. 78
Determining when medical intervention is necessary..................... 78
Your Digestive Tract Acquires a Mind of Its Own...................................... 80
Avoiding heartburn with the help of some nutrition tricks............ 80
Reducing gas with an antibloating diet.............................................. 82
Preventing pregnancy constipation................................................... 83
Dealing with hemorrhoids................................................................... 84
Steering clear of urinary tract infections........................................... 85
Fatigue Drains Your Energy Dry................................................................... 86
Eating to have energy........................................................................... 87
Getting the sleep you need.................................................................. 88
Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition For Dummies
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy.............................. 91
Chapter 7: Completing the Puzzle: Discovering
How to Eat while Pregnant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
Adopting a New Dining Strategy: Eat Small Amounts Frequently............ 93
Using the hunger gauge to interpret your body’s signals.....................94
Keeping your hunger from becoming ravenous............................... 96
Knowing when to stop.......................................................................... 97
Snacking Is Sensible....................................................................................... 98
Presenting guidelines for smart snacking.......................................... 98
Being prepared with a go-to pregnancy snack list........................... 99
Determining how many snacks you need........................................ 101
Get Me Some Ice Cream . . . NOW!: Understanding
and Managing Cravings............................................................................ 102
Why am I craving this food, anyway?............................................... 102
How can I get through my cravings without gaining 70 pounds?......103
Chapter 8: Making Safe and Healthy Choices When Dining Out. . . . 105
First Things First: Navigating the Menu..................................................... 105
Spotting high-sodium foods............................................................... 106
Picking out high-fat foods.................................................................. 106
Zeroing in on good-for-you descriptions......................................... 107
Placing Your Order....................................................................................... 107
Standing Strong in the Face of Common Restaurant Temptations........ 108
Dealing with appetizers...................................................................... 108
Handling oversized portions............................................................. 109
Being smart about beverages............................................................ 112
Saving room for dessert..................................................................... 113
Keeping Food Safety in Mind at Your Favorite Restaurant..................... 114
Send back food that isn’t right.......................................................... 114
Reheat takeout and delivery food before you eat it....................... 115
Keep your leftovers safe.................................................................... 115
Chapter 9: This or That: Making Grocery Shopping Decisions. . . . . . 117
Choosing to Go Organic............................................................................... 117
Organic food basics............................................................................ 118
What the different types of “organic” labels mean......................... 118
Why some pregnant women consider going organic..................... 119
Being Selective with Sweeteners................................................................ 122
Acesulfame K....................................................................................... 122
Agave nectar........................................................................................ 123
Aspartame............................................................................................ 123
High-fructose corn syrup................................................................... 123
Table of Contents
Honey................................................................................................... 124
Saccharin............................................................................................. 124
Sucralose.............................................................................................. 124
Stevia.................................................................................................... 125
Hitting the Seafood Counter........................................................................ 125
Knowing which fish to be cautious of.............................................. 125
Discovering which fish are best........................................................ 126
Going the Convenient Route with Convenience Foods........................... 127
Selecting nutritious frozen meals..................................................... 127
Making sure grab-and-go items are safe to eat............................... 128
Simplifying Your Next Trip to the Store.................................................... 130
Deciphering food labels..................................................................... 131
Preparing your pregnancy grocery list............................................ 133
Chapter 10: Presenting Baby-Bump-Friendly Kitchen Basics . . . . . . 135
Stocking the Kitchen.................................................................................... 135
Out with the old.................................................................................. 136
In with the nutritious.......................................................................... 138
Practicing Safety in the Kitchen.................................................................. 139
Embracing cleanliness....................................................................... 139
Cooking foods to the appropriate temperatures............................ 140
Storing your food properly................................................................ 143
Cooking the Healthy Way............................................................................ 143
Modifying recipes to make them healthier...................................... 144
Trying healthier cooking techniques............................................... 145
Making Cooking More Comfortable as Your Pregnancy Progresses..... 147
Chapter 11: Meal Planning with Your Growing Belly in Mind. . . . . . 149
The Importance of Having a Plan............................................................... 149
Taking charge of your meals and snacks......................................... 150
Making meal planning easier with some tips and tricks................ 150
Sample Pregnancy Meal Plans.................................................................... 151
2,000-calorie sample meal plans for the first trimester................. 151
2,300-calorie sample meal plans for the second trimester............ 153
2,450-calorie sample meal plans for the third trimester................ 155
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy.................................. 157
Chapter 12: Rise and Shine: Breakfast
and Smoothie Recipes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159
Glorious Grains............................................................................................. 160
Incredibly Edible Eggs.................................................................................. 166
On-the-Go Breakfasts — Smoothie Style.................................................... 172
Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition For Dummies
Chapter 13: Adding Fuel to Your Day: Snack, Appetizer,
and Salad Recipes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
Preparing Healthy Snacks............................................................................ 175
Small Bites for Your Growing Belly: Tapas-Style Meals........................... 182
Adding Color (And Nutrients) to Your Plate with Salads........................ 191
Chapter 14: The Land, Sea, and Air: Main Dish Recipes . . . . . . . . . . . 201
Beef, It’s What’s for Pregnancy................................................................... 202
Fishing for Something Different for Dinner: Seafood Dishes................... 210
Embracing the Many White Meats............................................................. 216
Chapter 15: Plants, Please! Meatless Side
and Main Dishes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 227
Filling Up on Soups and Chilis.................................................................... 228
Creative and Tasty Bean- and Soy-Based Alternatives to Meat.............. 233
Embracing Vegetables................................................................................. 242
Serving Up Pasta and Pizza......................................................................... 247
Chapter 16: How Sweet It Is: Dessert Recipes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253
Whipping Up Smooth and Creamy Treats................................................. 254
Pregnancy Must-Have: Chocolate!.............................................................. 259
Diving into the Refreshing, Sweet Taste of Fruit...................................... 265
Chapter 17: Cook It Fast: Speedy Recipes Ready
in 10 Minutes or Less . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 271
Relying on Convenience Foods................................................................... 272
Letting Flavor Stand Out in Quick Dishes.................................................. 279
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking
about but Should....................................................... 285
Chapter 18: Help Me, Doc! Situations That Require
Medical Attention. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 287
Using Diet and Exercise to Help Control Certain Medical Conditions... 287
Gestational diabetes........................................................................... 288
Polycystic ovary syndrome............................................................... 290
High blood pressure and preeclampsia........................................... 291
Anemia................................................................................................. 293
Nutrition Advice for Mothers with Special Considerations.................... 294
Nutritional concerns for teenage mothers...................................... 294
Nutritional concerns for mothers who are cancer survivors....... 295
Nutritional concerns for mothers of multiples............................... 295
Table of Contents
Chapter 19: Mommy-and-Me Food Allergies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 297
Identifying Common Food Allergens.......................................................... 297
What to Do If You Suspect a Food Allergy................................................. 299
Preventing Food Allergies in Your Baby.................................................... 300
Deciding whether you need to avoid
certain foods while pregnant......................................................... 300
Recognizing the role breast-feeding
plays in allergy prevention............................................................ 301
Introducing food allergens to your child......................................... 302
Chapter 20: After the Arrival: Caring for You and Your Baby . . . . . . . 303
Getting the Nutrients You Need to Fuel Your Recovery.......................... 303
To Nurse, or Not to Nurse?......................................................................... 305
Benefits of nursing for Mom.............................................................. 305
Benefits of breast milk for Baby........................................................ 307
Overcoming obstacles of breast-feeding......................................... 307
Practicing Good Nutrition When You’re Nursing..................................... 308
Focusing on carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.............................. 309
Highlighting other important nutrients........................................... 309
Staying hydrated................................................................................. 310
Sampling some meal plans for nursing moms................................ 311
Being smart about alcohol and caffeine.......................................... 312
Feeding Baby................................................................................................. 313
With breast milk.................................................................................. 314
With formula........................................................................................ 315
Chapter 21: Losing Those Lingering Pounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 317
Setting Yourself Up for Success with Realistic Expectations................. 318
Knowing how long your belly will stay............................................ 318
Understanding proper rates of weight loss..................................... 319
Fueling Your Body the Right Way............................................................... 319
Focusing on nutrient-dense foods.................................................... 320
Creating a calorie deficit.................................................................... 321
Sampling some meal plans to help you lose weight....................... 322
Incorporating Exercise into Your Post-Delivery Routine........................ 324
Getting started.................................................................................... 324
Fitting in all three types of exercise................................................. 326
Preparing for the Next Baby Bump............................................................ 327
Deciding how soon to start trying again.......................................... 327
Restoring your nutritional status..................................................... 328
Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition For Dummies
Part V: The Part of Tens............................................. 329
Chapter 22: More Than Ten Nourishing Foods
for Your Whole Pregnancy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 331
Asparagus...................................................................................................... 331
Avocado......................................................................................................... 332
Beef................................................................................................................. 332
Berries............................................................................................................ 332
Edamame....................................................................................................... 333
Eggs................................................................................................................ 333
Greek Yogurt................................................................................................. 334
Legumes......................................................................................................... 334
Milk................................................................................................................. 335
Quinoa............................................................................................................ 335
Salmon............................................................................................................ 336
Chapter 23: Ten Tricks for Getting Back to
Your Pre-Pregnancy Weight. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 337
Listen When Your Belly Says It’s Full......................................................... 337
Don’t Starve Yourself................................................................................... 338
Eat Small Portions and Eat Frequently...................................................... 338
Be Mindful of What You’re Eating.............................................................. 339
Get Moving.................................................................................................... 339
Increase Your Muscle Mass......................................................................... 340
Breast-feed to Burn More Calories............................................................. 341
Get Enough Sleep.......................................................................................... 341
Make Time for Yourself................................................................................ 342
Remember Why You’re Trying to Lose Weight — For Baby................... 342
Appendix: Metric Conversion Guide............................. 343
Index........................................................................ 347
f you’re reading this book, I’m guessing you or someone you love is either
pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant. Either way, congratulations! Having children is one of the greatest joys (and challenges) in life. I
applaud you for taking an interest in how and what you eat during pregnancy
so that you can keep yourself healthy and, of course, deliver a bouncing,
beautiful baby boy or girl.
While pregnancy is certainly a joyous time, it can also be a time full of stress
and anxiety as you constantly wonder if you’re doing everything right. Your
diet may be one of the areas you’re confused and panicked about. Never
fear! You’ve now got a resource to help guide you through the ins and outs of
pregnancy nutrition — from what food to buy to how to prepare and enjoy it.
My goal in writing this book is to present the scientifically factual information
you need to know about pregnancy nutrition in a way that doesn’t add any
more stress to your life. I explain which foods to avoid and which ones to get
plenty of so that both you and your baby get all the nutrients you need for
healthy growth. As a bonus, I include six whole chapters of new recipes that
will nourish your growing belly, and I explain what you need to consider as
far as postpartum nutrition goes.
About This Book
I wrote this book because as a registered dietitian who recently went through
two pregnancies, I know what it’s like to have lots of questions when you first
become pregnant. I too wondered what can I eat, what can’t I eat, and what
can I do if I’m nauseous, constipated, or just plain tired? I’ve since discovered
the answers, and it’s my pleasure to share them with you. In fact, I hope this
book helps you feel better about your food and beverage choices and puts
your mind at ease regarding pregnancy nutrition.
In addition to nutrition advice, I also include advice on how to eat while pregnant, pointers on safe food preparation, and 100 delicious recipes for you to try
out. After all, eating during your pregnancy should be an enjoyable experience.
Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition For Dummies
In typical For Dummies style, all this information is organized in a way that
allows you to pick up the book and head to the topic that interests you in
that moment. You don’t have to start at the beginning or go through the
chapters in chronological order. Feel free to visit a chapter, or even sections
of a chapter, as the subjects interest you or apply to you at various times in
your pregnancy.
Conventions Used in This Book
I use the following conventions throughout the book to make things consistent and easy to understand:
Monofont indicates web addresses.
Italics draw your attention to new terms that I’m defining. They also
occasionally indicate words I want to emphasize.
Boldface tells you you’re looking at the keywords in bulleted lists and
the action parts of numbered steps.
When you’re reading through this book’s recipes, keep in mind the
following guidelines:
Milk is lowfat or fat-free.
All milk, cheese, juice, and honey are pasteurized.
Butter is unsalted unless otherwise specified. Margarine isn’t a suitable
substitute for butter unless I state you can use either one.
Eggs are large.
All olive oil is extra-virgin.
All lemon or lime juice can be either fresh squeezed or from a bottle
unless otherwise specified. (If you go the fresh-squeezed route, just be
sure to wash the outside of the lemon or lime before you cut into it.)
Powdered sugar refers to confectioner’s sugar.
Salt refers to regular table salt unless otherwise noted.
Pepper is freshly ground black pepper unless otherwise specified.
Onions are yellow unless otherwise specified.
Flour is all-purpose unless otherwise specified.
Sugar is granulated unless otherwise specified.
All herbs are fresh unless dried herbs are specified.
All temperatures are Fahrenheit. (If you prefer working in the metric system,
see the Appendix for help with converting temperatures to Celsius.)
Last but not least, when referring to your baby throughout the book, I take
turns with gender, alternating between he or she and him or her.
What You’re Not to Read
Although I think absolutely every word in this book is worth reading, I realize
that you may not have the time or energy to read it from cover to cover. To
help you focus on the most important parts, I highlight the interesting but
unessential info so that you can quickly skip over it:
When you see text in a shaded box, you know it’s a sidebar. Sidebar
information is good to know and usually quite interesting, but it’s not
necessary to your understanding of the topic at hand.
When you see a Technical Stuff icon, you know that I’ve delved a bit deeper
into a subject and provided some information that you can live without —
although you may be less likely to win trivia contests in the future if you
don’t read it! If you have the time and interest, dig in; if not, move on.
Foolish Assumptions
Call me crazy, but I assume that most people reading this book are pregnant.
In particular, I assume that you’re pregnant with your first child and are feeling
slightly overwhelmed with all the information out there about what you can
and can’t eat. That’s why I talk directly to the pregnant woman throughout the
book. If you’re a partner or loved one of a pregnant woman and you’re reading
this book, please pass the information along to the momma-to-be.
Because this book also includes 100 very tasty recipes, I also assume you
know a thing or two about cooking — as in you’ve at least boiled water and
used a mixer in your somewhat recent past.
How This Book Is Organized
This book contains five parts, and each part contains several chapters. I give
you a rundown of what these parts cover in the following sections. Whenever
I mention information that I discuss elsewhere in the book, I refer you to that
particular chapter so you know where to go if you’re interested in that topic.
Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition For Dummies
Part I: In the Beginning:
Growing a Baby Bump
If you happen to be doing your homework on pregnancy nutrition before getting pregnant, then this is the part for you. It includes a chapter with advice
that will prepare you to start growing your very own baby bump.
If you’re already pregnant, then get ready to find out more about every one
of the nutrients that are critical to your baby’s development, from folate and
fat to calcium and carbs. I also warn you about foods and beverages that can
potentially cause harm to you or your baby so you can avoid or limit them
in your diet. And because pregnancy comes with some obvious side effects
(hello, weight gain!) and some potentially embarrassing ones (think vomiting
and gas), I guide you in gaining the proper amount of weight and explain how
to manipulate your diet to overcome nausea, gas, and the other unmentionables of pregnancy.
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
As you discover in this part, you basically have to develop a whole new
eating routine when you become pregnant; that routine revolves around
eating small amounts frequently. Also when you’re pregnant, deciding what
to eat takes a bit more thought. That’s why this part also explains how to
make good-for-baby (and you) choices while dining out, how to make smart
grocery shopping decisions, and how to prepare your kitchen for optimal
food safety. This part finishes up by providing you with some sample meal
plans to follow for the various stages of your pregnancy.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Whatever your taste preferences are, at least a few of the 100 recipes in this
part have to appeal to you. Here you find a wide array of breakfast meals,
appetizers, salads, main dishes, vegetarian dishes, and desserts. Each recipe
contains at least one ingredient that has special nutritional value for you
during your pregnancy.
Whichever recipe you choose to make, I recommend that you read it in its
entirety before getting started. Then gather your ingredients and follow the
directions carefully for the best possible outcome.
Part IV: What You May Not Be
Thinking about but Should
Every pregnancy is different because every woman brings with her a unique
set of genetics and lifestyle habits. Of course you want to have a relatively
normal pregnancy, but just in case certain medical complications, like gestational diabetes or high blood pressure, do crop up, I dedicate a chapter in this
part to how to adjust your diet to manage these issues. I also cover how to deal
with food allergies you may have and how to prevent them in your baby.
While you may not be thinking of it yet, I can almost guarantee that at some
point you’ll start considering what life will be like after your baby is born. So
in this part, I also clue you into post-delivery nutrition and your options for
feeding your little one. And just in case you’re wondering how you’re going to
get back in shape after delivery, I offer some advice at the end of this part on
how to do just that.
Part V: The Part of Tens
If you’re a regular For Dummies reader, you know that every For Dummies book
features a Part of Tens that includes short lists of tidbits that are helpful for
you to know about the subject in question. This book is no different. In this
part, you find a list of ten nutrient-rich foods to eat during pregnancy and ten
simple yet effective ways to lose lingering “baby weight” after you deliver. I
also throw in an appendix of metric conversions in case you prefer cooking
with milliliters rather than cups.
Icons Used in This Book
To make this book easier to use, I include some icons that can help you find
and grasp key information quickly. Here’s what those icons look like and
what they mean:
This icon is pretty self-explanatory. When you see it, be sure to follow up with
your doctor for his or her expert opinion on the information in question.
This icon represents some of the most important information in the book. You
may even want to read it a few times so that it really takes hold (especially if
you have “pregnancy brain” and have a difficult time keeping things straight).
Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition For Dummies
The tidbits marked by this icon may be really interesting (at least, to me), but
you don’t have to read them word for word to grasp the main concepts at
hand. In fact, feel free to skip over paragraphs flagged with this icon.
I’m all for saving a pregnant woman’s time and making things easier for her, so
know that you’re in for some great tips that achieve just that every time you
see this bull’s-eye.
Watch out for any paragraphs bearing this ticking time bomb. Paying attention
to the information they contain can help keep you and your baby safe.
Where to Go from Here
Where you go from here is completely up to you and your needs. If you’re not
pregnant yet and you want to know how to eat to best prepare your body for
pregnancy, start with Chapter 2. If morning sickness is getting you down, check
out the tips in Chapter 6 for how to deal with this unpleasant side effect of pregnancy. If you’re craving some dessert, turn to Chapter 16, which features some
amazing recipes that are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. You get the idea.
Wherever you decide to begin, my hope is that you enjoy eating all throughout
your pregnancy. Focus on nourishing your body with nutritious foods while at
the same time taking advantage of being able to eat a few extra calories!
Part I
In the Beginning:
Growing a Baby
In this part . . .
ven starting with preconception, what you eat can
have an impact on everything from your fertility to
the development of your baby’s vital organs. Certain
foods, like those containing alcohol, caffeine at certain
levels, or harmful bacteria, can hinder growth. The good
news is that many of the nutritious foods you eat have a
direct role in forming your baby’s organs and systems as
your belly grows.
In this part, you discover how to prepare your body for
Baby. If you’ve already conceived, you can dive right into
the information on which foods provide critical nutrients
for you and your baby and the truth about how many calories it takes to gain the right amount of weight during
each trimester of pregnancy. This part also tells you
which foods and beverages to steer clear of, how to gain
your pregnancy pounds the healthy way, and how to overcome some of the embarrassing side effects that can come
along with pregnancy simply by modifying your dietary
Chapter 1
Eating Right for You and Your Baby
In This Chapter
▶Recognizing the roles good nutrition and steady weight gain play in a healthy pregnancy
▶Dealing with unpleasant pregnancy side effects by eating right
▶Understanding why eating small, frequent meals is important
▶Making the right food decisions throughout your pregnancy
▶Looking ahead to your body’s post-delivery needs
he role nutrition plays in your baby’s development is critical. In fact,
some researchers suggest that the nutrients a developing fetus receives
in the womb (and that a newborn receives in the first few weeks of life) are
more critical than the nutrients received at any other time in life. That may
seem quite shocking, but more and more evidence is connecting a woman’s
nutritional status during pregnancy to the health of her child, not just at birth
but throughout his or her life.
This chapter provides you with an overview of pregnancy nutrition. Prepare
to discover the basics of what to eat and how to eat it over the course of the
next nine months. (As an added bonus, reading this chapter arms you with
fact-based answers for when your mother-in-law or that perfect stranger asks
you whether eating XYZ food is safe.)
Delving into Pregnancy Nutrition
Eating the right foods while you’re pregnant may not be as difficult as you
think. Depending on what you ate before you started trying to get pregnant
or before you got that positive pregnancy test, you may not need to make
many changes after all. If you already gravitate toward fruits, vegetables, lean
proteins, whole grains, and lowfat dairy, the pregnancy diet will be really
easy for you to follow. If, on the other hand, you survive on donuts, chips,
and fast food, you may need to dig a bit deeper into changing those habits
for the sake of your unborn child.
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
Start eating right before you get pregnant
Eating right is important even when you’re still
trying to get pregnant. As I explain in Chapter 2,
certain nutrients (such as folate) are essential
for the development of critical organs within your
baby before you realize you’re pregnant. So even
before you get a positive pregnancy test, focus
on filling your body with nutrient-rich foods that
will help you stock up your nutritional status so
you can start your pregnancy on the right foot.
Tip: All women of childbearing age are encouraged to take a multivitamin that contains folic
acid because of the important role folic acid
plays in the early development of the neural
tube that connects the brain and spinal cord.
Switch to a prenatal vitamin when you start
trying to get pregnant and keep taking it
throughout your pregnancy.
Finding the right balance of calories is one of the many things that women
wonder about when they get pregnant. You often hear people say, “Oh, you’re
pregnant. So now you can eat for two!” But that’s not really the case. Just think
about it for a minute. You’re growing a little baby, not a full-sized adult. Yes,
you do typically need to take in extra calories starting in your second trimester, but you certainly don’t need to start eating double. Turn to Chapter 3 to
find out exactly how many more calories you need.
The following sections give you a general idea of which foods you should
steer clear of throughout your pregnancy and how you should aim to put on
those pregnancy pounds.
Knowing which foods to avoid
Before you got pregnant, you may have thought that all you needed to stay
away from during your pregnancy was alcohol and possibly caffeine. I’m afraid
the list of taboo foods is quite a bit longer than that and includes the following:
Raw and undercooked beef, chicken, fish, and pork: A meat thermometer can tell you for sure whether a particular meat has reached a
safe temperature. (I provide a list of the minimum safe temperatures in
Chapter 10.) If you don’t own a meat thermometer, I strongly suggest
picking one up. It’ll be your new best friend in the kitchen.
When most people think of sushi, they think of raw fish. As a sushi fan, I
was heartbroken by the thought of not having it while I was pregnant, but
in reality you can have sushi — as long as it’s not the raw tuna or salmon
kind. Imitation crab (used in the California roll), real crab, shrimp, and eel
are all cooked, so you can enjoy any of those in your sushi.
Chapter 1: Eating Right for You and Your Baby
Runny eggs: Eggs need to be cooked all the way through, whether they’re
in the skillet, a sauce, or a casserole. Cook (or order your eggs in a restaurant) scrambled well or over hard. If the white or yolk is still runny, send
it back to the skillet to be cooked until firm. Egg casseroles should be
cooked until they reach 160 degrees. Avoid sauces that contain raw eggs,
such as hollandaise and béarnaise. And don’t forget about raw cookie
dough — no licking the spoon if there are raw eggs in the dough!
Unpasteurized milk and cheeses: Avoid milk or cheese that claims to
be raw or that doesn’t say pasteurized on the label. You’re free to eat
any cheese (including soft cheeses) as long as it has been made with
pasteurized milk.
For the full scoop on which foods to avoid completely and which to be cautious of during pregnancy, see Chapter 4.
Gaining your baby weight
slowly and steadily
Putting on those pregnancy pounds gradually as your baby puts on weight is
really the best approach to weight gain during pregnancy. The pounds you
gain will distribute themselves in various tissues of your body, including fat
and fluid, as well as your developing baby. (Remember: Gaining some fat
deposits when you’re pregnant is normal and actually necessary!)
Try not to step on the scale every day during your pregnancy. Because of the
variation in weight due to fluid balance, you may find that you gain 3 pounds
in one day and then lose 1 pound the next day. As long as the overall trend is
that you’re gaining weight (slowly and steadily, of course) and your doctor
determines that your baby is also growing and gaining weight, don’t stress
out about the exact number on the scale.
To prevent excess weight gain and to keep your heart, lungs, and muscles
strong, exercise throughout your pregnancy. In particular, aim for a mix of
aerobic exercise, strength training, and yoga (see Chapter 5 for details).
Overcoming Pregnancy’s Not-So-Fun
Side Effects with Simple Food Tricks
As you may already know, pregnancy brings with it a variety of unpleasant
side effects, like constipation, gas, hemorrhoids, heartburn, fatigue, and, of
course, that first trimester nausea that can be unbearable. If this is the first
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
time you’re hearing about these side effects, I’m sorry that I’m the one breaking the news to you! But you need to be prepared because you may soon find
yourself throwing up, farting, or just feeling really tired all because of that
little bundle of joy growing in your belly.
The good news is that not all of these side effects happen to every woman. In
fact, you may experience none of them! Additionally, they all have nutritional
solutions that can make them tolerable. For example, if nausea is ruling your
world, the key is to not let your stomach get too empty. I know this is the last
thing you want to hear because you don’t feel like eating, but even munching
on dry cereal or crackers gives your stomach acid something else to focus on
besides making you feel sick.
The caveat regarding food-related tricks for overcoming pregnancy’s not-sopleasant side effects is that there’s lots of advice out there. Don’t try to follow
every tip you hear. Instead, focus on the tip that helps you manage the problem you’re experiencing at the time. For instance, eating before bed is a good
way to combat nausea in the first trimester, but this routine can be a problem
in the second trimester if you start experiencing heartburn. In that case, stop
eating a little before bedtime.
Want more tips and tricks for your pregnancy side effect arsenal? Head to
Chapter 6.
Discovering How to Eat
People tend to focus most of their nutrition attention on what to eat or what
not to eat. Not nearly enough attention goes toward how to eat. I’m a believer
in eating small quantities frequently throughout the day all the time, but this
eating strategy becomes especially important as your belly grows.
In the first trimester, the end goal of eating small amounts frequently is to
prevent nausea by having a little bit of food in your stomach at all times (that
way, your stomach doesn’t have to go into acid overload). As your baby bump
grows and you progress into your second and third trimesters, you’ll find that
your body literally has less room for your stomach! As a result, the baby may
press on your stomach and the area where your esophagus meets your stomach, causing heartburn. If you have small amounts of food in your stomach,
you’re less likely to experience this reflux.
The key to eating small amounts frequently is to enjoy a mix of smaller meals
and regular snacks throughout the day. Now before you start envisioning bags
of chips and pints of ice cream in your snacking future, remember that the
majority of your snacks need to contain the nutrients you and your little one
need. Otherwise, you’re just eating empty calories. I provide a list of tasty nutritious snacks, as well as advice on how many snacks you may need throughout
the day and how big they should be, in Chapter 7.
Chapter 1: Eating Right for You and Your Baby
Another trick for keeping your eating in check is to avoid overindulging in
cravings. You’ll no doubt hear other women talk about cravings they had in
pregnancy, and maybe you’ve already been experiencing them yourself. I like
to blame everything in pregnancy on hormones, but cravings are truly a case
of hormones gone wild! Sometimes those hormones cause food aversions
(I actually didn’t want chocolate during my first trimester with both kids!),
and sometimes those hormones make it impossible to imagine living through
another moment without one particular food. Don’t worry; I show you how to
get through this crazy part of pregnancy in Chapter 7.
Making Healthy Choices
If only deciding what to eat every day during pregnancy were simple. First,
you have to think about what you want to eat; then you have to consider
what you should eat. Finally, you have to narrow down your choices to what’s
available to eat. To make the decision even harder, these three things are
often on completely opposite ends of the healthy-tasty spectrum.
You can make the best decisions for you and your growing belly by arming
yourself with some basic information before you head to your favorite restaurant, visit your local grocery store, or prepare your daily meals.
Picking the nutritious options at
restaurants and grocery stores
If you’re dining out, those wonderful adjectives like smothered and golden can
really take you into a place of love at first description. You may even be getting hungry right now! Making the healthy choice at a restaurant isn’t easy,
and eating the right portion is even more challenging.
Even though you’re entitled to consume more calories during most of your pregnancy, you’d likely wind up consuming far more than your daily recommended
amount if you finished off all the huge dinner portions so common in restaurants
today. Fortunately, you can combat these oversized portions by asking for half of
your meal to go before you even get it or by splitting a dish with a friend or partner. For additional pointers on dining out the healthy way while pregnant, flip to
Chapter 8.
Grocery shopping may be last on the totem pole of things that excite you.
But it’s one of those chores that you have to do — if you want to eat from
something other than a take-out box, that is. Pregnancy brings with it many
decisions that you have to make at the supermarket, like whether to buy organically grown produce or the conventionally grown kind, which fish to choose,
and whether to buy foods containing artificial sweeteners (and if so, which
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
sweeteners you’re comfortable consuming). Fortunately, one way to avoid getting hung up in the decision-making process at the store — and avoid impulse
purchases — is by preparing a grocery list ahead of time. See Chapter 9 for a
pregnancy-friendly grocery list that you can modify based on your preferences.
Preparing good-for-you-both meals
Your kitchen can be a haven away from the uncertainty of how something was
cooked (or who touched it) at a restaurant — not to mention you have more
control over the ingredients when you prepare a meal yourself. As I explain in
Chapter 10, all you have to do to make your kitchen a safe and healthy place for
you to cook and eat during your pregnancy is check the refrigerator, freezer, and
pantry for expired items and practice some basic food safety steps, such as:
Always wash your hands before you start preparing food.
Prepare vegetables away from raw meats.
Cook (or reheat) food to the proper temperature.
Store food promptly in the fridge or freezer.
Of course, a well-stocked and safe kitchen does you little good if you’re not
whipping up some tasty meals. For me, half the battle when eating right is
simply knowing what to cook for myself and my family. To help you avoid
that problem, I’ve filled Part III of this book with 100 recipes designed to
nourish your belly with foods that taste yummy and contain the essential
nutrients you and your developing baby need. Whether you’re looking for
breakfast, snack, salad, main dish, side dish, or dessert options, you’ll find
a delicious mix of traditional and more adventurous recipes.
To make eating right during pregnancy a little easier (and less stressful), plan
out your meals ahead of time. I show you how in Chapter 11.
As you cook, particularly as you get further along in your pregnancy, take
frequent breaks. Sit down in a chair or stool and give your feet a rest for a few
minutes if you notice you’ve been standing for a while.
Sticking to Good Nutrition When
Faced with Unique Circumstances
Every woman brings with her a unique set of genetics and lifestyle habits that
guides how her pregnancy will progress. My hope is that you don’t have any
complications or unusual circumstances, but I want to prepare you just in case.
Chapter 1: Eating Right for You and Your Baby
Various nutrition-related medical complications may creep up on you. For example, if you find out you have gestational diabetes, your best bet is to seek out the
counsel of a registered dietitian to guide you in exactly how many and what kind
of carbohydrates to eat. If you’re faced with preeclampsia or high blood pressure,
you’ll have to watch your sodium intake very carefully. If you develop anemia,
you’ll need to focus on getting plenty of iron-rich foods and making sure your
body absorbs as much of it as possible. (For additional guidance on maintaining
proper nutrition in the face of pregnancy complications, head to Chapter 18.)
If you’re allergic to milk or wheat and worried about whether your allergy
is causing you to miss out on important nutrients, never fear. Just make the
simple food substitutions I recommend in Chapter 19 to ensure you’re eating a
diet that’s filled with all the nutrients you and your baby need. Note: Allergies
can run in the family, so Chapter 19 also includes tips on when to introduce
highly allergenic foods during your pregnancy and while you’re nursing.
Thinking Ahead to Life Post-Delivery
Right now you’re probably smiling as you imagine holding your precious
baby in your arms for the first time. I encourage those thoughts wholeheartedly, but don’t forget to also think about how your life is going to change
after your little one arrives.
For one thing, your body is going to need to recover, and it’s going to need
your help to do so. Also, eventually you’ll need to think about shedding any lingering pregnancy pounds so that your body is in good shape — particularly if
you want to have more kids. The following sections clue you in to the basics of
post-delivery nutrition and the tricks to getting your pre-pregnancy body back.
Figuring out your body’s postpregnancy nutrition needs
Being pregnant obviously comes with specific nutrition requirements, but so
does giving birth to your child and recovering from that birth. No matter how
you end up delivering, your body will require energy and specific nutrients
to heal itself. Eat protein foods (think meats, eggs, dairy, and beans) because
they’re essential for repairing your body. Include carbohydrates (especially
whole grains that are high in fiber) because they’re necessary for energy.
Also incorporate some healthy fats (such as olive oil, nuts, and seeds) to provide important nutrients and additional energy for your body. (I share more
specifics on nutrition strategies for childbirth recovery in Chapter 20).
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
If you decide to breast-feed your baby, plan on eating pretty much the same
foods you ate while pregnant throughout the length of time you choose to
nurse. Of course, you may find that you need more calories while you’re
nursing than you did while you were pregnant; whether you do depends on
how much milk you produce. Note: Nursing moms may lose some of their lingering pregnancy pounds fairly quickly due to their bodies’ increased calorie
needs and ability to use stored fat as energy to produce milk.
If you’re breast-feeding, drink plenty of fluids, get rest, and continue to take
your prenatal vitamin because you can use the extra vitamins and minerals
while nursing.
Getting back in shape
The key to post-pregnancy weight loss is to take it slow and steady, just as
you did when gaining weight while you were pregnant. After all, you didn’t
gain all those pounds overnight, and they certainly won’t come off that fast!
As you get started, focus on eating smaller portions and leaving a few bites
behind on your plate. Listen to your stomach when it tells your brain that it’s
satisfied and stop eating before you get overfull.
Don’t give into the temptation of starving yourself after pregnancy. I know
you’re tired of carrying those extra pounds, but eating too little isn’t good for
you or your baby. Remember that your body is still recovering. If you’re nursing, keep in mind that you need a good deal of calories to fuel milk production.
Turn to Chapter 21 for more specific advice on how to eat for weight loss after
your babe is born.
You may be surprised to find out that your pregnancy belly stays for a little
while after delivery. The truth is much of your expanded stomach is actually
your uterus, and it takes several weeks to shrink back to its normal size. Ignore
anyone who tells you she wore her pre-pregnancy clothes home from the hospital and make sure you hang on to your elastic-banded pregnancy pants for a
little while longer (or live in comfy dresses like I did for the first month).
As soon as you receive clearance from your doctor, which may take eight
weeks or more if you have a cesarean (C-section) delivery, start adding exercise to your routine. Put your baby in the stroller and go for a walk, swim,
pop in a yoga DVD, or attend a postnatal exercise class. Doing so will not only
help you burn calories but also provide you with some much-needed stress
relief and give you a nice boost of mood-elevating hormones.
Chapter 2
Expecting to Expect: Good
Nutrition before Pregnancy
In This Chapter
▶Getting your nutrition and health in order before you start trying to have a little one
▶Understanding how what you eat or don’t eat affects fertility
▶Finding out what your weight has to do with how quickly you can conceive
ongratulations! You’ve made one of the most important decisions of
your life: the choice to have children. Even if you aren’t pregnant yet,
just deciding that you want to join the millions of people who’ve found joy in
reproducing is a big step!
In this chapter, I tell you exactly what you need to consider before you get
pregnant. (If you’re already pregnant, stick around because you’ll still pick up
some good stuff.) First, I delve into the true importance of eating well during
pregnancy and preparing your body before you even get pregnant. Then I
help you understand two big factors that can affect your fertility: what you
eat and how much you weigh.
Preparing for the Baby Bump
If you and your partner are thinking about trying to conceive, then you know
it’s not just about you anymore. Mentally, you’re readying yourself to get used
to the idea of having a child, but you have to do some physical preparation,
too. Specifically, you need to start watching what you eat and getting your
health in order, no matter what your current health status or shape may be.
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
Understanding why you should
eat right (and exercise) now
Gone are the days of waiting for the positive sign on the pregnancy stick to get
serious about getting healthy. Why? Because your body needs certain nutrients
in reserve even before you get pregnant. If you’re properly nourished when you
get pregnant, you’ll start off with the right building blocks to nourish your baby,
too. Planning several months in advance can give you a jump-start in preparing
yourself for pregnancy. Plus, if you clean up your diet now, you won’t have to
make major changes when you do find out you’re pregnant. (So even if you aren’t
pregnant yet, go ahead and start following the advice in Chapters 3 and 4 and
Part II, and don’t miss out on the yummy — and healthy — recipes in Part III.)
Your body’s reserves and the food you eat are the only meal service for your
developing baby. From the minute the sperm and egg collide to make new life,
certain nutrients are necessary to make everything else possible. For example,
your baby’s neural tube, which covers the spinal cord, forms in the first few weeks
to one month following conception. At that point, some women don’t even know
they’re pregnant yet. Having enough of the B vitamin folic acid in your body in
those first few weeks is necessary to form a healthy spinal cord for your baby and
can prevent certain neural tube birth defects, such as spina bifida. (For details
on exactly how much folic acid you need, see the next section, and for information on other important nutrients your growing baby needs, see Chapter 3.)
Before you even start trying to have a baby, stop eating high-mercury fish,
like king mackerel, shark, swordfish, and tilefish. If mercury passes to the
fetus after you become pregnant, it can have a negative effect on the baby’s
developing nervous system. Because mercury can build up in the bloodstream
and take years to remove naturally, experts recommend that women who are
thinking of becoming pregnant limit their consumption of high-mercury fish
for several months to a year prior to becoming pregnant. (See Chapter 9 for
more details on which fish to eat and which fish to avoid during pregnancy.)
Note: If you’re a vegetarian, you can continue living your vegetarian lifestyle
throughout pregnancy and nursing. You simply need to make sure you’re
getting all the essential nutrients that you and your baby need. Focus on
iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein. I cover vegetarian diets in
greater detail in Chapter 3.
Of course, eating right isn’t the only way to physically prepare for a baby
bump. Exercise helps, too. Even though trying to get pregnant should be nothing but fun, the whole process can be stressful at times. Exercise is a natural
way to relieve stress. So take your aggressions out physically with moderate
and even vigorous exercise. Exercise also elevates your mood by boosting
endorphins that make you feel better, and a better mood means better sex.
Chapter 2: Expecting to Expect: Good Nutrition before Pregnancy
On a cellular level, exercise helps your body process glucose (blood sugar)
and use insulin (the hormone that takes glucose to your cells). Better glucose
control means better chances of getting pregnant. Finally, exercise helps
strengthen your heart, muscles, and bones — preparing them for the extra
physical demand that pregnancy puts on your body.
Getting your body ready
If you were planning to take your car on a cross-country road trip, you’d take
it in for a tune-up before you left to make sure all the hoses and spark plugs
were in good working order. Just like a tune-up for a car, getting a full-system
checkup on your body is key for getting pregnant and delivering a healthy
baby. Consider this your pre-pregnancy checklist:
Visit your family doctor. A visit with your family doctor (or internal
medicine doctor) is a good idea every year anyway, but a pre-pregnancy
checkup will either give you a medical green light to get pregnant or provide information about aspects of your health that you need to improve
before you conceive. Go through your family and personal health history
to see whether your doctor has any concerns about your trying to become
pregnant. He or she may also have some good advice for lifestyle changes
to ensure a healthy pregnancy that you may not have considered.
Establish a relationship with an OB/GYN. If you don’t already have an
obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN), search around until you find one
you’re comfortable with. Pregnancy requires numerous office visits
throughout the journey, so find someone you can build a rapport with.
You need to feel comfortable asking all the silly and not-so-silly questions about pregnancy and delivery as you go through the process.
Visit the dentist. Your mouth is the gateway for nutrition. Even if you
think your teeth and gums are healthy, get a checkup and cleaning prior
to pregnancy. Take care of any dental work (including treating bleeding
gums or any other signs of periodontal disease) that needs to be done
before you get pregnant, if at all possible. Studies show that pregnant
women with periodontal disease give birth more often to low-birthweight babies and have more babies born preterm.
When you do get pregnant, you may experience bleeding gums due
to more blood volume and more blood flow to the gums. With both of
my pregnancies, my gums bled more than usual every time I flossed. I
wanted to skip my six-month cleaning when I was pregnant, but my dentist insisted that I come in and promised to go easy on me. I went and
was glad I took that step to keep my mouth healthy.
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
Manage your weight. Many women go into pregnancy fearing that they’ll
gain too much weight and not be able to lose it. If you’re overweight, try
to lose weight prior to pregnancy. It’s safe to lose weight and try to get
pregnant at the same time. Plus, losing those excess pounds helps increase
your chances of getting pregnant (see more details in the later section
“Discovering Why Your Weight Matters”) and improves your health.
As soon as you become pregnant, talk to your doctor or registered dietitian about weight-management strategies because weight loss isn’t recommended during pregnancy.
Get plenty of folic acid. Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate, which
is found naturally in certain plant foods. Women in their childbearing
years should take 400 to 800 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day,
but especially for the three or more months before they start trying to
get pregnant. The first 28 days following conception are the most critical for folic acid and prevention of neural tube birth defects. If you’re
already pregnant, start taking folic acid right away. A prenatal vitamin
or even a regular multivitamin should have what you need, but check
the label for a minimum of 400 mcg.
Cut back on alcohol. If you think you have an alcohol problem, seek
help before trying to get pregnant. If you drink daily but moderately
(one drink per day), consider cutting back while you’re trying to get
pregnant. When you get pregnant, cut out alcohol completely. (Cutting
back pre-pregnancy may make eliminating alcohol from your diet easier
to do when you actually get pregnant.)
Jump ahead to the section “The controversies surrounding alcohol and
caffeine” for details on the relationship between alcohol and conception.
Limit caffeine. If you have to have three or more fully caffeinated cups of
coffee per day (8 ounces each), consider cutting back. Because caffeine is
physically addicting and withdrawal symptoms can occur (mainly headaches and irritability), cutting back slowly is a better approach than going
cold turkey. Take this time while you’re trying to become pregnant to pour
fewer daily cups to physically (and mentally) get used to consuming less
caffeine because after you conceive, it’s best to limit your caffeine intake to
just 200 milligrams (mg) per day.
For more information on the relationship between caffeine and conception,
check out the section “The controversies surrounding alcohol and caffeine.”
Quit smoking. Quit smoking well before you plan on getting pregnant.
Smoking during pregnancy compromises blood flow and oxygen to the
baby. Plus, pregnant women who smoke have a higher risk of giving
birth to low-birth-weight babies, and their babies have a higher risk of
developing asthma and other breathing lung problems.
Also eliminate secondhand smoke during pregnancy. Don’t be afraid to
ask someone to take it outside for the health of your baby.
Chapter 2: Expecting to Expect: Good Nutrition before Pregnancy
✓Make over your medicine cabinet. If you’re taking prescription medications and you’re thinking about becoming (or already are) pregnant, review
them with the prescribing physician as well as your obstetric physician.
Many medications carry a warning not to take them during pregnancy, and
chatting with your doctor can help you decide whether it’s medically necessary for you to continue taking your meds if they fall into this category. Be
sure to review over-the-counter medications and dietary supplements, such
as cold medicines, pain relievers, and vitamin or herbal supplements, with
your doctor, too, so that you can make sure you have the right stuff on
hand in case you become ill before you realize that you’re pregnant.
Managing current health conditions
If you have a particular health condition, such as one from the following list,
discuss your condition with your doctor before trying to get pregnant so that
together you can form a plan for the best possible outcome.
Diabetes: When you have diabetes, maintaining the right range of blood
sugar prior to conception is key to getting pregnant and preventing miscarriage. Studies have linked diabetes during pregnancy to large babies
and difficult deliveries with increased risk of C-section deliveries. If you
have diabetes, focus on eating right before and while you’re pregnant and
including the right kinds of carbs in the right amounts. Limit refined grains
and added sugars while focusing on getting the right mix of nutrients such
as fiber and protein. (Note that some pregnant women wind up with gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that develops only after a woman is pregnant. I explain how to deal with this condition in Chapter 18.)
If you have a family history of diabetes or suspect you have diabetes,
make an appointment with your doctor to see if you are diabetic.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): PCOS reduces fertility in women
because it compromises their body’s use of insulin, leaving them with
high glucose and insulin levels that lead to hormone disruption and
weight gain. Losing weight by managing portions and exercising regularly helps control glucose and regulate hormones. But some women
with PCOS may also need to use medications for glucose control and
ovulation regulation. (See Chapter 18 for more details.)
High blood pressure (hypertension): Blood flow to the baby is critical during pregnancy, and women with high blood pressure may have
reduced blood flow. If you’re on a medication for blood pressure, consult your doctor about continuing the medication during pregnancy;
many high blood pressure meds are safe. Strict sodium restriction may
also be necessary to control blood pressure. (I cover hypertension
during pregnancy in more detail in Chapter 18.)
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
High cholesterol: If you’re on cholesterol-lowering medications, your doctor
will very likely want you to stop taking them during pregnancy because they
aren’t considered safe for pregnant women. As a result, you have to rely on
your diet to control your cholesterol during the period of time you’re off the
medications. Read labels carefully to limit your saturated and trans fat intake
as much as possible. Increase soluble fiber, soy protein, and plant sterols
to help keep your cholesterol under control. You may also take omega-3
fish oil supplements, especially if your triglycerides are elevated.
If you have a health condition that involves dietary considerations, or if you
want a healthy preconception and pregnancy eating plan, make an appointment with a registered dietitian (RD) before you get pregnant, if possible.
Dietitians are trained to teach you exactly what, how much, and when to eat
to get the best outcome for you and your baby. Plan on meeting with your
dietitian periodically throughout your pregnancy so that you can get help
along the way. To find an RD in your area, visit the American Dietetic
Association’s website,
Conception Troubles: Recognizing
How Diet Affects Fertility
An estimated one in seven couples has trouble getting pregnant. Millions
of dollars have been spent on reproductive technologies to assist couples
in getting pregnant, but comparatively little attention has been paid to the
role of diet in fertility even though a woman’s diet affects numerous systems
within her body — including her reproductive system.
Let me point out right away that no magic bullet food will make you a fertile
goddess if you eat it. That being said, the field of diet and fertility has been
growing, and new research is emerging on a regular basis. The following sections outline some of the nutrients that affect fertility and explain why your
daily vice of choice (like that cup o’ joe or glass of Merlot) may be hurting
your chances of conceiving.
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for 6 to 12 months and have been unsuccessful, you may want to call your doctor. If you’re older than 35 or have any
other reason to think you may have trouble getting pregnant, see your doctor
earlier than 6 months into the trying process.
Nutrients that may influence your fertility
The reason you (and I and everyone else out there) need food is to provide
nutrients for your body to have energy and to keep your organs functioning.
Your reproductive system is just one of the many systems of the body that
requires good nutrition to run effectively.
Chapter 2: Expecting to Expect: Good Nutrition before Pregnancy
Good sources of plant proteins
Not yet pregnant but wanting to eat a healthier
diet to improve your odds of conceiving? Adding
just one serving a day of any of the following
plant-protein sources can protect against infertility that results from not ovulating properly:
✓ Soy-based foods: Soymilk, tofu, tempeh,
and vegetarian alternatives (like veggie
bacon, burgers, sausage, and so on)
✓ Legumes: Black beans, garbanzo beans
(chickpeas), pinto beans, lentils, kidney
beans, black-eyed peas, and so on
✓ Nuts: Peanuts, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, soy nuts, pecans, and so on
Unfortunately, not a lot of research has been done on the direct effect of diet and
fertility. But researchers at Harvard Medical School have found a few connections
between diet and ovulation. If you’re trying to get pregnant, pay special attention
to the following nutrients, which I list in order of importance regarding how they
affect the most common female fertility problem — not ovulating properly:
Carbohydrates: Carbs, your body’s preferred source of energy, can
send your glucose and insulin levels sky-high if you eat too many of
the refined carbs out there (like sugary and white-flour-based foods).
In turn, spiking glucose and insulin levels may negatively affect the
hormones needed for ovulation and can decrease fertility. Choose carbcontaining foods that are full of nutritional value and that provide a slow
release of glucose (blood sugar). Try the whole-grain variety whenever
possible and fill up on whole fruits and vegetables.
Protein: Women with high intakes of animal protein are more likely to have
ovulation-disruption fertility problems than women who eat more plantbased proteins. Red meat, chicken, and turkey seem to have a negative
impact on fertility, while fish and eggs have no effect. Now I’m not saying
you need to become a vegetarian. Simply consider substituting 25 grams
(g) of plant protein for 25 g of animal protein each day. Doing so can reduce
your risk of infertility due to not ovulating properly by 50 percent.
Fats: Recent evidence has connected the types of fat that people eat to
fertility. The more trans fats in your diet, the higher your risk of infertility related to ovulation problems. So minimize your intake of trans fats as
much as possible and limit your saturated fat intake. Boost your intake of
monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats as these fats can have a
positive effect on fertility. I explain these fats in more detail in Chapter 3.
Dairy: If you’re choosing the skim or fat-free dairy products currently, you
may want to switch to the higher-fat versions, at least for a few months
while you’re trying to get pregnant. Information from the 2007 Nurses’
Health Study showed that women who had lowfat dairy in their diets were
more likely to have trouble getting pregnant than women who had high-fat
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
dairy. Why? High-fat dairy has greater hormone content, which may help
fertility. Before you start downing a pint of regular ice cream in one sitting, consider having just one to two servings of higher-fat dairy each day.
Folate/folic acid: Extra folate (the food form) or folic acid (the form
found in dietary supplements and fortified foods) can improve a woman’s chances of getting pregnant and staying pregnant. Folate helps
build DNA, a process that happens at a high rate during reproduction.
Which form you get doesn’t matter; just make sure you get one of them.
Eat food or take a supplement that provides 400 to 800 mcg per day
prior to and during pregnancy.
Iron: Recent research has suggested that even mild iron deficiency may
affect ovulation. Iron also has a role in DNA production and in carrying
oxygen as part of hemoglobin inside red blood cells. Estimates show
that one in seven women have below-normal iron levels. Get your iron
tested and take 40 to 80 mg of supplemental iron if you’re diagnosed
with low iron levels to improve your chances of getting pregnant.
If you make the dietary changes recommended in the preceding list, your fertility may improve — or it may not. Work with your doctor to put together a
comprehensive, individualized fertility improvement plan.
The controversies surrounding
alcohol and caffeine
The relationship between alcohol and fertility is quite controversial. Heavy
drinking isn’t good at any stage of life, but what about having an occasional
(or even daily) drink while trying to get pregnant? The research is split.
Some studies show that moderate drinkers take longer to get pregnant; other
studies show no connection between drinking and length of time it takes to
conceive. Even so, the March of Dimes and Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention recommend avoiding alcohol completely while trying to conceive.
(As far as pregnancy and alcohol go, the research is very clear that you
shouldn’t drink any alcohol when you actually do get pregnant.)
If you think the research on the effects of alcohol on fertility is controversial,
consider the same research on caffeine. Part of the problem with getting a
straight answer is the fact that women metabolize caffeine differently based
on genetics and the phase of the menstrual cycle they’re in at the time.
Consequently, caffeine may have more of an impact in some women than
others. To be safe, limit your caffeine consumption to 200 mg or less per day,
both when you’re trying to conceive and during pregnancy. To see how much
caffeine is in common foods and beverages, take a look at Table 2-1, which
features data from the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Chapter 2: Expecting to Expect: Good Nutrition before Pregnancy
Table 2-1
Caffeine Content of Common Foods
Caffeine Content (mg)
Starbucks, brewed (16 oz, grande)
Dunkin Donuts, brewed (16 oz)
Coffee, generic brewed (8 oz)
133 (Range 102–200)*
Coffee, generic instant (8 oz)
93 (Range 27–173)
Espresso, generic (1 oz)
40 (Range 30–90)
Coffee, generic decaf (8 oz)
Tea, brewed (8 oz)
53 (Range 40–120)
Snapple, Lemon (16 oz)
Nestea (12 oz)
Mountain Dew, regular or diet (12 oz)
Diet Coke (12 oz)
Pepsi (12 oz)
Diet Pepsi (12 oz)
Coke (12 oz)
Barq’s Root Beer (12 oz)
Sprite, 7-Up, Fresca, Sierra Mist (12 oz)
Energy Drink
Monster Energy (16 oz)
Red Bull (8.3 oz)
AMP (8.4 oz)
Dark chocolate (1.45-oz bar)
Milk chocolate (1.55-oz bar)
*The exact amount of caffeine in coffee and tea depends on the brand and how strongly it’s brewed.
I include the average caffeine content of generic brands for comparison purposes, but note that the
actual amount can be anywhere within the range I provide in parentheses.
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
Discovering Why Your Weight Matters
Your weight may have an impact on your fertility. If you weigh too little (and
have a body mass index, or BMI, of less than 18.5), your body fat reserves are
likely low. When your body fat reserves are low, ovulation and menstruation
become irregular or stop completely. If the body doesn’t have any reserves
of energy (fat), it naturally prevents the body from being able to reproduce.
The body needs energy to keep the brain sending signals, to keep the heart
pumping, and to keep the muscles and organs moving. If the body doesn’t
have enough energy to keep its own systems going, it definitely doesn’t have
enough to create and grow a new life.
On the other hand, weighing too much (having a BMI of greater than 25)
can also have a detrimental effect on fertility. You may think that an excess
of energy (fat) would keep the body happy, since it knows it has plenty of
energy stored up to grow a baby. However, as weight increases above the
desired range, it puts stress on the body. Specifically, the excess weight gain
affects the numerous hormones being secreted by fat cells; those hormones,
in turn, affect fertility by interfering with ovulation.
Women who weigh too much are at risk for the following reproductive issues:
Irregular periods/disrupted ovulation
Disruption of hormones affecting fertility
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Increased risk of ovarian, cervical, and breast cancers
To ensure optimal fertility, keep your BMI between 20 and 24. To figure out
your BMI, refer to Figure 2-1. Locate your height in the left-hand column and
follow that row until you find the number that’s closest to your weight. Then
look at the top of the table to find your BMI.
If you’re overweight, losing between 5 and 10 percent of your weight can get
your ovulation back on track. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, focus on
losing at least 8 to 16 pounds. Even though losing 5 percent of your weight
may not put you in the “ideal” range for fertility, that little loss can still help
increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Understanding weight loss is simple: You need to eat fewer calories than you
burn. Unfortunately, putting that equation into action isn’t so simple! Here are
the keys to losing weight the healthy way:
Focus on portion control at all meals.
Stop eating when you’re satisfied but not completely full or stuffed.
Chapter 2: Expecting to Expect: Good Nutrition before Pregnancy
Add healthy snacks of 100 to 150 calories throughout the day to bridge
your hunger in between meals, making sure these calories fit into your
daily calorie budget for weight loss.
Choose foods that are lower in calories, such as lowfat or reducedsugar options.
Start doing some daily exercise, like walking 20 to 25 minutes each day,
if you aren’t active. If you already exercise on a regular basis, increase
the intensity or duration of your workouts.
For more ideas on exercise, check out the latest edition of Fitness For
Dummies by Suzanne Schlosberg and Liz Neporent or Fit Pregnancy For
Dummies by Catherine Cram and Tere Stouffer Drenth (John Wiley &
Sons, Inc.).
Keep your eye on the prize: a beautiful, bouncing, baby boy or girl.
Of course, talk to your doctor before beginning any weight-loss or exercise plan.
Figure 2-1:
your BMI.
19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35
Body Weight
91 96 100 105 110 115 119 124 129 134 138 143 148 153 158 162 167
94 99 104 109 114 119 124 128 133 138 143 148 153 158 163 168 173
97 102 107 112 118 123 128 133 138 143 148 153 158 163 168 174 179
100 106 111 116 122 127 132 137 143 148 153 158 164 169 174 180 185
104 109 115 120 126 131 136 142 147 153 158 164 169 175 180 186 191
107 113 118 124 130 135 141 146 152 158 163 169 175 180 186 191 197
110 116 122 128 134 140 145 151 157 163 169 174 180 186 192 197 204
114 120 126 132 138 144 150 156 162 168 174 180 186 192 198 204 210
118 124 130 136 142 148 155 161 167 173 179 186 192 198 204 210 216
121 127 134 140 146 153 159 166 172 178 185 191 198 204 211 217 223
125 131 138 144 151 158 164 171 177 184 190 197 203 210 216 223 230
128 135 142 149 155 162 169 176 182 189 196 203 209 216 223 230 236
132 139 146 153 160 167 174 181 188 195 202 209 216 222 229 236 243
136 143 150 157 165 172 179 186 193 200 208 215 222 229 236 243 250
140 147 154 162 169 177 184 191 199 206 213 228 221 235 242 250 258
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
Fertility nutrition for the dad-to-be
What you eat isn’t the only thing that affects
your chances of conceiving a child. What
your partner eats matters, too. Specifically, his
dietary choices affect the development of his
sperm, so eating right while trying to get pregnant isn’t just the woman’s job!
Following are some tips to share with your
desired baby-daddy so he can make sure
he’s doing his part to contribute to Operation
✓ Lose weight. Excess weight can decrease
sperm production. Refer to the section
“Discovering Why Your Weight Matters”
for help calculating your BMI and determining whether it falls in the healthy or overweight range.
✓ Pop a daily multivitamin. Future dads need
adequate folic acid and zinc for sperm production. Taking a daily multivitamin can fill
in small gaps in these and other nutrients.
✓ Eat your veggies. On average, men don’t eat
as many fruits and vegetables as women
do. An estimated 80 percent of men don’t
get the recommended five fruit and vegetable servings per day, which means they
may not be getting the nutrients needed
for optimal sperm production. Even more
reason to also take that multivitamin!
✓ Eat a nutrient-rich diet. Nutrients such as
folate, iron, and zinc are vital in creating
new sperm cells, and vitamins A and E play
a role in the secretion of prostate proteins.
Bottom line: Eat healthy not only to support
your partner but also to help do your job in
the creation of a healthy baby.
✓ Go easy on the alcohol. Heavy drinkers are
more likely to produce defective sperm that
are unable to fertilize an egg. You don’t have
to cut out alcohol completely; just make sure
you enjoy it in moderation. Limit yourself to no
more than two alcoholic drinks per day.
Chapter 3
Nourishing Your Bump: Proper
Nutrition while Pregnant
In This Chapter
▶Balancing the food you eat with the energy you burn every day of your pregnancy
▶Knowing how to get more calories from nutritious foods
▶Understanding why carbs, proteins, fats, fiber, and water are all essential nutrients
▶Recognizing special nutrient needs you may have if you’re a vegetarian
f there’s ever a time to eat right, it’s during pregnancy. Why? Because the
right mix of nutrients (everything that’s nourishing your body, from protein and iron to fiber and water) helps keep you going strong and your baby
growing steadily. This chapter gives you the nitty-gritty details of pregnancy
nutrition. If you’re a numbers person, you’ll love it because I specify how many
more calories you really need during pregnancy and show you how to distribute those calories into the three major nutrients that make up your diet: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. If you’re not a numbers person, just gloss over the
numbers and pay attention to the foods I recommend that you focus on.
Either way, you need to be aware that certain vitamin and mineral needs
change when you’re pregnant, whereas others don’t change at all. Don’t
worry, though. I tell you exactly which nutrients require your attention and
which foods can provide you with them. I also cover fiber and hydration —
the keys to smooth digestion — and reveal how to get the proper nutrients
in your pregnancy diet if you’re a vegetarian.
Eating for Baby and You: Balancing
Calories Eaten and Calories Burned
Rule number one of pregnancy nutrition: Don’t let anyone tell you (and don’t
tell yourself either!) that you’re eating for two. Thankfully, your baby will
never be as big as you while inhabiting your uterus. To think that you need to
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
eat as many calories to support your baby as you need to support yourself is
misguided. Eating for two may be a cute saying, but, in reality, eating for two
won’t make you look or feel cute!
You do need to consume some extra calories during the course of your pregnancy, but how many you consume varies according to the trimester you’re
in. (Also, depending on your size pre-pregnancy — whether you’re petite or
tall — you may need slightly more or less than the recommended numbers.)
The following sections give you the specifics.
Your weight status prior to pregnancy can dictate the number of calories you
need. If you were overweight before you got pregnant, you may need fewer
calories. If you were underweight, you may need to supplement the calorie
numbers I provide in this chapter with more calories to gain the proper
amount of weight. Talk to your obstetrician (OB) to determine the approximate total amount of weight you can gain for a healthy pregnancy and the
number of additional (or fewer) calories you need to consume to get there.
First trimester (weeks 1–13): Don’t
purposely take in extra calories
Even though the first trimester (weeks 1 through 13) is a time of incredible
growth for your baby, she’s still so small that her growth doesn’t require any
significant energy. So during these first few months, don’t worry about purposely eating any more calories than you ate pre-pregnancy. If you happen to
eat a few more bites of food or an extra piece of fruit or glass of milk, you’re
likely getting everything you need.
If food is the last thing on your mind because of nausea, take a deep breath
and relax. Your pre-pregnancy nutrient stores will get you through this first
trimester even if you aren’t able to hold down much food. Just be sure to take
your prenatal vitamin every day so you know you’re getting enough folic acid.
(For advice on dealing with nausea, see Chapter 6.)
If you’re not experiencing nausea, you may have the opposite problem —
ravenous hunger! When hunger strikes, go with your instincts and eat, but
eat foods that will fill you up and provide good nutrients. Avoid foods high in
sugar and fat and focus instead on healthy foods. While you’re at it, why not
venture into the kitchen and whip up some of the delicious recipes I present
in Part III?
Chapter 3: Nourishing Your Bump: Proper Nutrition while Pregnant
Trust your gut
When I was pregnant with my first child, I went
in for my first OB appointment at eight weeks,
excited for all the pregnancy advice he was
about to dole out. When he got to the nutritional advice, he told me not to purposely start
eating extra calories right away but instead to
follow my body’s natural hunger cues.
What? As a dietitian, I was horrified. Based on
my nutritional knowledge, I knew that women
need more calories while they’re pregnant
and I couldn’t believe that for 20 plus years
this doctor had been telling all his pregnant
patients not to eat more calories. How irresponsible! How would his patients know to get
the nutrition they need to support their pregnancy if he was telling them not to eat more?
After living as a pregnant woman for another
month or so, I started to realize that Dr. Kyle
Crofoot (my OB) was simply brilliant. I noticed
that if I truly listened to my hormone-raging
pregnant body, I would eat more when I needed
to eat more to support my pregnancy. Some
days I was nauseous and didn’t eat much, but
other days my appetite was ravenous and I
would eat more. I’m so glad that I didn’t start
at week eight with purposely trying to eat more
calories every day. I likely would have gained
too much in the first trimester, setting the stage
for excess weight gain for the entire pregnancy.
Second trimester (weeks 14–27):
Take in an extra 300–350 calories
The second trimester (weeks 14 through 27) is a time of incredible growth for
your baby, as you can see in Figure 3-1. She goes from weighing only about
an ounce at the end of week 13 to weighing more than 2 pounds by the end of
week 26. To support your little one’s growth during this phase of pregnancy,
you need to consume about 300 to 350 extra calories per day.
You don’t have to eat all 300 to 350 calories at one time. You can spread
them out over the course of the day. Check out the following list for some
great meal and snack ideas that’ll give you the calories you need during your
second trimester (the number of calories is in parentheses). Feel free to mix
and match to make your own yummy combinations.
1 large banana (120) + 1 large apple (95) + 30 pistachios (100)
1 ounce whole-grain crackers (120) + 1 string cheese (85) + 1⁄2 cup frozen
yogurt (140)
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
Figure 3-1:
during the
and third
1 cup 1% cottage cheese (160) + 1 cup fresh sliced strawberries (50) +
⁄2 cup edamame (95)
1 cup fat-free milk (90) + 1 cup whole-grain cereal (175) + 1⁄2 cup
blueberries (45)
Two slices whole-wheat toast (160) + 1 tablespoon almond butter (100) +
1 tablespoon raspberry preserves (55)
1 ounce tortilla chips (140) + 1⁄4 cup salsa (20) + 1⁄2 cup black beans (110) +
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks (80)
6 ounces Concord grape juice (130) + 1⁄2 ounce dark chocolate (85) + 6
ounces nonfat fruited Greek yogurt (130)
1 smoothie (310) made with 1⁄2 banana + 1⁄2 cup strawberries + 1⁄2 cup
nonfat milk + 1 scoop protein powder + 1 tablespoon wheat germ
1 frozen meal of your choice (about 300)
Some days you’ll be hungrier than others. Follow your hunger cues and eat
more on the days when your hungrier, but don’t force yourself to eat on the
days when you aren’t. It’ll all even out for most women. Besides, your doctor
will let you know whether you’re gaining too little or too much weight, so you
can adjust your calories up or down as appropriate.
If you’re so inclined, you can rely on the scale to tell you whether you’re getting
enough to eat (or too much, for that matter). Look at your average weight gain
over the course of a few weeks to assess your progress. Turn to Chapter 5 to
see how much weight you should be gaining throughout your pregnancy.
Chapter 3: Nourishing Your Bump: Proper Nutrition while Pregnant
The science behind those extra calories
Women need about 85,000 calories for the entire
40 weeks of pregnancy. If you do the math, those
85,000 calories break down to about 300 extra
calories per day. However, studies vary, some
estimating pregnant women need more calories
and others estimating they need fewer calories.
One reason why you need more calories when
you’re pregnant (at least in the second and third
trimesters) is that your resting metabolic rate
(RMR) increases. Your RMR is the number of
calories you burn each day at rest. Your RMR
increases with pregnancy because you burn
more calories to grow another life. The other
reason you need more calories is that you have
to store fat and protein in your body throughout
pregnancy. (I explain more about how much
weight to gain during pregnancy in Chapter 5.)
While your RMR plays a large part in determining the number of calories you burn in a
day, you can’t forget about your daily physical
activities. Some studies suggest that pregnant
women don’t need as many calories as many
experts estimate because many women end
up decreasing their physical activity during
pregnancy. Whether that means exercising
less intensely or simply sitting with your feet
up more often, you may find yourself moving
less than your pre-pregnancy self who never
sat down and kick-boxed her way to fitness.
As you work with your doctor to determine how
many more calories you need, be sure to think
about how much more or less you’re moving
during your pregnancy.
Third trimester (weeks 28–40): Take
in an extra 450–500 calories
During the third trimester, your baby gains about 4 more pounds (refer to
Figure 3-1 to see the baby’s size difference between the end of the second
trimester and the end of the third). Because you’re now carrying around even
more weight than you were in the second trimester, you need to consume
more calories so you have the energy to cart that extra weight around. Aim
to eat about 450 to 500 more calories than you did pre-pregnancy.
Follow your hunger. Some days you’ll be ravenous and other days your appetite will subside. As long as you’re gaining the proper weight, don’t stress
about eating exactly 450 to 500 extra calories per day.
Here are some ideas for how to get those extra 450 to 500 calories each day
(the number of calories is in parentheses). Keep in mind that you can spread
out the extra calories throughout the day. Mix and match foods from this list
to create your own meals and snacks.
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
⁄4 cup hummus (100) + 1 cup fresh raw veggies (50) + 1 whole-grain pita
pocket (120) + 1 ounce pasteurized feta cheese (75) + 1 cup chocolate
soymilk (140)
2 Medjool dates (130) + 1 ounce (or 19 halves) pecans (195) + 1 ounce
cheddar cheese (115) + 1 plum (30)
1 hard-boiled egg (75) + one 4-inch cinnamon raisin bagel (230) + 1 tablespoon peanut butter (95) + 4 ounces 100% pomegranate juice (80)
3 ounces salmon (175) + 1⁄2 cup quinoa (115) + 1 cup asparagus (40) + 1
tablespoon olive oil (120)
3 ounces lean strip steak (165) + 2 cups raw spinach (15) + 20 pine nuts
(25) + 2 tablespoons Italian salad dressing (100) + 1 KIND or other fruit
and nut nutrition bar (190)
⁄2 cup garbanzo beans (130) + 1 mango (135) + 1 cup chocolate pudding (210)
6 ounces nonfat fruited Greek yogurt (130) + 1⁄2 cup granola (200) +
1 tablespoon honey (65) + 1 cup raspberries (65)
⁄3 cup dry rolled oats (150) + 1 cup skim milk (90) + 1 ounce (or 14 halves)
walnuts (185) + 1 large peach (70)
⁄2 cup homemade tuna or chicken salad (200) + 1 cup grapes (65) +
15 almonds (105) + 1 SOYJOY or other soy protein nutrition bar (130)
2 mini Babybel or other round cheeses (140) + 1⁄2 cup barley (100) +
6 dried apricot halves (50) + 2 small chocolate chip cookies (160)
You can also get your extra 450 to 500 calories by eating larger portions at
your meals, but adding some nutritious snacks in between meals is probably
a better idea. Why? Because as the third trimester goes on, the sheer size of
your belly may suppress your appetite or cause gastric reflux by pressing on
your stomach. Limiting portions at meals and relying on snacks for added
nutrients and energy can help you feel better overall.
Figuring Out Where Your Calories
Should Come from
Variety is the spice of life, and it should definitely be a part of your diet,
whether you’re pregnant or not. If you eat the same foods all the time, you get
the same nutrients all the time. But if you vary your food choices, you get different nutrients in the foods you consume. But what should those foods be?
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides a guideline
for the average person to follow for good nutrition. This guideline is called
MyPlate, and it shows the proportion of calories that should come from each of
the five food groups (grains, protein, vegetables, fruits, and dairy). Figure 3-2
Chapter 3: Nourishing Your Bump: Proper Nutrition while Pregnant
shows what the MyPlate guideline looks like. You can get specific recommendations for calories and portions based on your height, weight, age, and activity level by going to
Figure 3-2:
can help
guide you
in knowing
which foods
to eat.
The majority of the extra calories you get while you’re pregnant should come
from three sources: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. The following sections
explain why each of these nutrients is so important during pregnancy.
Carbohydrates: Energy for the body
Carbohydrates (or carbs, as they’re often called) are your body’s (and your
baby’s) preferred source of energy, providing you with the glucose you need
to keep your brain functioning. Some examples of carb-containing foods
include grains (bread, cereal, oatmeal, and tortillas, just to name a few),
fruits, vegetables, milk, desserts, and anything that contains sugar.
Without enough carbohydrates, your body has to break down other nutrients,
like proteins and fats, for energy instead of letting them do what they’re supposed to do in the body (see the next two sections for details). You can avoid
this situation by making sure that anywhere from 45 to 65 percent of your daily
calories come from carbs. A single gram of carbs contains 4 calories, so just multiply the grams of carbs in a food by 4 to figure out how many carb calories that
food contains. (You can see how many carbs are in the foods you eat by looking
for the phrase Total carbohydrates on the food label. Under the total carbohydrates, you usually also see the amount of fiber and sugar, in grams, that the
food contains. Both fiber and sugar are part of the total carbohydrate number.)
An easier option is to keep track of the total grams of carbs you consume. If
you take this approach, aim to eat between 225 and 325 grams (g) of carbs per
day for an average 2,000-calorie intake.
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
The two categories of carbs are simple and complex. Simple carbs are sugars —
not just table sugar but also the sugar found naturally in food, like fructose in
fruit and lactose in milk. Complex carbs, also called starches, are long chains
of sugars; they’re found in foods like grains, rice, pasta, potatoes, and beans.
Your body has to break down complex carbs into simple sugars for them to be
absorbed from the digestive tract into the bloodstream. Focus on getting the
majority of your carbohydrates as complex carbs.
Plan on having carbohydrates in the form of grains, fruits, and vegetables at
every meal. Maintaining good energy means keeping your body fueled with its
preferred energy source (you guessed it, carbs!) all day long.
Protein: Cell building and repair
Protein is made up of amino acids, which are basically the building blocks
of every cell in your body and in your developing baby’s body. Aim to get
20 percent of your daily calories from protein (that’s about 100 grams per day
if you’re eating a 2,000-calorie diet). A single gram of protein contains 4 calories. To figure out how many protein calories a food contains, simply multiply
the grams-of-protein-per-serving info by 4. Of course, you can always eat more
protein if you want, up to 35 percent of your daily calories (which amounts to
175 g if you’re eating a 2,000-calorie diet).
Because a lot of protein-containing foods are fresh (think raw meat), they
don’t require a food label. That’s nice for manufacturers but challenging for
you when you’re trying to keep track of your protein intake. Let Table 3-1 be
your guide to how many grams of protein are in some common foods.
Table 3-1
Amount of Protein in Some Common Foods
Amount of Protein
3 ounces lean cooked meat (poultry, pork, beef, and fish)
About 21 g (7 g/ounce)
6 ounces Greek yogurt
12–16 g
3 ounces firm tofu
1 cup lowfat milk
2 tablespoons peanut butter
⁄2 cup black beans
6 ounces lowfat yogurt
5–7 g
1 large egg
1 ounce (or about 23) almonds
Most grain products (for example, a slice of bread,
1 ounce of cereal, or 2 ounces of dry pasta)
1–4 g per serving
Chapter 3: Nourishing Your Bump: Proper Nutrition while Pregnant
Protein takes longer to digest than carbs, so eating protein keeps you full for
a longer period of time than eating carbs. Always try to include protein at
every meal. At breakfast, your protein source can be milk, eggs, or yogurt,
and, at lunch and dinner, it can be meat or meat alternatives. You can also
get protein from your snacks by eating nuts and nut butters.
Fat: Nervous system development
and function
Even though you may be nervous about the weight you’ll gain, pregnancy is not
the time to go on a fat-free diet! Fat plays a key role in developing your baby’s
brain and keeping your brain and nervous system running smoothly. It’s also
an energy source for your body and helps keep you feeling fuller longer. Aim to
get 20 to 35 percent of your calories from fat. Fat is more calorically dense than
carbs and protein; a single fat gram contains 9 calories. Multiply the grams of fat
in a food by 9 to figure out how many fat calories a food contains.
An easier way to track how many of your daily calories come from fat is to
look for the Fat Cal per serving info on the Nutrition Facts panel. Another alternative is to track grams of fat. If you’re eating a 2,000-calorie diet, you need to
consume 45 to 78 g of fat per day.
Different fats have very different reactions in your body. So you need to
be aware of what types of fats you’re eating. Research has proven that certain fats are better for you than others. For example, saturated fat (butter,
whole-fat dairy, and fatty meats) and trans fat (hydrogenated oils) have been
shown to raise “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, leading to clogging of arteries
and increased risk of heart disease. On the flip side, monounsaturated fats,
like those found in olive oil and avocados, trigger less LDL cholesterol and
more of the “good” HDL cholesterol. Polyunsaturated fats, like those found in
vegetable oils and fish, are also beneficial. In fact, two specific types of polyunsaturated fats have a significant impact on brain development; I introduce
you to these fats in the later section “Omega-3 fatty acids.”
Limit your consumption of saturated fat to less than 22 g per day (that’s 10
percent if you’re consuming 2,000 calories a day) and try to avoid artificial
trans fat (like the kind found in hydrogenated oils and fried foods).
Not sure how to figure out how much fat you’re getting? Just look for the Total
Fat listing on the food label. The amounts of saturated fat and trans fat appear
underneath that listing. Sometimes you also find the amounts of monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat listed, but they don’t have to be there.
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
Getting the Nutrients You Need
During pregnancy, you’re literally forming a new life within your body – an
act that requires more than just carbs, protein, and fat. Vitamins and minerals are also important members of the nutrition team, playing many different
roles in the growth and development of your baby.
A supplement is one way to ensure you’re getting the vitamins and minerals
you and your little one need throughout your pregnancy. You find most, if
not all, of the nutrients you need to supplement in a basic prenatal vitamin.
Several brands of prenatal vitamins exist, including both over-the-counter
and prescription varieties. A prescription prenatal isn’t necessarily better,
but your doctor may prescribe one for two reasons:
Women take pills better when they’re prescribed rather than just
Some health insurance companies cover prescription prenatal vitamins,
meaning that they may cost you less than the over-the-counter varieties.
In addition to a balanced diet, a regular multivitamin made with a women’s formula (so it has extra folic acid and iron) may also get the job done. Women’s
multivitamins usually have all the essential nutrients for pregnancy, although
they may not have as high of doses as the prenatal varieties. Prenatal vitamins
also tend to have more iron and sometimes even the DHA omega-3 all in one
place (see the later sections “Iron” and “Omega-3 fatty acids” for details).
Iron can cause nausea and constipation in some women. If you’re one of them,
skip the prenatal vitamin and at least take a separate folic acid supplement (with
between 600 and 800 micrograms) or a general multivitamin with less iron.
Depending on your diet, you may also want to take extra calcium, iron, vitamin D, or DHA omega-3. Estimate how much of each nutrient you’re getting
in your diet and talk to your doctor about getting your blood values checked
for certain nutrients, such as iron and vitamin D. Then supplement your diet
with additional nutrients as needed.
A supplement is just that — a supplement to your diet. In other words, don’t
eat junk and think the vitamins you’re taking will be enough to keep you and
your baby healthy. Nutritious, healthy food is still important!
Of course, because some nutrients are of special concern during pregnancy,
you may want to take a closer look at them so you can really understand
what they do for your growing baby, how much of them you need, and what
you can eat to get them. I provide these details in the next sections.
Chapter 3: Nourishing Your Bump: Proper Nutrition while Pregnant
Folate (folic acid)
Folate (the food form), also called folic acid (the supplement form), plays a key
role in developing your baby’s spinal cord early in pregnancy, but it’s also an
important nutrient to get later in pregnancy. Aim to get 600 micrograms (mcg)
per day throughout your pregnancy. Your prenatal vitamin probably contains
about this amount (check the label to make sure), but because vitamins are generally absorbed and utilized better through food than supplements, try to get it
naturally in food, too.
You find folate in oranges (and orange juice), strawberries, avocados, beans
(specifically black, garbanzo, kidney, navy, and pinto), black-eyed peas,
lentils, nuts, dark-green leafy vegetables (like spinach, kale, and collards),
asparagus, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. You can also find folate-fortified
grain products, such as flour and cereal.
Your daily iron needs practically double during pregnancy, from 18 to 27 milligrams (mg). This increase is due in large part to the increase in blood volume
you’re experiencing. Iron helps your body form hemoglobin, the protein that
carries oxygen to the blood. You need this oxygen to get to your placenta to
help your baby develop.
Aside from your prenatal vitamin, you find iron in animal foods like beef,
poultry (higher in dark meat), pork, fish, and egg yolks, although you can
also get iron in seeds, beans, lentils, dark-green leafy vegetables, dried fruit
(like prunes, raisins, and apricots), and whole grains. Manufacturers often
add iron into other grains such as rice and cereals as well. In packaged food
products, you can find the amount of iron per serving listed on the food label,
but be aware that the percentage listed is based on the average 18 mg daily
requirement and you now need 27 mg.
Iron, especially the form found in vegetable sources, is often not absorbed in
high quantities by your body. To help improve absorption, eat foods that are
high in vitamin C along with your iron-rich foods. For example, include oranges,
tomatoes, cantaloupe, strawberries, kiwi, peppers, or broccoli in the same meal
as your iron-rich foods. The vitamin C in these foods helps your body absorb
more iron. Cooking iron-rich foods in an iron skillet may also help boost your
iron intake because some of the iron actually gets into the foods.
Your doctor will probably check your iron levels periodically throughout
your pregnancy to make sure they’re within the normal range. One symptom of iron deficiency is fatigue, but you may have a hard time figuring
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
out whether you’re tired because you’re iron deficient (called anemic) or
because you’re just plain exhausted from pregnancy! A blood test is the
only real way to know for sure. If you find out that you’re iron deficient,
your doctor may recommend that you take a higher dose of supplemental
iron. Iron supplements can cause nausea, loss of appetite, and constipation,
though, so if you’re suffering, talk to your doctor about taking a lower dose
and focus on getting as much iron as possible from food.
Calcium helps with blood pressure control, but it’s best known for its role in
bone health — both maintaining yours and building your baby’s. If you don’t
get enough calcium in your diet, 1,000 mg to be exact, your body will take it
from your bones, leaving you at higher risk of osteoporosis. The good news is
that your body actually absorbs calcium better when you’re pregnant.
Most prenatal vitamins contain only about 250 mg of calcium, so plan to
supplement that amount by eating dairy foods (like milk, cheese, and yogurt)
daily. You can also find calcium-fortified soymilk, orange juice, breads, cereals,
and nutrition bars. Some vegetables and fruits, like dark-green leafy vegetables,
broccoli, okra, and figs, also contain calcium. For packaged foods, calcium has
to appear on food labels, so you can easily find out how much calcium the food
you’re eating contains. Fortunately, the daily recommendation is the same for
pregnant and nonpregnant people, so looking at the percent on food labels is a
good way to see whether you’re getting enough calcium.
Although you may not have heard of it, choline is pretty important to your
little one. Preliminary evidence suggests that it works along with folate to
ensure the proper development of the neural tube and central nervous
system. In addition, choline also plays a key role in developing the hippocampus, which is the memory center of the brain. So if you want your child to
remember Mother’s Day, get plenty of choline, specifically 450 mg of it.
Choline isn’t difficult to get in your diet, but purposely include some of the
best food sources daily so you get your fill. Eggs are the best source of choline, with 125 mg; just make sure you eat the yolk because all the choline is
in the yolk, not in the white part. You also find choline in meats such as beef,
poultry, pork, and fish. If you’re looking for vegetarian sources, try wheat
germ, cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, and nuts (especially pistachios). Check
the label of your prenatal vitamin to see if it includes choline; most prenatal
vitamins have it but some may not.
Chapter 3: Nourishing Your Bump: Proper Nutrition while Pregnant
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to help reduce the risk of preterm
births, preeclampsia, and hypertension in pregnancy. Two specific omega-3
fatty acids found mainly in fish and seafood are essential during pregnancy:
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): Most research emphasizes getting plenty
of DHA in pregnancy because the brain is made up primarily of DHA. I was
so convinced of the research that I made sure I took omega-3 supplements
while pregnant and nursing to ensure I would have brilliant children. It
worked because so far they’re too smart for their own good! All joking
aside, aim to get a minimum of 300 mg of DHA a day while pregnant.
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA): EPA is essential to building every structural cell in the body. Aim to get a minimum of 220 mg per day (which is
actually the same amount you need when you’re not pregnant).
The key to getting plenty of omega-3s in pregnancy is focusing on the best
sources of omega-3s while avoiding the sources with higher mercury contents. How do you know which sources are best? Take a look at Table 3-2. It
shows a list of high-omega-3 fish that are also low in mercury (and, thus, safe
to eat during pregnancy).
Table 3-2
Low-Mercury Sources of DHA and EPA Omega-3s
DHA + EPA Content
Atlantic salmon, farmed, 3 ounces cooked
1,835 mg
Coho salmon, farmed, 3 ounces cooked
1,087 mg
Anchovies, 2 ounces canned
924 mg
Sardines, 3 ounces canned
835 mg
Crab, 3 ounces cooked
335 mg
Flounder, 3 ounces cooked
255 mg
Clams, 3 ounces cooked
241 mg
Light tuna, 3 ounces canned
230 mg
Scallops, 3 ounces cooked
80 mg
Shrimp, 3 ounces cooked
80 mg
Catfish, 3 ounces cooked
77 mg
Source: USDA nutrient database (
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
If you’re not a fan of fish, look for sources of algae because the algae the fish
eat produce their high omega-3 content. But before you start scraping the
sides of your fish tank, look for food products on store shelves that boast
high DHA contents. Most of these products are fortified with algal oil and
contain between 30 and 50 mg of DHA per serving.
One of my favorite nonfish sources of omega-3s is a DHA-enhanced egg.
Eggland’s Best farms feed their hens sea kelp, which results in each egg having
about 57 mg of DHA per large egg. Regular eggs have 29 mg on average.
If you can’t fathom eating a ton of fish or omega-3-fortified food, consider
taking an omega-3 supplement. Your prenatal vitamin may already have some
omega-3s in it, so look at the label for DHA and EPA. Aim to get a minimum of
300 mg of DHA but ideally more like a total of 1,000 mg of DHA and EPA combined. If your prenatal vitamin doesn’t have enough omega-3s, consider a fishoil supplement. Just be sure to read the label carefully to see how many pills
you need to take to get to the 1,000 mg amount.
Fish oil supplements can cause a nasty case of fish burps. If you don’t think
you can handle tasting fish for a while after taking a supplement, look for a
supplement that’s made from high-quality, highly purified fish oil, like Nordic
Naturals. Alternatively, choose one that’s enteric coated, like Vital Remedy MD’s
VitalOils1000 or a store-shelf brand like Nature Made’s Ultra Omega-3 Minis,
which give you 1,000 mg of combined DHA and EPA in three small pills that
are easier to swallow. If you’re a vegan, look for Ascenta brand NutraVege, which
has 400 mg of DHA in two teaspoons.
The rest of the essential pregnancy nutrients
The previous five sections describe specific nutrients that have a direct relationship to various key areas of your baby’s development, but they’re not the only
nutrients worth knowing about. In the following list, I highlight four additional
nutrients that are important for keeping you and your baby properly nourished:
Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps build bones and protect the immune system
of both you and your baby. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to
increased risk of cesarean (C-section) delivery, preeclampsia, and gestational diabetes for pregnant moms and weak bones, seizures, respiratory infections, and brain disorders in babies. Vitamin D is difficult to
get in the diet, so make sure your prenatal vitamin contains at least 600
international units (IU). If you want to do even better by you and your
baby, try to get at least 1,000 IU of vitamin D per day. (You can take an
extra vitamin D supplement to reach this amount.)
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that every pregnant
woman get her vitamin D level checked and aim for a blood level above
32 nanograms/milliliter (ng/mL). It takes about 1,000 IU of vitamin D to
raise blood levels 10 ng/mL. Many researchers now recommend that all
Chapter 3: Nourishing Your Bump: Proper Nutrition while Pregnant
pregnant and nursing women take 5,000 IU of vitamin D daily, but check
with your doctor for his or her recommendation.
Vitamin A: This nutrient is necessary in pregnancy because of its key
role in building healthy cells and developing vision in your baby. Do
your best to get 2,566 IU (770 mcg) of vitamin A per day.
Getting enough vitamin A isn’t typically a problem. The concern is consuming too much of this particular nutrient. Some studies have connected
high levels of vitamin A to birth defects. Getting too much vitamin A in
your diet is pretty hard to do unless you eat liver several times per week
(liver is really high in vitamin A), but getting too much from supplements
is much easier. Check all the supplements you’re taking and make sure
that you’re not getting more than 10,000 IU total of preformed vitamin A
daily. Also make sure your supplement uses beta carotene as its source of
vitamin A rather than the potentially problematic form called retinol.
✓Zinc: This mineral is essential for keeping your immune system strong and
for cell growth in your baby. During your pregnancy, aim to get a minimum
of 11 mg of zinc per day; it’s okay to get more than that. Good sources of
zinc include animal proteins as well as fortified grains, sunflower seeds,
wheat germ, tofu, and peanuts. You may also be able to meet your daily zinc
requirement just by taking your prenatal vitamin; check the label to be sure.
Iodine: In pregnancy, iodine helps with brain development and hormone
production in your baby, so be sure to get 220 mcg of it daily. You can
find iodine in iodized salt, a common staple in many people’s homes,
as well as in fish (especially saltwater fish), dairy foods, and some vegetables, like potatoes and beans. Some prenatal vitamins contain iodine
but some don’t, so don’t rely on your vitamin to get your iodine.
Researching the link between Mom’s
nutrition and Baby’s development
A recent study found that a mother’s nutrition
while pregnant can actually alter the function of
her child’s DNA, predisposing the child to conditions and diseases such as obesity, diabetes,
and heart disease. Eating a poor diet during the
times that are most critical in the development of
your baby may even cause certain organs to not
function correctly and may lead to complications
in your baby. For example, one study on baboons
(hey, they’re not so different from humans!) found
that poor nutrition during fetal and early life damaged the pancreas and predisposed the offspring
to type 2 diabetes later on in life.
Another interesting study looked at survivors
of the Dutch Famine in the 1940s. The women
who were pregnant during the famine had
children who were more likely to develop
a preference for fatty foods and to be less
active. They also had increased risk of type 2
diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Although a famine probably
isn’t on the horizon in your life, this study is a
great example of the impact a lack of nutrition
during pregnancy can have on your child’s
lifelong health.
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
Discovering the Numerous
Benefits of Fiber
Fiber offers your body several different health benefits. Probably the most
well-known benefit is its broom-like quality. That is, fiber keeps things
moving through your digestive tract, cleaning out the colon. Fiber is the part
of complex carbohydrates that literally doesn’t get digested. Because your
body can’t digest it, fiber creates bulk in the stool, leaving you with a softer
stool that passes with regularity.
Fiber also keeps you feeling fuller longer and keeps your blood sugar under
control while your body tries to digest it. In addition, fiber can help you control your blood pressure, decrease your risk of preeclampsia, and reduce your
cholesterol levels. The following sections tell you everything you need to know
about how much fiber to get during pregnancy and where to go to get it.
Knowing how much fiber you need
During pregnancy, you need to get 28 g of fiber per day (that’s 3 g more than
the recommended pre-pregnancy amount). Pregnant women need more
fiber in their diets to combat their increased risk of constipation, which is a
common occurrence for many expectant mothers due to hormonal changes
in the body. Turn to Chapter 6 for additional constipation-prevention tips.
Eating fiber can leave you feeling a bit gassy. To avoid this experience,
increase your fiber intake slowly. Eat a bit more fiber every day for several
weeks to get up to the full 28 g per day. Doing so allows your digestive tract
to get used to the added fiber.
Filling up on fiber-rich foods
The only place you find fiber is in plant foods. So look to whole grains, beans,
fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds to get your fill of fiber. Table 3-3 provides
you with a list of common plant foods along with their fiber content. (For any
foods with a range of fiber contents, just check the label on the food you’re
about to eat to find out exactly how much fiber it contains.)
Chapter 3: Nourishing Your Bump: Proper Nutrition while Pregnant
Table 3-3
Common High-Fiber Foods
High-fiber cereals (like All-Bran, Fiber One, Kashi, Raisin Bran, and
Shredded Wheat)
6–14 g
Beans (like black, kidney, garbanzo, pinto, lima, and baked beans),
⁄2 cup cooked
5–9 g
Lentils, 1⁄2 cup cooked
Blackberries, 1 cup raw
Pear, medium with skin
Apple, medium with skin
Russet potato, medium with skin
Whole-wheat bread, pasta, and brown rice, serving size
2–4 g
Popcorn, 3 cups popped
3.5 g
Banana, medium
Strawberries, 1 cup raw
Broccoli, ⁄2 cup cooked
2.5 g
Spinach, ⁄2 cup cooked
Oatmeal, ⁄2 cup cooked
Flaxseed, 1 tablespoon ground
Wheat germ, 2 tablespoons
Hummus, 2 tablespoons
1.5 g
Fiber is listed as Dietary Fiber on the Nutrition Facts panel on food labels
(under the Total Carbohydrates line). Looking for this entry is the best way to
find the exact amount of fiber in a packaged food.
Sneaking more fiber into your day
Look for opportunities throughout the day to add more fiber to your diet.
Start with a high-fiber cereal or a piece of whole-grain toast and be amazed
at how easily you can get your required 28 g every day. Here are some additional creative ways of adding fiber to your diet:
Use whole-wheat flour in place of part or all of the white flour in recipes.
Leave the skin on fruits and vegetables (if it’s edible!).
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
Sneak more vegetables into foods by shredding and pureeing them and
adding them to casseroles, sauces, and soups.
Use fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables to make smoothies.
Add canned beans to salads, soups, and pasta dishes — basically anywhere
and everywhere you can think to add them. (Just remember to drain and
rinse the beans to cut back on sodium and potentially reduce gas.)
Use snacks like popcorn, fresh fruit, raw veggies, canned beans, and
high-fiber cereal or crackers as midday fiber opportunities.
Realizing Why Proper Hydration Matters
Whether you’re pregnant or not, fluid is absolutely critical. You could survive
for a long time on your body’s stores of nutrients, but without fluid you may
not even last a week. Fluid transports nutrients to your cells and waste material away from them, keeps your body at the proper temperature (something
that’s especially important when you’re pregnant), and moves fiber through
your digestive system. Read on to find out how much fluid you need to stay
hydrated (having proper fluid balance in your cells) and where to get it.
How much fluid do I need?
You need 102 ounces (that’s 3 liters or 12.7 cups) of fluid per day throughout your
pregnancy. Why so much? Well, blood is about 83 percent water, and your blood
volume increases when you’re pregnant. Also, what do you think your baby is floating around in? You guessed it — fluid! Without that extra fluid, your baby wouldn’t
have the proper cushioning he needs to protect his delicate, developing body.
To determine whether you’re properly hydrated, look at the color of your
urine. You don’t need to examine it for hours; just taking a quick peek to see
whether your urine is barely yellow can leave you feeling assured that you’re
hydrated. If it’s bright yellow or dark in color, reach for a beverage after you
wash your hands. If you’re having trouble with vomiting during your pregnancy, you may have a hard time staying hydrated. Check with your doctor
about monitoring and improving your hydration.
Where should my fluid come from?
Water should be your primary source for hydration (it’s calorie-free and easily
available), but the 102-ounce recommendation also includes the water you get
from food and other fluids. Food (including fruits, vegetables, rice, pasta, and even
bread) typically contributes about 20 ounces of your fluid for the day. The remaining 90 plus ounces come from everything — and I mean everything — you drink.
Chapter 3: Nourishing Your Bump: Proper Nutrition while Pregnant
Coffee, tea, soft drinks, sparkling water, juice, and milk all earn you hydration
points. Since you’re not drinking alcohol and limiting your caffeine (see Chapter 4
for details), you won’t be getting any major diuretic effects from those beverages. Decaffeinated beverages hydrate essentially the same as water.
Note: Tap water is safe in the United States, so don’t feel like you have to
drink bottled water throughout your pregnancy. If you’re concerned about
the safety of your tap water, use a reverse osmosis filter to be sure it’s as safe
as you can make it.
What if I can’t stay hydrated?
If staying hydrated isn’t easy for you, employ some of these tips to help you
hit your 102-ounce fluid goal:
Create a fluid checklist for yourself and mark off your progress throughout the day.
Carry a water bottle with you at all times. You’ll be more inclined to
drink up if you have water sitting in front of you.
Set a timer to remind yourself to drink on average about 8 to 12 ounces
every one to two hours.
Add cucumber or fresh orange slices (or pineapple, berries, lemon
slices, or lime slices) to keep your water interesting.
Drink a tall glass of liquid at every meal.
Fill up on liquid-containing foods, like soup, gelatin, fruits, and veggies.
Drink water or sports drinks before, during, and after you exercise.
Drink more fluid on hot days or if you’re traveling by plane.
Add more fluid to your daily diet if you’ve been sick with a fever,
diarrhea, or vomiting.
Don’t wait for thirst to tell you to drink. Once you feel thirsty, you’re likely
already at least slightly dehydrated.
Living a Vegetarian Lifestyle
while Pregnant
If you’re a vegetarian, you can continue to live your lifestyle and have a
healthy baby. I wouldn’t recommend becoming a vegetarian right before or
during your pregnancy, but if you’ve been one for some time, you’ve likely
mastered the skills you need to plan properly nutritious meals.
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
The term vegetarian means different things to different people. For example,
if you’re a lacto-ovo vegetarian (meaning you eat dairy and eggs), you likely
won’t have any problem meeting your nutrient requirements as long as
you’re eating the iron-rich foods I list in the bulleted list later in this section.
If you’re vegan (meaning you don’t eat any dairy or eggs), you’ll likely have to
take dietary supplements to ensure you’re getting the proper nutrients.
Regardless of what being vegetarian means to you, make sure you’re getting
enough calories and gaining the proper amount of weight as your pregnancy
progresses. As a vegetarian, focus on eating beans, soy, nuts, and seeds to get
plenty of protein, and if you avoid dairy, choose calcium-fortified milk replacements like soy-based milk, yogurt, and cheese.
Vegetarian diets generally tend to be lower in a few key nutrients that are
essential during pregnancy than traditional meat-containing diets. The following list breaks down these essential nutrients and explains how you can get
more of them in your diet (to figure out the exact amount you need of each
nutrient, see the earlier section “Getting the Nutrients You Need”):
Iron: Choose fortified grains, dark leafy greens, dried fruit, tofu, prunes,
beans, and blackstrap molasses. Or consider taking an iron supplement.
Vitamin B12: Because only animal products like dairy and eggs contain
this vitamin, vegans need to get their vitamin B12 from supplements or
fortified foods.
Protein: Incorporate a protein-rich food, like dairy, eggs, beans, nuts,
seeds, or soy foods, into every meal.
DHA: If you avoid fish, getting enough of this omega-3 can be a challenge. Look for algal-oil-fortified foods or choose eggs that have been
laid by hens that eat special feed high in DHA. You can also look for an
algae-based supplement (see the earlier section “Omega-3 fatty acids”
for details).
Calcium: If you eat your three servings of dairy per day, you’ll likely meet
your calcium needs. If you don’t, look for fortified foods or supplements.
Zinc: You find zinc in wheat germ, beans, nuts, seeds, milk, and
fortified foods.
Vitamin D: You find a small amount in fortified milk, seafood, and some
mushrooms, but you probably still need to consider taking a vitamin D
supplement to make sure you’re getting enough of this important nutrient.
For more detailed information on good pregnancy nutrition for vegetarians,
check out the latest edition of Living Vegetarian For Dummies by Suzanne
Havala Hobbs (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).
Chapter 4
Knowing What to Avoid
during Pregnancy
In This Chapter
▶Discovering which foods to avoid and which ones to use caution with while pregnant
▶Preventing foodborne illnesses and reducing your exposure to food-related toxins
▶Eliminating alcohol and cutting back on caffeine
typically like to focus on what you should eat, but for safety’s sake, when
I talk about pregnancy nutrition, I have to shift the focus to what you
shouldn’t eat. This chapter gives you a rundown of exactly what foods (and
substances) to avoid throughout your pregnancy to keep you and your baby
safe. It also helps you reduce your chances of developing foodborne infections (you’re at an increased risk for them now that you have a bun in the
oven) and explains why cutting out alcohol and cutting back on caffeine are
such important steps to take as soon as you see that positive pregnancy test.
Foods That Aren’t Safe during Pregnancy
If you look no further in this chapter than this section, you’ll have a solid
understanding of the foods and beverages that are of the most concern during
pregnancy. Table 4-1 spotlights the foods and beverages that are dangerous
when consumed while pregnant. Table 4-2 lists the foods that you don’t have
to completely avoid but that you do need to be cautious about when eating.
If seeing all the foods and drinks you can’t enjoy during pregnancy gets you
down, pay special attention to the last column in Tables 4-1 and 4-2. It highlights safe alternatives to the dangerous foods.
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
Table 4-1
Foods and Beverages to Avoid during Pregnancy
Don’t Eat/Drink This
Why to Avoid
Alternative Strategy
Agave nectar
Can cause uterine
Use the safer sweeteners listed
in Chapter 9.
Passes to the fetus;
increases your risk
of miscarriage or
stillbirth; can result
in fetal alcohol
syndrome and
brain damage if
consumed in
excessive amounts
Enjoy virgin cocktails.
prepared meat
salads (ham,
chicken, tuna salad)
Can be contaminated
with Listeria bacteria
Make meat salads at home, using
proper food safety techniques
(see Chapter 10).
High-mercury fish
(shark, swordfish,
king mackerel,
tilefish, golden/
white snapper)
Can have high levels
of mercury
Choose low-mercury fish
instead (see Chapter 9).
Raw eggs (like
those found in
cookie dough)
Can be contaminated
with Salmonella
Cook all eggs until they’re no
longer runny and bake cookies
without licking the spoon.
Raw honey
Can be contaminated
with bacteria that
causes botulism (a
serious paralytic
Look for the term pasteurized on
the label and avoid raw honey
at farmers’ markets. Never feed
honey to a child younger than
1 year old.
Raw shellfish
(oysters, clams)
Can be contaminated
with Vibrio bacteria
Cook all shellfish until it reaches
145 degrees or higher.
Raw sprouts (alfalfa,
mung bean, clover)
Can be contaminated
with E. coli or
Salmonella bacteria
Ask for sandwiches without
Raw or undercooked fish (sushi
made with raw fish)
Can be contaminated
with various bacteria
or parasites
Cook all fish until it reaches 145
degrees or higher.
Raw or undercooked meat (pork,
poultry, beef)
Can be contaminated
with E. coli bacteria
Cook all meat until it reaches an
internal temperature of 145–165
degrees or higher (see
Chapter 10 for specifics).
Chapter 4: Knowing What to Avoid during Pregnancy
Don’t Eat/Drink This
Why to Avoid
Alternative Strategy
Soft cheeses from
milk (Brie, feta,
Camembert, blue
cheese, queso
blanco, queso
Can be contaminated
with E. coli or
Listeria bacteria
Check the ingredient lists of
cheeses to make sure they say
pasteurized milk. If they do,
they’re safe to eat. Hard cheeses,
like cheddar and mozzarella, are
safe. Avoid eating raw cheeses
purchased at farmers’ markets
unless you’re sure they’re made
with pasteurized milk.
Unpasteurized (or
cider or juice (like
orange, cranberry,
and other drinkable
Can be contaminated
with E. coli bacteria
Drink only packaged juice with the
term pasteurized on the label or
bring fresh juice to a rolling boil for
one minute before drinking.
(raw) milk
Can be contaminated
with various bacteria
Buy commercial milk rather than
fresh raw milk from a farm and
look for the term pasteurized on
the label.
Adapted from
Table 4-2 Foods and Beverages to Be Cautious of during Pregnancy
Use Caution
with This
Why to Use Caution
Alternative Strategy
Albacore (or
white) tuna
Can have moderately high
levels of mercury
Limit intake to 6 ounces
per week; choose light
tuna instead.
Crosses the placenta and
can increase the baby’s
heart rate; is linked to
slowing fetal growth
Limit caffeine to 200 mg
maximum or choose decaf
beverages instead.
Deli meats
(turkey, ham,
roast beef), cold
cuts (bologna),
hot dogs
Can be contaminated with
Listeria bacteria
Always cook these meats
until they’re steaming hot
or 165 degrees or higher
(even if the package says
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
Table 4‑2 (continued)
Use Caution
with This
Why to Use Caution
Alternative Strategy
Homemade ice
cream, custard,
eggnog, mousse,
meringue, and
Caesar dressing
Can contain raw eggs,
which can be contaminated
with Salmonella bacteria
Avoid eating it if you don’t
know whether raw eggs were
used or use pasteurized eggs
if you’re making it yourself.
Liver (beef and
Contains high levels of
vitamin A, which can be
toxic, especially in the
first trimester
Limit intake and enjoy other
meats in place of liver.
Meat spreads
or pâté
Can be contaminated with
Listeria bacteria
Use canned versions.
Passes to the fetus and may
remain in the fetal tissue;
may increase cancer risk
in offspring
Use the safer sweeteners
listed in Chapter 9 or use
small amounts of real sugar.
Can be contaminated with
various bacteria or parasites
Cook all smoked seafood until
it reaches a temperature of
165 degrees or higher.
Stuffing and
Can be contaminated with
various bacteria
Cook stuffing until it reaches
a temperature of 165
degrees or higher; reheat
gravy to a boil.
Can be contaminated with
Salmonella bacteria
Cook eggs until both the
yellow and white parts
are firm.
Adapted from
A Warning on Herbals
When I say you need to avoid certain herbals during pregnancy, I’m not talking about the basil and thyme you may use in cooking. Those types of herbs
are safe in the amounts used in normal food preparation. I’m more concerned
about herbal preparations in supplement form that some people take in concentrated forms at higher doses.
Chapter 4: Knowing What to Avoid during Pregnancy
Even though herbal supplements may appear to be “natural,” they don’t undergo
the same safety testing that food products and over-the-counter and prescription medications go through. For that reason, you should avoid herbal products
in food and supplements during pregnancy — a feat that’s easier said than done
these days because herbals are found not only in supplements but also in many
foods. Read labels carefully and watch out for these common herbal products
in particular:
Black cohosh
Ginkgo biloba
Saw palmetto
Willow bark
Focusing on Foodborne Illnesses
Caused by Bugs
Throughout your pregnancy, you and your growing little one are at high risk for
getting sick thanks to immune system issues. Your immune system is weaker
because your body is so busy growing another person, and your baby’s immune
system is still developing and not even close to operating at full strength.
Consequently, fending off the pesky, disease-causing bugs found on door handles, in the air, and in your food is much more difficult when you’re pregnant.
Foodborne illnesses, which occur when you eat something that contains a type
of bacteria, parasite, or virus that makes you sick, can cause miscarriage or
premature delivery in serious cases. In really severe cases, exposure to these
harmful organisms can cause death. The best-case scenario for you is a little
bit of dehydration and fatigue, but your baby can suffer a variety of problems.
In the following sections, I fill you in on five pesky “bugs” — living organisms
that are too small to see but can bring you to your knees — that pregnant
women are particularly susceptible to. I also tell you how to protect yourself
from contracting a foodborne illness from these little buggers.
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
Campylobacter jejuni bacteria are one of the major causes of diarrheal
foodborne illness in the United States. These bacteria grow in raw or undercooked poultry, other meats, and seafood as well as in unpasteurized milk
and untreated water. In fact, some studies have found Campylobacter in up to
100 percent of the poultry tested in retail stores.
Symptoms occur two to five days after infection and include diarrhea,
fever, muscle aches, vomiting, and nausea. In pregnant women, infection of
Campylobacter can be transmitted to the placenta and can cause miscarriage,
stillbirth, or preterm delivery.
The good news is that most modern water-treatment systems easily destroy
Campylobacter, so the water you drink from your tap is completely safe. To
prevent Campylobacter infection from spreading in your home, cook meats to
proper temperatures and don’t cross-contaminate cutting boards and knives
(see Chapter 10 for the skinny on food safety).
E. coli
E. coli bacteria have many strains, and all animals, including humans, have E. coli
in their intestines. One specific strain — E. coli O157:H7 — contains toxins that
damage the lining of the intestines, causing hemorrhagic colitis, an acute disease. E. coli contamination typically happens when people don’t properly wash
their hands after using the restroom, when raw meats aren’t properly handled,
or when fruits and vegetables aren’t properly washed. Manure (animal feces) is
often used as a natural fertilizer, especially for organic produce, so it’s no surprise that E. coli outbreaks often happen because of contaminated produce.
E. coli contamination typically affects the digestive tract the most; symptoms
include diarrhea and bloody diarrhea. The biggest risk of E. coli infection
during pregnancy is dehydration, which can cause miscarriage or premature
labor in severe cases. E. coli bacteria are also the most common cause of
urinary tract infections in pregnant women.
To prevent E. coli contamination, follow these simple steps:
Cook all meats well to their proper temperatures (see Chapter 10 for a
list of these temperatures).
Drink only pasteurized juices and milk.
Wash all fruits and vegetables well, whether they’re organic or conventionally grown.
Wash all cutting boards and knives between uses with different foods.
Chapter 4: Knowing What to Avoid during Pregnancy
Listeria is a type of bacteria that can grow even below the “safety zone” of
temperatures (less than 40 degrees), where most other bacteria can’t. It can
grow in unpasteurized milk and cheese, refrigerated ready-to-eat meats (like
cold cuts and deli meat), poultry, and seafood. Fruits and vegetables that
haven’t been properly washed can also be contaminated, especially if
manure was used as a fertilizer.
Listeria causes an infection known as listeriosis. Symptoms occur a few days to
several weeks after infection and can include fever, chills, muscle aches, diarrhea, headache, stiff neck, and confusion. Pregnant women are 20 times more
likely to get listeriosis than other healthy adults. In fact, about one-third of listeriosis cases in the United States involve pregnant women. Listeriosis is especially dangerous in the first trimester because it can cause miscarriage, but it
also poses a risk to the baby after birth. It can cause mental retardation, paralysis, seizures, and developmental problems in the brain, heart, and kidneys.
Here are some steps you can take to reduce your risk of contracting listeriosis:
Heat deli meats, cold cuts, hot dogs, and smoked seafood to steaming
hot if you choose to eat them. Even when these meats are fresh and
cold out of the refrigerator, they can have high levels of listeria, so don’t
eat ’em unless you heat ’em.
Check the labels on soft cheeses like Brie, Camembert, feta, blue
cheese, Gorgonzola, and queso blanco or fresco to make sure the
ingredient list includes pasteurized milk. If it doesn’t, don’t buy the
cheese! The only exception is ricotta cheese. You won’t see pasteurized
on the label because pasteurized milk isn’t used to make the cheese.
However, the heat treatment used during curd formation meets (and
actually exceeds) the heat and time requirements for pasteurization.
Avoid refrigerated pâtés or meat spreads. Only eat them if they’re canned
and shelf stable (meaning they’re safe to shelve without refrigeration).
Wash fruits and vegetables prior to eating them. Simply rub your produce well while holding it under running water.
If you enjoy making your own soft cheese (like queso fresco), be sure to use
pasteurized milk.
Salmonella bacteria is carried by animals that you find in raw meats. It also
exists in soil, so it can contaminate fresh fruits and vegetables. Salmonellosis is
one of the most common foodborne illnesses in the world. In pregnant women,
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
it can pass to the fetus and cause miscarriage or developmental delays in the
baby. Symptoms for Mom include fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps, but a woman can be infected without experiencing any symptoms.
Raw sprouts, like alfalfa and broccoli sprouts, are one of the most common produce items to carry Salmonella. Because sprouts are so difficult to wash properly, you should completely avoid them while pregnant. Eggs are another major
source of Salmonella contamination. Only eat pasteurized eggs, and cook your
eggs thoroughly until both the whites and yolks are firm. If you’re eating a dish
that contains raw eggs, make sure it’s cooked well.
Other ways to prevent Salmonella poisoning include washing all fruits and
vegetables thoroughly and cooking meats to their proper temperatures.
(I list the minimum safe temperatures for cooking meats in Chapter 10.)
Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite found in undercooked or raw meats that
causes an illness called toxoplasmosis. It lives in the soil, so unwashed fruits
and vegetables can also be contaminated. This parasite is the main reason
water can make you sick in some countries; fortunately, the water supply in
the United States is treated and safe.
Pregnant women are at a 20 to 50 percent higher risk of developing the toxoplasmosis infection. Symptoms include swollen glands, muscle pain, a stiff
neck, and fever, but not all pregnant women experience symptoms. Even if you
don’t experience signs of toxoplasmosis infection, your baby could be infected.
Infection in babies can cause mental retardation, blindness, and hearing loss.
Heating meats to their proper temperatures before eating them is key to preventing toxoplasmosis because heat destroys the infection-causing parasite
(see Chapter 10 for a table of proper meat temperatures). Make sure you separate raw meat in the grocery cart and your refrigerator, and use a separate
cutting board and clean knife when preparing meat at home. Also wash all
fruits and vegetables before eating them.
Cat feces can also carry toxoplasma (especially if your cat is a mouse hunter
outside), so if you can, ask someone else to change out the cat litter or use
disposable gloves and give your hands a thorough wash if you’re doing it
yourself. Also be sure to wash your hands after handling your cat, especially
before preparing meals, and keep your cat off all food preparation and eating
surfaces in your home. Keep your cat’s risk low by feeding him dry or canned
food, not raw meat scraps.
Because toxoplasma exists in the soil, use gardening gloves while digging
in the soil outside and wash your hands thoroughly before touching your
mouth or your food.
Chapter 4: Knowing What to Avoid during Pregnancy
Myth busters: Foods that supposedly
cause miscarriage
During your pregnancy, you’re likely to hear
all sorts of myths. For example, you may hear
that certain foods will induce labor (not true)
and that certain foods can cause miscarriage.
While certain foods can indeed harm you and
your baby (I cover those foods in this chapter),
many of the scary tales you hear are just that —
tales! Allow me to set the record straight:
Myth: Papayas, mangoes, and pineapples
can cause miscarriage or premature dilation.
Truth: You don’t have to avoid these nutritious fruits while you’re pregnant; they don’t
actually cause miscarriage. Just make sure
you eat them when they’re ripe and only
after you’ve cleaned them properly.
Myth: Sesame seeds cause miscarriage.
Truth: Some cultures consider certain foods
to have a “heat” that supposedly harms the
baby. No scientific basis supports this claim,
so you don’t have to avoid sesame seeds.
If you’re concerned about any particular food, talk
to your doctor about your concerns. He or she can
tell you the latest research and calm your fears.
Tackling Food-Related Toxins
The microorganisms that cause foodborne illnesses aren’t the only things
that can harm you and your baby. Toxins can also be found in foods, as well
as in the containers that house them. In the next sections, I reveal three
toxins that are of particular concern during pregnancy and explain how you
can reduce your (and your baby’s) exposure to them.
A recent study conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found
more than 230 toxins in the cord blood (the blood in the umbilical cord after
delivery), specifically those of racial and ethnic minority groups. Another study
found that almost all pregnant women they looked at had detectable levels of
eight types of chemicals in their blood and urine from pesticides and flame
retardants to some industrial chemicals that have been banned since the 1970s
but still exist in the environment. Despite the fact that people are exposed to
more than 83,000 different chemicals in their everyday lives, not much research
exists on the exact effects of those chemicals during pregnancy.
Methylmercury, commonly known as mercury, is a metal that exists naturally
in the environment, but industrial pollution produces high levels that enter
the air and water supply in large amounts. Humans typically come into contact with mercury by eating fish. Mercury builds up in your bloodstream
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
and passes to your baby, and although it does eventually leave your body
naturally, it can take more than a year to do so. For that reason, limiting your
exposure to high-mercury fish is vital, ideally even before you become pregnant (I list the most popular high-mercury fish in Table 4-1).
Nearly all fish have some mercury because they feed on mercury-containing
organisms. But some fish have decidedly lower mercury levels than others. I
tell you all about these low-mercury fish in Chapter 9.
Symptoms can include itching, burning skin, sensitivity in hands, feet, and
mouth, lack of coordination, impairment of peripheral vision, muscle weakness, and speech impairment. However, you may not notice any symptoms at
all from mercury poisoning. But even if you don’t have any symptoms, your
baby will. Mercury can affect your baby’s developing nervous system, and the
effects can carry on through childhood. To play it safe and still satisfy your
seafood craving, eat no more than 12 ounces of low-mercury fish each week
throughout the course of your pregnancy.
To protect food from insects, rodents, bacteria, mold, and weeds, farmers
use substances called pesticides to limit or kill these unwanted pests. Very
little evidence connects pesticides to significant risk to unborn babies.
However, large amounts of pesticides can lead to low-birth-weight babies,
premature labor, or miscarriage.
One surefire way to reduce your exposure to pesticide residue on the produce
you’re eating is to go organic when it comes to the fruits and vegetables that
tend to have the most pesticide residue. Flip to Chapter 9 for a list of these
Dirty Dozen foods. If you don’t go organic with your fruits and vegetables,
be sure to wash all dishes, cutting boards, and utensils that may have been
exposed to any pesticide residue before using them again.
Many of the foods people consume, especially ready-to-eat meals and milk
and other beverages, are packaged in plastic containers. Unfortunately, plastics contain several potentially harmful chemicals, with biphenol A (BPA)
and phthalates leading the pack. Here’s what you need to know about these
chemicals and how they relate to your pregnancy:
BPA makes plastic clear and stronger. You find BPA in food containers,
water bottles, and the lining of many metal food cans. BPA has been
linked to miscarriage and negative effects on the brain and prostate
gland in fetuses and children.
Chapter 4: Knowing What to Avoid during Pregnancy
Phthalates are responsible for softening plastic and making it more
flexible. You find them in many food containers used in packaging.
Phthalates have been connected to birth defects, specifically in male
genitals, and after-birth exposure to these harmful chemicals can still
have negative effects on the reproductive systems of baby boys.
Heating plastics can leach some of the BPA and phthalates from the containers into the food you consume. So heat only those plastics that are made
specifically for cooking or transfer your food to a ceramic or glass container
before warming it up.
To reduce your (and your baby’s) exposure to toxins found in plastics, follow
these steps:
Avoid any plastics that have the number 7 or the letters PC (which
stand for polycarbonate) in a triangle on the container.
Don’t microwave food in plastic containers; use glass instead.
Wash plastics by hand to prevent exposing them to high heat in
the dishwasher.
Tips for staying chemical-free
Everyone is exposed to some chemicals every
day, but pregnancy may be a good time for you
to limit that exposure as much as possible.
Here’s how to do just that:
✓ Avoid participating in renovating your home
or painting the nursery. Opt for a girl’s
day out while your partner handles these
duties. Choose a paint with low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to minimize
your exposure to solvents in the paint.
✓ Use cleaning supplies that have fewer
toxins. Use vinegar, baking soda, and
hydrogen peroxide rather than harsh chemicals such as bleach.
✓ Use glass and ceramic pots and pans
and limit your use of nonstick varieties.
Or choose an environmentally friendly
brand, like Scanpan, that’s free of harmful chemicals.
✓ Choose organic and free-range produce
and meats.
✓ Choose skincare and toiletry products
that don’t contain triclosan, fragrances,
or oxybenzone.
✓ Choose low-mercury fish.
✓ Use glass containers for food and beverages. Reuse steel water bottles rather than
plastic bottles.
✓ Avoid air fresheners and fabric softeners
and other overly fragranced products.
✓ Wash new clothes before wearing them to
reduce factory pollutants.
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
Going without Your Daily
Alcohol or Caffeine Fix
For most women, two of the hardest things to give up during pregnancy are
alcohol and caffeine. Passing on the raw-fish sushi seems to be much easier
than turning down a glass of wine or cup of coffee. Although you don’t have
to completely eliminate caffeine from your diet, reducing your normal intake
to the recommended pregnancy intake may indeed be a challenge. In the sections that follow, I help you understand why eliminating alcohol from your
diet and cutting back on your caffeine intake are so important to a healthy
pregnancy. I also provide you with some coping strategies that you can turn
to as you form your new nonalcohol- and noncaffeine-related habits.
Lose the booze
No level of alcohol has ever been proven to be safe during pregnancy. Even
women who drank on average one drink per week had babies with a smaller
head circumference (indicative of small brain size) and children who had
behavioral problems as they grew up. Children who are born to women who
drink during pregnancy are also more likely to have problems with alcohol
abuse as they get older.
When I use the term alcohol, I mean all of it: beer, wine, vodka, rum, tequila,
gin, and all other liquors. Even those sugary wine coolers contain a good
deal of alcohol, so you need to scratch them off the list, too. Alcohol can also
appear in foods like rum balls and some desserts or sauces. (Although some
alcohol can be baked or cooked off, to be safe, you should avoid all forms
while pregnant. If you’re not sure whether a particular food contains alcohol,
ask someone who knows or just avoid it.)
Drinking alcohol, even small amounts of it, during pregnancy can cause fetal
alcohol syndrome (FAS) and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs), including mental retardation. Alcohol passes directly through the placenta to your
baby, where it breaks down very slowly. The effects of even just a few drinks
can include the following:
Miscarriage or stillbirth
Premature birth
Low-birth-weight babies
Learning disabilities
Difficulty with attention, memory, and problem solving
Speech and language delays and poor performance at school
Chapter 4: Knowing What to Avoid during Pregnancy
Hyperactivity disorders
Psychological disorders
Defects of the heart, liver, kidneys, eyes, ears, and bones
If you had a drink before you knew you were pregnant, you can’t do anything
about it now, but as soon as you get the positive pregnancy test, avoid alcohol.
Moderate your caffeine intake
Caffeine is a stimulant, which means it not only wakes you up but also
increases your heart rate and blood pressure. (You know what I mean if
you’ve ever felt your heart race or had jittery hands after one too many cups
of coffee.) Caffeine is also a diuretic, which means it causes your body to urinate more often and can lead to dehydration.
Caffeine crosses the placenta and reaches your baby, decreasing blood flow
to the placenta as it does so. Small amounts of caffeine don’t seem to cause
harm to the fetus, but excessive amounts have been shown to increase the
risk of miscarriage, affect your baby’s growth, and reduce fertility.
Exactly how much caffeine is too much during pregnancy is still up for
debate. But all the research suggests that a moderate amount of caffeine —
namely a maximum of 200 mg per day — is okay. That’s equal to about 12
ounces of regular coffee. If you’re hitting up your favorite coffee shop and the
coffee tastes strong, it likely has more caffeine in it, so you may want to limit
yourself to 8 ounces. To get an idea of exactly how much caffeine common
foods and beverages contain, flip to Chapter 2.
Coping strategies for life with
less caffeine and no alcohol
If one of the hardest things about being pregnant is limiting your intake of
caffeine and avoiding alcohol, remember that it’s only temporary. You may
have to wait more than a year when you include the 40 weeks of pregnancy
(or more if you cut back while trying to conceive) and the weeks or months
(or years) you spend nursing, but you will be able to drink what you want
eventually. And after you go back to your life with caffeine and alcohol, you
may find that you don’t need it as badly as you did pre-pregnancy.
The most important thing to remember as you struggle with your alcohol-free,
caffeine-reduced life is the reason why you’re making the sacrifice. You’re literally shaping a new life inside you, and the sacrifice of giving up alcohol or coffee
for a little while is negligible compared to the huge return of a healthy baby. As
someone who’s committed to nourishing your baby in the best way possible,
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
try to see your new lifestyle as an opportunity rather than a sacrifice, and you’ll
have no problem switching from wine to seltzer and regular to decaf.
You may also find these strategies helpful:
If you have a hard time being around alcohol and not being able to
indulge, ask your friends and family not to drink around you. Don’t
allow them to try to convince you that taking a few sips is okay. When
it comes to alcohol, no amount is safe.
Seek professional help if you’re really struggling. A counselor may be
able to help you talk through your struggles.
Hang out with other pregnant women who are in the same boat. That
way, you can all commiserate together. Go out for a walk and frozen
yogurt instead of meeting for happy hour.
If you’re feeling tired and in need of the pick-me-up you normally get
from a few cups of coffee, get some exercise, eat a healthy snack,
and drink water for hydration. If you’re really tired, take a nap! You
probably need it.
Find substitutes that satisfy your cravings. Try virgin cocktails or decaf
coffee, tea, or soft drinks to fill the void.
Switch to half-caff. If you make your own coffee at home, use one scoop
of decaf coffee for every one scoop of regular coffee to cut the amount of
caffeine in half. That way, you can have up to 24 ounces of coffee rather
than just 12.
Dump out or give away all the alcohol in your house if it’s too tempting.
Chapter 5
Weighty Matters: Managing
Pregnancy Pounds
In This Chapter
▶Gaining the right amount of weight
▶Avoiding excess fat storage
▶Moving your body safely with exercise
ne of the most difficult things to control during pregnancy is your
weight — and the feelings you have about it. Many women feel “fat”
even though most of the extra weight they carry consists of fluid and the
developing baby. Many women also end up gaining too much weight, easily
putting on 50 to 70 pounds during pregnancy by allowing themselves to eat
whatever, whenever.
In this chapter, you discover just how much weight you should aim to gain
and why gradual weight gain is best. You also find out how to avoid gaining
more than your recommended weight range and how to engage in safe, effective exercise — one of the keys to a healthy pregnancy.
Gaining Weight Gradually
The best way to gain weight during your pregnancy is to gain it gradually. Doing
so ensures your baby is getting good nutrition throughout the entire 40 weeks.
Gradual weight gain isn’t linear weight gain. In other words, you may gain 3
pounds in one week and none for the next few weeks. As long as you’re trending a steady weight gain, don’t worry if you find that you gain more in one
week and less in others. (Some women even lose a pound or two occasionally
throughout their pregnancy.)
The following sections fill you in on how much weight you should try to
gain during your pregnancy and what to do if you have trouble hitting
that number.
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
How much to gain
The amount of weight you should gain during your pregnancy is based on
your pre-pregnancy weight status, or body mass index (BMI). Because of
emerging research on weight gain and pregnancy and because more women
today start their pregnancies overweight or obese, the Institute of Medicine
of the National Academies released new guidelines for optimal pregnancy
weight gain in 2009. These guidelines appear in Table 5-1. (Turn to Chapter 2
to determine your pre-pregnancy BMI.)
Table 5-1
Optimal Weight Gain during Pregnancy
Weight Gain
Range (Total
Rate of Weight
Gain in 2nd and 3rd
Trimesters (Average
Pounds per Week)
< 18.5
Normal weight
>/= 30.0
Adapted from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (
If you’re expecting only one baby, aim to gain 1 to 4 pounds during your first
trimester. By your second trimester, try to gain weight at a rate of about 1
pound per week, a pace that will continue throughout most of your third trimester. (Flip to Chapter 18 for weight-gain recommendations if you’re expecting twins or triplets.) If you find that you stop gaining weight in the final few
weeks of pregnancy, don’t panic; this situation is perfectly normal.
If you’re gaining too much weight too quickly during the first and second trimesters, you may be on track for going way above the recommended weight
range. Slow down your weight gain by paying close attention to your caloric
intake and remember that exercising while you’re pregnant is perfectly safe
as long as your doctor hasn’t given you any restrictions. (I provide some suggested exercises later in this chapter.)
If you suddenly gain 5 pounds or more in a week, check with your doctor.
This weight gain may be a sign of sudden fluid gain, which could be associated
with preeclampsia.
While weight gain is inevitable — and necessary — during pregnancy, it’s
also unpredictable. And although you do need to keep track of your weight
and monitor your progress, weighing yourself every day may drive you crazy.
Chapter 5: Weighty Matters: Managing Pregnancy Pounds
After all, your weight can fluctuate greatly from day to day thanks to fluid
gain. So weigh yourself only every few days or once a week. Your doctor will
also weigh you at every visit and will alert you if something’s not right.
What to do when you’re not gaining enough
Losing weight isn’t uncommon during the first trimester, especially if you
experience a lot of morning sickness. But if you get well into your second
trimester without gaining much, if any, weight, your doctor will likely inquire
more about your nutrition and exercise habits. He or she may even refer you
to a registered dietitian (RD) for customized guidance.
If you don’t gain enough weight, your baby may not be getting the proper
nutrients he needs to grow. The result can be a low-birth-weight infant or a
premature delivery. Your baby may also be at risk of developmental delays if
he doesn’t get enough calories and nutrients in the womb.
Some women are afraid to gain weight during pregnancy for fear of not losing
it afterward. If you’re afraid of gaining weight to the point of restricting your
calories to lower-than-recommended levels, seek out help from your doctor
and a registered dietitian. Remember that if you’re underweight before you
even get pregnant, you likely need to gain a few more pounds than women
who start their pregnancies at a normal weight.
Preventing Excess Weight Gain
Although a handful of pregnant women have trouble gaining enough weight,
most are at a higher risk of going overboard and putting on too many pounds.
Typically, that extra weight comes in the form of 20 or 30 extra pounds of fat,
resulting in a total weight gain of 50 or 70 pounds over the course of the pregnancy. This extra weight isn’t just a nightmare to get off after the baby is born; it
can also lead to some serious health complications. Don’t worry, though. You can
avoid the “pregnancy 50+” if you maintain the right outlook on fueling your body
and keep a few helpful tips in mind (I go over these tips later in this section).
Women who see pregnancy as a meal ticket to frequent the all-you-can-eat
buffet, eat plates of loaded chili cheese fries, or relax with an entire pint of
ice cream in one sitting are the ones at risk of gaining too much weight. If you
approach pregnancy as an opportunity to nourish your body with the best
foods to grow and develop the new life inside you, you’ll be at a lower risk of
excess weight gain. Sure, you may have days when your ferocious appetite
gets the best of you, but if you take every day in stride and follow your hunger
and fullness cues (which I describe in Chapter 7), you’ll get to your 40th week
in good shape to give birth to your new baby.
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
Potential complications
from gaining too much
Whether you start your pregnancy overweight or obese or you gain too much
along the way, the extra weight can cause several complications before,
during, and after birth. Specifically, too much weight gain
May make it more difficult for your doctor to hear your baby’s heartbeat
and measure your uterus to plot your baby’s growth.
May lead to backaches, leg pain, and varicose veins — side effects that
can persist even after you deliver your baby.
Automatically puts you at a higher risk for medical conditions such as
gestational diabetes, hypertension, and preeclampsia. (I describe these
conditions and the nutritional tactics for combating them in Chapter 18.)
Increases your risk for delivering your little one via cesarean section
(C-section) because your baby could be overnourished and grow too
large to fit through the birth canal.
Of course, the negative side effects aren’t limited to pregnancy. More and
more studies are showing the long-term impact of a mother’s diet choices
and weight gain during pregnancy on the weight status (increased risk of
overweight) and health conditions of her children. Also, women who gain too
much during pregnancy have a harder time getting the weight off after pregnancy, increasing their risk of many chronic diseases, specifically diabetes,
heart disease, and certain cancers.
If you started out your pregnancy overweight or obese, your doctor may not
want you to gain any weight. Check with your doctor about his or her weightgain recommendation and visit a registered dietitian for advice on how to
meet that number the healthy way.
Some recent studies have shown better pregnancy outcomes when obese
women maintained or even lost some weight while pregnant. That doesn’t
mean they were “dieting,” per se, but they cleaned up their act from prepregnancy to include less junk and more nutrition, which resulted in fewer
calories than their bodies were used to before. They filled up on nutritious
foods and, thus, provided their babies with the nutrients they needed.
How not to gain the “Pregnancy 50+”
In college, first-year students try to avoid gaining the “freshman 15.” Now that
you’re expecting, your goal is to avoid gaining the “pregnancy 50” (or more).
Although you may be tempted to give in to the theory that you’re eating for
Chapter 5: Weighty Matters: Managing Pregnancy Pounds
two, doubling your calorie intake is a surefire way to keep the numbers on
the scale climbing upward.
To avoid gaining more than your recommended weight range, follow these tips:
Eat small meals to keep yourself from consuming too many calories at
one time. Stop eating when you’re satisfied, not full or stuffed.
Fill up on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Drink plenty of calorie-free beverages to stay hydrated.
Limit “junk” calories (as in the sugary, high-fat, and fried kind) because they
neither fill you up nor provide the nourishment you and your baby need.
Stock your cabinets, purse, and desk drawers with nutritious foods so
that you can satisfy your hunger the healthy way. Turn to Chapter 9 for
a grocery list you can use to start your shopping.
Bridge your hunger in between meals with frequent snacks that provide
lasting energy. Choose snacks with plenty of fiber and protein; refer to
Chapter 7 for ideas.
Keep track of your calories using smartphone apps (like Calorie Counter
Pro) and online nutrition tracking tools (like so that
you can easily see when you’ve gone too high.
Avoid turning to food for emotional support or stress relief. Call a friend
to talk it out or go for a walk to blow off some steam instead.
Join support groups for pregnant women who want to be healthy during
their pregnancies. Meet to go for walks or do prenatal yoga, not to go
out for ice cream.
Stay active and aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise
each day. (See the next section for details on what exercises are safe
during pregnancy.)
Adding Exercise to Your Routine:
You’ve Got to Move It, Move It
One of the keys to gaining the right amount of weight (and being healthy)
during pregnancy is exercise. Doing planned physical activity while pregnant
helps keep your heart and lungs strong and, in turn, improves your endurance
(which will come in handy during labor). Burning a few extra calories through
exercise also helps prevent excess weight gain throughout your pregnancy.
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (which are put out by the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services) recommend that pregnant women
get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week of
pregnancy. If you exercise six days per week, that’s like getting 25 minutes of
exercise a day. Some examples of moderate-intensity exercise include brisk
walking, water aerobics, or cycling slower than 10 miles per hour.
The Guidelines also suggest that if you were engaging in vigorous-intensity
aerobic exercise pre-pregnancy, you can continue that activity as long as you
don’t develop any pregnancy complications and your doctor knows about
your activity level. Vigorous-intensity exercise includes jogging, running,
swimming laps, and cycling faster than 10 miles per hour.
The benefits of exercising during pregnancy include the following:
Better mood and reduced risk of depression
Better sleep
Easier labor and delivery
Easier post-pregnancy weight loss
Healthier birth weight for your baby
Less chance of constipation, bloating, and swelling
Less excess weight gain during pregnancy
Reduced anxiety
Reduced risk of preeclampsia, high blood pressure, and
gestational diabetes
Stronger heart for your baby
Knowing when moderate exercise isn’t safe
Most women can exercise safely during pregnancy as long as they keep a few guidelines in
mind (see the section “Safety guidelines to consider” for details). However, some women may
be in a situation that makes moderate exercise
unsafe. If you have one (or more) of the following conditions, your doctor will probably tell you
not to exercise:
✓ Persistent bleeding
✓ Risk of premature labor
✓ Placenta previa (when the placenta is too
close to the cervix)
✓ Low amniotic fluid
✓ Preeclampsia or high blood pressure
✓ Multiple pregnancy
If you have one of these conditions, talk to
your doctor to see if any type of exercise is
right for you.
Chapter 5: Weighty Matters: Managing Pregnancy Pounds
If you weren’t active before you got pregnant, you can still start exercising
now, provided you have your doctor’s consent. Don’t start running marathons, but do consider going for walks, taking part in prenatal exercise
classes, swimming, and/or performing some of the exercises I recommend
later in this chapter. Start by doing 10 or 20 minutes of physical activity at a
time and build up to 30 or more minutes at least three days per week. Work
up to doing something active most days of the week. You can also split your
time up throughout the day and do, say, one 10-minute burst of exercise in
the morning, another one in the afternoon, and another one in the early evening and still get all the benefits of exercise.
The following sections tell you what safety issues you need to consider
before you start exercising and offer some fun, safe exercises you can do to
stay active during your pregnancy.
Safety guidelines to consider
Before you take up any form of exercise, you need to consider some basic
safety guidelines. Namely, you need to know how intense of a workout you
can handle and how to keep your internal temperature from rising too high.
I share guidelines for both in the next sections.
If at any time during exercise you experience dizziness, lightheadedness, chest
pain, muscle pain, weakness, contractions, shortness of breath, calf pain or
swelling, fluid leaking from the vagina, or headaches, stop exercising immediately and seek medical attention.
Monitoring the intensity
Beginning just a few weeks into your pregnancy, you may find that you tire
more easily or can’t work at the intensity you used to. For example, I was a
marathon runner before I got pregnant, and I continued to run throughout
both pregnancies. However, my running times slowed significantly even
when I was just a few weeks pregnant.
Because every woman is different, I suggest you follow your own perceived
intensity levels and learn your limits for exercise. You can wear a heart rate
monitor to help you figure out how intense your exercises should be. In the
past, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommended a heart rate of no more than 140 beats per minute while pregnant, but
the ACOG has recently decided not to specify specific heart rate limits. Instead,
you can use the “talk test” as a guide. No matter what exercise you’re doing,
you should be able to talk and carry on a conversation throughout the exercise.
Of course, you’ll be breathing heavier than you do when you’re at rest, but you
should still be able to talk without struggling. If you can’t talk while exercising,
you’re working too hard and need to bring down the intensity.
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
Protecting your core temperature
One of the most important things to remember when you’re exercising
during pregnancy is that you need to protect your internal core temperature.
Increasing your core temperature can put your baby in danger by potentially
increasing your baby’s temperature, which theoretically can increase the risk
of birth defects. Because you can’t measure your temperature like you can
monitor your heart rate, you need to take special precautions to keep yourself cool and avoid exercising in the heat.
To keep your internal temperature at safe levels during exercise, wear loosefitting clothes and cool down immediately if you start to get overheated. Drink
plenty of water before, during, and after every exercise session. Remember
that you need more fluid while pregnant, anyway, and you need even more
when you exercise, even if you don’t sweat a lot.
Suggested exercises for pregnancy
The best exercises to perform during pregnancy are the low-impact exercises
that simultaneously strengthen your muscles and work your heart and lungs.
These exercises fall into three categories: aerobic exercise, strength training,
and yoga.
Do some basic stretches (such as stretching your quadriceps, hamstrings,
calves, and chest) after you exercise when your muscles are warm. Also,
make sure you eat a small snack before and another snack or meal after you
exercise to refuel your body.
Aerobic exercise
Aerobic exercise is anything you do to get your heart pumping. Some great babybump-friendly options are walking, jogging, and cross-country skiing. Whatever
you do to safely get your heart pumping, aim for doing at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most (if not all) days of the week, but don’t be afraid to go longer
than 30 minutes if you have the energy and time. Just make sure you’re wearing
good supportive shoes if your exercise involves being on your feet (note that
you may need to go up a size to accommodate swelling feet).
Swimming is one of the best exercises you can do while pregnant because you
feel weightless in the water and can still get your heart pumping. Contact your
local pool to see whether it offers any prenatal water exercise classes.
Working out on an elliptical machine (see Figure 5-1) is an excellent way to fit
some low-impact aerobic exercise into your day. You can choose either the
manual setting or one of the programs on the machine to follow. Either way,
make sure you warm up by going at a slow pace for five minutes; then increase
the intensity by increasing your speed or the resistance for 20 or more minutes. Finish up by cooling down for five minutes before getting off the machine.
Chapter 5: Weighty Matters: Managing Pregnancy Pounds
Throughout the workout, remember that you should be able to carry on a conversation. If you can no longer talk during your workout, tone it down a bit.
For additional aerobic exercises that are safe to do while pregnant, check out
Fit Pregnancy For Dummies by Catherine Cram, MS, and Tere Stouffer Drenth
(John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).
Figure 5-1:
exercise on
an elliptical
Strength training
Strength training, also called resistance training, is when you use weights,
machines, resistance bands, or even your own body weight to build muscle.
Recent studies have shown that low- to moderate-intensity weight lifting is
safe for women in low-risk pregnancies. (If you have any doubts about your
limitations, check with your physician before you start exercising.) Aim to do
strength training two to three times per week. You can typically work out all
major muscle groups (chest, back, arms, and legs) in about 20 minutes.
Figure 5-2 is an example of a strength training exercise that’s simple and
effective to perform if you have access to an exercise ball. To do this exercise, simply sit in a stable position on the ball with your back straight. Lift
light (2- to 5-pound) dumbbells straight up over your head in a controlled
motion and then return to the position shown in the figure. Repeat for 12
to 15 repetitions. You can do one or two sets. If you don’t have an exercise
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
ball, you can do the same exercise by standing with your feet shoulder width
apart and a slight knee bend.
Avoid using heavy weights that force you to strain to lift them. To keep yourself from getting dizzy, remember to breathe in and out while lifting weights.
For a unique approach to strength training during pregnancy, pick up a copy
of Kettlebells For Dummies by Sarah Lurie (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).
Figure 5-2:
Lifting light
while sitting
on an exercise ball.
Yoga is a popular exercise to do during pregnancy, and many yoga studios
offer prenatal classes. Not only does yoga help build muscle and increase
flexibility, but it also teaches you how to control your breathing, which is a
key skill to have when in labor. You can benefit from doing yoga daily or just
once or twice a week.
Avoid Bikram yoga because it’s typically done in a hot room that could be
dangerous to you and your baby. Also avoid poses that twist at the waist and
put pressure on the abdomen, require lying on your stomach or flat on your
back, require you to stand on one leg (your center of gravity is off and you
could fall), or cause you to be inverted.
Chapter 5: Weighty Matters: Managing Pregnancy Pounds
If you’re feeling tension in your back, try out the cat and cow yoga poses
shown in Figure 5-3. To do the cat pose, get down on your hands and knees
with your back straight. Make sure your hands are under your shoulders and
your knees are under your hips. Inhale deeply and then arch your back toward
the ceiling, exhaling as you arch and keeping your head down. Hold the pose
for a few seconds, breathing deeply. When you’re ready, relax down into cow
pose by pulling your head up and flexing your back, exhaling as you stretch.
When you’re ready, go back to cat pose and repeat several times, going back
and forth between the two positions. For additional prenatal yoga poses,
check out Yoga For Dummies, 2nd Edition, by George Feuerstein and Larry
Payne (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).
Figure 5-3:
Cat (top)
and cow
yoga poses.
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
Exercises to avoid
Not all exercises are safe to engage in when you’re sporting a baby bump
(and even before you start showing). Anything that requires a lot of jumping and bouncing is a no-no because it can put undue stress on your baby,
causing jarring and potential complications. If you love attending aerobics
classes, just modify your movements so that you aren’t jumping as high but
are still getting some benefit from the class. Also avoid lying flat on your
back during the second and third trimesters. If your doctor clears you to
do abdominal exercises, do crunches with a small range of motion on an
exercise ball (as opposed to full sit-ups).
Your center of gravity changes during pregnancy, so make sure to avoid any
activities that may cause you to fall down, including outdoor cycling, horseback riding, rock climbing, downhill skiing, water-skiing, rollerblading, and ice
skating. Also avoid contact sports, such as flag football, soccer, and basketball, that may get intense or wind up with you getting kicked or pushed.
Chapter 6
Overcoming Embarrassment:
The Unpleasant Unmentionables
of Pregnancy
In This Chapter
▶Coping with nausea and vomiting so you can still nourish your baby
▶Preventing and treating all kinds of digestive issues
▶Understanding why you feel so fatigued and what you can do about it
regnancy is a time of joy and excitement, but it can also be a time of
some unpleasant and quite possibly embarrassing side effects. You may
wonder at times what exactly has taken over inside your body. For example,
you can go from feeling so nauseous you can’t even stand the smell of food
one minute to feeling a burst of energy and a ferocious appetite the next. You
may also pass gas, get stopped up, and be so tired you feel like a truck ran
over you. But don’t worry; this, too, shall pass.
In this chapter, I help you cope with the uncomfortable side effects of pregnancy. First, I reveal how to deal with the nausea and vomiting that’s often
called morning sickness. Then I help you figure out how to prevent and treat
several conditions related to your digestive tract, including heartburn and constipation. Finally, I wrap up the embarrassing topics of this chapter by showing
you how to fight off the fatigue that happens to many pregnant women.
Morning Sickness Can Happen
Morning, Noon, or Night
If you’re feeling a bit nauseous, you’re not alone! The majority of pregnant
women experience nausea and vomiting at some point in their pregnancy,
typically beginning in the first month of pregnancy and ending around 14 to
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
16 weeks (though some women do experience it longer). Nausea and vomiting may be due to low blood sugar and hormone fluctuations that occur in
early pregnancy. Most women haven’t spilled the beans that they’re pregnant
in these first few weeks or months, yet they walk around looking green at the
smell of their co-worker’s tuna fish sandwich. Feeling sick is bad enough, but
trying to hide it from everyone around you is even worse!
Even though pregnancy-induced nausea is called morning sickness, it can actually happen at any time of the day. A completely empty stomach contributes
to feelings of nausea, so many women do feel it more in the morning. But
nausea can strike at any time, even after you’re all ready for bed. To make
matters worse, just the sight or smell of food can send a woman running to the
bathroom to lose her lunch (or breakfast . . . or dinner). The good news is that
nausea and occasional vomiting is not harmful to you or your baby.
Note: If you don’t feel nausea at all, count yourself as one of the lucky 20 to
30 percent who don’t experience it. It doesn’t mean that something’s wrong
in your pregnancy. And just in case you’re curious, the idea that you have
more nausea if you’re having a girl is just a myth, so don’t try to guess the
gender of your baby yet, either!
If you are experiencing nausea and making the occasional mad dash to the
restroom, check out the following sections. They offer advice on coping with
pregnancy-related nausea, help you realize how getting sick can affect your
nutrient intake, and spell out when your nausea may require medical attention.
Dealing with nausea
Feeling sick to your stomach is one of the worst feelings. Sometimes you actually wish you could throw up just to feel better, even if the relief is only temporary. If you’re experiencing even mild nausea, try these tips (which are in
order of effectiveness) to feel better fast:
Go bland early. Eat something bland (like plain toast or soda crackers)
within 15 minutes of getting up in the morning. You may even want to
have them on your bedside table to munch on before you get out of bed.
Avoid having a completely empty stomach at any time of the day.
When your stomach is empty, the acids in your stomach signal nauseous
feelings to your brain. Keep snacks handy so you don’t find yourself
hungry without something to munch on.
Eat small portions. Of course, you don’t want to get too full either. Limit
portions at meals to only small amounts of food and follow those small
meals with frequent snacks so you don’t get hungry. Don’t let your stomach get completely empty, but also avoid filling it too full.
Chapter 6: Overcoming Embarrassment: The Unpleasant Unmentionables of Pregnancy
Eat foods that are low in fat and sugar. Avoid greasy, creamy, or highsugar items. I love donuts, but when I was pregnant, I just couldn’t eat
them because they made me feel sick to my stomach for hours. Fat takes
a long time to digest, and sugar can cause a spike and subsequent drop
in energy levels.
Stay hydrated. Nausea can be a side effect of dehydration during pregnancy. To avoid becoming dehydrated, suck on ice chips or sip cold
water to count toward your recommended 102 ounces of fluid per day.
Why cold water? Not only is it refreshing but it can also help decrease
nauseous feelings and keep you hydrated after you vomit. (For additional tips on staying hydrated, flip to Chapter 3.)
Keep cool. Getting too warm or overheated can make nausea even
worse! Keep cool in comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that doesn’t press
on your stomach (stomach pressure can increase feelings of nausea).
Relax and rest up. Get plenty of rest at night and nap throughout the day as
needed and when possible. Sometimes sleep is the best escape from feeling
nauseous because your body is worn down and needs the recovery.
Take your vitamins at night. Prenatal vitamins have iron, which can
aggravate nausea, but if you take yours at night, you may not experience
any. Remember to have a small snack with the vitamin so you aren’t
taking it on an empty stomach.
Suck on lemon drops or sour candy. Sour foods can stimulate digestion,
starting with saliva in the mouth and moving into the stomach. I had a
bag of sour gummies in my purse for the first few months and would pop
one whenever I felt the watery buildup of saliva in my mouth that signaled an attack of nausea.
The preceding tips are some of the standard ways of relieving nausea, but
some women swear by less mainstream tactics, such as
Using ginger: People have used ginger to combat nausea for centuries.
Scientists aren’t completely certain how it works, but it has something
to do with the unique compounds found in ginger and their effect on the
stomach. Look for lowfat gingersnap cookies, ginger tea, or ginger gum.
Smelling lemon scents or eating lemon-flavored foods: Lemon is a
refreshing scent, and many women report feeling less nauseous when
eating, drinking, or even smelling lemon. Some companies have special
lollipops, lemon drops, and gum just for pregnant women. But plain old
lemon drops can do the trick without the premium price tag.
Undergoing hypnosis or acupressure: These techniques can be beneficial for really severe nausea in some women. Hypnosis works by training
the unconscious mind to suppress the involuntary feelings of nausea.
Acupressure has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to relieve
nausea, and acupressure bands for the P6 pressure point on the wrist
work for many pregnant women.
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
If your nausea is strong enough to interfere with your daily life, talk to your
doctor about certain nausea-reducing medications that are safe to use
during pregnancy.
If smells bother you, take action to head them off. Gently let the people around
you know which smells tend to trigger your nausea. Sometimes you don’t know
what those smells are until they cause an incident — like your best friend’s
perfume that sends you running to the bathroom one day. If at all possible,
avoid visiting places or people that are too fragrant for your fragile stomach.
Food smells are often the worst offenders for setting off nausea. Ask someone
to help you with food preparation if just smelling food prevents you from
eating. Use fans and open windows in the house to get strong smells out as
soon as possible. Also, stick with cold foods because they don’t have as much
aroma as warm foods.
Understanding how vomiting may prevent
you from getting enough nutrients
Obviously, no one likes to feel or be sick to her stomach. When you’re pregnant, you’re even more concerned because you’re now growing another life
inside you. If you’re throwing up daily or several times a day, how is that
affecting your ability to provide nutrients to your baby?
Believe it or not, your baby doesn’t suffer from your occasional or even daily
vomiting. Your body has reserves of nutrients and energy that the baby can
use to grow and develop if food is unavailable in the short term. If you experience vomiting on a regular basis, try to stay hydrated and well nourished when
you’re feeling good. Doing so can help build up your fluid and nutrient stores.
The main risk of vomiting is dehydration. Mild dehydration can lead to fatigue
and headaches, and severe dehydration can cause an imbalance in electrolytes, including sodium and potassium, which can be serious. To prevent
either scenario from happening, sip on sports drinks to replenish sodium,
potassium, and fluids. If sports drinks don’t appeal to you, simply drink water
and eat salted crackers or pretzels and fresh, frozen, or dried fruit.
Determining when medical
intervention is necessary
For a few women, vomiting becomes so excessive that it can harm them or
their babies. This condition is called hyperemesis gravidarum. Typically,
hyperemesis gravidarum is characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight
Chapter 6: Overcoming Embarrassment: The Unpleasant Unmentionables of Pregnancy
loss of more than 5 percent, and evidence of dehydration. See Table 6-1 to
recognize the difference between morning sickness and serious illness.
Table 6-1
Distinguishing between Morning
Sickness and Serious Illness
Morning Sickness
Serious Illness
Your nausea goes away after
14–16 weeks.
Your nausea doesn’t go away.
Your nausea leads to occasional
Your nausea leads to severe vomiting
(several times per day).
Your vomiting doesn’t cause
Your vomiting causes severe dehydration.
Your vomiting still allows you to
keep some food down.
Your vomiting doesn’t allow you to keep
food down.
Your nausea and vomiting are
Your nausea and vomiting disrupt your life.
You don’t experience any significant
weight loss.
You experience weight loss of more than
5% of your body weight.
Nausea and some vomiting are your
only symptoms.
Dizziness, weakness, and fatigue
accompany your vomiting.
Treatment for severe nausea and vomiting can be as simple as taking antinausea medications prescribed by your doctor, getting enough fluids, and resting. If your symptoms become severe enough, you may have to be treated
with intravenous fluids and electrolytes. Some serious cases require hospital
stays and bed rest. When in doubt, call your doctor for advice on how to deal
with your nausea and vomiting.
Even though some vomiting is normal during the first 14 weeks or so of pregnancy, other symptoms that sometimes accompany vomiting are not. Call your
doctor or visit your local emergency room for immediate assistance if you
Have a fever, diarrhea, and/or severe abdominal pain
Experience prolonged vomiting and are also weak, dizzy, or faint
Can’t keep liquids down for more than 24 hours
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
Your Digestive Tract Acquires
a Mind of Its Own
If you haven’t already discovered it for yourself, forgive me for bearing the bad
news: Pregnant women are known to have problems with their digestive tracts.
You can pretty much blame all your digestive tract woes on hormones — specifically progesterone and estrogen.
Progesterone is one of the most important pregnancy hormones. Some of
the side effects of increased levels of progesterone include water retention, sluggish digestion, and nausea. The result of these side effects is
feeling bloated, gassy, and constipated.
Estrogen is to blame for your expanding uterus, which, as the pregnancy
goes on, also causes pressure on the digestive tract. This pressure can
lead to heartburn and constipation.
Of course, knowing about these wonderful hormones won’t make you physically
feel better, but I like having someone or something to blame for feeling stopped
up or as big as a hot-air balloon. At least then I know what to yell at when I’m
in the midst of a particularly bad bout of constipation. (In fact, when in doubt,
blame hormones for everything in pregnancy!) The following digestive tract
issues may or may not affect you during pregnancy, but if they do, reading the
next sections will arm you with what you need to know to deal with them.
Avoiding heartburn with the
help of some nutrition tricks
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the technical term for that burning sensation in your throat and chest, but you probably just call it plain old
heartburn. Heartburn is quite common during pregnancy and can happen any
time throughout your 40 weeks, although it often gets worse in the second
and third trimesters.
Heartburn has two causes, and both are related to the sphincter muscle that
connects the esophagus to your stomach. The progesterone your body produces relaxes that sphincter muscle, and your growing uterus presses on it.
The result is that gastric acids, liquids, and food from the stomach travel back
up your esophagus, leaving you uncomfortable. Heartburn typically worsens as
your belly grows and puts more pressure on your stomach, causing the sphincter muscle to allow acid back into the esophagus (see in Figure 6-1).
You can lessen the symptoms of heartburn by trying the following tips:
Chapter 6: Overcoming Embarrassment: The Unpleasant Unmentionables of Pregnancy
Top of uterus
Figure 6-1:
Your baby’s
position in
the uterus
can lead to
feelings of
Stop eating two to three hours before lying down for bedtime or a
nap. The less you have in your stomach, the less likely you are to experience acid reflux.
Sleep propped up to avoid lying flat. By elevating your upper body,
gravity helps keep your stomach acids down. (If you’re past your first
trimester, you shouldn’t lie flat, anyway, to avoid cutting off circulation
to your baby and your legs. Lie on your left side for optimal circulation).
Practice good posture when sitting. When you slouch, you put more
pressure on your esophagus, which can lead to heartburn.
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
Avoid big meals. Eat small portions so that you don’t overfill the stomach and cause extra food to come back up the esophagus.
Sip liquids with meals instead of drinking large amounts. Because you
want to avoid having large amounts in your stomach at one time, drink
small amounts at meals and stay hydrated by spreading your liquids out
between meals.
Avoid greasy or fatty foods. High-fat foods, specifically fried foods, tend
to trigger heartburn because they don’t stimulate digestion but do take
longer to digest (because they just sit in your stomach).
Skip spicy and acidic foods. Acidic foods, like tomatoes, citrus, and
peppers, can be problematic for many women. Onions and garlic are
also on some women’s problem-foods list. For example, pizza gave me
heartburn every time I ate it while pregnant.
Avoid caffeinated and carbonated beverages. These drinks have been
known to cause acid reflux. Sorry to say, but chocolate can also irritate
the esophagus, so you may want to avoid it, too.
Take an antacid when you’re uncomfortable. Talk to your doctor about
which one to choose or about a safe prescription medication if over-thecounter antacids don’t work for you.
Reducing gas with an antibloating diet
Burping and farting are two of the worst unmentionables of pregnancy. Who
knew such an innocent-looking pregnant woman could produce so much gas?
Again, you can blame this unpleasant side effect of pregnancy on the hormones.
The bacteria in your intestinal tract that help you digest carbohydratecontaining foods produce gas. (Fat and protein foods don’t produce much,
if any, gas.) Those fun pregnancy hormones (which I describe earlier in the
section “Your Digestive Tract Acquires a Mind of Its Own”), combined with
certain foods, can cause your body to produce more gas, so you may want to
adjust your lifestyle to avoid producing even more. Limit your consumption
of the following if you find that they cause more gas:
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels
sprouts, and bok choy
Legumes and beans, such as pinto, kidney, black, cannellini, and garbanzo
beans, black-eyed peas, and lentils
Onions and garlic
Soy and soy-containing foods
Sugar-free items that contain sugar alcohols (Avoid foods that have maltitol,
xylitol, sorbitol, mannitol, and isomalt on the label. Erythritol is also a sugar
alcohol, but it doesn’t produce gas like other sugar alcohols tend to do.)
Chapter 6: Overcoming Embarrassment: The Unpleasant Unmentionables of Pregnancy
Inulin (Inulin is a type of fiber added to many processed food products.)
Whole grains, nuts, and seeds
As you can see, most of these common gas-producing foods are good for
you, so you still need to be able to enjoy them. To do so while reducing gas
production, eat small portions of these (and really all) foods and spread out
portions throughout the day. Also, eat slowly so you don’t swallow large
amounts of food, and chew with your mouth closed.
One of my favorite gas-reducing tricks is to take Beano, an over-the-counter
supplement that contains an enzyme that helps you digest certain parts of
carbohydrate-containing foods that cause gas. The trick is to take Beano at the
start of the meal, not after you finish. To prevent gas from forming, it needs to be
present in the stomach while you’re eating gas-inducing food. Beano is considered to be safe for pregnant women because it’s isolated to the digestive tract.
Preventing pregnancy constipation
The digestive tract becomes sluggish during pregnancy, causing the body
to eliminate waste at a slower rate, which, in turn, can lead to constipation.
If you’re anxious about your pregnancy, don’t exercise at all, or don’t eat
healthy, high-fiber foods, pregnancy constipation can become a lot worse.
Iron supplements or the iron found in prenatal vitamins may also be to
blame for some of your constipation.
About half of women experience constipation during pregnancy, but you can
definitely do something about it! Follow these tips to keep things moving in
your body:
Drink, drink, and drink more water. Stool needs water to keep it
moving through the digestive tract. (Refer to Chapter 3 for tips on how
to stay hydrated during pregnancy.)
Eat lots of fiber. Choose whole grains, beans, and plenty of fruits and
vegetables. (Chapter 3 explains how to get more fiber into your diet.)
If fiber hasn’t been at the top of your must-eat list in the past, increase
your fiber intake slowly and spread it out throughout the day to avoid a
lot of gas and bloating. For example, have a small amount of high-fiber
cereal for breakfast, a few additional servings of fruits or vegetables
throughout the day, and some whole grains and beans for dinner.
Move your body to move your bowels. Exercise, even a low-key activity
like yoga, has been shown to stimulate your digestive tract. Stay active
throughout all phases of pregnancy. (Flip to Chapter 5 for some exercises that are safe to do while you’re pregnant.)
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
Spread out your iron supplement throughout the day. Your prenatal
pill has a high iron level, so cut it in half and take half in the morning and
half in the evening. Your doctor may also be able to recommend an iron
supplement that’s easier on the stomach.
Consider taking over-the-counter fiber supplements or a stool softener. Turn to over-the-counter items only as a last resort and talk to
your doctor about which one is best for you before making a purchase.
Get “good” bacteria from probiotics. Your digestive tract is full of
bacteria, and some of the bacteria (commonly called probiotics) help
support immune and digestive health. You can get probiotics by eating
yogurt, drinking kefir (a type of fermented milk), or taking a probiotic
supplement. Unlike stool softeners that you may take only as needed,
probiotics are good to have on a daily basis.
Don’t take a laxative to relieve constipation because doing so can cause uterine contractions and may also leave you dehydrated. Also, avoid taking mineral oils (which are natural laxatives) because they may inhibit absorption of
some important nutrients during pregnancy.
Dealing with hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are one of the most embarrassing unmentionables of pregnancy.
They’re essentially dilated, swollen veins in the rectum.
The best way to prevent hemorrhoids is to avoid becoming constipated. Read
through the recommendations in the preceding section to discover how to
avoid constipation. If you find yourself with hard stools that don’t pass easily,
don’t strain yourself trying to get them out. Simply drink lots of fluid and
boost the fiber in your diet to 28 grams per day. (For more tips on bumping
up your fluid and fiber intake, check out Chapter 3.) Go for a walk to get things
moving naturally, and avoid sitting for a long time, which puts additional
pressure on the rectal area.
Nutritionally speaking, you can also prevent or deal with hemorrhoids by
following the dietary guidelines for reducing swollen veins. Basically, these
guidelines include the following:
Limit the sodium in your diet to less than 2,300 mg per day.
Avoid processed foods and high-salt condiments, like pickles, salad
dressing, and soy sauce.
Avoid adding salt to your food. (For more reasons to limit your sodium
intake, see Chapter 18.)
Hemorrhoids can bleed and be quite painful. If you have hemorrhoids already,
take a warm bath with baking soda in the water to help soothe pain, reduce
itching, and assist in healing. Witch hazel also helps reduce the swelling.
Chapter 6: Overcoming Embarrassment: The Unpleasant Unmentionables of Pregnancy
Visit your doctor if hemorrhoids become a concern. If you’re losing a lot of blood
or if it’s too painful to have a bowel movement, you may need medical help.
However you choose to deal with hemorrhoids, don’t avoid eating because
you’re afraid of having a painful bowel movement. Starving yourself during
pregnancy is especially worrisome because you need to keep your body
properly nourished.
Steering clear of urinary tract infections
Pregnancy puts you at an increased risk for another pesky problem: urinary
tract infections (UTIs). In case you don’t remember anatomy and physiology
from school, your urinary tract includes your kidneys, bladder, and the tubes
that connect them.
During pregnancy, your kidneys work overtime to get rid of all your waste
products and produce more urine. However, your bladder may not fully
empty because your uterus is constantly pressing on it, leaving room for bacteria to multiply and grow until you have a full-blown UTI.
To reduce your chances of developing a UTI, follow these tips:
Drink plenty of water to flush out the kidneys.
Drink cranberry juice, especially if you’re prone to kidney infections.
Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to get plenty of antioxidants to
boost your immune system.
Eat yogurt, drink kefir, and look for other products with added probiotics (or take a probiotic supplement) to increase “good” bacteria in the
urinary tract.
Avoid caffeinated beverages, which act as a diuretic.
Wear cotton underwear.
Avoid tight-fitting pants.
Wipe front to back when using the bathroom to prevent bacteria from
entering the urethra.
Urinate when you first feel the need to do so instead of trying to hold it.
Urinate before and after having intercourse.
UTIs are easy to treat with antibiotics that are safe during pregnancy, so don’t
despair if you have any of the symptoms in the following list. Instead, call
your doctor.
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
Blood or mucus in the urine
Pain or burning when urinating
Feelings of urgency to urinate
Fever or chills
Urine that looks cloudy or has an unusual odor
Pain or tenderness in the bladder
An untreated UTI is more likely to develop into a kidney infection in pregnant
women. So if you have back pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, and chills, don’t
wait to report these symptoms, all of which can signal a kidney infection.
Fatigue Drains Your Energy Dry
If you’re feeling unusually tired, you’re not alone. Most women don’t just feel
a little bit tired when pregnant; they literally feel exhausted. It makes sense
that in the third trimester you’d be tired from the extra weight you’re carrying, but what could possibly make you feel so tired in the first trimester? The
answer to that $50 million question? Hormones! Between the surge of hormones and the increase in your blood supply, your body is going through a
lot of change. Your breasts and uterus are growing, and your baby is already
getting a lot of your energy. The resulting fatigue is also your body’s way of
telling you to slow down and get plenty of rest.
The good news is that the second trimester is well-known for bursts of
energy. Even though their bodies are still working overtime, many women
find themselves cleaning and organizing in preparation of the baby’s arrival.
The third trimester brings some fatigue again, but this time it’s mostly
because of your larger size.
Don’t listen to those well-intentioned people who say, “If you think you’re
tired now, just wait until the baby comes!” Your fatigue right now comes from
the physical drain on your body, and you need to take it seriously so that you
take care of yourself properly.
Follow these tips to beat fatigue:
Take a nap when you need it. Even resting for 20 minutes without
sleeping can make a world of difference.
Ask for help. Don’t be a superwoman and try to do everything yourself. Ask
your partner, friends, and family for assistance. Don’t be afraid to delegate!
Move your body regularly. Exercise regularly (unless your doctor has told
you not to). Women who exercise tend to have more energy and sleep better
at night. See Chapter 5 for recommendations on safe ways to get moving.
Chapter 6: Overcoming Embarrassment: The Unpleasant Unmentionables of Pregnancy
Take your prenatal vitamin to ensure that you’re getting enough iron.
Fatigue is a major symptom of iron deficiency because iron plays a role
in transporting oxygen to the cells.
The most powerful ways to combat fatigue involve eating (specifically, paying
attention to how and what you eat) and sleeping (as in getting the amount
of sleep your body really needs). I delve into the details of these two fatiguefighting activities in the sections that follow.
Eating to have energy
Most women think that fatigue and exhaustion are just part of the territory
called pregnancy. What you may not know is that what you eat and, even
more important, when you eat it can make a big difference in your energy
levels throughout the day. I’ve been studying and teaching people how to
have more energy for many years, and many of the people I work with have
incredible changes in their energy levels as a result of changing just a few
simple things in how they eat. Putting into practice even just one or two of
the tips in the next sections can help boost your energy levels.
Eating small amounts
Eating small amounts rather than large meals has so many benefits in pregnancy. You can reduce your risk of getting heartburn, prevent excess weight
gain, improve sleep, and decrease feelings of nausea, just to name a few. But
the biggest benefit may be in the fact that you simply feel more energetic to
face your day.
By limiting portions, you fuel your body with just the right amount of food and
subsequent energy to get through your day. Eating large quantities can make
you feel sleepy and lethargic, preventing you from having enough energy for
you and your developing baby.
Eating frequently throughout the day
When you eat smaller meals, you naturally have to eat more often, which really
just means you get to enjoy some yummy snacks. Snacks act like a bridge
between meals, preventing you from getting too hungry and making poor food
choices. When the snacks you choose are also nutritious, you provide you and
your baby with more nutrients to properly fuel your activities and your baby’s
growth. To see a list of good snacks to choose, turn to Chapter 7.
Eating foods that provide lasting energy
Certain foods give your body sustained energy throughout the day, but some
foods can cause a crash in energy. Avoid foods that are high in simple sugars
and refined carbohydrates, like cookies and other sweets, many crackers, and
regular soft drinks. Instead, choose foods that contain whole grains. Read labels
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
on breads, crackers, tortillas, rice, and cereals, and look for the words whole
grain. Whole grains have more complex carbohydrates (starches) that take your
body longer to digest than simple sugars, resulting in more lasting energy. (For
more information about whole grains and fiber, head to Chapter 3.)
For lasting energy in a meal or snack, combine foods rich in complex carbohydrates with protein-rich foods. Aim to include protein, such as a piece of meat,
poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, or a vegetarian alternative, at every meal. Protein
keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time and prevents blood sugar
from rising too quickly, leading to the inevitable crash of energy when it drops
back down. Look for snacks that have either protein or fiber in them to prevent this type of energy crash at snack time.
Getting the sleep you need
Most people don’t get enough sleep on a regular basis. If you’re one of them,
you may need to take a serious look at getting the sleep you need during
pregnancy. Adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night,
but you may find that your body needs more sleep while you’re pregnant.
Plus, poor sleep can affect your labor when you’re ready to deliver. Some
studies suggest that women who get six hours of sleep or less have longer
labors and increased risk of C-section deliveries.
Many pregnant women face a variety of problems, like those in the following list, that cause significant disruption to their sleep (and therefore help
increase feelings of fatigue):
The need to urinate: Many women get up several times each night to visit
the bathroom, disrupting their ability to get continuous, restorative sleep.
Heartburn: This condition, which I tell you how to prevent in the earlier
section “Avoiding heartburn with the help of some nutrition tricks,” can
make some women very uncomfortable when they lie down to catch
some zzz’s.
Restless leg syndrome (RLS): RLS is a condition that causes discomfort in the legs when you’re lying down. You relieve the discomfort by
moving your legs. To help minimize RLS, exercise regularly and be sure
to stretch after exercise. Also, get checked for iron deficiency because it
can sometimes contribute to RLS.
Follow these tips to get a more restful night’s sleep:
Drink liquids during the day and limit your intake three to four hours
before bedtime. Limiting liquids later in the day may help cut down on
the number of trips to the bathroom you need to make in the middle of
the night.
Chapter 6: Overcoming Embarrassment: The Unpleasant Unmentionables of Pregnancy
Develop a good bedtime routine. Take a warm bath, relax with a book,
and dim the lights. Get the TV, computer, and phone out of your bedroom. Use the bedroom for sleep and sex only.
Go to bed at approximately the same time each night. If at all possible,
don’t set an alarm so you can allow your body to naturally wake up
when you feel you’ve gotten the sleep you need.
Sleep on your left side, especially after the first trimester. Use a body
pillow or just a small pillow in between your knees or under your belly
to get more comfortable.
Sleep with your head elevated to keep stomach acids down and avoid
eating two to three hours prior to bedtime. Doing so helps minimize
the possibility of heartburn.
Pregnant women, particularly those who are overweight at conception, may
develop sleep apnea, a disorder in which breathing is repeatedly disrupted
during sleep. Untreated sleep apnea is a serious medical condition and
increases risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and having a low-birthweight baby. If your partner notices that you snore much louder or seem to
have long pauses between breaths while asleep, alert your doctor.
Avoiding balloon-like feet and hands
Swelling happens because of the increase in
fluid in your body. It can also lead to varicose
veins and spider veins as your uterus puts pressure on the veins that send blood back up to
your heart from your legs, feet, face, and hands.
If you’re prone to swelling, follow these tips:
✓ Prop up your feet whenever you can.
✓ Limit your salt/sodium intake.
✓ Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol,
of course.
✓ Avoid standing or sitting for too long. Take
breaks if you have a job that requires you to
sit or stand a lot.
✓ Sleep on your side and elevate your legs
with pillows.
✓ Swim laps or join a water aerobics class
to take the pressure off your legs. Or just
enjoy being weightless while floating in
the water.
✓ Wear medical-grade compression stockings. Get advice from your doctor on the
right ones for you.
Remember: Call your doctor if swelling is severe
or comes on suddenly. Dramatic or sudden
swelling could be a sign of one of the more serious medical conditions I cover in Chapter 18.
Part I: In the Beginning: Growing a Baby Bump
Part II
Eating Right for
In this part . . .
n this part, I take you through a typical day, mealwise,
and show you how often to eat and what to munch on
between meals. If you’ve heard about pregnancy cravings
or are experiencing them yourself, you can use this part
to help guide you through those cravings.
I show you how to deal with common restaurant temptations and help you make good decisions at the grocery
store, including whether to go organic and which fish to
buy. I also reveal how to stock your kitchen and prepare
(and store) food safely. If you still have doubts as to what
to eat and when, check out the sample meal plans I
include at the end of this part.
Chapter 7
Completing the Puzzle: Discovering
How to Eat while Pregnant
In This Chapter
▶Eating small meals and frequent snacks to curb hunger and fuel your body
▶Snacking the smart way with delicious go-to pregnancy snacks
▶Knowing why you get cravings and what you can do to manage them
nowing what to eat and what to avoid to help your baby grow is essential,
but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Because pregnancy often comes with
a host of experiences — including filling up quickly because your baby is fighting for room in your belly, feeling content one minute and hungry the next, and
having a serious hankering for an ice cream sundae — you also need to know
how to eat.
This chapter has you covered with the information you need to know. You
discover a new approach to eating (here’s a hint: small meals are your friend),
and you find out why snacking between meals is critical. You also discover
how to deal with cravings that may at times seem impossible to deny.
Adopting a New Dining Strategy:
Eat Small Amounts Frequently
If you adopt any new mantras over the course of your pregnancy, I strongly
encourage you to adopt this one: Eat small amounts frequently. Here’s why:
Your body is designed to have food on a regular basis. Think about
the actual size of the human stomach: It’s only about as big as a softball
or grapefruit. Although it will stretch to accommodate more food, too
much stretching makes you feel bloated and uncomfortably full.
Eating small amounts is especially important when you’re pregnant.
You may find that as your belly grows, your stomach shrinks. Well, your
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
stomach isn’t really shrinking, but your baby is pressing down on your
stomach, causing it to feel full quickly. You can minimize the discomfort
you feel after eating by eating small meals. When you cut back on meal
size, you get hungry more frequently, leading you to eat more often.
Your body needs food all day long while you’re awake. If your body
doesn’t get the energy it needs because you’re not eating, it can’t function at the best of its ability. As a result, it’ll begin to break down stored
fat and muscle tissue — not an ideal scenario when you’re pregnant.
Giving your body the fuel it needs starts with eating breakfast. Your
energy needs go up the minute you’ve silenced the snooze and your feet
hit the floor. When your energy needs increase, your food intake should
do the same (in other words, you need to supply food to the body when it
demands it). To start your day off right, either eat breakfast right away and
then have a midmorning snack or, if you’re not hungry for breakfast right
away, eat a snack (like a few handfuls of dry cereal or crackers, a cup of
milk or yogurt, a banana, or one slice of toast) within an hour of getting up
and then follow that an hour or two later with a more substantial breakfast.
If you’re experiencing nausea, which is often caused by having too much
stomach acid, eat a little bit of food (even though you don’t feel like
eating) to help keep that queasy feeling at bay. See Chapter 6 for more
on combating nausea and other unpleasant side effects of pregnancy.
You can’t only eat small amounts or only eat frequently. You have to do both.
After all, if you just eat small portions but don’t eat often, you’ll be hungry all
the time. If you just eat more frequently but don’t cut back on portions, you
may end up with too many calories and undesired excess weight gain.
The following sections help you figure out how to read your body’s signals so
that you can more easily know when to eat and when to stop eating and how
to tame the ravenous hunger that can sometimes strike during pregnancy.
Using the hunger gauge to
interpret your body’s signals
Many people have learned to effectively ignore or suppress the signals their
stomachs so diligently send to their brains in favor of telling themselves stories like these:
“I don’t have time for breakfast; I just deal with the hunger.”
“This food tastes so good that I can’t stop.”
“There’s always room for dessert!”
“I’ve had a hard day; I deserve it!”
“I’m pregnant; I need the extra calories.”
Chapter 7: Completing the Puzzle: Discovering How to Eat while Pregnant
If you really want to master the eat-small-amounts-frequently technique, I
suggest using a hunger gauge to become more in tune with the ways your
body signals that it’s running on empty. One sign you’re probably already
familiar with is that growl in your tummy — you know, the one you’re sure
everyone around you can hear although they’re too polite to comment on it.
If you don’t provide your body with some food fuel within 15 minutes of that
growl, you may start to experience other symptoms of hunger, including
Feelings of being really irritable, unfocused, and/or lightheaded
The inability to stop thinking about food
As you reacquaint yourself with your body’s hunger signals, think of them like
the gas gauge on your car. To see what I mean, take a look at Figure 7-1, which
shows what the feelings in your body would look like if you had a gas gauge
installed in your body.
Figure 7-1:
The hunger
Empty and
Bloated and
The first four levels of the hunger gauge deal with varying degrees of hunger.
When you’re at level three (hungry), eat a small meal. When you’re at level
four (slightly hungry) and a meal is still a long time off, have a snack to tide
you over (see the later section “Being prepared with a go-to pregnancy snack
list” for some yummy snack ideas). If you wait to eat until you’re at level
two (ravenous), you’re much more likely to make bad food choices, eat too
quickly, and not know when to stop. If you get all the way to level one (empty
and faint), you may start to feel physically ill. If you get to level zero (shut
down), your body is so hungry that you don’t even feel hungry anymore; at
that point, your body starts to shut down metabolism and may break down
muscle for energy. A number five on the hunger gauge represents a neutral
feeling, neither hungry nor full.
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
The other end of the hunger gauge deals with the levels of fullness. Ideally,
you stop eating when you reach level six (comfortable) but definitely by the
time you reach level seven (full). If you keep eating until you reach level eight
(stuffed), your stomach stretches, telling your body there’s an excess energy
supply that it must store as fat. At level nine (bloated and uncomfortable),
you feel tired and possibly guilty about how much you ate, and at level ten
(nauseous), you’re so full that you feel sick.
Figuring out the difference between being comfortable and being full or stuffed
takes practice. By practice, I mean being aware of the sensations in your
stomach and paying attention to how you feel, not just physically but also
emotionally and mentally. When you’re at level six on the hunger gauge and
feeling pretty comfortable, you should feel about 80 percent full. At this point,
the food you just ate should last you about two to three hours before you’re
hungry again. When you’re at level seven on the hunger gauge, you should
be feeling full (but not uncomfortable), and your food should last you about
three to four hours. When you’re comfortable or full, you’re still alert, focused,
and happy. When you go beyond fullness and into the feelings of stuffed and
bloated, you’re in what I call a “food coma,” where you’d like to just take a
nap or unbutton your pants. At this point, you can’t concentrate on the things
around you because you’re feeling tired and guilty about eating too much.
To keep from feeling more uncomfortable than you may already be feeling,
avoid going above level seven (full) on the hunger gauge.
Keeping your hunger from
becoming ravenous
Many pregnant women complain that they’re hungrier than usual and that
their hunger can sometimes become quite ravenous (often with very little
warning). During both of my pregnancies, I’d find myself quite content and
not hungry at all one minute and literally ravenous the next minute.
Becoming aware of what being hungry feels like so you know when to start
eating is just as important as knowing when to stop eating. If you allow yourself to become ravenous, you’ll attack that bread basket as soon as you sit
down to a meal at a restaurant or immediately grab a bag of chips when you
walk in the door at home. So eat when you first start to feel hungry. Don’t wait
to dig in until you’re either sick or so hungry that you feel like you could eat
everything in sight.
If you find that your hunger is utterly unpredictable, carry healthy food with
you at all times and make snacking your secret weapon. I provide a list of go-to
pregnancy snacks later in this chapter.
Chapter 7: Completing the Puzzle: Discovering How to Eat while Pregnant
Knowing when to stop
Pushing away a plate of tasty food takes discipline and enough self-awareness
to know where you’re at on the hunger gauge (a tool I describe in the preceding section). Developing both is well worth the effort, especially if you’re one
of the many pregnant women who experience heartburn — a pregnancy side
effect that’s often exacerbated by large portions of food.
I know that saying no to an extra piece of pizza or turning down dessert can
be tough, but skipping out on this extra food has two big benefits: You may
wind up feeling better, and you (and your developing baby) will wind up
healthier when you don’t gain excess weight during your pregnancy.
Follow these tips to become more mindful while eating so that you know
when to stop:
Eliminate distractions while you eat. Always sit down at a table to eat
and don’t do anything else (like working, reading, or watching TV) while
you’re eating. Eating delicious food is a pleasure in life, and it should get
your full attention. Plus, if you’re distracted, you won’t pay attention to
your body’s hunger cues, and before you know it, you’ll be overfull.
Eat from a smaller plate. The average plate size in America has increased
by 36 percent since the 1960s. Eating from larger plates usually means
piling on larger portions, so eat from smaller plates to help you eat smaller
portions. A smaller plate holds less food, but when you fill it up, your brain
still sees a plate full of food.
Don’t be part of the “Clean Plate Club.” Just because you still have
food in front of you doesn’t mean you have to finish it, especially when
the portion was too big to begin with.
Eat slowly by putting your fork down between bites. By consciously
putting your fork down, you force yourself to slow down. Your stomach
takes about 20 minutes to signal fullness to your brain, so eating slowly
helps you know when to stop eating before you end up feeling stuffed.
Chew well and drink fluids with your meal. Chewing your food well
promotes good digestion. Similarly, drinking fluids (like water, milk, and
juice) helps your body break down food while you’re eating.
Be aware that some foods are more filling than others. Protein, fiber,
and water all fill you up faster than simple carbs, like sugars or refined
starches. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables (which provide
water and fiber) and the rest with complex carbohydrates (preferably
whole grains) and lean protein. (To find out which foods are the best
sources for the nutrients you need during pregnancy, see Chapter 3.)
When you’re dining with others, engage in conversation so that you slow
down the pace at which you eat. However, don’t allow that conversation to
distract you too much from enjoying the tastes and textures of your food!
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
Snacking Is Sensible
Snacks are a must-have during pregnancy. Think of them like little bridges
that help carry you over from one meal to the next, leaving you with the
energy you need to get through the day and keeping you in a good mood.
If the bridge image doesn’t sell you on the idea of snacking, consider that
snacking allows you to fill in small nutrient gaps throughout your day. If
you’re not getting all the nutrients you need during your regularly scheduled
meals, you can eat nutrient-rich snacks that provide you with some of the
nutrients you need more of when you’re expecting. (If that doesn’t sound
too exciting, don’t fret. You don’t have to eat only “healthy” food as snacks.
Chocolate, ice cream, and chips can have their place at the snack table, too!)
In the sections that follow, I clue you in to the wonderful world of healthy
snacking. Prepare to discover what kinds of foods are worth snacking on and
when snacking fits best in your day.
One important note about snacks: Snacks aren’t intended to fill you up. Eating a
banana mid morning won’t fill you up, but if the banana bridges you from breakfast to lunch so you don’t arrive at lunch feeling ravenous, the banana did its job.
Presenting guidelines for smart snacking
The main rule of thumb for snacking is to eat something that has nutritional
value. Focus on foods that have high fiber or protein. (I introduce you to highfiber and high-protein foods in Chapter 3.) These nutrients take longer to digest,
which means you won’t crash shortly after consuming them and your energy
will last longer. Read food labels if you’re not sure whether something has fiber
or protein in it. For fresh foods, you can find the nutrient data you need
To provide lasting energy, avoid foods that are high in sugar or refined flour,
including rice cakes, pretzels, donuts, sugary drinks, cookies, and candy. All
of these foods can cause a spike and drop in your blood sugar, leading to a
major energy crash. Also stay away from high-fat foods that may be greasy
or full of cream because they may be difficult to digest, leading to heartburn
or a queasy stomach.
Aim for eating between 100 and 150 calories per snack. Anything more than this
could be considered a small meal. Remember that a snack is intended to bridge
you from meal to meal; in other words, it should curb your hunger enough so
that you can make it to the next meal, not fill you up. If the snack contains fiber
or protein, 100 to 150 calories should be enough to last you for one to two hours.
If you’re really hungry or need that snack to last longer, go for a 200-calorie
snack. (See Chapter 3 for more on your calorie needs during pregnancy.)
Chapter 7: Completing the Puzzle: Discovering How to Eat while Pregnant
Being prepared with a go-to
pregnancy snack list
The biggest issue most people have with snacking is a lack of preparation.
They forget to pack snacks and then don’t have them ready when hunger
strikes. So get into the habit of keeping your purse, briefcase, car, desk drawer —
basically, everywhere you go — stocked with nonperishable snacks.
Eventually, you’ll develop your own go-to list of snacks, but for now, consider
the foods on this list as a jumping-off point:
Beans: Edamame is probably the bean that’s most commonly eaten
as a snack, but other beans make good snacks, too. I’ve been known
to eat chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) right out of the can as a snack,
but you can also eat them toasted like in the Crunchy Garbanzo Beans
in Chapter 13. Or save some leftover bean salad (like the Three-Bean
Artichoke Salad in Chapter 17) from lunch for a snack the next day!
Canned/jarred fruit: Look for individual containers of fruit packed in
its own juice for convenience. Avoid fruit that has been packed in light
syrup so you don’t consume extra sugar.
Cheese: Go for string cheese or mini individually wrapped cheeses like
mini Babybel or Laughing Cow. Always check labels to make sure the
cheese is pasteurized.
Chocolate: If you’re craving chocolate, have some for a snack. Chocolate
has fiber, so it’s not a completely empty-calorie food, but, of course, try
to limit your portion to about an ounce. For an even more satisfying chocolate snack that won’t leave you crashing, have chocolate-covered nuts
(think Peanut or Almond M&Ms and go for the snack-sized bag with
about 10 pieces in it).
Cottage cheese: Look for the 1% or 2% milk or fat-free varieties. Also
consider buying the individual cups for convenience.
Dried fruit: Dried fruit — think raisins, cherries, blueberries, cranberries,
pineapple, apples, bananas, and so on — is denser than fresh fruit, so a
little goes a long way (a quarter cup is a tad over 100 calories for most
dried fruit). Mix your favorite dried fruit with nuts for a tasty trail mix.
Dry cereal: I often snack on dry cereals, like Cheerios, Frosted MiniWheats, Kashi cereals, Cracklin’ Oat Bran, and Quaker Oatmeal Squares.
Look for cereals with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Put a serving
of cereal into a snack-sized resealable bag and throw it in your purse for
a midmorning snack.
Fresh fruit: Fruit has fiber, especially if you eat the peel (when appropriate, of course). So pick up staples such as bananas, apples, oranges,
pears, berries, grapes, melon, peaches, and plums, but don’t be afraid to
experiment with different fruits like kiwi or Medjool dates.
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
Greek yogurt: Get twice as much protein as regular yogurt when you eat
Greek yogurt. Stick to the fat-free or lowfat kind.
Half of a sandwich: Eating something more substantial that’s still low in
calories can help keep you feeling satisfied longer. Heat some turkey to
steaming hot in the microwave and put it on a slice of whole-grain bread.
Add the veggies of your choice, fold it over, and enjoy.
Nut butters: Peanut butter, almond butter, and soy nut butter are all
delicious snack ideas. Spread them on celery, apple slices, whole-grain
crackers, or brown rice cakes, or simply eat them with a spoon (just be
sure to limit yourself to one tablespoon!).
Nut or cereal mixes: Make your own snack mixes with your favorite nuts
and cereal. Check out the Apple Cinnamon Trail Mix and the Quinoa Nut
Mix in Chapter 13 for ideas to get you started.
Nutrition bars: Choose a bar that has fiber or protein or both.
KIND, SOYJOY, LÄRABAR, PowerBar Pria, Clif Bar Luna or Mojo, and
ZonePerfect are just a few of the brands you have to choose from.
Nutrition shakes: Shakes are delicious and often come in the perfect size
for a snack. EAS AdvantEDGE, Slim-Fast, Carnation Breakfast, and Mix1
are just some of the brands you can choose.
Nuts: Almonds, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, peanuts, and cashews are
full of fiber and protein, and the fat they contain is heart-healthy fat. But
beware of portions when you’re eating nuts because a little bit can add
up fast. For 150 calories, you can get 22 almonds, 45 pistachios, 15 pecan
halves, 11 walnut halves, 25 peanuts, or 16 cashews.
Oatmeal: Just add hot water or milk and you’ve got yourself a tasty
snack. Or look for Seneca Oatmeal and Fruit cups, which don’t require
adding milk or water and take just 45 seconds in the microwave.
Popcorn: You can get a lot of volume (3 or more cups) of this whole
grain in a serving for relatively few calories. Pop it on the stove in a
small amount of canola oil or use the snack-sized microwavable bags
for convenience.
Raw veggies and hummus: Slice or chop up some red pepper, celery,
broccoli, cauliflower, or mushrooms, or go for the more convenient
baby carrots or sugar snap peas. Eat them by themselves or dip them
into a few tablespoons of premade hummus.
Salad: Who says salad is only for meals? Have a small salad loaded with
lots of veggies for a satisfying midafternoon snack.
Smoothies: Throw some frozen berries, milk, and a banana into the
blender for a quick and satisfying smoothie. Check out the Chocolate
Banana Blast Smoothie or Pomegranate Power Smoothie in Chapter 12.
Chapter 7: Completing the Puzzle: Discovering How to Eat while Pregnant
Whole-grain crackers and chips: Kashi crackers, Triscuits, Wheat Thins,
SunChips, Tostitos, and many tortilla chips are made with whole grains.
Look for the phrase whole grain on the ingredient list and check the
label for 2 or more grams of fiber. Add nutrition by dipping your crackers and chips into bean dips and fresh salsas, like the Minty Watermelon
Salsa in Chapter 13.
Determining how many snacks you need
To determine the number of snacks you need in a day, take a look at your current eating patterns. The typical recommendation you may hear of eating three
small meals and three snacks per day may or may not apply to you. For example, you may need more than three snacks, depending on how big or small
your meals are and how many calories you need. If you don’t mind snacking
frequently or you don’t have a problem pushing the plate away to eat smaller
meals, then you may need four or five snacks each day. If you don’t want to be
bothered with very many snacks, just plan on having two or three to bridge
your hunger between meals.
Generally, you want to eat something within an hour of waking. Follow that
up by eating a meal or snack every two to four hours throughout the day, as
indicated by the following sample eating schedule. (For sample meal plans
that include specific food recommendations for each meal and snack according to the trimester you’re in, flip to Chapter 11.)
7:00 a.m. — Out of bed
8:00 a.m. — Breakfast
10:45 a.m. — Snack
12:30 p.m. — Lunch
3:00 p.m. — Snack
5:00 p.m. — Snack
6:30 p.m. — Dinner
9:30 p.m. — Snack
10:30 p.m. — Bedtime
The fuel you get from meals (400 to 600 calories) typically lasts your body
about two to four hours, whereas the fuel you get from snacks (100 to
150 calories) may last only one to two hours.
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
Get Me Some Ice Cream . . . NOW!:
Understanding and Managing Cravings
Sending your partner out at midnight for an ice cream run? Dying for a summer
sausage and cheese sandwich on rye with grape jelly? Welcome to the land of
pregnancy cravings. Cravings in pregnancy are normal. In fact, most women
experience them at some point in their pregnancy. The extent of the cravings
is what you may need to worry about. If the junk food you’re craving is filling
you up and you’re not hungry for healthy foods, you have a problem. And too
much junk food in addition to healthy food can lead to excess weight gain and
pregnancy complications. The next sections offer some insight into why cravings occur and how you can manage them so that you don’t gain a ton of extra
weight throughout the course of your pregnancy.
Why am I craving this food, anyway?
Lots of theories exist for why pregnant women tend to crave certain foods
during pregnancy. Emotions — happy, sad, stressed, anxious — can cause
many people to turn to food to calm down or reward. One emotion many
pregnant women feel is a sense of entitlement or reward. You figure that
because you’re working hard carrying your baby, you need (and deserve) the
extra calories, so why not give in to every craving you experience? Because,
if you do, you may end up with more pounds than you bargained for in your
pregnancy. After all, your body stores every unneeded calorie you take in as
extra fat, and that extra fat is much harder to get rid of when you’re trying to
get back down to your pre-pregnancy weight.
Sometimes people (pregnant women included) crave foods because of the
power of suggestion; they see, smell, or even just hear about a particular
food and then have a real hankering for it. As a dietitian, I talk about food all
day long, so I’ve definitely experienced this type of craving. For example, if a
client talks about chocolate chip cookies hot out of the oven, two days later
I may find myself craving warm chocolate chip cookies. Have you been to
the movies, mall, or airport lately and, all of a sudden, found yourself craving
popcorn, cinnamon buns, or pizza? If so, you, too, have fallen victim to the
power of suggestion.
One craving cause scientists have proven to be true is hunger. When you’re
hungry, you crave food. The hungrier you get, the worse the cravings can
be. For example, if you feel low on energy, your brain’s natural reaction is to
crave something sweet because sugar provides instant energy. Similarly, fat
provides lasting energy, so if your body senses that energy levels have been
running low for a while, it signals you to eat something with fat. Thus, chocolate and ice cream are the perfect craving foods because they offer sugar for
energy right away and fat for energy long-term.
Chapter 7: Completing the Puzzle: Discovering How to Eat while Pregnant
When cravings are bad
Not all cravings are good cravings. For instance,
a condition called pica is when someone craves
and eats nonfood items. It’s actually more
common in children, but it does occasionally strike
pregnant women. If you suffer from pica, you may
have intense cravings for (and subsequently eat)
nonfood substances like paper, chalk, dirt, sand,
laundry starch, cornstarch, coffee grounds, clay,
mothballs, plaster, soap, charcoal, ashes, stones,
paint, soap, and animal feces.
Eating these substances is dangerous and can
harm you and your baby because these nonfoods
can interfere with nutrient absorption and some
of them are toxic. If your cravings have turned
to nonfood substances, contact your doctor
immediately for help. Some people believe that
zinc and iron deficiencies cause the cravings,
so get your blood tested. Also, look for alternatives to calm the cravings. Chew sugarless gum
and suck on strong mints. Keep yourself properly fueled with real food so that you don’t feel
hungry. You may need to seek professional help
from a therapist to take a behavioral approach
to stopping the behavior.
How can I get through my cravings
without gaining 70 pounds?
You may have discovered that many food cravings don’t go away until you
eat the specific foods you crave. Say you’re craving olives wrapped in cream
cheese and pepperoni. Eating a carrot stick instead probably isn’t going to cut it.
Sometimes you just need to fulfill that craving, as weird or normal as it may be.
If you give in to every craving, you may end up putting on more pounds than
you planned during your pregnancy. If you’re determined to survive your cravings without experiencing excess weight gain, follow these tips:
Figure out how to distinguish between physical hunger and psychological hunger. Ask yourself whether you’re truly hungry or just bored,
sad, happy, or stressed. If you’re truly hungry, eat a snack or meal. If
you’re not, stall and distract yourself (see the next bullet).
Stall and distract yourself. Instead of giving in right away to a particular craving (if you’re not physically hungry), buy yourself some time by
engaging in another activity (call a friend or go for a walk, for example)
to see if the craving goes away. A lot of times it does, but if you come
back still wanting the particular food, then have it for your next meal or
snack to satisfy the craving.
Figure out what you really want. For example, if you’re craving a strawberry milkshake, ask yourself what you’re really craving. Are you craving the strawberries or the creamy, cold, sweet taste of the milkshake?
Could you satisfy the craving with some fresh berries and whipped
cream? What about a half cup of strawberry sorbet or lowfat ice cream?
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
Would a strawberry-banana smoothie do the trick? Any of these options
would be much lower in calories or have more nutritional value than the
strawberry milkshake.
Substitute if possible. Always choose the healthiest version of the foods
you’re craving, For example, if you’re craving potato chips, you may be
able to substitute lowfat popcorn for the full-fat chips. But don’t substitute if no good substitute exists. For example, if you’re craving pickles,
eating a plain cucumber won’t be very satisfying! Just eat the pickles and
be done with the craving.
Eat a variety of foods throughout the day. If you eat nothing but protein, you’ll probably crave carbs. If you eat only carbs, you may find
yourself craving a steak. Eat some carbs, protein, and fat at every meal
and get a variety of grains, meats or meat alternatives, fruits, and veggies every day. Doing so helps you (and your baby) stay healthy! (See
Chapter 3 for the lowdown on proper pregnancy nutrition.)
Be aware of your portions. With foods like cake, ice cream, chocolate,
cookies, chips, and other high-calorie foods, pay attention to the portions you eat. Serve yourself one serving on a plate and put the rest of
the package away instead of plopping down on the couch with the entire
container. Eat slowly and enjoy every bite.
Avoid trigger situations. If your favorite donut shop is on the way
home from work, take an alternate route to avoid craving donuts simply
because you drove by the shop. Get rid of the candy jar at work. Ask your
partner and those close to you to avoid tempting you unnecessarily.
Rest up and pamper yourself. When you’re tired, you may crave food for
energy. If you find yourself unusually tired or you’re not getting the proper
sleep at night, do everything you can to give yourself a break. Get a massage or pedicure, take a nap, or simply put your feet up with a good book
or magazine. That way, you won’t find yourself craving high-sugar, high-fat
foods that’ll just lead to energy crashes and excess weight gain later.
Chapter 8
Making Safe and Healthy Choices
When Dining Out
In This Chapter
▶Figuring out how to find the healthiest items on the menu and then how to order them
▶Overcoming the potential pitfalls of restaurant eating
▶Keeping you and your baby safe when dining out
regnancy lasts a long time, so even if you’re diligent about preparing meals at home, chances are you’re going to dine out at least a few
times. The good news is that pregnant women aren’t limited in their choice
of restaurant. You can find something to eat at any type of restaurant —
American, Italian, Mexican, Korean, fast-food, sit-down, or coffee house. What
you choose from the menu, however, can make a difference in providing you
and your baby with safe and healthy food. Don’t start panicking, yet. This
chapter is here to help you make good food choices while dining out. In it,
you discover how to navigate any restaurant menu, no matter how complex it
seems; prevent common restaurant temptations from getting the best of you;
and keep food safety in mind, whether you’re enjoying your restaurant meal
outside the home, on your couch, or in a doggie bag.
First Things First: Navigating the Menu
The first step in ordering right at any restaurant is knowing how to read the
menu. After all, restaurant menus can be rather deceptive thanks to their
tantalizing, mouth-watering descriptions. The restaurant’s main goal is to get
you to love its food so that you keep coming back — preferably with every
known friend or relative in tow. But what tends to make most restaurant
dishes so yummy is an excess of fat, salt, and sugar. The following sections
reveal how to translate those delicious-sounding menu descriptions so that
you can decide which dishes are best for you and your baby.
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
If you can’t tell how a dish is prepared from its description in the menu, be
sure to ask! If you’re at a sit-down restaurant and the server doesn’t know, ask
to talk to the chef so you can find out whether that dish is a good choice for
you (and your baby).
If you want to guarantee you won’t be fooled by a restaurant menu, take
advantage of modern technology and browse menus and nutritional information online. Most major chain (and even some family-owned) restaurants offer
menus and nutritional information on their websites. Or you can pick up a
copy of Restaurant Calorie Counter For Dummies, 2nd Edition, by Rosanne Rust
and Meri Raffetto (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). Browse through and make your
dinner decision before you even set foot in the restaurant!
Spotting high-sodium foods
Sodium is linked to high blood pressure and can increase swelling during
pregnancy (see Chapter 18 for more on both of these conditions). But because
sodium provides flavor, you can bet that pretty much all restaurant food has
a good deal of sodium in it. The following foods are especially high, so try to
limit your intake of them when you’re dining out:
Anything pickled (think pickles and olives)
Sauces like soy, teriyaki, cocktail, marinara, gravy, and salad dressing
Broths, including soups and au jus
Processed meats (think deli meats and bacon)
Anything smoked
Picking out high-fat foods
High-fat foods are high in calories, which could cause excess weight gain during
pregnancy (see Chapter 5 for tips on avoiding excess weight gain). You don’t
need to eat everything fat-free while carrying your little one, but you should
limit how many high-fat foods you eat and how often you eat them. So when
you’re at a restaurant, try to avoid ordering meals with the following menu
terms; although they may sound yummy, they basically mean “high in fat”:
Pan-fried, deep-fried, sautéed: These terms are just another way to say
something is cooked in a good deal of oil.
Crispy, breaded, battered, tempura, golden: These terms warn you that
whatever foods they’re describing are fried.
Alfredo, cream sauce, aioli, béarnaise, hollandaise, mayonnaise: These
terms mean the dish is creamed or creamy. (Note that even dishes with
“light” cream sauce can contain more fat than you should eat in one sitting.)
Chapter 8: Making Safe and Healthy Choices When Dining Out
Smothered: This term typically means that the dish is served with a
creamy sauce, oily vegetables, or a whole lot of cheese.
Fondue: This term means that you dip individual pieces of food in
cheese, oil, or chocolate — all of which are loaded in fat. Dipping in
broth won’t add the fat, but it’ll add a good deal of sodium to your meal.
Cheesy, au gratin, scalloped: These terms indicate that the recipe is full
of either cheese or cream.
Zeroing in on good-for-you descriptions
To protect your health and weight when eating out, choose menu items that
involve healthier cooking techniques. The end result will be less extra fat and
calories and, in some cases, less sodium, too. Foods bearing any of the following descriptions are typically good bets during pregnancy:
Placing Your Order
As you mentally prepare your order, bear in mind that a well-rounded meal
consists of complex carbs, protein, and some fruit and/or vegetables. So
if, for example, you’re thinking about ordering a salad, which naturally has
lots of vegetables, consider whether it includes any protein. Also consider
whether it comes with a roll or some starchy vegetables as toppings to provide you with complex carbs.
Most restaurants don’t automatically give you a lot of fruits and vegetables
(salads are the exception), so you may need to order a side of veggies or a
fruit cup to get your quota for the meal. Ask to sub the ever-present fries for
vegetables. If your server tells you veggies cost a little more, just smile and
say, “They’re worth it.”
Skip items like raw fish, undercooked meat, runny or undercooked eggs, and
sprouts, and keep in mind that undercooked eggs may be an ingredient in custards, certain sauces (such as hollandaise and béarnaise), and cookie dough.
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
Also pass on freshly made Caesar dressing because you don’t know whether it
contains pasteurized eggs. When in doubt, ask your server how certain foods are
prepared or what kinds of ingredients are used in the dishes you’re considering
so that you can make healthy decisions for you and your baby. (See Chapter 4
for the lowdown on which foods you need to avoid during pregnancy.)
Also avoid ordering freshly squeezed juices. Although they taste delicious,
they haven’t been pasteurized and could contain harmful bacteria. If you’re
unsure, ask the server whether the juice you’re thinking about is freshly
squeezed or comes out of a container.
If you want to ensure your meal is exactly the way you want it, just ask. Don’t
be bashful. The wait staff at most restaurants is used to having customers
make special requests when ordering. If you want sauces on the side or less
oil in your veggies, just ask. If you’re not sure whether your special request is
feasible, consider whether another dish on the menu contains the ingredient
you’re requesting. For example, if a restaurant has a salad with black beans in
it, you know they have black beans in the kitchen in case you want to special
order something that contains them.
Standing Strong in the Face of Common
Restaurant Temptations
Going out to eat should be a pleasurable experience, and everyone deserves
to indulge occasionally. However, if you choose the greasy, creamy, high-fat
dishes every time you go out, you may end up gaining a lot more weight than
you bargained for. The next sections help you steel your reserve for when you
encounter common restaurant temptations — from the bread basket to dessert — so you don’t wind up gaining 100 extra pounds during your pregnancy.
Dealing with appetizers
Although appetizers seem like a good idea when you arrive at a restaurant
starving, they really just add extra calories to your meal. And because most
restaurants offer portions that are already too big, adding more food with
appetizers simply doesn’t make sense. Add to that the fact that many appetizers top off at 1,500 or more calories (that endless bread or chip basket alone
can add 300 calories to your meal!) and the case for just saying no to appetizers gets even stronger.
Resist the temptation to overindulge in appetizers by asking the server not to
bring that bread or chip basket over in the first place. If your dining companions object, try to limit yourself to one piece of bread or just a few chips.
Chapter 8: Making Safe and Healthy Choices When Dining Out
Facing down the biggest temptation
of all: The endless buffet
Food tastes good when you eat out, so it’s no
wonder that controlling how much you eat is
sometimes the hardest part. If you choose a
buffet-style restaurant, you have to have discipline of steel if you want to walk away without
unbuttoning the top button of your pants. Don’t
let those elastic bands on your maternity pants
be your excuse for not knowing when to stop!
Buffets are dangerous for two reasons: They
offer an unlimited supply of food, and they have
a large variety. Studies have proven that when
people are exposed to a large variety of food,
they tend to eat more because they want to try
a little of everything. For instance, if you weren’t
planning on having dessert and the restaurant
where you’re eating had only one option, you’d
probably be able to pass it up (unless it was one
of your favorites). But if you’re faced with a table
full of dessert options at a buffet, chances are
good that something on that table will tempt you.
If you find yourself at a buffet restaurant, survey
the entire buffet before you pick up a plate so
you know all your options. Then take small
portions of a few of the dishes and sit down to
enjoy them. Skip “filler” foods that you can get
anywhere, like bread and rolls. Use the buffet
to try new things and enjoy foods you don’t normally eat. Before going up for a second plate,
wait five to ten minutes for the food to settle
and then determine how hungry you still are
for another helping. The key to walking (rather
than rolling) out of a buffet is to eat slowly and
limit your portions, convincing yourself that you
don’t have to get your money’s worth.
If you absolutely must have an appetizer, make it your meal. As long as you
steer clear of the fried options, you can find some delicious and nutritious
offerings that are plenty big enough to count as your meal. Another alternative
is to have soup or salad as your premeal snack. Both can be excellent ways to
get your quota of vegetables. Choose broth- or bean-based soups (rather than
the cream-based varieties) because they start to fill you up without adding too
many calories. If you go the salad route, get your salad dressing on the side
and choose a low-calorie option if possible.
Handling oversized portions
Although some restaurants serve reasonable amounts of food, many tempt
their customers with oversized portions. Just how oversized are those portions? Studies have found that the jumbo-sized portions offered by some
restaurants are consistently 250 percent larger than the regular portion. The
effect on customers is that when the portions offered are bigger, people tend
to eat more. Consider the bagel. A restaurant bagel in the 1980s was 3 inches
in diameter and provided about 140 calories. Today’s restaurant bagels are 6
inches in diameter and weigh in at about 350 calories each!
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
Just because you’re entitled to consume more calories during much of your
pregnancy (you are growing another human being, after all) doesn’t mean you
should clean your plate every time you dine out. If you do, you may well consume excess calories from fat and sugar that neither you nor your baby need.
Rely on your fullness cues to tell you when to stop eating (follow the hunger
gauge in Chapter 7). Aim to get 2 ounces of grain, 3 to 4 ounces of lean protein,
and 1 cup (or more) of combined fruits and vegetables at each meal (visit www. for an in-depth look at recommended portion sizes).
Figure 8-1 illustrates the discrepancy between the common portion size
served at a Mexican restaurant and the amount of food you should actually eat. Plate A shows a typical meal with quite a few tortilla chips, a large
burrito, a big scoop of rice and beans, and a small amount of lettuce and
tomatoes. Plate B depicts a more ideal scenario with a smaller burrito and
more vegetables (lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, and beans). Because you get
enough grains from the burrito, you don’t need the chips and rice.
Figure 8-1:
of a typical
portion to
a recommended
To help you eat healthier, more appropriate portions in restaurants, give
these tips a try:
Ask your server for a box right when you get your meal. Put half of your meal
into the box so you’re not tempted to keep picking at it after you’re full.
Forget the “clean your plate club” and focus on how much food you can
save for another meal while still feeling satisfied after the first meal.
Order the smallest size possible. Order your meal from the kid’s menu
if your server will let you and the menu offers something other than
chicken nuggets and fries.
Chapter 8: Making Safe and Healthy Choices When Dining Out
Split meals with a friend or your partner.
Eat slowly so your brain can register the food you’re eating and so you
can push your plate away before you’re overfull. (I help you distinguish
your body’s hunger cues in Chapter 7.)
Order an appetizer as your main course, as long as it’s a smaller portion
and a nutritious choice.
Choose tapas-style restaurants that serve smaller portions. Go with a
few friends so you can order several things and share. Don’t get carried
away with ordering more than one plate per person, though!
Ask your server if you can order the lunch portion at dinnertime.
Travel tips
When you travel, you likely eat out a lot. But
even though I enjoy eating out as much as the
next person, after a few days I’m always ready
to get back home to my normal routine of eating
and exercising. In an attempt to stay healthy on
the road, follow these tips:
✓ Plan ahead. If you’re flying, find out whether
you’ll get a meal on the plane. If you’re driving, check out what kinds of restaurants are
available along your journey.
✓ Bring water with you. Take a reusable
water bottle with you so you always have
water to stay hydrated.
✓ Move frequently. Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, or automobile, take frequent breaks to stretch your legs and move
around to help with blood circulation. If you
drink lots of water, you’ll probably need to
go to the bathroom a lot, which will force
you to get up and move around.
✓ Pack food. I always, always, always have
food with me. When I was 22 weeks pregnant, I was stuck on the tarmac in a plane for
11 hours and the flight attendants couldn’t
serve us food or water. Fortunately, I had
my water bottle and snack bars with me;
otherwise, I would’ve been one unhappy
and extremely hungry pregnant lady! You
never know when you’ll be delayed or
when food won’t be as available as you’d
planned. Be prepared with nutrition bars,
nuts, and fresh fruit (for more go-to pregnancy snacks, see Chapter 7).
✓ Eat when you’re hungry and don’t wait until
a designated time on the clock. If you’re
traveling across time zones, don’t try to fit
your meals into the new schedule.
✓ If you’re traveling abroad, be sure you
know the safety precautions of drinking
the water and eating the unusual food in
that culture. Don’t worry about offending
anyone; the health of you and your baby
is more important! If the water isn’t safe,
don’t forget to use bottled water to brush
your teeth and rinse your toothbrush. Pack
several toothbrushes with you just in case
you forget!
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
Being smart about beverages
Take a minute to think about your beverage choice before the server comes
around to take your drink order. As you peruse the drink menu, keep in mind
that hydration is of utmost importance during pregnancy because of your
increased fluid needs (to support your added blood volume). Also, be aware
that most beverages have calories that you need to take into account.
Water is always the best beverage choice. It offers plenty of fluid with zero
calories. If you get tired of plain water, try adding a simple slice of lemon or
cucumber to help it go down a bit easier.
Seltzer, or sparkling, water is also a good option as long as it doesn’t contain
any added sugar. After all, even with a bit of carbonation, it’s still water.
Following are some other beverages you’re welcome to enjoy during pregnancy as long as you do so in moderation:
Soft drinks: A 12-ounce can of regular soda has about 150 calories, but
good luck finding one that size in a restaurant. These days, many restaurants serve soda in 20-ounce glasses, which contain about 250 calories
each. If you choose to drink the whole thing, cut back on your portion of
grains at that meal (less potatoes or bread) and definitely skip dessert
to try to keep your calories under control. Also beware of how much caffeine is in your soft drink of choice (see Chapter 2 for details).
Calorically speaking, diet soda is a much better option because it has zero
calories, but you need to consume diet soda in moderation during your
pregnancy (think no more than a few a week) because of the artificial
sweeteners it contains. Turn to Chapter 9 for the lowdown on sweeteners.
Unsweetened tea or lemon water: Healthy-sounding drinks like lemonade and sweet tea are no better for you than regular soft drinks in terms
of calories. The problem with these sugary beverages is that they’re just
that — sugar! They don’t contain any nutrients, so they just add empty
calories to your overall daily intake. Bottom line: Choose unsweetened
tea or lemon water instead.
Coffee: Neither regular nor decaf coffee has any calories when you pour
it from the coffee maker to your cup, but after the barista at your favorite coffee shop works her magic, you could walk away with a 500-calorie
drink! If you have to have your flavored coffee drink, choose nonfat milk
and one pump of syrup (or sugar-free syrup) and leave off the whipped
cream. Just remember to limit your caffeine intake to 200 mg per day; you
may want to order a mix of regular and decaf or just go decaf all the way
(flip to Chapter 2 for caffeine amounts in coffee and espresso).
Chapter 8: Making Safe and Healthy Choices When Dining Out
Milkshakes and smoothies: These drinks do have some nutritional value
thanks to the milk or fruit they contain, but you need to be aware of how
big the portions are. Stick to the smallest size offered, preferably about
12 ounces (or less).
Smoothies can be an excellent choice for a snack or even a small meal
when you’re pregnant. Just be sure to seek out smoothie shops that use
real fresh or frozen fruit and not just sugary syrup.
Of course, alcohol is completely off-limits during pregnancy (see Chapter 4 for
the reasons why). Order a seltzer water with a twist of lime or a virgin mixed
drink if you want to feel like part of the crowd.
Saving room for dessert
You can be completely satisfied and done with a meal, not even thinking of
eating any more food, and then someone mentions or brings out dessert and
somehow you make room for it.
As a sweet lover myself, I’d be a hypocrite if I told you not to eat any sugar or dessert during your pregnancy. So instead of eliminating dessert entirely, I encourage
you to eat it on occasion; just do your best to keep the portion in check.
Aside from simply ordering mini desserts (one of the best introductions in the
dessert world in recent years!), try these tricks to help you have dessert without overindulging:
Budget for dessert. If you know you’re going to get dessert, eat less at
the meal to save calories (and room in your stomach) for dessert. In
other words, skip the bread basket and box a big portion of your meal.
Savor every bite. Eat every bite of dessert as slowly as possible. If no
one else is looking, close your eyes and really pay attention to the flavors and textures of that decadent treat so you can fully enjoy it and,
therefore, be satisfied with a smaller amount and avoid overindulging.
Split up the dessert. Often you need just a few bites of yummy dessert
to satisfy your sweet tooth. Order one dessert for the table and enjoy a
few forkfuls.
✓Choose lowfat or fruit dessert options — sometimes. For example, you
may find that fresh fruit with a dollop of whipped cream satisfies your
sweet craving. Then again, you may find that occasionally a lowfat or
reduced-sugar dessert just doesn’t cut it. (Personally, I know I’d rather have
one piece of high-quality chocolate than half a box of lowfat cookies.)
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When a dessert is particularly decadent, you can get away with eating
it in a small amount. If you try to eat something that misses the mark,
you’ll keep searching until your sweet tooth is satisfied. So why not satisfy it the first time?
Keeping Food Safety in Mind
at Your Favorite Restaurant
Unlike when you’re in your own kitchen, when you’re at a restaurant, the
servers and cooks are the ones responsible for following proper cleanliness
and food storage guidelines. Consequently, you have to trust that they’re
doing their job.
You can certainly choose not to visit a dining establishment whose public
areas look dirty (because if these areas are dirty, chances are the kitchen is
even worse). You can also check up on your favorite restaurants by looking
up the health reports conducted by the local health department. Simply visit
the department’s website and search for the health reports applicable to
your particular area.
The following sections outline some additional ways you can gain more control over food safety matters after choosing where you want to eat.
The best time of the day to eat at any restaurant is when it’s busy. Food is
freshest when it’s made right then and there. During slow periods, food has a
tendency to sit for too long.
Wherever you decide to eat, be sure to wash your hands before touching your
food or drink. This is especially true if you’re going to touch any food that will
go into your mouth — bread, crackers, pickles, chips, and more. Even a straw
that you unwrap and drop into your drink touches your hands before you use
it, and you certainly don’t want any dirt from your hands swimming around in
your drink! At the very least, use an alcohol-based sanitizer to disinfect your
hands prior to digging in.
Send back food that isn’t right
When you’re at your restaurant of choice, make sure you emphasize to your
server how important it is for you to get safe food. Be clear about how welldone you want your eggs or steak. If your meal arrives lukewarm or undercooked, don’t be bashful; send it back and don’t accept it until it’s cooked
right. If your dish arrives with something you know you’re not supposed to
eat (like sprouts or soft cheese) even though you asked that it be omitted,
send the whole dish back and have them remake it. (I fill you in on these and
Chapter 8: Making Safe and Healthy Choices When Dining Out
other unsafe foods in Chapter 4.) Don’t worry what others think about your
high-maintenance attitude; remember that you’re just doing what’s best for
you and your baby. Besides, who’s going to argue with a pregnant woman?
Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t taste quite right and you think it
may have gone bad, send it back and order something completely different.
Sometimes food has turned bad but no one besides a pregnant woman with
heightened senses can detect it. Tell your server that you’re pretty sure the food
is spoiled so the chefs can take care of it before making other customers sick.
Reheat takeout and delivery
food before you eat it
When you order takeout, try to get to the restaurant a little earlier than when
it’s supposed to be ready. The worst thing from a food safety perspective is
prepared food that sits at room temperature for too long, waiting for you to
pick it up. By the time you finally get it home and dig in, it may have been
in the temperature danger zone (between 40 and 140 degrees) for an hour
or more. Although, technically speaking, food should be safe as long as it’s
not in the danger zone for two hours or more, you may still want to reheat it
before eating. (You can never be too safe, right?)
You run into the same problem with delivery. The delivery driver may have
had three or four stops before yours, and your food may have been sitting at
room temperature for most of the trip. When you open up your food containers, check to see how hot the food is. The good news is that you can always
microwave it to make it steaming hot (and safe to eat) again.
Keep your leftovers safe
You’re enjoying a date night that includes dinner and a movie. You don’t finish
your dinner and get it boxed up. Those leftovers will be okay for the two-hour
movie as long as you refrigerate them when you get home, right? Nope!
The food safety countdown clock starts when the food leaves the kitchen, not
when you leave the restaurant with the leftovers.
Beginning as soon as the food is prepared, the maximum amount of time it
should be at room temperature is two hours. If it’s been sitting out for longer
than two hours, throw it out!
If room temperature means more than 70 degrees because it’s a hot day, your
two-hour window shrinks to one hour. This hour includes the car ride home
and any stops you make along the way.
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
When reheating leftovers (that you’ve stored safely, of course), bring them to
steaming hot (about 165 degrees) by doing one of the following:
Zapping them in the microwave: First, transfer your leftovers to a
microwave-safe container. (I assure you, the takeout container your
leftovers came in is not safe to zap in the microwave.) Then use a
microwave-safe lid to keep moisture in.
Warming them in the oven: Set the oven to at least 325 degrees to allow
the food to reheat safely. Just make sure you transfer the leftovers to an
oven-safe container before you heat them.
Chapter 9
This or That: Making Grocery
Shopping Decisions
In This Chapter
▶Evaluating the pros and cons of eating organic food
▶Reviewing the various sweeteners and their safety in pregnancy
▶Identifying which fish to avoid and which fish is best for you and your baby
▶Choosing safe, healthy convenience foods when you’re in a hurry
▶Creating a grocery list of nutritious and safe foods
he world of nutrition can be quite confusing. As you enter the grocery
store, you may find yourself asking questions like these: Do I need to eat
organic? Are artificial sweeteners safe to use? What about those frozen meals
I love to eat for lunch? These questions alone can make grocery shopping a
tedious task. But when you’re pregnant, the confusion multiplies thanks to
a plethora of unsolicited advice from well-intentioned mothers, in-laws, and
even complete strangers. They’re all trying to tell you what to eat and what
not to eat.
The goal of this chapter is to clear up this confusion so you can feel confident
that you’re stocking your grocery cart with foods that are safe and nutritious
for you and your baby. I also share some ideas to make your next trip to the
store go a little more smoothly.
Choosing to Go Organic
Organic foods have popped up in most supermarkets and produce stands.
But even though they’re readily available to you, you may be tempted to pass
them by and continue toward the conventionally grown foods when you see
the price of many of the organic options.
Now that you’re pregnant, though, should you pay the premium for organic
foods? Generally speaking, health professionals don’t agree on whether
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
choosing organic while pregnant is necessary. So the choice is ultimately up
to you. To help you make your decision, the following sections present some
basic information about organic foods, show you how to read an organic food
label, and reveal the pros and cons of going organic.
Organic food basics
Organic means something slightly different depending on whether you’re talking about produce or animal foods:
Organic produce: Organic produce farmers must grow their fruits, vegetables, herbs, and grains without using any conventional pesticides or
fertilizers that contain synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge. They also
can’t use bioengineering or ionizing radiation to produce their plants.
However, organic farmers can treat their plants with pesticides and fertilizers that are found naturally in the environment and that appear on a
list approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Organic animal foods: Organic meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs have to come
from animals that weren’t given any growth hormones or antibiotics. To be
considered a certified organic farm, an organic farmer has to have a certified inspector from the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) come and
inspect the farm to ensure that the standards are being met. In addition, an
inspector must certify handlers and processors of organic animal foods.
For both produce and animal products, organic regulations restrict the use
of food additives, fortifying agents, and processing aids to a certain approved
list of allowed substances. For example, organic farmers and processors can’t
use artificial sweeteners, certain preservatives, artificial colors, artificial flavors, or monosodium glutamate (MSG).
Organic standards don’t address food safety. Just because organic produce
doesn’t contain pesticides or conventional fertilizer doesn’t mean you don’t have
to wash it. In fact, many organic farms use manure to fertilize, which can increase
the risk of E. coli contamination. Remember to wash all fruits and vegetables
before you eat them, whether they’re organic or not. Even if something says it’s
prewashed (like salad greens), I recommend giving it a quick rinse just to be safe.
What the different types
of “organic” labels mean
For a food to have the word organic on its label, it needs to meet certain standards. First, all the organic ingredients in the food must come from certified
organic farms and processing plants. The specific amount of organic ingredients
the food contains (not including water and salt) dictates which organic label
claim it can use. Here’s a cheat sheet to what the various label claims mean:
Chapter 9: This or That: Making Grocery Shopping Decisions
100 percent organic: The food contains only organic ingredients.
Organic: At least 95 percent of the food’s ingredients are organic.
Made with organic ingredients: At least 70 percent of the food’s
ingredients are organic.
If you’re looking for 95 to 100 percent organic ingredients in your food, look
for the USDA Organic symbol (see Figure 9-1); this symbol indicates that the
food has passed the USDA’s organic certification standards. If you don’t see
the organic symbol or a claim on the front of the package, check out the food’s
ingredient list because it’s likely that fewer than 95 percent of the ingredients are
organic. The manufacturer likely calls out all the organic ingredients by name.
For example, if you’re looking at a can of soup, the ingredient list may simply list
each organic food, like so: organic tomatoes, organic corn, and so on.
Figure 9-1:
Why some pregnant women
consider going organic
One major factor that gets many pregnant women considering whether they
should go organic is pesticide residue. Pesticides can harm health, especially
during fetal development. The USDA has thresholds for pesticide residue on
both organic and conventionally grown produce, and no produce can exceed
those thresholds and still be sold to consumers.
However, not all foods have the same amount of pesticide residue. The
Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit group dedicated to protecting public health and the environment, regularly evaluates the pesticide
residues in commonly consumed produce. Its most current lists are the
“Dirty Dozen” (12 fruits and veggies you should always buy organic) and the
“Clean 15” (15 fruits and veggies that are safe to buy conventionally grown).
The EWG based its clean and dirty designations on the amount of pesticides
remaining on the foods after you wash, rinse, and peel them. I’ve recreated
these lists for you in Table 9-1. Note that the foods in the left column go from
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
the ones with the most pesticide residue to the ones with the least; the order
is the opposite in the right column.
Table 9-1
EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticide Residue
Dirty Dozen
Clean 15
Sweet corn
Sweet peas
Bell peppers
Kale and collard greens
Grapes (imported)
Sweet potatoes
Honeydew melon
The EWG estimates that people who eat five servings of fruits and vegetables
from the Dirty Dozen list each day ingest an average of ten pesticides. Those
who eat from the Clean 15 list ingest two or fewer pesticides daily.
As for the foods that come from animals, pesticide residue is low whether
you’re talking organic or conventional. In particular, a recent study found no
significant difference between the amount of pesticide residue in organic milk
and that in regular milk.
Although organic food does have less pesticide residue than conventionally
grown food, the extent of the health risk of pesticides to you and your baby in
the quantity normally consumed is still unclear. Of course, if there’s ever a time
to be aware and try to reduce your exposure to pesticides, it’s when you’re
pregnant (and breast-feeding). If you want to do everything you can to reduce
your child’s exposure to pesticides, go ahead and buy organic produce.
Chapter 9: This or That: Making Grocery Shopping Decisions
Still wondering whether it makes sense for you to go organic? The good news
is that you don’t have to make an all-or-nothing choice. You can review the
pros and cons I present in the next sections and pick and choose the factors
that weigh most heavily on your decision. Ultimately, you may choose to buy
certain organic produce items but not organic dairy products. Or you may
decide to eat only organic meats but opt for conventionally grown apples and
grapes. Make the choice that feels right for you and your baby.
The pros
Organic foods have some major advantages when it comes to the following:
They’re better for the environment. Just because something’s organic
doesn’t necessarily mean it’s environmentally friendly, but the production of organic food is based in environmental stewardship and conservation. Studies show organic farming to be better than conventional
farming for maintaining or improving soil quality, reducing greenhouse
gas emissions, conserving water and energy, reducing water contamination, enhancing biodiversity, and recycling waste.
The animals used to make organic meats haven’t been treated with
antibiotics. Organic meats may help reduce the development of human
antibiotic resistance. It’s thought that the widespread use of antibiotics
is causing bacteria and other microorganisms to develop new strains
that resist those antibiotics, leading to infections that are more difficult
to treat and that can be deadly.
Animals raised on organic farms are treated better. Organic farms
raise their animals with more concern for the animals’ welfare. For
example, free-range animals are free to roam, and they tend to have
fewer infections compared to caged animals. Grass-fed animals are
leaner and healthier overall than their grain-fed counterparts.
Interestingly enough, some studies have shown that organically raised,
grass-fed beef has a higher omega-3 content than the beef from grain-fed
cows. (See Chapter 3 for details on omega-3 fatty acids and their role in
keeping you and your baby healthy.)
The con
The drawback of organic food is the cost. Due to the smaller scale of production on many organic farms, prices for organic foods are higher than the
prices for conventionally grown foods.
The difference in price varies greatly from food to food. Organic meats can
cost twice as much as conventional meats, but some produce or organic
packaged food isn’t as different in price. If you’re buying organic produce in
season or at a farmers’ market, you can often find it at comparable prices.
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
Being Selective with Sweeteners
If you’ve ever looked at the ingredient list for a box of cookies, can of soda,
or even a loaf of bread or jar of peanut butter, you’re probably well aware
that sugar isn’t the only sweetener out there. Many foods and beverages
contain nonnutritive sweeteners, which sweeten food without contributing
significant calories. (Nonnutritive sweeteners are also commonly referred to
as artificial sweeteners, although not all of them are artificial.) Other foods
are made with nutritive sweeteners, which do contribute calories.
It’s important to note that in order to be in the food supply in the United
States, a food ingredient or food additive must go through an approval process with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The agency is responsible for reviewing safety studies to ensure that every food ingredient and
food additive is safe to eat. The safety data reviewed must include safety for
everyone — children, adults, elderly, and pregnant and lactating women. The
FDA uses panels of scientists to rigorously review all data available on that
particular food ingredient in an objective and independent fashion.
That being said, you may still have some concerns about whether a particular sweetener is safe to consume during pregnancy. I’m not here to tell you
“use this type of sweetener” or “steer clear of all nonnutritive sweeteners.”
My goal is simply to give you the information you need to make your own
decision as to whether to include the following sweeteners in your diet.
Even if you never pick up a blue or pink packet of sweetener, you may be consuming nonnutritive sweeteners without realizing it, depending on the foods
and beverages you’re eating and drinking. If you prefer to avoid everything
artificial (including artificial colors and flavors) throughout your pregnancy,
you need to diligently read ingredient lists on food labels.
Acesulfame K
Acesulfame K (brand name Sunett and commonly called Ace-K) is a nonnutritive sweetener that’s used quite frequently in food products, often in
combination with other nonnutritive sweeteners. You can find acesulfame K
listed among the ingredients of more than 4,000 foods, including soft drinks,
ice cream, chewing gum, baked goods, breakfast cereals, and canned fruits.
Although you may also find packets of acesulfame K, it’s not as popular as
the other nonnutritive sweeteners in packet form.
The FDA has found acesulfame K to be safe for use in pregnancy in moderation. What’s moderation? The acceptable daily intake (ADI) is set at an equivalent of 2 gallons of an acesulfame-K containing beverage every day.
Chapter 9: This or That: Making Grocery Shopping Decisions
Agave nectar
Agave nectar is a natural, nutritive sweetener that comes from the tequila
plant. You find agave as a sweetener option in natural food stores and in
some coffee and tea houses.
Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s safe. In terms of pregnancy safety, agave is surrounded by controversy. For instance, some people
link it to cramping or increased risk of miscarriage. Agave contains a large
number of saponins, which are naturally occurring substances that can cause
uterine contractions. For this reason, I recommend avoiding agave while pregnant. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Aspartame (brand names Equal and Nutrasweet) is one of the most widely
known nonnutritive sweeteners. You find it in the blue tabletop sweetener
packets, as well as in a wide variety of soft drinks, chewing gum, yogurt, and
many reduced-sugar items. The FDA has approved the use of aspartame for
pregnant women, but many experts still recommend using caution with how
much you consume. In fact, the ADI for aspartame is set at 97 packets or
20 cans of diet soda each day. As long as you’re not downing can after
can of diet soda, you’ll be fine adding a couple of blue packets to your
foods or beverages and eating a few aspartame-containing foods per day.
Aspartame breaks down to phenylalanine, so if you have phenylketonuria
(PKU), steer clear of this sweetener.
High-fructose corn syrup
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is an inexpensive nutritive sweetener that
many manufacturers use to sweeten their foods. In recent years, HFCS has
drawn a lot of blame for the ever-increasing number of diabetes and obesity
cases in the United States. However, scientific studies don’t support this
theory. HFCS isn’t the poison that many people lead you to believe it is;
however, it does contain calories without nutritional value.
HFCS is simply syrup made from cornstarch mixed with fructose, another
type of sugar found naturally in fruit. HFCS is actually very similar in composition to table sugar. You can find HFCS in a wide variety of products, including soft drinks, yogurts, candy, cookies, crackers, and condiments. Studies
have determined that HFCS is safe to consume when you’re pregnant, but
remember that it does have calories. (To be exact, it has 16 calories per
teaspoon — the same as table sugar.)
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
Honey is a nutritive sweetener that’s naturally created by bees. It contains
trace amounts of minerals, as well as dormant Clostridium botulinum bacteria,
which can cause a severe paralytic illness known as botulism. The honey you
find on store shelves has been pasteurized to eliminate the toxins created by
the bacteria, but you may find raw honey at farmers’ markets.
Avoid eating raw, unpasteurized honey while pregnant. And don’t feed children under age 1 any type of honey because they don’t have mature enough
immune systems to break down and destroy the bacteria.
If you want to eat pasteurized honey while pregnant, remember that it does
contain calories (21 per teaspoon), so be careful how much you use as you
sweeten your tea in order to control extra calories.
The pink sweetener packets you see on many restaurant tables contain another
well-known nonnutritive sweetener called saccharin (brand name Sweet’N Low).
Saccharin isn’t used in as many food products as other nonnutritive sweeteners, which is nice because the safety of saccharin during pregnancy is questionable. To date, no studies absolutely prove that saccharin is harmful in pregnant
humans, but some animal studies have shown increased cancer risk in offspring
when mothers consume the sweetener during gestation.
For many years, saccharin was on the National Institute of Health’s list of possible cancer-causing agents because of some older studies. However, more
recent studies haven’t confirmed the cancer findings, so the Institute removed
saccharin from the list in the 1990s. Even so, because saccharin crosses the
placenta and may remain in fetal tissue, many health professionals recommend that you don’t use it during pregnancy.
Sucralose is one of the newer nonnutritive sweeteners out there, and it goes
by the brand name Splenda. You find it in the yellow tabletop sweetener
packets as well as in soft drinks, yogurts, ice creams, and other reducedsugar items. The FDA has approved the use of sucralose in pregnancy, but as
with aspartame, you should use moderation with the amount you consume.
The ADI for sucralose is equivalent to about 28 packets of sucralose each
day, so definitely stick with less than that amount.
Even though sucralose claims to be “made from sugar,” it has been chemically
altered to not be absorbed by the body, so it belongs in the classification of
artificial sweeteners.
Chapter 9: This or That: Making Grocery Shopping Decisions
Stevia (brand names Truvia and PureVia) is the new kid on the block when it
comes to nonnutritive sweeteners. You find it in the green tabletop packets
as well as in many foods, including yogurts, soft drinks, juices, and ice cream.
Stevia is a natural sweetener that comes from the stevia plant. This plant contains several sweet components, one of which is called rebiana. On food labels,
you may see rebiana (rather than stevia) in the ingredient list. The ADI for rebiana is 29 packets or 64 ounces of rebiana-sweetened beverage every day.
Hitting the Seafood Counter
Fish should definitely be on your weekly shopping list. After all, eating fish and
seafood is especially good for your health during pregnancy (and while nursing). Fish contains protein and iron, two nutrients you need while pregnant
(see Chapter 3 for why these nutrients are so important). Plus, eating fish has
been linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and reduced risk of dying
from any cause in adults. The benefits you get from eating fish come mainly
from the omega-3 fatty acids that are so prevalent in many fish and seafood.
These same omega-3s, especially DHA and EPA, are part of the building blocks
of the brain, which is why pregnant women and young children should get
plenty of DHA and EPA. (Find out more about omega-3 fatty acids in Chapter 3.)
All these benefits sound great, but what about the bad things you’ve heard
about fish, like mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and dioxin (see the
next section for more on these contaminants)? Although these contaminants
are important to be aware of, many experts believe that the benefits of eating
fish outweigh the potential risks. Just to be safe, though, the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) and the FDA have come up with a recommendation
that pregnant women eat no more than 12 ounces of seafood per week.
You can minimize any potential seafood-related risks even more by choosing
the right kinds of fish to include in your max of 12 weekly ounces. I outline the
fish to watch out for, as well as the safest fish to eat, in the following sections.
Knowing which fish to be cautious of
The main concern with fish is mercury. Mercury occurs naturally in the environment and is present in trace amounts in almost all fish, but most of the
mercury comes from industrial pollution that gets into the water. Bacteria in
polluted water change the mercury into a form called methylmercury, which
can be toxic. Fish consume the methylmercury by eating the organisms that
live in and absorb the water.
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
Methylmercury passes from your blood to your baby and can have a negative
effect on his developing nervous system. Fish that are highest in methylmercury
are the larger, predatory fish because they spend their days eating smaller fish,
who’ve eaten even smaller fish, who’ve eaten teeny-tiny fish, who’ve eaten the
organisms that absorbed methylmercury. Avoid the following high-mercury fish
while pregnant and nursing and don’t feed them to small children:
King mackerel
Tilefish (also known as golden bass)
Although fish that contain moderate amounts of mercury are safe for most
people to consume, I recommend that you avoid the following moderatemercury fish while pregnant and nursing:
Ahi tuna
Chilean sea bass
Mahi mahi
Orange roughy
Spanish mackerel
Aim to eat the lower-mercury fish that I list in the next section rather than
their moderate- or high-mercury counterparts.
If you’re worried about eating fish because of PCBs and dioxins (chemical contaminants found in the environment), keep in mind that the levels found in fish
are similar to those found in beef, chicken, and pork. In fact, only 9 percent of
the PCBs and dioxins in the U.S. food supply come from fish and seafood; the
other 90 percent come from other foods. If you eat fish caught in local waters,
check the local fish advisories to see whether they’ve issued any warnings
about contaminated waters.
Discovering which fish are best
The EPA and FDA recommend that pregnant or nursing women choose
fish and seafood that are low in mercury to get the recommended limit
of 12 ounces per week. Choose from these low-mercury options:
Chapter 9: This or That: Making Grocery Shopping Decisions
Light tuna (not albacore, or “white,” tuna, which is only safe to consume
in 6-ounce amounts per week as part of your overall fish allowance)
Salmon (not smoked salmon or fresh salmon jerky, which may contain
harmful bacteria)
Shrimp, crab, clams, and scallops
Not sure what 12 ounces of fish look like? A 3-ounce portion is the standard
recommended portion size. For 12 ounces, you could have four servings of
one of the following 3-ounce portions: six large shrimp, six large scallops, a
tuna salad sandwich, or a 3-ounce fillet that fits in the palm of your hand.
Going the Convenient Route
with Convenience Foods
Convenience foods, such as packaged foods, frozen meals, and grab-andgo foods, can be great to have on hand when you’re short on time or when
you’re feeling pregnancy fatigue set in. They sometimes cost you more financially, but if you follow the tips I present in the next sections, they don’t have
to cost you or your growing baby in the nutrition and food safety arenas.
Selecting nutritious frozen meals
With the plethora of frozen meals available, you can eat a different frozen
meal every day for months and never eat the same meal twice! Many of these
frozen meals contain a convenient mix of protein, complex carbs, and vegetables all in one container, but some of them also contain a handful of notso-good-for-you ingredients, like loads of saturated fat, sodium, or calories.
When you’re trying to make decisions in the freezer aisle, follow the guidelines I present in Table 9-2 to help you sift through all the choices.
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
Table 9-2 Guidelines for Choosing the Most Nutritious Frozen Foods
Amount to Look for
Up to 500 calories
5–15 grams
Saturated fat
Less than 3 grams
Less than 800 milligrams
3 or more grams
10–20 grams
Vitamins and minerals
10 percent or more of Daily Value (DV) for many
vitamins and minerals listed
You may want to look for the more nutritious frozen food brands that focus
not only on the number of calories but also on the quality of the food and the
nutritional value of the meal as a whole. Some of my favorites are Healthy
Choice, Amy’s (vegetarian line), Kashi, Lean Cuisine, and Smart Ones.
If the meal isn’t filling enough, pair it with a piece of fruit or some cut-up
veggies. Sometimes frozen meals, particularly the vegetarian varieties, don’t
have enough protein. Drink a glass of milk or have a yogurt with these meals
to boost the protein content of your overall meal.
Whenever I start recommending frozen meals to clients, the question of
sodium always comes up. Yes, frozen meals do contain sodium, but so do
most other foods. Not buying it? Think about what you’d be eating in place of
your frozen meal. Perhaps a grilled chicken sandwich with a side salad? That
chicken and the salad dressing on the salad likely have much more sodium in
just those two food items than the entire frozen meal.
Making sure grab-and-go
items are safe to eat
In today’s world, most supermarkets offer grab-and-go food options for the
hungry shopper. The main concern with eating these foods during pregnancy
is food safety. Think about that rotisserie chicken that’s packaged up and in
the warmer at the supermarket. Sure it looks great, but what temperature is
it? To be safe, check the temperature of the chicken before eating it. If it’s not
at the proper temperature (over 165 degrees for whole poultry), heat it in the
oven or microwave until it reaches the safe temperature. Foods that sit for
hours in the danger zone (between 40 and 140 degrees) harbor bacteria that
can make you sick (flip to Chapter 4 for more on harmful bacteria). But as
long as you reheat the chicken to the proper temp, it’ll be safe to eat.
Chapter 9: This or That: Making Grocery Shopping Decisions
Cutting costs at the grocery store
Now that you have a baby on the way, you’re
likely looking for ways to save money any way
you can. Your weekly grocery trip is no exception! Here are some tips for cutting costs at
the grocery store. Although they may require
a little more planning on your part, the money
they help you save will be well worth it.
✓ Buy in bulk. If you know you consume a lot
of one particular item, consider buying it in
bulk. The price per unit is lower, and the
savings are huge. Afraid you can’t eat all
the food before it expires? You can always
freeze the excess for a later date. (Chapter
10 tells you how long you can store food in
the freezer before you need to toss it.)
✓ Study up and then stock up. Almost every
grocery store publishes a weekly or monthly
circular or ad that lists all the special sale
items. Scan your local ads to see whether
any items you regularly buy are on sale and
then purchase as many as you can. Stock
up on nonperishable buy-one-get-one-free
(BOGO) sale items.
✓ Rethink the name brands. When buying a
specific item, check to see whether your
grocery store offers that item in its own
brand. You can often find the same products (that are just as nutritious) for much
less if you’re willing to think outside the
brand name.
✓ Some assembly required. While precut, prepackaged foods are convenient, they’re not
always as cost-effective as the individual
ingredients. As an added bonus, buying the
individual ingredients and creating your own
meals allow you to avoid all the preservatives
that are in most already-prepared meals.
✓ Do some clipping. Coupons are a great
way to save on groceries. You find these
money-saving helpers in your newspaper,
on coupon websites, and even on individual
company and brand websites.
✓ Skip the soda. Not only is water the least
expensive drink (it’s free from the tap!), but
it’s also essential to you and your baby’s
health. Substituting water for soda in your
routine keeps you hydrated, saves you
from consuming too many empty calories,
and leaves you with some extra cash in
your pocket.
If you’re eyeing a sandwich in the grocery store’s deli case, be aware of
deli meats that may not be at the proper temperature. While pregnant, you
should heat deli meat to steaming hot before eating it. In other words, don’t
consume cold-cut sandwiches directly out of your grocery’s deli case, especially one that’s not kept at 40 degrees or colder. To be safe, choose hot
foods rather than cold sandwiches during your pregnancy.
As for prepared salads, such as egg salad and tuna salad, these foods are also
dangerous when they aren’t kept at the proper temperature. Only eat meat
and egg salads that you prepare at home, using proper food safety
techniques (see Chapter 10 for details).
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
Simplifying Your Next Trip to the Store
Grocery shopping is one of those things that people tend to either love or
hate. (Case in point: My husband would rather scrub toilets than make a
grocery run.) Regardless of where you fall on the love-hate scale of grocery
shopping, following these tips can help you make the most of your trip:
Always, always, always shop with a list. Keep an ongoing grocery list at
home and add to it as you run out of things so you don’t forget to buy them
the next time you shop. Check out the section “Preparing your pregnancy
grocery list” for details on what to put on your list. (As an added bonus,
shopping with a list helps you avoid making high-calorie impulse buys.)
Create a meal plan. If you know what you’ll be eating for the week,
you can easily make your list and stick to it. If you don’t plan ahead,
you’ll probably be one or two ingredients short when you go to make a
recipe in the middle of the week. Chapter 11 offers guidance on creating
pregnancy-friendly meal plans.
Don’t go grocery shopping hungry. Shopping for food when you’re
hungry is like waving a dog treat in front of a pit bull. You’ll attack the
bag of chips before you leave the parking lot to go home!
Read food labels, including use-by and sell-by dates. Labels contain all
kinds of useful info, including the Nutrition Facts panel, ingredient list,
and food-safety dates.
Keep raw meats separate from everything else. Use extra plastic bags
to contain the juices so they don’t contaminate the rest of your food
with potentially harmful bacteria.
Put groceries (especially perishables) in the backseat rather than in the
trunk in the summertime. Putting your groceries in the air-conditioned
car keeps them cool until you get home.
Go straight home. Make the supermarket the last errand on your list.
Refrigerate (or freeze) cold foods immediately when you return home to
keep things safe.
If you already have at least one child at home, try to grocery shop without
your little one(s) if at all possible. Kids can make the grocery experience more
stressful than it already is. When my son was almost 2, he grabbed a bottle
of olive oil out of the cart and dropped it on the floor. It broke into a million
pieces and oil flowed down the aisle. I was pregnant with my second child at
the time, so I’d like to blame what happened next on pregnancy hormones. I
literally started crying in the aisle of the grocery store because I was mortified and all I could think about was how hard it is to clean up oil. The manager
kept reassuring me that it was okay, but I was too upset to finish my shopping
and I didn’t go back to that location until about a year after the event.
Chapter 9: This or That: Making Grocery Shopping Decisions
In the following sections, I explain what to look for on food labels so you can
quickly decide what (and what not) to buy as you shop, and I offer you a sample
grocery list to help make your next trip to the store as painless as possible.
Deciphering food labels
You’d think the labels on food would help clear up the confusion of what
to buy, but often food labels are packed with so much information that you
don’t know where to start, much less what to look for. The information in the
next sections can help you make sense of those often-confusing food labels
so you can use them to make your next shopping trip easy as pie.
The Nutrition Facts panel
The Nutrition Facts panel, like the one shown in Figure 9-2, tells you what’s in
the food’s package, nutritionally speaking. The panel is divided into the following three main parts:
Servings: The first thing the Nutrition Facts panel highlights is what
constitutes a serving of the food item and, if the container has more
than one serving, how many servings you can expect to find. The panel
typically shows the standard serving size for that particular type of food
in volume (cups or tablespoons, for example), weight (grams or ounces,
for example), or both.
Nutrient amounts: Next, the Nutrition Facts panel tells you the number of
calories per serving, which is important to know for weight control. Then
it walks you through the per-serving amounts of fat, cholesterol, sodium,
carbohydrates, fiber, sugars, and protein found in the food according to
the Percent Daily Value (which is based on a 2,000-calorie diet).
Vitamin and mineral amounts: Finally, the Nutrition Facts panel breaks
down the per-serving amounts of the vitamins and minerals the food
contains, again in terms of Percent Daily Value. Every food’s panel must
include these four vitamins and minerals: vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium,
and iron. But many food producers choose to list more.
During your pregnancy, pay special attention to serving sizes so you know
how much you’re eating. For example, you need to double the numbers if you
eat a double portion. Focus on getting complex carbohydrates (especially
fiber), protein, unsaturated fats, and plenty of vitamins and minerals. For the
scoop on the amounts of these nutrients you should be consuming per day to
get your baby what she needs to grow, see Chapter 3.
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Cup (240mL)
Servings Per Container 2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 120
Calories from Fat 45
Figure 9-2:
A sample
Facts panel.
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g
Saturated Fat 3.5g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 25mg
Sodium 120mg
Total Carbohydrate 11g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 11g
Protein 8g
Vitamin A 10%
Calcium 30% • Iron 0% •
Vitamin C 2%
Vitamin D 25%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie
diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower
depending on your caloric needs.
Serving size: This varies from package
to package. Serving sizes don’t always reflect the
typical amount that an adult may eat. In some cases,
the serving size may be a very small amount.
Calories: The calories contained in a single serving.
% daily values: The percentage of nutrients that one
serving contributes to a 2,000-calorie diet. Parents or
children may need more or less than 2,000 calories per
Nutrient amounts: The nutritional values of the most
important, but not all, vitamins and other nutrients in
the product.
The ingredient list
Next on the food label is the ingredient list. If you have allergies or are trying
to avoid certain ingredients, you must read this list. Food labels list ingredients from highest to lowest based on how much (in terms of weight) of
the ingredient is present in the food. If the product contains any of the eight
common food allergens (see Chapter 19 for what these are), they’re listed in
the main ingredient list and then again in boldface next to a statement like
“this product contains . . . .”
While pregnant, you need to pay special attention to dates on foods for your
(and your baby’s) safety. Here’s what the different dates mean:
Sell-by: Tells the store when to pull the product off shelves. The food is
still safe to eat after this date as long as it’s stored properly, but be sure
to eat it within a few days.
Best-if-used-by: Tells you the date by which the manufacturer recommends you consume the food for best quality. This date isn’t for safety,
and it’s usually used in foods like chips or cereal. It’s typically safe to eat
food after the best-if-used-by date, but use your judgment and look for
signs of spoilage.
Use-by: Tells you the last date recommended for use of the product
for peak quality. Use this date as a guide for when to throw out food
during pregnancy.
Chapter 9: This or That: Making Grocery Shopping Decisions
Preparing your pregnancy grocery list
Are you ready to start stocking your shelves with pregnancy-friendly foods?
Use the following grocery list as a guide when you’re preparing your shopping list or even when you’re strolling down the aisles.
Fruits and vegetables
❑Staples like salad greens, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, apples,
oranges, and grapes
❑Your favorite in-season fruits and vegetables
❑100% Concord grape, pomegranate, or orange juice
❑Frozen broccoli, snap peas, carrots, corn, edamame, berries, or any
of your other favorites
❑Legumes (beans), stewed tomatoes, or other canned veggies of
your choice
Dairy products
❑Lowfat milk (or milk alternative like soy)
❑Lowfat Greek yogurt and cottage cheese
❑Part-skim or reduced-fat cheeses (blocks and shredded)
❑Individual cheeses for snacking, like string cheese or mini Babybel
Laughing Cow cheese
❑Whole-grain cereal with more than 3 grams of fiber per serving
❑Whole-grain bread, English muffins, bagels, pitas, or tortillas
❑Quick-cooking oatmeal or instant oatmeal packets
❑Whole-grain pasta and brown rice
❑Other whole grains like quinoa and barley
❑Whole-grain crackers
❑Air-popped popcorn kernels or lowfat microwavable popcorn
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
❑ Peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter, or soy nut butter
❑Almonds, pistachios, walnuts, pecans, and peanuts
❑Canned light tuna, salmon, or chicken
❑Frozen chicken breasts, 90% lean hamburger patties, or shrimp
❑Fresh meat or seafood of your choice (for meals within the next
day or two)
❑Eggs that are enhanced with DHA
❑Tofu and other meat alternatives (fresh or frozen)
Mixed foods
❑Frozen meals
❑Reduced-sodium canned soups
❑Olive oil and canola oil
❑Balsamic vinegar
❑Ground flaxseed and wheat germ
❑Herbs and spices
If you’re into doing everything digitally, you can create your grocery list
online. Check out the website of your favorite grocery store to see whether
it has an online list you can customize. (Going to your local grocery store’s
website first is ideal because you can incorporate the deals of the week.)
Alternatively, you can use (either the website or the
smartphone app) or some other online grocery-list planner.
Chapter 10
Presenting Baby-Bump-Friendly
Kitchen Basics
In This Chapter
▶Cleaning out and restocking your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry
▶Making food safety a priority
▶Discovering the tricks healthy cooks rely on
▶Cooking comfortably in any trimester
ust because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean your kitchen has to change
drastically. But it does mean you have to get rid of expired foods and pay
more attention to how to work (and eat) safely in the kitchen. After all, food
safety is never more important than when you’re expecting.
To get the most out of every meal, you also need to know how to turn your
favorite high-fat, low-nutrient recipes into healthy, nutrient-rich recipes that
are appropriate throughout your pregnancy (and beyond!). And because
cooking tends to require you to be on your feet, at least for a little while, you
probably want to know how to make that experience more comfortable for
you as the weeks go on. I cover all these topics in this chapter.
Stocking the Kitchen
One key to healthy eating during pregnancy is having the right types of
foods on hand. Consequently, stocking your kitchen is a priority (and the
sooner you do it, the better). You may find that you don’t need to do much
to stock your kitchen when you become pregnant. Or you may find that pregnancy is a good time to clean out your entire kitchen and start from scratch.
Regardless, the next sections provide you with pointers on getting rid of old
foods and stocking up on new, nutritious ones.
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
If you want to tackle stocking your kitchen during your first trimester but
you’re feeling too tired or grossed out by the idea of food, ask your partner to
handle this project for you. It’s a great, albeit indirect, way for him or her to
do something baby-related early on.
Out with the old
Most people don’t even think about cleaning out their pantry, refrigerator, or
freezer — let alone actually do it. But performing this bit of spring cleaning
is especially important during pregnancy. Food safety is of course the main
concern, but food quality can also suffer when food sits around for too long.
To make sure your kitchen is full of safe foods, spend an afternoon going
through your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry, throwing out old items. The
following sections offer guidelines for what to keep and what to toss.
When in doubt, throw it out! The safety of you and your baby is too important
to gamble with when it comes to food that may not be safe to eat. If a food
smells or looks weird, toss it. Even if a food is moldy only on the surface, it
can be contaminated throughout, so don’t take any chances.
The refrigerator
You may be surprised at how little time food is supposed to spend in your refrigerator before you either consume it or toss it. Table 10-1 gives you an idea of how
long you can keep certain foods in the fridge before you have to get rid of them.
Table 10-1
How Long to Store Food in Your Fridge
How Long It Can Stay in the Fridge
Beef or pork (chops, steaks, roasts), raw
3–5 days
1–3 months
Cheeses (hard), opened
3–4 weeks
Cream cheese
2 weeks
Deli meat, opened
3–5 days
Egg, macaroni, tuna, or chicken salad
3–5 days
Eggs, hard boiled
1 week
Eggs, raw in shell
5 weeks
Ground beef, pork, or poultry, raw
1–2 days
Ketchup, opened
6 months
6 months
Mayonnaise, opened
2 months
Chapter 10: Presenting Baby-Bump-Friendly Kitchen Basics
How Long It Can Stay in the Fridge
Beef, pork, seafood/fish, or poultry, cooked
3–4 days
Milk, opened
1 week
Poultry and seafood/fish, raw
1–2 days
Salad dressing, opened
3 months
Salsa, opened
1 month
The freezer
As you can see from Table 10-2, nothing should stay in your freezer for more than
one year. The longer you keep a food in the freezer, the more you compromise
its quality and safety. To help you keep track of exactly how long your food has
been in the freezer, label each package with the date you put it into the freezer.
Table 10-2
How Long to Store Food in Your Freezer
How Long It Can Stay in the Freezer
Bread products
2 months
Cheese (hard)
6 months
Fish, fatty (like salmon), raw
2–3 months
Fish/seafood, lean (like cod), raw
6 months
Ground beef, pork or poultry, raw
3–4 months
Ham, cooked
1–2 months
Beef or pork, cooked
2–3 months
Poultry or seafood/fish, cooked
4 months
Poultry, pieces (breast), raw
9 months
Poultry, whole and raw
12 months
Beef or pork (chops, steaks, roasts), raw
12 months
Vegetables or fruit
10–12 months
Freezer burn (dry spots on your food) doesn’t necessarily mean a particular
food is unsafe, but it does mean the food probably won’t taste good. To prevent freezer burn, wrap food tightly to keep air from getting into it.
The pantry
Although your refrigerator and freezer contain the most perishable foods,
you also need to clean out your pantry because foods such as spices and
flour don’t last forever. Keep the following guidelines in mind as you survey
your pantry:
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
Low-acid canned foods (such as corn, beans, and peas) can last two to
five years.
High-acid canned foods (like tomato products, fruit, and sauerkraut) last
only 12 to 18 months.
Dented or bulging cans get thrown away immediately! They could have a
small leak, allowing air inside and causing spoilage.
Unopened cereal, chips, and crackers are generally good until the date
listed on their package. Keep opened boxes and bags of these foods
sealed tightly with a clip in their original containers and eat them within
a week for best quality.
Spices can last up to one year when stored away from heat and sunlight.
Baking powder and baking soda may lose their effectiveness after 12 to
18 months.
Flour can last eight months when stored tightly closed (meaning don’t
leave it in the bag it comes in). If bugs appear, throw it out!
Whole-wheat flour can last six to eight months when kept in the fridge or
one year when kept in the freezer. Refrigerating or freezing this type of
flour helps prevent the oils from going rancid. Just be sure to bring the
flour to room temperature before using it in a recipe.
Oils (olive, canola, and so on) can go rancid easily, so keep them away
from sunlight and heat. Store them in a dark pantry rather than on the
counter or stove and use them within three months of opening.
Sugar has a long shelf life of two years as long as it’s in an airtight container. Use brown sugar within four months to keep it from hardening.
In with the nutritious
After you rid your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry of any questionable foods,
you need to restock them with foods that are guaranteed to nourish you and
your baby. Always have on hand a variety of choices from each of the various
food groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and meat or meat alternatives.
Flip to Chapter 3 for guidance on which foods contain the vitamins, minerals,
carbs, proteins, and essential fats that you need to keep your energy up and
that your baby needs to grow and develop.
If you’re wondering whether you should eat as many organically grown and
produced foods as possible or whether you should steer clear of sweeteners such as aspartame, turn to Chapter 9. Note: That’s also where I provide
a handy grocery list of pregnancy must-haves that you can reference
while shopping.
Chapter 10: Presenting Baby-Bump-Friendly Kitchen Basics
Practicing Safety in the Kitchen
To cut down on the risk of acquiring a foodborne illness, you need to take all the
steps necessary to protect your safety and the safety of your developing baby.
I walk you through the specifics in the next sections, but basically you need to
keep your hands and kitchen surfaces clean, avoid cross-contamination of foods,
cook foods to the right temperature, and store food properly when you’re done
with it. (For details on foodborne illnesses and other food-related toxins, turn to
Chapter 4.)
Embracing cleanliness
There’s no doubt about it: A clean kitchen is a healthy kitchen. What you may
not realize is that having a clean kitchen starts with keeping your hands and
kitchen surfaces clean while you work. Always wash your hands before preparing food or eating. Also wash them again whenever you handle raw meat
or if you take a break from food preparation to use the restroom, tend to a
pet, handle garbage, blow your nose — you get the idea.
I’m sure you know that the best way to wash your hands is to use soap and
water and lather really well all the way up your wrists, covering all surfaces and
folds in your hands and under your fingernails. But did you know you’re supposed to rub your hands vigorously for 20 seconds to get them really clean? To
make sure you scrub your hands as long as necessary, sing the song “Happy
Birthday” twice in your head. From there, simply rinse well and, if possible, dry
your hands on a disposable towel and use that towel to turn off the faucet.
Keeping your kitchen clean also means washing every surface that comes in
contact with food, including the following:
Cutting boards: Always wash your cutting board with hot, soapy water
after preparing each food and before starting on the next food. If you
have an old cutting board that’s worn and difficult to get clean, toss it
and buy a replacement.
Utensils: These include knives, spatulas, and so on. Treat them the same
way you do cutting boards.
Countertops: Wipe your countertops down with a soapy cloth or a disinfectant wipe before you prepare food and throughout the food prep process. I recommend using paper towels because you can throw them out;
cloth towels can harbor bacteria when you use them over and over again.
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
The refrigerator: Clean your refrigerator often with hot soapy water. Be
sure to wipe up spills immediately and always keep the produce drawers cleaned out (because produce is often stored unwrapped). Keep raw
meats well-wrapped and wipe up any juice that leaks from them with a
disposable disinfectant towel.
Always rinse fruits and vegetables (yes, even when they’re organic) before you
use them in a recipe or eat them raw. Even if something says prewashed on the
label, I recommend giving it a quick rinse just to be safe. Use a small vegetable
brush to wash foods like potatoes and carrots that have a rough outer skin.
Even if you don’t plan to eat the skin (like with a cantaloupe or watermelon),
you need to rinse the fruit well because the outside germs will get into the
fruit when you cut it open if you don’t wash it first. (Speaking of cutting, be
sure to cut away any bruised areas of fruit because bacteria can thrive there.)
Cross-contamination can happen easily when you’re preparing raw meats and
raw vegetables at the same time. Dedicate one cutting board to meats and
another to produce. If you have only one cutting board, cut up the fruits and
veggies first, wash the board and knife well, and then prepare the meat. And
always use a clean plate to put cooked food on; in other words, don’t reuse a
plate that was previously occupied by raw meat.
Cooking foods to the appropriate
Having the cleanest kitchen in the world doesn’t do you much good if you
don’t cook foods, specifically meats, to a high-enough temperature to kill
the pesky bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses. Table 10-3 reveals
the minimum safe temperatures for various types of meat; commit this list
to memory or bookmark this page so you can easily refer to the proper temperatures when necessary.
Soap and water alternatives
You can use a hand sanitizer when soap and
water isn’t available. Just make sure you
choose one that contains at least 60 percent
alcohol. Apply enough of it to wet your hands
completely and then rub your hands together
until they’re dry, about 30 seconds.
Note: Antimicrobial wipes are also okay to use
in a pinch, but they’re not as effective as proper
hand washing or as strong at killing bacteria as
hand sanitizers.
Chapter 10: Presenting Baby-Bump-Friendly Kitchen Basics
Table 10-3
Minimum Meat Temperatures
Minimum Temperature
Precooked ham
140 degrees
145 degrees
Pork roasts and chops*
145 degrees
Beef steak or roasts*
145 degrees
Casseroles containing meat or eggs
160 degrees
Ground beef, lamb, and pork
160 degrees
Ground poultry
165 degrees
Chicken breasts
165 degrees
Whole poultry
165 degrees
Leftovers containing meat or eggs
165 degrees
*The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends a three-minute “rest time” for these meats.
In other words, allow the meat to sit (or rest) for three minutes before you carve or consume it.
The only true way to know whether your meat is at its proper temperature is
to use a meat thermometer. As shown in Figure 10-1, insert the thermometer
into the thickest part of the meat, being careful not to touch the bone if there
is one, and leave it there until the temperature settles.
Figure 10-1:
How to
insert a
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
Using a meat thermometer on fish and seafood isn’t always possible or practical because fish is flaky and sometimes doesn’t hold the thermometer. Cook
fish until it’s milky white in color and flakes easily with a fork. Cook shrimp,
lobster, and scallops until they’re milky white in color and firm in texture. If
you’re cooking fresh clams, mussels, or oysters, you can trust that they’re
done when their shells open; if the shells don’t open, throw them away.
When you’re working with eggs, always cook them until the yolk and the white
are firm. Don’t use a recipe that calls for an egg to remain raw or only partially
cooked. Also, look for eggs that have been pasteurized (they should have pasteurized on the label). You can find them raw in the shell as well as in liquid
egg products in the refrigerator or freezer section of your local grocery store.
Having leftovers? Reheat them until they’re steaming hot (about 165 degrees). If
you’re reheating meats, use a meat thermometer to check their temperature to
make sure they’re safe to eat (refer to Table 10-3). If you have leftover sauces,
gravies, or marinades, bring them to a full, rolling boil before reusing them.
When you’re defrosting food, whether it’s leftovers or frozen chicken breast
you’re planning to use in tonight’s dinner, you still need to pay attention to
the food’s temperature. Never defrost food on the counter at room temperature. Instead, use any of the following defrosting methods:
In the microwave: Use the defrost setting and follow the instructions on
your machine.
In cold water: Change the water every 20 to 30 minutes to keep it
cold. Defrosting meat in cold water takes about an hour per pound.
Remember to make sure the meat is in a leak-proof package or bag.
Warning: Never defrost in hot water because it encourages more
bacteria growth.
In the refrigerator: This method takes the longest amount of time, so
plan ahead if you’re going to use it. Remember that the larger the food
item, the longer it takes to defrost. Thinner cuts of meat may defrost in
one day, but some Thanksgiving turkeys take as many as three days to
defrost (about 24 hours for every 5 pounds of bird)!
Always cook food as soon as possible after it defrosts. Freezing halts the
growth of bacteria, but it doesn’t kill it. Bacteria starts to grow again as soon
as something is thawed. So after you thaw a particular food, treat it as if it’s
raw again and follow the guidelines listed in Table 10-1 for the maximum
amount of time you can keep it in the refrigerator prior to cooking. If you’ve
thawed your meat in the microwave, cook it right away because some areas
may have started getting warm during defrosting.
Chapter 10: Presenting Baby-Bump-Friendly Kitchen Basics
Storing your food properly
The final key to food safety is storing food at the proper temperature. That
means keeping food chilled to prevent bacteria from growing and multiplying.
Cold temperatures below the danger zone (that is, below 40 degrees) help
keep food from spoiling because of high bacteria growth. So make sure you set
your refrigerator at 40 degrees (or colder) and your freezer at 0 degrees.
You shouldn’t let perishable foods sit out at room temperature for longer
than two hours. If you’re at a party and don’t know how long a particular
perishable food has been sitting out, avoid it or ask the host to get you some
fresh food from the refrigerator. If you’re the one doing the hosting, make
sure never to replenish a dish of perishable food using the same container
that has been sitting out. Instead, have two dishes prepared, swap out the
entire old dish, and discard it. Note: If you’re hosting an event outside in the
heat, toss anything that has been sitting for more than one hour.
Always refrigerate food within two hours of preparing or eating it. In other
words, don’t listen to the advice you may have heard that says you need to give
hot foods time to cool down on the counter before you put them in the refrigerator. This advice is actually a food safety nightmare! You don’t want the food to
reach the danger zone of between 40 and 140 degrees and stay there for a long
time (the food will be in the zone briefly as it goes from hot to cold). Besides,
your fridge will compensate and cool off the food as soon as it can. You just
have to make sure you haven’t packed the fridge so tightly that air can’t circulate, because air circulation is what keeps the refrigerator cool in the first place.
To avoid putting large portions of hot foods in the fridge, simply transfer the
food to several containers and get them in the fridge as soon as possible.
Cooking the Healthy Way
By cooking the healthy way, you can ensure that the food you eat retains the
most nutrients with a minimal amount of added fat, sugar, and salt. Cooking
healthy requires you to look at two main aspects:
What you’re cooking with: The ingredients used
How you’re cooking: The method of cooking
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
When the called-for ingredients in a recipe don’t strike you as the healthiest
or when a recipe says to fry foods, be prepared either to make some ingredient substitutions or other modifications or to try a different cooking technique. I walk you through how to do both in the following sections.
Modifying recipes to make them healthier
You may have a few favorite recipes that you know aren’t the healthiest but
that you love anyway. Well, guess what? Chances are you can easily make
your favorites a bit healthier without sacrificing taste simply by swapping
out (or reducing the amount of) the not-so-good-for-you ingredients. Take a
look at some of your tried-and-true recipes and see whether you can swap an
ingredient or two for something else to save some calories or to boost nutritional content.
If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at Table 10-4 for some ingredient
substitutions you can make to improve the overall nutritional quality of
your recipes.
Table 10-4
Easy Ingredient Substitutions
Original Ingredient
Substitute with
Turkey bacon, Canadian bacon, or
imitation bacon bits
Crushed bran cereal
Butter, margarine, oil, or shortening
in baked goods
Half butter, margarine, oil, or shortening
and half applesauce, prune puree, or
mashed bananas
Butter or oil in pans to prevent
Nonstick cooking spray
Fat-free half-and-half or evaporated
skim milk
Cream soups
Reduced-fat, reduced-sodium soups, pureed
silken tofu, or pureed vegetables (such as
cauliflower, carrots, or potato flakes)
Ground beef
Lean (90% or greater) ground beef, ground
turkey breast, or soy crumbles
High-fat dairy products (like sour
cream, cream cheese, cheese, and
milk) or full-fat mayonnaise
Light, reduced-fat, or fat-free dairy
products or mayonnaise
Full-fat salad dressing
Flavored vinegars, lemon juice, or light,
reduced-fat, or fat-free salad dressings
Chapter 10: Presenting Baby-Bump-Friendly Kitchen Basics
Original Ingredient
Substitute with
Seasoned salt
Salt-free herb mixes or fresh herbs
White bread, white rice, or
white pasta
Whole-grain bread, rice, or pasta
White flour
Half white flour and half whole-wheat flour
In addition to substituting ingredients, you can make other minor modifications to a recipe to beef up its rank on the nutrition scale. Here are just a few
ideas to get you started:
Use half of the amount of cheese a recipe calls for.
Use half or three-fourths of the amount of sugar called for in a recipe
and use more extract or spices to make up for the missing sugar.
(Honestly, most recipes call for more sugar than you actually need.)
Use half of the amount of salt called for if the recipe doesn’t have yeast.
(If the recipe has yeast, you can’t reduce the amount of salt because it
relies on the salt for leavening.)
Add more herbs, spices, vinegar, or lemon juice to boost flavor, especially when you’re cutting salt from recipes.
Double the amount of vegetables. For example, if a recipe calls for a full
pound of beef, use half that amount and double the vegetables. You can
also add more vegetables to your sandwiches and go easy on high-fat
condiments like oil and mayonnaise or high-salt condiments like pickles,
olives, and ketchup.
Add purees of fruits and vegetables whenever possible. To make a
puree, simply toss your ripe fruit or vegetables (steamed until soft) of
choice into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the pureed mix into
ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze. Use one or more
cubes as you need them, but use them up within a month. My favorite
purees are squash (for mac and cheese), broccoli (for soups), spinach
(for pasta sauce), and raspberries (for homemade raspberry syrup).
Trying healthier cooking techniques
In terms of cooking, the three main areas of focus are taste, safety, and
nutritional quality. No one wants to eat food that doesn’t taste good, but in
pregnancy, you need to be especially concerned with the nutritional quality
of the food you eat. To cook tasty, safe, and nutrient-rich dishes, you need to
practice healthy cooking techniques like the following (notice that frying isn’t
one of them!):
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
Baking and roasting: Baking uses dry, hot, circulating air (typically
between 300 and 400 degrees) in an oven to cook things like bread, cookies, pies, casseroles, and potatoes. Roasting is the same as baking, but
many people call it roasting when they cook things like garlic, vegetables, and meat. Roasting can also be done at a higher temperature, like
400 to 450 degrees.
Because baking relies on the circulating dry air, it can dry out some foods,
so be sure to cover dishes when appropriate to keep the moisture in.
Braising: This technique uses liquid and low heat to cook food for a long
period of time. It’s an excellent way to cook leaner meats to keep them
moist. Slow cookers and Dutch ovens work well for braising. You just
put the food in the slow cooker or Dutch oven with plenty of liquid
(typically water or broth) and cook it on low for several hours.
Broiling: Broiling uses high heat (typically 400 to 575 degrees) and works
best for tender, thinly cut meats (like steak, pork, chicken, and fish) or
certain vegetables (like peppers, onions, and zucchini). Place food on a
high rack close to the broiling unit and keep the oven door cracked so the
oven doesn’t overheat and end up baking the food. Watch food carefully
to avoid burning because it can happen quickly with the high heat.
Grilling: Grilling is an excellent way to reduce the fat content in meat
because some of the extra fat drips away during the grilling process.
Grilling works well for whole steaks or chops, fish, hamburgers, and
vegetarian burgers. You can also grill fruits and vegetables, but you may
want to get a grill basket for those to prevent them from falling through
the grates on the grill. Feel free to use charcoal or gas grills, and indoor
electric grills work well, too.
Poaching: Poaching food involves submersing the food either partially
or completely in water or other liquid. Poaching cooks food quickly
using very hot liquid; braising, on the other hand, uses smaller amounts
of water and a long cooking time. Eggs are commonly poached, but you
can also poach fish, poultry, or fruit.
Sautéing: Sautéing uses a small amount of fat and relatively high heat to
cook food. To sauté, spray a nonstick pan with cooking spray or a small
amount of oil and allow it to warm up over medium to medium-high
heat. Add foods that take a short time to cook, like bite-sized vegetables
and shrimp or thin slices of beef, pork, or chicken. Stir frequently to
avoid overcooking any one area of the food.
Chapter 10: Presenting Baby-Bump-Friendly Kitchen Basics
Steaming: Steaming uses small amounts of boiling or simmering water or
broth to cook food. This technique works best for vegetables. To steam
food on the stove, put the food in a steamer basket and put the basket in a
pot with a small layer of boiling water. To steam in the microwave, put the
food in a microwaveable dish with a small amount of liquid at the bottom.
Steaming is preferred over boiling for cooking vegetables because it
retains more nutrients. Boiling requires more water, and many nutrients
can be lost in that water. Steaming, on the other hand, uses less water
so the nutrients aren’t lost.
Making Cooking More Comfortable
as Your Pregnancy Progresses
As your pregnancy progresses, you may have a hard time spending long
periods of time on your feet (and that includes cooking in the kitchen!). In the
first trimester, you may just be too tired. In the second and third trimesters,
the extra weight may make you want to spend less time on your feet and
more time with your feet propped up.
To make the cooking process more comfortable during your pregnancy, keep
these tips in mind:
Keep a stool or chair handy in the kitchen to take a break when you
need it. Prolonged standing causes blood to pool in your legs, so don’t
feel bad about taking frequent breaks while you cook.
Get a comfortable mat that you can stand on and wear comfortable
shoes if you find yourself standing a lot while you cook.
Use support hose if ankle swelling becomes a problem for you.
Gather and premeasure your ingredients at the beginning of your cooking session so you don’t have to run around the kitchen while the
chicken (or whatever else you’re cooking) burns on the stovetop.
Make enough food to have leftovers or make two recipes on one day and
store the second one for tomorrow’s dinner. That way, you don’t have
to cook every day. If you’re a morning person, cook a meal or two in the
morning, store them, and heat them up later.
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
If you ever feel dizzy or faint, sit down immediately and call for help. Take a
rest and don’t push yourself so hard when you get back to cooking. Also,
always keep the kitchen cool with good air circulation so you don’t overheat,
especially when you’re preparing meals in the summer.
Can I really kick-start labor with certain foods?
Overdue and wishing you could induce labor?
Well, you can’t turn to food to help you out. The
idea that specific foods can help induce labor
is a myth. You may have heard stories about
how some women eat spicy foods, castor oil,
or evening primrose oil to induce labor, but
don’t listen to them. No research backs up the
idea that eating certain foods will guarantee
labor. Letting it happen naturally is the best
course of action.
Chapter 11
Meal Planning with Your
Growing Belly in Mind
In This Chapter
▶Planning ahead for best mealtime success
▶Following sample meal plans during each stage of your pregnancy
f you don’t take some time each week to put together a pregnancy-friendly
meal plan for yourself, you may wind up making poor nutritional choices
and feeling guilty about not getting your baby the nutrients he needs. This
chapter can help you out. It clues you in to the importance of meal planning
so you can really understand why having a plan is valuable. It also offers
sample meal plans to guide you in making a plan of what to eat each day,
according to the trimester you’re in. I’m confident that after you take a peek
at these sample meal plans, you’ll have a good idea of just how easy meal
planning during pregnancy can be.
The Importance of Having a Plan
Do you ever get home at the end of the day with no idea what you’re going to
make for dinner? Ever skip breakfast simply because you didn’t plan for it? If
you don’t plan out the foods you’re going to eat, you may find yourself relying too much on convenience foods or take-out — neither of which is typically as healthy as meals you cook yourself. Now I’m certainly not saying you
have to cook every meal from scratch while you’re pregnant. But with a little
planning, you can make sure you get the nutrients you and your baby need
through the food you eat instead of just grabbing whatever’s edible and not
nailed down when you feel the hunger callin’.
Planning your meals also helps you save time and avoid stress. If you have
your meals planned and your snacks readily available, you don’t have to
waste time, holding open the door of the fridge, waiting for dinner to pop
out at you. You also don’t have to get stressed out, worrying about what’s
for dinner (or lunch or breakfast) as you move through your day. Instead, as
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
soon as you start to feel hungry, you can get right to assembling (and eating)
your next meal or snack. (Planning out your meals may also help you save
some money because you won’t be heading out to eat nearly as often.)
The following sections arm you with the basic info you need to plan out your
meals and snacks, as well as some tips to help simplify the meal-planning process.
Taking charge of your meals and snacks
Instead of haphazardly opening the fridge or pantry door and standing there
until something screams, “Eat me!” take charge of your meals and snacks. Plan
each meal using MyPlate, the food-guidance system developed by the United
States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and make your grocery list based on
your plan. (To see what the MyPlate tool looks like, refer to Chapter 3 or visit
To use the MyPlate tool to plan your meals, follow these simple guidelines:
1. Fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables.
2. Fill one-quarter of your plate with grains (preferably whole grains)
and one-quarter with lean protein.
3. Have a glass of lowfat or fat-free milk or yogurt with the meal.
Always, always, always have a snack on hand for when the hunger urge strikes
you. (After all, there’s nothing worse than a really hungry pregnant woman with
no food in sight.) Stash snacks in your purse or briefcase and always have extras
at home or in the office. Choose a nutritious snack like fresh fruit, a handful of
nuts, lowfat Greek yogurt, or a nutrition bar (see Chapter 7 for more ideas).
Making meal planning easier
with some tips and tricks
The key to successful (and stress-free!) meal planning is preparation. To get
the most out of every meal, follow these simple tips:
Cook more than you need for a meal so you can have leftovers for lunch
or dinner the next day. By using leftovers, you reduce the number of meals
you have to plan for the week. Plus, you save money by not having to make
or purchase an additional meal. (After all, increasing the ingredients to make
more of one recipe is usually cheaper than making a whole new recipe.)
Repurpose leftovers to make new dishes so that you don’t get tired of
having the same thing over and over again. For example, you can use
the chicken breasts you grill on Monday in a pasta dish on Wednesday.
Chapter 11: Meal Planning with Your Growing Belly in Mind
Consider your schedule for the upcoming week as you plan your
meals. Will you get home early on Tuesday? Plan to make the dish
that takes the longest to cook that night. Going to prenatal yoga on
Thursday? Plan to heat up some leftovers when you get home. Just
knowing you have a plan can motivate you to go straight home after
class instead of hitting the drive-thru.
Sample Pregnancy Meal Plans
Sometimes it helps to see a meal plan or two before you attempt to create
your own. That’s why I provide a couple days’ worth of sample meal plans for
each trimester of pregnancy in this section. The calories listed are an average
for most women. If you need more than that, increase your portions slightly
or add a few more snacks; if you need less, cut back a little bit. (See Chapter 3
for the scoop on how many extra calories you need during each trimester.)
Each sample meal plan includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as
four snacks. Feel free to move the snacks around within your day or add or
subtract snacks as needed, but aim to eat small amounts frequently. I recommend having a meal or a snack every two to four hours throughout the day;
check out the sample eating schedule in Chapter 7 for details.
I encourage you to use the sample meal plans I include here as a guide to creating your own. Look at the examples and patterns and plug in foods that you
enjoy (but remember to be aware of portion size and calories when you do).
Note: Each sample meal plan includes at least one of this book’s recipes so
you can see how to incorporate these tasty dishes into your daily routine. I
include chapter references so you know where to go to find these recipes.
2,000-calorie sample meal plans
for the first trimester
In your first trimester, you don’t really need any extra calories. Most moderately active women (you’re one of them if you walk between 1.5 and 3 miles
per day in addition to your normal daily activity) need about 2,000 calories a
day, so that’s the number of calories you want to plan for when setting your
meal plans in the first trimester. If you have a more active lifestyle (you walk
more than 3 miles per day in addition to your normal daily activity), you may
need more calories (100 to 300 or more, depending on how active you are).
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
Day 1
Spinach, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich (Chapter 12)
Snack 1
Instant packet of oatmeal prepared with water
1 chicken salad pita with 1⁄2 of a 5-ounce can of white meat chicken, 2
tablespoons of light mayo, 1 whole-wheat pita (or 2 slices of whole-wheat
bread), 1⁄4 cup of raw spinach, and 1 slice of tomato
1 ounce of reduced fat potato chips
Snack 2
45 pistachios
Snack 3
1 piece of lowfat string cheese
1 kiwi fruit
Ratatouille with Cannellini Beans (Chapter 15)
1 cup of whole-wheat penne pasta, cooked
⁄2 cup of marinara sauce
⁄3 cup of shredded part-skim pasteurized mozzarella cheese
Snack 4
1 cup of raspberries and 1⁄4 cup of thawed frozen reduced-fat whipped topping
For dinner, you can melt the mozzarella on top of either the pasta or the ratatouille, or you can put a bit of cheese on both!
Day 2
1 cup of whole-grain flakes or O cereal
1 cup of sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup of fat-free milk
Snack 1
1 stalk of celery, cut into three strips, with 1 tablespoon of almond butter
⁄4 cup of raisins
Chapter 11: Meal Planning with Your Growing Belly in Mind
2 slices of cheese pizza (1⁄8 of a medium pizza)
1 cup of cantaloupe
Snack 2
Minty Watermelon Salsa (Chapter 13) with 1 ounce of whole-grain
tortilla chips
Snack 3
11 ounces of your favorite instant breakfast drink
One 3-ounce lean hamburger patty on a whole-grain bun with romaine lettuce, 1 slice of tomato, and ketchup, pickle, mustard, or onion (if desired)
11⁄2 cups of mixed salad greens with 2 tablespoons of low-calorie
salad dressing
Snack 4
1 White Chocolate Berry Oatmeal Cookie (Chapter 16)
Use some leftover Minty Watermelon Salsa from your snack as a topping on
your burger or salad at dinner.
2,300-calorie sample meal plans
for the second trimester
The second trimester is a time of growth for the baby, so you need about
300 extra calories per day. I’ve added these extra calories by including some
nutritious but slightly higher-calorie foods in the following meal plans.
Day 1
1 whole-grain English muffin with 1 ounce of melted cheddar cheese and
a sliced apple
6 ounces of 100-percent Concord grape juice
Snack 1
6 ounces of lowfat or nonfat Greek yogurt
Asian Chicken Spinach Salad (Chapter 13)
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
Snack 2
Mango smoothie with 6 ounces of lowfat milk or yogurt, 1⁄2 of a peeled
mango, 1 banana, and 1⁄2 cup of ice (Mix all the ingredients in a blender.)
Snack 3
⁄2 cup of Crunchy Garbanzo Beans (Chapter 13)
5 ounces of baked salmon
1 cup of cooked brown rice
1 cup of cooked Brussels sprouts with 7 walnut halves and 1 teaspoon
of olive oil
Snack 4
3 cups of light microwave popcorn (or Truffle-Flavored Popcorn from
Chapter 13)
Day 2
Cottage Cheese Pancakes (Chapter 12)
1 cup of raspberries and 1 teaspoon of sugar
Snack 1
1 fruit and nut bar (such as a KIND Bar)
1 whole-wheat tortilla with 2 tablespoons of peanut or almond butter,
⁄4 cup of raisins or dried cranberries, 1 sliced banana, and 2 tablespoons
of chocolate chips
Snack 2
1 apple
Snack 3
1 cup of mixed raw vegetables with 1⁄4 cup of hummus
One 6-ounce Cocoa-Rubbed Grilled Steak (Chapter 14)
1 medium baked potato with 1 teaspoon of tub margarine and 1 tablespoon
of light sour cream
1 cup (about 5 spears) of cooked asparagus
Snack 4
1 Grilled Banana (Chapter 17)
Chapter 11: Meal Planning with Your Growing Belly in Mind
2,450-calorie sample meal plans
for the third trimester
Your third trimester is when you need the greatest number of calories. Aim
to get about 2,450 calories each day to help you support your extra weight
and to continue giving energy to your growing baby.
Day 1
Greek Omelet (Chapter 12)
2 slices of whole-wheat toast with 2 teaspoons of tub margarine
Snack 1
1 pear
Sloppy Lentil Joe (Chapter 15) on a whole-grain hamburger bun
Snack 2
1 ounce of (or 23) almonds
Snack 3
1 banana
Parmesan-Herb-Crusted Pork Chop (Chapter 14)
1 medium cooked sweet potato with 1 teaspoon each of tub margarine
and brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon
1 cup of cooked collard greens
Snack 4
1 ounce of Dark Chocolate Cherry Pistachio Bark (Chapter 16)
Day 2
Chocolate Banana Blast Smoothie (Chapter 12)
Snack 1
⁄2 of a whole-grain bagel with 1 tablespoon of light cream cheese
Part II: Eating Right for Pregnancy
Egg salad sandwich with 2 peeled and sliced hard-boiled eggs, 2 tablespoons
of light mayo, and 2 slices of whole-wheat bread
3 slices of raw tomato
Snack 2
1 cup of cooked edamame
Snack 3
Trail mix with 1⁄2 ounce of pecan halves, 1⁄3 cup of dried tart cherries
(or cranberries), and 1⁄2 ounce of chocolate chips
Thai Scallops with Noodles (Chapter 14)
Snack 4
1 cup of pudding
Part III
Cooking for
In this part . . .
ortunately for you, eating while pregnant doesn’t
have to be boring. This part includes 100 recipes, all
of which have been designed with you and your growing
belly in mind.
Breakfast is an opportunity to get a jump start on fueling
your body for the day, so I include several nutritious and
delicious breakfast recipes at the beginning of this part.
Because many women find that even though they need
more calories during most of their pregnancy, they want
to eat small amounts, I devote an entire chapter to recipes
that can be either appetizers or small-plate main dishes
from chicken wings to various salads. Whether you’re a
meat eater, pescatarian, or vegetarian, you’re sure to find
at least a few recipes that appeal to you in the chapters on
main and side dishes.
Of course, I couldn’t write a book on cooking for pregnancy without including some decadent desserts that are
sure to please a sweets-craving pregnant woman’s palate.
Finally, because I know you may be tired or tight on time,
I’ve also included ten recipes that are ready in ten minutes or less.
Chapter 12
Rise and Shine: Breakfast
and Smoothie Recipes
In This Chapter
▶Getting energy from delicious grain recipes
▶Filling up with incredible egg dishes
▶Having breakfast on the go with smoothies
hances are you’ve heard the phrase “Breakfast
is the most important meal of the day” once
or twice in your life. I’m not sure how to avoid
sounding cliché when I reiterate these words, but
you need to know that eating breakfast is especially
important when you’re sporting a baby bump.
Pregnant women who skip breakfast tend to
Recipes in
This Chapter
TOh, Baby! Banana
Chocolate Chip Muffins
THomemade Maple Berry
Crunch Granola
TApricot Oatmeal Bake
TBerries and Cream
French Toast
TCottage Cheese
TSouthwest Avocado
Breakfast Burrito
TSpinach, Egg, and
Cheese Sandwich
▶ Sausage Asparagus
TGreek Omelet
TBroccoli Hash-Brown
Make up for the calories later in the day, typically at dinner or as snacks later in the evening
TChocolate Banana Blast
Have more cravings for sweets and fat
TPomegranate Power
Make poor food choices because of excessive
hunger later in the day
Not only is breakfast important to kick-start your
metabolism, but many of the typical breakfast foods are also incredibly nutrient rich. They offer an excellent opportunity to check off quite a few of the
nutrients you need for the day (I fill you in on these nutrients in Chapter 3).
For instance, breakfast is a great time to get fiber and essential B vitamins
from whole grains and plenty of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and more
fiber from one of people’s favorite breakfast items — fruit.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Every breakfast you eat needs to have a nice combination of carbohydrates
and protein, as well as some healthy fat. Also, keep in mind that size matters.
You don’t have to — and really shouldn’t — eat large quantities. If you don’t
have any appetite in the morning, simply start with a snack. Have a banana or
a few handfuls of dry cereal within an hour of getting up. Then have either
another snack or a more substantial meal an hour or two later.
In this chapter, you find a variety of recipes to fuel you and your baby
throughout the morning, and each recipe has at least one benefit specific to
you as a pregnant woman. So pick a dish and feel free to add other foods to
your meal to create a well-rounded edible start to your morning.
Glorious Grains
Carbohydrates are your body’s preferred source of energy, so why not
start your day with grains, a wonderful source of complex carbohydrates?
Breakfast is an especially good time to eat carbs because they help replenish
the energy your body used for fuel while you were sleeping.
Whenever possible, choose the whole-grain variety of grains you commonly eat,
such as bread and cereal. When you’re preparing grain-based breakfast foods
from scratch, you can also experiment with using a mix of half all-purpose flour
and half whole-wheat flour (or another whole-grain flour), as I do in the Oh, Baby!
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins recipe.
The recipes in this section are dedicated to providing you with grains. In addition to being good sources of carbs, these recipes also provide numerous
other nutrients that are essential for you and your developing baby. Here’s a
sneak peak at those nutrients and the corresponding foods in the recipes:
Antioxidants: Berries, whole grains, apricots, and flaxseed
Calcium: Cottage cheese and milk
Fiber: Whole grains, walnuts, almonds, pecans, seeds, bananas, berries,
and dried fruit
Folate: Apricots, berries, whole-wheat flour, and whole-grain bread
Iron: Whole grains, sesame seeds, oatmeal, apricots, and almonds
Potassium: Bananas, apricots, berries, and flaxseed
Protein: Seeds, eggs, cottage cheese, walnuts, almonds, and pecans
Chapter 12: Rise and Shine: Breakfast and Smoothie Recipes
Oh, Baby! Banana Chocolate
Chip Muffins
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: 20–25 min • Yield: 12 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
⁄4 cup whole-wheat flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin
pan with muffin liners or spray each muffin cup with
nonstick cooking spray.
⁄4 cup ground flaxseed
11⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
In a large bowl, sift together the all-purpose and
whole-wheat flours, flaxseed, baking powder, baking
soda, and salt.
⁄8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
⁄4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons canola oil
⁄2 cup chopped walnuts
⁄2 cup mini chocolate chips
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a fork and stir
in the mashed bananas. Add the sugar and oil and stir
the mixture with a spoon to blend well.
Add the egg and banana mixture to the large bowl of
dry ingredients. Stir the mixture with a spoon to combine well. Stir in the walnuts and chocolate chips.
Fill the muffin pan cups ⁄ full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes,
or until the muffin tops are browned and a toothpick
inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow the
muffins to cool and then serve one muffin per serving.
Per serving: Calories 232 (From Fat 95); Fat 11g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 18mg; Sodium 106mg;
Carbohydrate 33g (Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 4g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 30mg; Folate 35mcg.
Tip: You can either purchase pre-ground flaxseed or grind your own using a spice grinder or a
coffee grinder that’s dedicated to grinding flaxseed. If you grind your own flaxseed and want
to grind more than you need for this recipe, store the extra in an opaque container in the
refrigerator. If you buy pre-ground flaxseed, store the extra in its original container in the
refrigerator. Either way, your ground flaxseed should keep for about 90 days.
Note: If you have a nut allergy, leave out the walnuts. You’ll still get a nutritious muffin, just
without the nuts.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Homemade Maple Berry Crunch Granola
Prep time: 15 min • Cook time: 45–50 min • Yield: 12 servings
3 cups rolled oats
⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
⁄2 teaspoon salt
⁄3 cup canola oil
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a large edged
baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, cinnamon, and salt.
⁄3 cup maple syrup
⁄4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
⁄4 cup pumpkin seeds
⁄4 cup whole flaxseed
⁄4 cup sesame seeds
1 cup whole almonds
⁄4 cup dried cherries
⁄4 cup dried cranberries
⁄4 cup dried blueberries
In a small bowl, combine the oil, maple syrup, brown
sugar, and almond extract.
Add the oil and syrup mixture to the oat mixture. Toss
the ingredients with a spoon or your hands until the
dry ingredients are well coated. Add the pumpkin
seeds, flaxseed, sesame seeds, and almonds. Mix well.
Spread the granola on the prepared baking sheet,
pressing the mixture down on the pan. Bake for 25 to
30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the granola from the oven, sprinkle the dried
fruit on top, and stir to mix. Bake the granola for
another 20 minutes, or until the oats and nuts are
toasted brown, stirring occasionally.
Allow the granola to cool in the pan. Break up the gra7
nola into chunks and serve (about 2⁄3 cup per serving).
Store the leftovers in an air-tight container for three to
four days.
Per serving: Calories 321 (From Fat 157); Fat 17g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 107mg;
Carbohydrate 36g (Dietary Fiber 6g); Protein 8g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 61mg; Folate 24mcg.
Tip: This granola is delicious on its own with a glass of milk for breakfast or as a snack. But it
also works well broken up on top of yogurt or in a bowl with milk. After you try this recipe,
you’ll never want granola out of a box again!
Chapter 12: Rise and Shine: Breakfast and Smoothie Recipes
Apricot Oatmeal Bake
Prep time: 15 min • Cook time: 40 min • Yield: 8 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
⁄2 cup applesauce
⁄4 cup maple syrup
2 cups lowfat or fat-free milk
⁄4 cup packed brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9-x-13-inch
pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine the applesauce, maple
syrup, milk, brown sugar, and eggs. Use a mixer to
mix well.
2 eggs
3 cups rolled oats
11⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
⁄4 cup dried cranberries
⁄4 cup chopped dried apricots
Add the oats, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
Beat the mixture on medium-low until well blended.
Add the dried fruit and pecans and stir them into the
mixture with a spoon. Transfer the oatmeal mixture
to the baking pan.
Bake for 40 minutes. Serve 1 cup of hot oatmeal per
person and with additional milk (if desired).
⁄3 cup chopped pecans
Per serving: Calories 280 (From Fat 67); Fat 7g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 56mg; Sodium 269mg;
Carbohydrate 46g (Dietary Fiber 5g); Protein 9g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 134mg; Folate 16mcg.
Note: Using applesauce rather than oil helps keep the calories down in this recipe.
Tip: Store the leftover oatmeal in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. Heat a serving
in the microwave each morning to enjoy hot baked oatmeal all week.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Berries and Cream French Toast
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: 6–8 min • Yield: 2 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
Heat a large skillet or griddle on medium heat and
coat it with nonstick cooking spray.
2 eggs
⁄4 cup fat-free milk
⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a small bowl, beat the eggs, milk, and vanilla
with a fork.
4 slices whole-grain
French bread
Dip each slice of French bread into the egg mixture,
⁄4 cup cream cheese, softened
soaking each side for 10 seconds.
1 cup fresh berries
Place the soaked bread slices on the skillet and heat
(raspberries, strawberries,
them for 3 to 4 minutes, or until they’re brown on the
blueberries, or blackberries)
bottom. Flip the bread slices over and heat for 3 to
Powdered sugar (optional)
Maple syrup (optional)
4 minutes, or until they’re brown.
Spread one side of each piece of bread with
⁄4 of the
cream cheese and top with 1⁄4 cup of berries. Dust the
French toast with powdered sugar and serve two
slices with syrup (if desired).
Per serving: Calories 404 (From Fat 158); Fat 18g (Saturated 8g); Cholesterol 245mg; Sodium 420mg;
Carbohydrate 36g (Dietary Fiber 7g); Protein 15g; Iron 3mg; Calcium 147mg; Folate 77mcg.
Warning: Cook your French toast until it’s nicely browned so that the eggs in the batter are
completely cooked through. No raw eggs during pregnancy!
Vary It! If berries aren’t in season, improvise with thawed frozen berries or use your fruit of
choice. And if you’re not a fan of cream cheese, try using peanut butter instead for a PB&B
(Berries) French toast.
Chapter 12: Rise and Shine: Breakfast and Smoothie Recipes
Cottage Cheese Pancakes
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: About 15 min • Yield: 2 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup lowfat cottage cheese
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
⁄3 cup whole-wheat flour
Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat and
coat it well with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the cottage cheese, eggs,
and oil. Mix gently with a fork.
Add the flour to the cottage cheese mixture and stir
until all the flour is moist.
⁄3-cup servings of batter onto the skillet, cooking
until bubbles appear on top of the pancakes. Use a
spatula to gently flip each pancake and cook until it’s
browned on the other side.
Serve four 2-inch pancakes per person with butter or
soft spread, fresh fruit, jam, or syrup.
Per serving: Calories 385 (From Fat 208); Fat 23g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 323mg; Sodium 554mg;
Carbohydrate 18g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 26g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 112mg; Folate 53mcg.
Tip: For a smoother consistency, put the cottage cheese in the food processor before you mix
it with the eggs and oil.
Note: I’ve been making cottage cheese pancakes since I was a kid. Instead of using syrup I
simply put a pat of butter on top and enjoy the savory flavor that the cottage cheese brings to
the pancake.
Tip: To save time, simply add the cottage cheese to a premade pancake mix. Just be sure to
use a bit less water!
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Incredibly Edible Eggs
Eggs are a wonderful choice for pregnant women, in large part because they
offer a source of high-quality protein that doesn’t cost you too many calories.
Because of the amount of iron they typically contain — 0.9 milligrams (mg) —
they’re especially good if you’re at risk of anemia (a condition in which you
have low blood levels of iron). Eggs also provide choline, a little-known nutrient that’s essential for your baby’s developing brain. (In fact, eggs are one
of the best sources of choline in a person’s diet!) Finally, eggs have several
B vitamins, including folate, which is vital for your baby’s developing nerve
tissue, brain, and spinal cord.
To get the most out of your eggs, be sure to eat the yolks. That’s where a lot of
the protein and essential nutrients are found.
Although eggs are a power food for pregnancy, they also require a word of
warning. Because eggs can contain salmonella, make sure you cook all eggs
well throughout your pregnancy. If you’re used to runny yolks or softly scrambled eggs, make sure you cook those yolks (and whites) all the way through
until they’re hard. When dining out, order your eggs over hard or scrambled
well (no more sunny-side-up or over-easy eggs).
This section features quite a few recipes that contain different ways to eat
eggs. In addition, each recipe is packed with nutrients that are especially beneficial for you during your pregnancy. If you want to know which nutrients a
particular dish offers based on its ingredient list, refer to the following list:
Antioxidants: Spinach, artichokes, black beans, tomatoes, and peppers
Calcium: Cheese, milk, and spinach
Fiber: Whole grains, black beans, artichokes, and peppers
Folate: Spinach, eggs, black beans, avocado, and asparagus
Iron: Eggs, black beans, sausage, and whole grains
Potassium: Potatoes, avocado, black beans, spinach, mushrooms,
milk, and cheese
Protein: Eggs, black beans, cheese, sausage, and milk
Chapter 12: Rise and Shine: Breakfast and Smoothie Recipes
Southwest Avocado Breakfast Burrito
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: About 10 min • Yield: 2 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
2 eggs
2 large whole-wheat tortillas
⁄2 cup canned black beans,
drained and rinsed
Warm a nonstick skillet on medium heat and coat it
with nonstick cooking spray.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs with a fork.
⁄4 cup shredded Mexican
cheese blend
⁄2 avocado, peeled and diced
⁄4 cup salsa
Cilantro, chopped (optional)
Add the eggs to the hot skillet and stir constantly to
scramble them well. Cook until they’re no longer wet,
about 4 to 5 minutes.
While the eggs are cooking, heat the tortillas in the
microwave for 30 seconds.
Add the black beans and cheese to the eggs and cook
until the cheese is melted, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Place half of the egg mixture on each tortilla. Top
each tortilla with half of the avocado, salsa, and
cilantro (if desired). Fold each tortilla and enjoy.
Per serving: Calories 449 (From Fat 174); Fat 19g (Saturated 7g); Cholesterol 225mg; Sodium 597mg;
Carbohydrate 23g (Dietary Fiber 9g); Protein 23g; Iron 3mg; Calcium 165mg; Folate 123mcg.
Vary It! Throw in mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, or onions to add different flavors to
your burritos. Sauté the vegetables in the same hot skillet before cooking the eggs for
best results (and less cleanup!).
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Spinach, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich
Prep time: 5 min • Cook time: About 10 min • Yield: 1 serving
Nonstick cooking spray
⁄2 cup fresh spinach,
stems removed
Spray a small skillet with nonstick cooking spray and
heat it over medium heat.
⁄2 cup chopped fresh
Add the spinach and mushrooms to the skillet and cook
until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. While the vegetables are
cooking, mix the egg in a small bowl with a fork.
1 egg
1 slice Swiss cheese
Remove the vegetables from the skillet and set them
aside. Add the egg to the hot skillet and cook it until
it’s no longer runny, about 4 minutes, flipping or stirring halfway through. Place the cheese on top of the
egg and heat until melted, about 1 minute.
1 whole-wheat bagel thin
Toast the bagel thin in a toaster.
Add the egg and cheese to the bottom half of the bagel
thin. Top that with the sautéed vegetables and the top
half of the bagel thin.
Per serving: Calories 305 (From Fat 128); Fat 14g (Saturated 7g); Cholesterol 239mg; Sodium 340mg;
Carbohydrate 28g (Dietary Fiber 6g); Protein 22g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 354mg; Folate 75mcg.
Vary It! Use asparagus in place of spinach if you want a different flavor or if you want to take
advantage of it while it’s in season.
Note: A sandwich I eat quite often at a bagel place near my office inspired this recipe. It hits
the spot for breakfast or lunch!
Chapter 12: Rise and Shine: Breakfast and Smoothie Recipes
Sausage Asparagus Frittata
Prep time: 15 min • Cook time: About 35 min • Yield: 6 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray an ovenproof
skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat it on the
stovetop over medium heat.
1 cup sliced reduced-fat
smoked turkey sausage
⁄4 cup diced onion
⁄2 cup thinly sliced red
bell pepper
Add the sausage, onion, bell pepper, and asparagus
to the hot skillet. Cook until the sausage is browned,
about 10 minutes.
⁄2 cup chopped asparagus
6 eggs
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sour
cream, salt, and pepper. Mix in the mozzarella cheese
with a fork.
⁄2 cup lowfat milk
⁄4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
⁄8 teaspoon salt
⁄8 teaspoon pepper
⁄2 cup shredded
mozzarella cheese
Pour the egg mixture over the sausage and vegetables
in the skillet.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the
center comes out clean.
⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Sprinkle the top of the frittata with the Parmesan
cheese and return it to the oven for another 3 to 4
minutes. Cut it into 6 wedges and serve.
Per serving: Calories 191 (From Fat 100); Fat 11g (Saturated 5g); Cholesterol 238mg; Sodium 486mg;
Carbohydrate 7g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 15g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 213mg; Folate 45mcg.
Vary It! Frittatas are quite simple and versatile. Play around with different meats, like turkey
or Canadian bacon, and switch up the veggies with things like artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes,
mushrooms, or whatever else your cravings call for.
Note: Frittatas are great any time of the day. Make a frittata for dinner and serve it with a side
salad and whole-wheat roll for a well-balanced (and delicious!) meal.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Greek Omelet
Prep time: 5 min • Cook time: About 6 min • Yield: 1 serving
Nonstick cooking spray
2 eggs
1 egg white
Pinch of Italian herbs
Salt and pepper to taste
⁄2 cup fresh spinach, stems
⁄4 cup chopped sun-dried
tomatoes (not packed in oil)
Spray a medium nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking
spray and heat it over medium heat.
In a small bowl, scramble the eggs and egg white with a
fork. Add the Italian herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the spinach in the heated skillet until it’s wilted,
about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, artichokes, and
olives. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetable mixture.
⁄4 cup chopped artichokes
2 tablespoons sliced
kalamata olives
2 tablespoons pasteurized
feta cheese, crumbled
Using a spatula, push the eggs away from the edges of
the pan and tilt the pan to allow the eggs to run onto
the empty portion of the pan. Let the omelet cook for
about 3 minutes.
Carefully flip the omelet over and reduce the heat. Add
the feta cheese to one half of the omelet and let it cook
for another 1 to 2 minutes. Fold the omelet in half,
enclosing the cheese. Slide the omelet from the skillet
onto a plate and enjoy while hot.
Per serving: Calories 317 (From Fat 170); Fat 19g (Saturated 7g); Cholesterol 442mg; Sodium 952mg;
Carbohydrate 16g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 23g; Iron 4mg; Calcium 189mg; Folate 152mcg.
Tip: Serve the omelet with whole-wheat toast and sliced tomatoes for a well-rounded meal.
Note: Greek omelets have been a favorite of mine since college when I worked at a Greek
breakfast restaurant. I love the sharp salty taste of the feta combined with the flavors of the
Mediterranean-inspired vegetables.
Chapter 12: Rise and Shine: Breakfast and Smoothie Recipes
Broccoli Hash-Brown Quiche
Prep time: 15 min • Cook time: About 1 hr 10 min • Yield: 4 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a pie plate with
3 cups shredded hash-brown
potatoes (fresh or frozen,
Press the hash-brown potatoes into the bottom and
1 tablespoon olive oil
⁄2 cup diced onion
⁄4 cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup chopped broccoli
⁄2 cup diced zucchini
⁄2 cup sliced mushrooms
4 eggs
⁄2 cup lowfat milk
nonstick cooking spray.
sides of the pie plate. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the
potatoes are crisp. Remove the potatoes from the
oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to
375 degrees.
While the potatoes are in the oven, heat the olive oil
in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sauté
the onions until they’re tender, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the diced red pepper, broccoli, and zucchini and
cook for another 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and
cook for 2 more minutes.
1 teaspoon Italian herb blend
⁄4 cup shredded cheddar
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and
Italian herb blend. Stir in the cheese. Add the vegetable
mixture to the eggs and stir everything with a spoon.
Pour the egg and vegetable mixture into the potato
crust. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, checking the quiche
for doneness after 30 minutes. (You can tell the
quiche is ready when a knife inserted into the center
of it comes out clean.)
Per serving: Calories 326 (From Fat 209); Fat 23g (Saturated 10g); Cholesterol 236mg; Sodium 260mg;
Carbohydrate 29g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 17g; Iron 3mg; Calcium 262mg; Folate 87mcg.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Figure 12-1:
Coring and
On-the-Go Breakfasts — Smoothie Style
Morning is traditionally a very rushed time. Don’t worry if you don’t have a ton
of time to cook! The most important thing is that you get something into your
body, ideally within an hour of getting up. (If you wait longer than an hour to
eat, your metabolism can take a nose dive and your risk of getting nauseous
increases as those stomach acids take over an empty stomach.) A quick and
easy way to get food into your body is by drinking your breakfast! Smoothies
take just a few minutes to prepare, and you can pour them into a to-go cup to
drink on your morning commute. This section contains some smoothie recipes
that are sure to get you out the door fast with a healthy breakfast option in hand.
Smoothies can serve as your entire breakfast. As long as you include either
milk, yogurt, or protein powder for protein and fruit for carbohydrates and
fiber, you can actually get a well-rounded meal all in one glass!
To boost the nutritional value of your smoothie, consider some nutrient-dense
add-ins. If you want extra protein, use a scoop of protein powder. Whey and
soy-based powders are the most common, but you can also find unflavored,
chocolate, and vanilla protein powders. (I typically use vanilla protein powder
because it adds a bit of flavor without being overwhelming.) Other healthy
additions include wheat germ, ground flaxseed, fresh spinach or other greens,
and tofu. Have fun experimenting!
Chapter 12: Rise and Shine: Breakfast and Smoothie Recipes
Chocolate Banana Blast Smoothie
Prep time: 5 min • Yield: 1 serving
1 large banana, broken
into chunks
⁄2 cup frozen blueberries
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend
until smooth.
2 cups fresh spinach, torn
into small pieces
Pour the chocolaty smoothie into a tall glass
and enjoy!
1 scoop unflavored
protein powder
1 tablespoon unsweetened
cocoa powder
1 tablespoon wheat germ
⁄2 cup lowfat or fat-free milk
2 teaspoons honey
⁄2 cup ice
Per serving: Calories 331 (From Fat 37); Fat 4g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 20mg; Sodium 128mg;
Carbohydrate 67g (Dietary Fiber 10g); Protein 16g; Iron 4mg; Calcium 278mg; Folate 156mcg.
Note: Even though this recipe calls for 2 cups of spinach, you’ll barely know it’s there! This
smoothie is packed in nutrients and is quite filling.
Tip: When your bananas start to turn brown, peel them and cut them into chunks. Put each
banana into a resealable freezer bag and freeze it. That way, you’ll always have a banana for
smoothies ready to go! Keep in mind, though, that you may not need the ice in the recipe if
you’re using frozen bananas.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Pomegranate Power Smoothie
Prep time: 5 min • Yield: 1 serving
6 ounces nonfat vanilla Greek1
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend
until smooth.
4 ounces 100% pomegranate
Pour the pomegranate smoothie into a tall glass and
drink up!
1 cup frozen mixed berries
⁄2 banana, broken into pieces
2 tablespoons ground
1 teaspoon honey
Per serving: Calories 458 (From Fat 56); Fat 6g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 90mg; Carbohydrate 85g
(Dietary Fiber 11g); Protein 21g; Iron 3mg; Calcium 264mg; Folate 93mcg.
Note: Pomegranates are one of the highest antioxidant foods available. Drinking just 4 ounces
of pomegranate juice daily is a good routine to get into whether you’re pregnant or not!
Source: Cindy Heroux, RD, and author of The Manual That Should Have Come with Your Body (Speaking of Wellness)
No time? Breakfasts in 5 minutes or less
If you find yourself in a rush to get out the door
every morning, look for some fast and easy
breakfast ideas so you can eat right for you and
your baby even when you’re in a hurry. Here
are a few nutritious breakfast suggestions that
require little to no preparation:
✓ Whole-grain frozen waffle topped with fresh
mixed berries and a dollop of whipped cream
and served with a glass of lowfat milk
✓ Whole-grain cereal of choice with lowfat
milk and a sliced banana
✓ Whole-grain English muffin spread with
almond butter and thinly sliced apples
✓ Greek yogurt with granola and fresh sliced
✓ Two slices of whole-grain toast with 2 scrambled eggs and a glass of vegetable juice
✓ Hard-boiled egg with a bowl of oatmeal
topped with blueberries
Chapter 13
Adding Fuel to Your Day:
Snack, Appetizer, and
Salad Recipes
Recipes in
This Chapter
T Apple Cinnamon Trail Mix
TQuinoa Nut Mix
In This Chapter
▶Whipping up healthy snacks to boost your energy
between meals
▶Savoring small meals with big nutrients
▶Creating a colorful salad that’s jampacked with the
nutrients you and your baby need
often hear pregnant women say that they can’t
eat very much at one time because they fill
up faster than they used to. Whether that’s due
to hormones or the weight of the baby pressing
on the stomach, many pregnant women simply
gravitate toward eating smaller portions more
frequently throughout the day as opposed to just
a few large meals. Because you may find yourself
among these women, this chapter provides you
with 22 delicious ways to eat small bites — from
trail mix to chicken wings to a variety of salads.
Preparing Healthy Snacks
The days of thinking that all snacks are unhealthy
or that you should avoid snacks are gone! Snacks
provide you with an opportunity to add nutrients
to your day. That’s right. Snacks don’t have to be
empty-calorie foods. Don’t get me wrong; I have
T Crunchy Garbanzo Beans
TTruffle-Flavored Popcorn
TMinty Watermelon Salsa
▶ Avocado Shrimp Martinis
TFig and Olive Bruschetta
TSteamed Artichoke with
Garlic-Herb Dipping Sauce
TSun-Dried Tomato and
Ricotta Stuffed
▶ Asian-Style Chicken
▶ Sausage-Stuffed Baked
Potato Skins
▶ Chicken Lettuce Wraps
▶ White Chicken and
Pineapple Flatbread
▶ Mixed Greens with
Chicken, Cantaloupe, &
Red Grapes Salad
TFruity Poppy Seed Salad
TWhite Bean and
Portobello Salad
T Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato,
and Pepper Salad
TRoasted Beet and
Pistachio Salad
TDeconstructed Greek
▶ Asian Chicken Spinach
TCreamy Grape Salad
TCranberry Gelatin Salad
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
nothing against digging into some chips or savoring some decadent chocolate.
But even those seemingly unhealthy foods may create opportunities for boosting nutrients. For example, why not dip your whole-grain tortilla chips into the
Minty Watermelon Salsa I describe later in this section? Expand your horizons by
trying some new flavor combinations and thinking outside the box.
If you’re looking for a quick snack that doesn’t require any prep work, turn to
Chapter 7 for some ideas.
The five recipes in this section provide a variety of crunchy snacks that are
sure to satisfy, plus an assortment of essential nutrients to fuel your pregnancy. Here are just some of the nutrients you can expect to find in this
section’s recipes, along with the ingredients that contain them:
Antioxidants: Whole grains, nuts (especially pecans), flaxseed, apples,
watermelon, and peaches
Calcium: Flaxseed and nuts
Fiber: Whole grains, garbanzo beans, flaxseed, apples, and peaches
Folate: Garbanzo beans, nuts, quinoa, watermelon, and peaches
Iron: Whole grains, nuts, and quinoa
Potassium: Garbanzo beans, nuts, flaxseed, apples, watermelon,
and peaches
Protein: Flaxseed, nuts, quinoa, and garbanzo beans
Discovering the many benefits of whole grains
When it comes to grains, choosing the wholegrain variety is always better. Not only do you
get more fiber, but you also get the benefits of
having all three parts of the grain: the germ,
endosperm, and bran. When a grain is refined,
it loses the germ, which is where most of the
beneficial nutrients are found, and the bran,
which is where the fiber is.
The benefits of eating whole grains are numerous and can include reduced risk of stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure,
as well as better weight control. You can find
whole grains by reading food labels and looking for the phrase whole-grain in front of many
common grains.
These foods are always whole grain: Amaranth,
barley, buckwheat, corn (including popcorn),
millet, oats, quinoa, brown and wild rice, rye,
sorghum, teff, whole wheat, spelt, bulgur,
cracked wheat, and wheat berries.
The next time you’re at the store, look for the
whole-grain variety of commonly eaten grains,
like whole-wheat bread (and bread products
such as bagels, English muffins, pitas, and
crackers), whole-grain or corn tortillas, wholegrain pasta and cereals, and brown or wild
rice. Also try substituting whole-grain flour in
part or in total for the all-purpose, or white,
flour in recipes.
Chapter 13: Adding Fuel to Your Day: Snack, Appetizer, and Salad Recipes
Apple Cinnamon Trail Mix
Prep time: 5 min • Yield: 4 servings
⁄2 cup dried apples, cut
into chunks
1 cup Apple Cinnamon
⁄2 cup almonds
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients.
Gently toss them with clean hands or mix them
with a spoon.
Divide the trail mix into 4 equal servings and put each
one into an individual snack bag to enjoy later.
⁄2 cup pecan halves
⁄4 cup white chocolate chips
Per serving: Calories 321 (From Fat 206); Fat 23g (Saturated 4); Cholesterol 2mg; Sodium 64mg; Carbohydrate 27g
(Dietary Fiber 5g); Protein 7g; Iron 3mg; Calcium 105mg; Folate 77mcg.
Vary It! To switch up the flavors in this trail mix, try using plain or another variety of Cheerios
and dried berries, mango, pineapple, or other dried fruit.
Note: Trail mix can add up in calories very quickly because of the calorie-dense nuts and dried
fruits. Enjoy it in small quantities and eat it slowly.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Quinoa Nut Mix
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: 33–35 min • Yield: 8 servings
1 cup water
⁄2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup almonds
⁄2 cup cashews
⁄2 cup pecans
⁄2 cup walnuts
⁄4 cup flaxseed
1 egg white
⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
⁄4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking
sheet with parchment paper.
In a small saucepan, heat the water to a boil. Add the
quinoa, stir, and return to a boil. Reduce the heat, stir,
and cover to let the quinoa simmer for about 8 to 10
minutes, or until the quinoa is slightly undercooked.
Fluff with a fork and drain any remaining water.
In a large bowl, mix together the almonds, cashews,
pecans, walnuts, flaxseed, and cooked quinoa.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white, cinna4
mon, salt, and sugar. Pour the egg white mixture
over the nut mixture and stir to coat the nuts and
quinoa evenly.
Spread the nut mix evenly on the prepared baking
sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Transfer the parchment paper with the nut mix to a
wire rack to cool. When the nut mix is cool to the
touch, break it into chunks with your hands. Serving
size is about 1⁄2 cup.
Per serving: Calories 322 (From Fat 227); Fat 25g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 91mg; Carbohydrate 20g
(Dietary Fiber 6g); Protein 10g; Iron 3mg; Calcium 76mg; Folate 36mcg.
Note: If you’re using salted nuts, you don’t need to add any salt to the recipe.
Vary It! Feel free to mix up the nuts and seeds to include your favorites. Add dried fruit if desired.
Chapter 13: Adding Fuel to Your Day: Snack, Appetizer, and Salad Recipes
Crunchy Garbanzo Beans
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: 40 min • Yield: 4 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
⁄4 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
⁄4 cup flour
1 teaspoon dried rosemary,
⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed
baking pan with aluminum foil. Spread the olive oil
over the foil.
In a large resealable plastic bag, add the salt,
pepper, flour, rosemary, and garlic powder. Add
the beans to the bag, zip it up, and shake it to coat
the beans evenly.
One 15-ounce can garbanzo
beans, drained, rinsed, and
patted dry
2 tablespoons grated
Parmesan cheese
Pour the coated beans into a mesh sifter and shake
gently to remove the excess flour. Spread the coated
beans evenly on the prepared baking pan. Bake for
20 minutes.
Remove the beans from the oven and stir them
around on the pan. Bake for another 20 minutes.
Let the beans cool slightly until they’re no longer
hot to the touch.
Place the beans in a serving bowl and sprinkle them
with Parmesan cheese. Toss the beans to coat them
with the cheese. Serving size is about 1⁄2 cup.
Per serving: Calories 134 (From Fat 46); Fat 5g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 2mg; Sodium 318mg; Carbohydrate 17g
(Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 5g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 62mg; Folate 138mcg.
Note: Also called chickpeas, these beans are high in protein and fiber, so they make a healthy,
crunchy snack alternative.
Tip: Baked garbanzo beans don’t stay crunchy for very long, so find friends to share them with
while they’re fresh. Store leftovers in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to
three days.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Truffle-Flavored Popcorn
Prep time: 5 min • Cook time: About 15 min • Yield: 3 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
⁄3 cup popcorn kernels
⁄2 teaspoon truffle salt
2 tablespoons unsalted
butter, melted
2 tablespoons grated
Parmesan cheese
In a stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat for 3
to 4 minutes.
Add the popcorn. Cover the pot and slowly move it back
and forth on the burner to move the kernels around in
the pot and to distribute the oil evenly on the kernels.
Heat the popcorn until the popping slows to every few
seconds. (It typically takes about 10 minutes for the
kernels to reach the right temperature and start popping, but as soon as the popping starts, listen carefully
and pull the pot off the heat when the popping slows
so that the popcorn doesn’t burn.)
Place the popcorn in a large bowl.
Add the truffle salt to the melted butter and stir. Pour
the mixture over the popcorn, stirring well to coat
the popcorn evenly. Sprinkle the popcorn with the
Parmesan cheese and toss to coat evenly. One serving
is about 3 cups.
Per serving: Calories 201 (From Fat 128); Fat 14g (Saturated 6g); Cholesterol 23mg; Sodium 447mg;
Carbohydrate 16g (Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 4g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 48mg; Folate 6mcg.
Note: I fell in love with truffle oil popcorn at a restaurant as part of a dessert course. Then I went
to Italy and fell in love with truffle oil all over again. A little bit goes a long way to give a decadent
surge of flavor. If you have truffle oil, you can use 1 tablespoon of that rather than olive oil to pop
the kernels. If you like a lot of truffle flavor, use both truffle oil and truffle salt, but feel free to use
one or the other if you have both.
Tip: Popcorn is a whole grain and is actually quite low in calories if you pop it yourself, using
minimal oil and butter.
Chapter 13: Adding Fuel to Your Day: Snack, Appetizer, and Salad Recipes
Minty Watermelon Salsa
Prep time: 15 min • Yield: 8 servings
2 cups finely chopped
watermelon, seeds removed
1 peach, pitted and diced
⁄2 cup thinly sliced and
diced cucumber
2 tablespoons chopped
fresh mint
⁄4 cup fresh lime juice
In a large bowl, combine the watermelon, peach,
cucumber, and fresh mint.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice and
sugar. Pour the lime juice mixture over the fruit and
stir well.
⁄3 cup of salsa with 1 ounce of whole-grain
tortilla chips for dipping.
2 tablespoons sugar
8 ounces whole-grain
tortilla chips
Per serving: Calories 185 (From Fat 66); Fat 7g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 113mg; Carbohydrate 28g
(Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 3g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 29mg; Folate 7mcg.
Note: This fruity salsa is a refreshing change to tomato-based salsas. The mint and sweetness
of the watermelon and peaches complement each other nicely for an interesting combination.
Vary It! Feel free to add red or green onions, chopped fresh cilantro, or other vegetables to
switch up the flavors in this recipe. If you like your salsa a bit spicier, add some finely diced
jalapeño pepper.
Figure 13-1:
How to juice
a lime.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Small Bites for Your Growing
Belly: Tapas-Style Meals
One of my favorite restaurants to visit on a date night with my husband or
when gathering with girlfriends is a tapas-style place. Tapas are small plates
(think appetizer-sized) of hot and cold foods that you share with your dining
companions. The best part about tapas is that you get to try new dishes
without having to commit to only one of them for your meal.
Take advantage of the time before Baby arrives to get together with friends
and family and host a tapas night where the entire meal consists of various
appetizers. Serve a variety of cold and hot dishes to please your guests’ palates.
Whenever possible, make what you can ahead of time. (I tell you how long each
recipe in this section takes to prepare and cook so that you can plan ahead.)
Enjoy a flavorful mocktail
Even though alcohol is off the menu when
you’re pregnant, you can still whip up some
mouthwatering nonalcoholic drinks that will
complement your tapas spread. Try one or more
of the following mocktail ideas:
✓ Cranberry Twist: Cran-raspberry juice with
sparkling water and a twist of lime
✓ Frozen Strawberry Lemonade: Lemon juice,
water, frozen strawberries, and sugar
blended with ice
✓ Grape Fizz: Concord grape juice, blackberry
sorbet, and sparkling water
✓ Mock Champagne: White grape juice, pineapple juice, and ginger ale
✓ Orange Pineapple Slush: Orange juice,
pineapple juice, and a splash of lemon
juice, blended with ice
✓ Shirley Temple: Lemon-lime soda with
grenadine and a maraschino cherry
✓ Virgin Daiquiri: Frozen strawberries, sweet
and sour mix, and a splash of grenadine
blended with ice
Chapter 13: Adding Fuel to Your Day: Snack, Appetizer, and Salad Recipes
Avocado Shrimp Martinis
Prep time: 10 min • Yield: 6 servings
1 ripe avocado, peeled
and diced
1 tomato, diced
Juice of 1 lime
⁄2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chopped
red onion
2 tablespoons freshly
chopped cilantro
In a small bowl, combine the avocado, tomato, lime
juice, salt, red onion, and cilantro. Mix well, slightly
mashing the avocado into the rest of the ingredients.
Pour the mixture into 6 martini glasses (about
per glass).
⁄3 cup
Line the rim of each martini glass with 4 to 5 jumbo
shrimp. Dip the shrimp into the avocado mixture
to enjoy.
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled
and deveined, tails still on
Per serving: Calories 129 (From Fat 46); Fat 5g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 147mg; Sodium 366mg; Carbohydrate 5g
(Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 17g; Iron 3mg; Calcium 33mg; Folate 27mcg.
Note: Shrimp is highly perishable. Eat it within 24 hours after you purchase it to be safe.
Tip: If the shrimp won’t stay on the rim of the martini glasses, cut a small slit in the shrimp.
Figure 13-2:
How to pit
and peel an
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Fig and Olive Bruschetta
Prep time: 15 min, plus marinating time • Cook time: About 10 min • Yield: About 12 servings
⁄2 cup water
In a small saucepan, heat the water and figs over
1 cup dried figs, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
⁄2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic
⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
medium heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook
for 5 minutes, or until the figs become soft and have
absorbed most of the water. Transfer the figs to a
medium bowl.
Add the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, thyme, oregano,
kalamata and black olives, and garlic to the bowl with
the figs. Mix well. Refrigerate for several hours to allow
the flavors to marinate.
⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
⁄3 cup pitted and chopped
kalamata olives
⁄3 cup chopped black olives
1 clove garlic, minced
1 loaf French baguette
3 ounces pasteurized goat
After the figs have been marinating for several hours,
preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Slice the baguette
diagonally into 1⁄2-inch slices. Arrange the bread on a
cookie sheet and bake on the top rack for 4 to 5 minutes, or until it’s golden and crispy.
Spread each slice of baguette with a thin layer of goat
cheese and top with the fig and olive mixture. Add a few
pieces of toasted walnuts. Serve two slices per serving.
⁄3 cup chopped toasted
Per serving: Calories 233 (From Fat 86); Fat 10g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 6mg; Sodium 302mg; Carbohydrate 34g
(Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 5g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 59mg; Folate 24mcg.
Note: The explosion of different flavors in this recipe is wonderful! You get tangy from the goat
cheese, salty from the olives, and sweet from the figs.
Vary It! If you aren’t a fan of goat cheese, use light cream cheese instead.
Chapter 13: Adding Fuel to Your Day: Snack, Appetizer, and Salad Recipes
Steamed Artichoke with Garlic-Herb
Dipping Sauce
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: 25–35 min • Yield: 4 servings
Water for boiling
1 whole raw artichoke
⁄2 cup light mayonnaise
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
Salt and pepper to taste
Fill a pot with 3 inches of water and bring it to a boil
over high heat.
Remove the outer leaves of the artichoke and trim the
stem. Place a steaming rack (or basket) in the pot over
the boiling water. Place the artichoke on the rack with
the stem side down. Cover and steam for 25 to 35 minutes, or until you can easily remove a petal from the
inside of the artichoke. Remove the rack (or basket)
from the pan and let the artichoke cool slightly.
In a small bowl, combine the light mayonnaise, lemon
juice, garlic, tarragon, and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the artichoke on a platter with the dipping sauce.
Per serving: Calories 123 (From Fat 91); Fat 10g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 10mg; Sodium 279mg; Carbohydrate 7g
(Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 1g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 26mg; Folate 30mcg.
Note: Artichokes are one of the best sources of antioxidants, and they’re relatively low in
calories. I often use canned or jarred artichoke hearts in salads or pasta dishes.
Tip: If you don’t have a steaming rack or basket for your pot, you can boil the artichoke. Doing so
takes about 25 to 35 minutes. If you’re short on time, you can microwave the artichoke. Just put it in
a bowl with a little water, cover it with plastic wrap, and cook it on high for about 7 to 8 minutes.
Tip: To enjoy this recipe, pull each leaf from the artichoke and dip it into the sauce. Gently bite
down on the leaf and scrape the “meat” of the artichoke with your teeth. Then discard the
empty leaf.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Sun-Dried Tomato and Ricotta
Stuffed Mushrooms
Prep time: 15 min • Cook time: About 45 min • Yield: 5 servings
⁄4 cup water
⁄4 cup bulgur wheat
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped kale
⁄4 cup chopped sun-dried
tomatoes (not packed in oil)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet
with parchment paper.
In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add
the bulgur wheat, cover the pan, and simmer on
medium heat for 20 minutes. Drain the excess water if
needed. Set aside.
1 tablespoon chopped
fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
⁄4 cup ricotta cheese
10 large stuffing mushrooms,
washed and patted dry
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the garlic, kale, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, and
oregano and cook until the vegetables are softened,
about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a medium bowl, combine the cooked bulgur wheat,
vegetables, and ricotta cheese and stir until well mixed.
Remove the stems from the mushrooms and arrange
them, tops down, on the prepared baking sheet. Spoon
the vegetable, bulgur, and cheese mixture (a few
tablespoons) into each mushroom cap.
Bake the stuffed mushrooms for 20 minutes, or until
they’re tender and heated through. Serve immediately.
Per serving: Calories 98 (From Fat 43); Fat 5g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 6mg; Sodium 76mg; Carbohydrate 11g
(Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 5g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 59mg; Folate 17mcg.
Note: Bulgur wheat is a whole grain often used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking.
It’s easy to prepare, and you can use it in recipes in place of rice.
Vary It! If you’re not a fan of ricotta cheese, mix 1⁄4 cup Parmesan cheese with the bulgur wheat
and vegetables or top the mushrooms with mozzarella cheese instead (pasteurized, of course).
Chapter 13: Adding Fuel to Your Day: Snack, Appetizer, and Salad Recipes
Asian-Style Chicken Wings
Prep time: 10 min, plus marinating time • Cook time: 30–35 min • Yield: 4 servings
2 tablespoons low-sodium
soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced
fresh ginger
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon Chinese fivespice powder
11⁄2 pounds chicken wings,
tips trimmed
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
⁄4 cup salted roasted peanuts,
finely chopped
In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil,
honey, garlic, ginger, orange juice, orange zest, and
five-spice powder. Mix well.
Place the chicken wings in a large resealable plastic
bag. Pour the marinade on top. Refrigerate for at least
2 hours, turning the bag over once.
After the chicken has marinated, preheat the oven
to 425 degrees. Spray a wire cooling rack with nonstick cooking spray and place it on top of a rimmed
baking sheet.
In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, peanuts,
and flour. Mix well. Roll the marinated wings in the
breadcrumb mixture to coat them. Place each wing
on the prepared wire rack.
Bake the wings for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the
wings are golden brown.
⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
Per serving: Calories 297 (From Fat 141); Fat 16g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 55mg; Sodium 172mg; Carbohydrate
17g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 21g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 17mg; Folate 45mcg.
Note: Wings are traditionally pretty high in fat. But these wings are baked, so they’re a much
healthier option for when the mood strikes!
Tip: Use the marinade to coat boneless, skinless chicken tenders for an Asian-style main dish
recipe. Serve with brown rice or rice noodles and stir-fry vegetables.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Sausage-Stuffed Baked Potato Skins
Prep time: 15 min • Cook time: About 1 hr 20 min • Yield: 6 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet
3 large russet baking potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups fresh spinach
1 cup crumbled lean ground
sausage without casing
⁄4 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
⁄4 cup grated Swiss cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons grated
Parmesan cheese
⁄3 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh chives
with nonstick cooking spray.
Poke holes in the potatoes with a fork and bake the pota2
toes for 50 to 60 minutes. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes.
Handling the potatoes with a hot pad, slice each potato
in half and scoop out the insides with a spoon, leaving
a 1⁄4-inch-thick shell.
In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil and sauté the spin4
ach over medium heat until it’s wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a large bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat
until it’s lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain
any excess oil and blot the sausage with paper towels
if necessary.
Add the sausage to the spinach, along with the bread6
crumbs, oregano, Swiss cheese, and salt and pepper to
taste. Mix well.
Spoon the sausage mixture into the baked potato skins.
Sprinkle them with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the stuffed potato skins are heated through.
Serve half a potato per person with light sour cream
and fresh chives (if desired).
Per serving: Calories 279 (From Fat 91); Fat 10g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 23mg; Sodium 238mg; Carbohydrate 36g
(Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 12g; Iron 3mg; Calcium 210mg; Folate 72mcg.
Tip: Save the insides of the potatoes for mashed potatoes on another day.
Chapter 13: Adding Fuel to Your Day: Snack, Appetizer, and Salad Recipes
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Prep time: 15 min • Cook time: About 15 min • Yield: 4 servings
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh or
ground ginger
In a large skillet, heat the sesame oil over medium1
high heat. Add the ginger, water chestnuts, and
chicken and sauté until the chicken is cooked
through, about 10 minutes.
One 8-ounce can sliced water
chestnuts, drained and
Reduce the heat to medium and add the green
onions, cabbage, carrots, soy sauce, and teriyaki
sauce. Cook until the cabbage is tender, about 2 to 3
1 pound ground chicken breast
minutes more.
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup shredded cabbage
⁄3 cup shredded carrots
2 tablespoons low-sodium
soy sauce
1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce
Rinse the lettuce leaves and pat them dry with a
paper towel.
Spoon equal amounts of the chicken mixture onto the
center of each lettuce leaf; roll up the leaves and
8 leaves of lettuce (Bibb or
Per serving: Calories 204 (From Fat 58); Fat 6g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 63mg; Sodium 545mg; Carbohydrate 11g
(Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 25g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 39mg; Folate 39mcg.
Vary It! For a vegetarian version, use tofu in place of the chicken.
Note: To allow guests to personalize their wraps, serve them with a choice of garnishes, such as
sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, chopped peanuts, or dried cranberries.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
White Chicken and Pineapple Flatbread
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: 13–15 min • Yield: 2 servings
1 store-bought whole-wheat 1
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the flatbread
directly on the oven rack and bake for 5 minutes.
3 tablespoons prepared
Alfredo sauce
⁄4 cup chopped pineapple
⁄2 cup shredded, cooked
chicken breast
⁄4 cup sliced mushrooms
Spread the Alfredo sauce on top of the hot flatbread.
Top with the pineapple, chicken, and mushrooms.
Separate the onion slice into rings and place them on
the flatbread. Sprinkle the top of the flatbread with the
mozzarella cheese.
1 slice onion
⁄4 cup shredded mozzarella
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the flatbread is
warmed and the cheese is melted.
Cut the flatbread in half with a pizza cutter and serve
Per serving: Calories 344 (From Fat 119); Fat 13g (Saturated 5g); Cholesterol 50mg; Sodium 511mg;
Carbohydrate 35g (Dietary Fiber 6g); Protein 22g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 127mg; Folate 29mcg.
Note: Flatbreads have become really popular in recent years. You can serve them as an appe-
tizer or easily make a meal out of them. Look for whole-grain flatbreads that contain between 100
and 150 calories. I like the Flatout brand.
Vary It! For a Mediterranean-style flatbread, use sun-dried tomato pesto in place of the Alfredo
sauce, swap pasteurized feta for the mozzarella cheese, and substitute olives for the pineapple.
Figure 13-3:
How to trim
and slice
Chapter 13: Adding Fuel to Your Day: Snack, Appetizer, and Salad Recipes
Adding Color (And Nutrients)
to Your Plate with Salads
What better way to add a little color to your plate — and squeeze in some
servings of fruits and vegetables — than with a nice salad? Choose dark
greens and vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables to add a handful of flavor
and nutrients to any meal. The key to keeping salads interesting is to combine a variety of flavors to meet your taste palate.
Pregnant women require 2 to 4 (or more!) cups of vegetables per day plus 2
to 3 cups of fruit. If that sounds intimidating, consider that 2 cups of leafy
greens is equivalent to 1 cup in terms of serving size. So a nice big salad could
net you all your servings of vegetables for the day, and a side salad may get
you to one-third (or even one-half) of your requirement. Plus, salads offer a
bevy of nutrients. Salad greens and most fruits and veggies provide you with
folate, potassium, fiber, and antioxidants. Throw some cheese on your salad
and you get calcium; add meat or beans and you get protein and iron (both of
which are vital during pregnancy, as I note in Chapter 3).
Try each of this section’s nine salad recipes as a main dish or pair them with
the following for meals that offer a little more variety:
The Mixed Greens with Chicken, Cantaloupe, & Red Grapes Salad works
well in a brunch menu with the Broccoli Hash-Brown Quiche in Chapter 12.
The Fruity Poppy Seed Salad pairs well with the White Chicken and
Pineapple Flatbread in the preceding section.
The White Bean and Portobello Salad offers a nice complement to the
Spinach, Date, and Blue Cheese Chicken Panini in Chapter 14.
The Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato, and Pepper Salad makes a nice starter
for Chapter 14’s mouth-watering Italian Stuffed Steak Rolls.
The Roasted Beet and Pistachio Salad pairs well with a hearty soup like
the Souped-Up Split Pea Soup or Black Bean Chili in Chapter 15.
If you’re feeling Greek, the Deconstructed Greek Salad goes great with
the Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie) in Chapter 15.
The Asian Chicken Spinach Salad is even better when you follow it up
with the Mango Coconut Rice Pudding in Chapter 16.
The sweetness of the Creamy Grape Salad goes nicely with the crispy
Zucchini Patties in Chapter 15.
The Cranberry Gelatin Salad works as a sweet side or dessert with the
Parmesan-Herb-Crusted Pork Chops in Chapter 14.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Mixed Greens with Chicken, Cantaloupe,
& Red Grapes Salad
Prep time: 10 min • Yield: 4 servings
One 6-ounce bag mixed
1 ⁄2 cups chopped cooked
rotisserie chicken
In a large bowl, combine the greens, chicken, grapes,
and cantaloupe. Mix well.
Toss the salad with the ranch dressing to taste.
1 ⁄2 cups red grapes, rinsed
⁄2 large cantaloupe, peeled,
seeded, and chopped
⁄2 cup light ranch dressing, or
to taste
Per serving: Calories 262 (From Fat 103); Fat 12g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 55mg; Sodium 612mg;
Carbohydrate 24g (Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 18g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 57mg; Folate 72mcg.
Vary It! To add some crunch to this salad, sprinkle on some glazed sliced almonds. To boost
your calcium, sprinkle on some shredded mozzarella cheese.
Tip: If you’re cooking up chicken breasts for dinner, make one or two extra to use in salads like
this one the next day.
Source: Anne Nechkov, professional food stylist and chef
Chapter 13: Adding Fuel to Your Day: Snack, Appetizer, and Salad Recipes
Fruity Poppy Seed Salad
Prep time: 10 min • Yield: 1 serving
1 cup spring lettuce
In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, apple,
strawberries, oranges, cranberries, onion, cheese,
sunflower seeds, and granola.
1 cup romaine lettuce
⁄4 apple, sliced thin
⁄4 cup sliced strawberries
Toss the salad with the poppy seed dressing to taste.
2 tablespoons mandarin
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
1 tablespoon red onion
1 tablespoon pasteurized
Gorgonzola cheese
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons granola
2 tablespoons poppy seed
dressing, or to taste
Per serving: Calories 391 (From Fat 212); Fat 24g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 6mg; Sodium 366mg; Carbohydrate 40g
(Dietary Fiber 6g); Protein 8g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 104mg; Folate 170mcg.
Note: The variety of fruit in this salad brings a welcomed sweet flavor; it’s almost like having
dessert for lunch!
Tip: To make this salad a main dish, add 3 ounces of cooked chicken or tofu or 1⁄2 cup of beans or
cottage cheese.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
White Bean and Portobello Salad
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: 5–7 min • Yield: 1 serving
Nonstick cooking spray
Spray a medium nonstick skillet with cooking spray
1 large portobello mushroom
cap, sliced into 1⁄4-inch strips
1 teaspoon plus 2 teaspoons
balsamic vinegar
2 cups fresh spinach, stems
1 slice red onion
⁄3 cup canned navy beans,
drained and rinsed
and heat it over medium heat. Add the mushroom and
1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and cook until the
mushroom is tender, about 5 to 7 minutes, turning
In a large bowl, combine the spinach, onion, beans,
tomatoes, olives, cheese, and pine nuts. Toss the salad
with 2 teaspoons each of balsamic vinegar and olive oil
for the dressing. Place the hot portobello strips on top
of the salad.
⁄4 cup chopped sun-dried
tomatoes (not packed in oil)
2 tablespoons sliced black
2 tablespoons shredded
Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon pine nuts
2 teaspoons olive oil
Per serving: Calories 395 (From Fat 175); Fat 19g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 8mg; Sodium 791mg; Carbohydrate 39g
(Dietary Fiber 10g); Protein 20g; Iron 7mg; Calcium 304mg; Folate 196mcg.
Note: I have a slight obsession with beans because they’re a high-fiber, plant-based source of
protein that also contains plenty of folate, potassium, iron, and other nutrients that are ideal for
pregnant women. Try this (and other salad recipes, for that matter) with kidney beans, garbanzo
beans, or black beans.
Chapter 13: Adding Fuel to Your Day: Snack, Appetizer, and Salad Recipes
Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato,
and Pepper Salad
Prep time: 15 min • Yield: 1 serving
2 cups spring lettuce mix
1 plum tomato, sliced
⁄4 yellow bell pepper, seeded
and sliced
Place the lettuce in a bowl and top it with the tomato,
bell pepper, pepperoncini, mozzarella cheese, and
fresh basil.
2 tablespoons sliced
Drizzle the salad with the balsamic vinegar and olive
oil. Toss everything together (if desired).
Two 2-inch slices fresh,
pasteurized mozzarella
4 leaves fresh basil, chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
Per serving: Calories 295 (From Fat 196); Fat 22g (Saturated 9g); Cholesterol 45mg; Sodium 303mg;
Carbohydrate 13g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 13g; Iron 3mg; Calcium 404mg; Folate 146mcg.
Note: The inspiration behind this salad comes from the traditional Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes. When you add in pepperoncinis and throw the whole thing onto a
base of mixed greens, you get a completely different look and feel for this traditional favorite.
Tip: You can also use small bite-sized balls of fresh mozzarella for this recipe. Just make sure
the cheese is pasteurized.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Roasted Beet and Pistachio Salad
Prep time: 20 min • Cook time: 30–45 min • Yield: 4 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
4 red beets, trimmed
2 shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic
Salt and pepper to taste
One 6-ounce package spring
mix lettuce
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking dish
with nonstick cooking spray. Place the beets on the
baking sheet and cover with foil. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the beets are tender when pierced with a
fork. Set aside to cool.
After the beets have cooled to the touch, remove their
outer skin by rubbing them with a paper towel. Slice
the beets thinly.
In a large bowl, combine the shallots, thyme, olive oil,
balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Add the
sliced beets.
⁄2 cup crumbled, pasteurized 4
Place the lettuce on individual serving plates and top
goat cheese
each serving with one-fourth of the beet mixture, goat
cheese, and pistachios.
⁄2 cup shelled pistachios
Per serving: Calories 240 (From Fat 165); Fat 18g (Saturated 5g); Cholesterol 11mg; Sodium 125mg;
Carbohydrate 14g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 8g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 98mg; Folate 101mcg.
Tip: For best results, cover and refrigerate the prepared beet mixture for at least 3 hours before
Note: This salad is so flavorful that you don’t even need additional dressing. However, if you
must, drizzle your salad with additional balsamic vinegar and olive oil or a vinaigrette of your
Chapter 13: Adding Fuel to Your Day: Snack, Appetizer, and Salad Recipes
Deconstructed Greek Salad
Prep time: 15 min • Yield: 4 servings
3 medium red tomatoes,
1 large cucumber, peeled and
⁄2 small red onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeds
removed and chopped
8 radishes, chopped
⁄2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumber,
onion, green pepper, radishes, olives, and feta cheese
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegars,
mustard, garlic powder, oregano, basil, crumbled feta
cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the dressing over the veggies and toss to coat
⁄2 cup pasteurized feta cheese
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine
2 tablespoons balsamic
⁄2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
⁄2 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon crumbled,
pasteurized feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Per serving: Calories 244 (From Fat 174); Fat 19g (Saturated 5g); Cholesterol 19mg; Sodium 514mg;
Carbohydrate 15g (Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 5g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 143mg; Folate 48mcg.
Note: This salad is a twist on the traditional Greek village salad. Instead of lettuce, this salad
consists of large chunks of vegetables combined with feta cheese and olives.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Asian Chicken Spinach Salad
Prep time: 20 min • Yield: 2 servings
4 cups fresh spinach
In a large bowl, combine the spinach, green onion,
carrots, bell pepper, edamame, and oranges.
1 green onion, chopped
⁄3 cup shredded carrots
⁄3 red bell pepper, sliced
In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, soy
sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, mustard, and ginger.
⁄3 cup shelled, cooked
Top the salad with the cooked chicken breast, slivered
⁄3 cup mandarin oranges,
rinsed and drained
almonds, and soy-sauce-ginger dressing. Toss to coat
everything evenly.
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
⁄2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
⁄4 teaspoon minced fresh
One 8-ounce boneless,
skinless chicken breast,
cooked and shredded
⁄4 cup slivered almonds
Per serving: Calories 502 (From Fat 175); Fat 19g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 96mg; Sodium 840mg;
Carbohydrate 38g (Dietary Fiber 11g); Protein 46g; Iron 5mg; Calcium 189mg; Folate 232mcg.
Note: This very colorful, nutrient-rich salad can be a side salad without the chicken or an entree
salad with the chicken.
Chapter 13: Adding Fuel to Your Day: Snack, Appetizer, and Salad Recipes
Creamy Grape Salad
Prep time: 15 min • Yield: 5 servings
In a large bowl, combine the grapes, pineapple, and
1 cup green grapes, rinsed and1
apple. Drizzle the fruit with the lemon juice and stir.
sliced in half
1 cup red grapes, rinsed and
sliced in half
One 15-ounce can pineapple
chunks, drained
1 Golden Delicious apple,
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
In a small mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, sour
cream, cream cheese, and vanilla.
Add the creamed mixture to the fruit and stir with a
spoon until the fruit is coated evenly. Sprinkle the
chopped pecans on top of the grape salad before
⁄4 cup sugar
4 ounces light sour cream
4 ounces light cream cheese,
⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
⁄4 cup chopped pecans
Per serving: Calories 245 (From Fat 104); Fat 12g (Saturated 5g); Cholesterol 25mg; Sodium 114mg;
Carbohydrate 35g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 4g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 69mg; Folate 10mcg.
Note: This recipe features a couple of slight twists to the traditional Waldorf salad. I’m not a fan
of celery, so I leave it out. But you’re welcome to add in 1⁄2 cup of chopped celery if you prefer. I
also use pecans rather than walnuts, but feel free to use your favorite nut.
Tip: This salad is rich and creamy enough to serve as a dessert. It’s also a great item to bring to
a potluck.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Cranberry Gelatin Salad
Prep time: 10 min, plus refrigerating time • Cook time: About 7 min • Yield: 8 servings
1 cup water
One 3-ounce package
cranberry gelatin mix
One 15-ounce can whole
cranberry sauce
1 small Granny Smith apple,
1 small Red Delicious apple,
Bring the water to a boil. Add the gelatin mix to the
boiling water and stir until all the mix is dissolved.
Mix in the cranberry sauce, apples, and banana. Pour
the mixture into a large glass or ceramic dish and
refrigerate until formed, about 90 minutes.
Spread the whipped topping on top of the formed salad
and serve cold.
1 large banana, sliced
1 cup light frozen whipped
topping, thawed
Per serving: Calories 166 (From Fat 11); Fat 1g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 36mg; Carbohydrate 39g
(Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 1g; Iron 0mg; Calcium 3mg; Folate 4mcg.
Note: This salad is great for a holiday gathering, but because canned cranberry sauce is available year-round, you can enjoy Cranberry Gelatin Salad anytime of the year.
Tip: Fruity gelatin salads are a great way to get fresh or canned fruit into a meal. Serve this salad
as a side dish or a dessert.
Chapter 14
The Land, Sea, and Air:
Main Dish Recipes
In This Chapter
▶Enjoying lean cuts of beef in a variety of ways
▶Tempting your palate with an assortment of seafood
▶Creating delicious ways to savor the white meats: pork,
turkey, and chicken
Recipes in
This Chapter
▶ Good to the Last Lick
▶ Beef Empanadas
▶ Beef and Bean Quesadillas
▶ Nana’s Moussaka
▶ Indian Lentil Slow Cooker
f you’re looking for a meal idea that packs a
nutrient-dense punch, look no further than
meat! Beef, chicken, turkey, pork, and seafood
are all packed in nutrition for you and your baby.
In fact, some of the most important pregnancy
nutrients — namely iron, zinc, and B vitamins —
are abundant in animal proteins such as beef,
poultry, pork, seafood, and eggs.
The recipes in this chapter are guaranteed to
satisfy your tastes for ethnic dishes (think Italian,
Asian, Greek, Caribbean, Mexican, Latin, and
Indian) as well as those down-home traditional
recipes everyone loves — all with a nutrient-rich
pregnancy twist, of course. Every recipe included
in this chapter has you and your developing baby
in mind. Not only do these recipes provide you all
the nutrients found in meat, but they also include
plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to
further boost their nutritional value.
In addition to the wide mix of flavors you get in
this chapter, you find a variety of cooking styles.
By the time you finish reading, you’ll be baking,
broiling, sautéing, slow cooking, and (if you’re
Beef Stew
▶ Italian Stuffed Steak Rolls
▶ Cocoa-Rubbed Grilled
▶ Spaghetti with Clam Sauce
▶ Mango Avocado Salmon
▶ Pecan-Crusted Tilapia with
Pear and Fig Chutney
▶ Thai Scallops with Noodles
▶ Garden Fresh Paella
▶ Super Easy Pulled Pork
▶ Parmesan-Herb-Crusted
Pork Chops
▶ Turkey Cheeseburger
▶ Sauerkraut and Turkey
Sausage Pasta Bake
▶ Rosemary Chicken on
Asparagus Risotto
▶ Curry Chicken Salad
▶ Crispy Lime Chicken
▶ Chicken Kabobs
▶ Peachy Chicken Barley
▶ Spinach, Date, and Blue
Cheese Chicken Panini
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
lucky) convincing your partner to do a little grilling. So get ready to fill up on
the delicious proteins that await you in this chapter’s recipes.
Beef, It’s What’s for Pregnancy
Not many main dishes are as dense in nutrients as beef, which is why it’s at the
top of the pregnancy must-have food list. It’s really too bad beef got a bad rap
a few years ago for being high in fat because it’s really not as fatty as you may
think. Twenty-nine cuts of beef actually meet the U.S. Government’s guidelines
for lean meat, and the leanest of them all is an eye round roast or steak. This
particular cut has just 144 calories and 4 grams of fat (1.4 grams of which are
saturated). That’s almost as lean as a skinless chicken breast!
Many people shy away from lean cuts of beef because they fear they may not
be as moist. If I’ve just described you, it’s time to learn the cooking techniques
of braising, roasting, and stewing. A day in the slow cooker makes any cut of
lean beef fall apart as soon as you pierce it with a fork. Marinating lean beef can
also help to tenderize and moisten it for your eating pleasure.
Whether or not the cut of beef you’re working with is lean, always be aware
of the following beef-focused food safety guidelines (for more information on
food safety, flip to Chapter 10):
When you’re cutting raw beef, always use a separate cutting board from
the one you use for vegetables. After you finish cutting, wash the board
and utensils well with hot, soapy water.
Cook beef until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees or
higher according to a meat thermometer.
Trim any visible fat from steak before grilling so that you don’t get flareups of fire. Fat drips off when heated, which is a good thing because
then you don’t eat it but a bad thing if the flame shoots up near your
face or hands.
The seven beef recipes in this chapter offer you an assortment of different ways
to cook beef. The first recipe, Good to the Last Lick Casserole, has been in my
family for generations. Life on the farm in Wisconsin meant meat and potatoes,
and this casserole was the perfect way to cook a delicious, filling meal and still
complete all the daily chores of farm life. The next several recipes take you on
an international adventure that ends with a down-home feel thanks to CocoaRubbed Grilled Steak. Yep, you read that right: Chocolate steak!
Note: Several of the recipes in this section call for lean ground beef. Even
though the 90 percent lean beef may cost a bit more, leaner beef requires less
waste (in the form of grease to drain off), which means more meat for your
dollar and more nutrients! The dollars you spend on more nutritious food are
well worth the benefits to you and your baby!
Chapter 14: The Land, Sea, and Air: Main Dish Recipes
Good to the Last Lick Casserole
Prep time: 15 min • Cook time: 1 hr 30 min • Yield: 4 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2-quart
One 10.5-ounce can condensed
tomato soup
casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In a small bowl, mix together the tomato soup,
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
⁄2 teaspoon salt
tomato sauce, salt, garlic powder, and oregano.
⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
In a large bowl, mix together
⁄2 of the chopped onion
with the potatoes and corn. Stir in 2⁄3 of the tomato
soup mixture. Pour the veggie and tomato soup
mixture into the prepared casserole dish.
⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 onion, chopped
4 medium potatoes, peeled and
Crumble the raw beef over the vegetable mixture.
Top the beef with the remaining onions and the rest
of the tomato soup mixture.
2 cups frozen corn, thawed, or
2 cups canned corn, drained
1 pound lean ground beef
Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 1 hour and
30 minutes. Divide into fourths and serve.
Per serving: Calories 418 (From Fat 88); Fat 10g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 31mg; Sodium 776mg; Carbohydrate 62g
(Dietary Fiber 6g); Protein 25g; Iron 4mg; Calcium 37mg; Folate 72mcg.
Note: Because this casserole cooks for an entire hour and 30 minutes, you don’t have to worry
about mixing raw beef with your vegetables. Everything will be cooked and safe by the time you
get it out of the oven.
Source: Elaine Kohls, grandmother of author
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Beef Empanadas
Prep time: 20 min • Cook time: 37–40 min • Yield: 6 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet
with nonstick cooking spray.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
⁄4 cup finely chopped green
bell pepper
In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium
heat. Sauté the onion and bell peppers until they’re
tender, about 5 minutes.
⁄4 cup finely chopped red bell
In a separate large skillet, cook the ground beef until
it’s brown, about 8 minutes. Add the salt, pepper, and
⁄4 pound lean ground beef
paprika and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the cooked
onions and peppers, olives, tomato, and raisins and
⁄4 teaspoon salt
cook until the flavors are well blended, about 10 min1
⁄4 teaspoon pepper
utes. Remove the skillet from heat, stir in the hardboiled egg, and set the mixture aside.
2 teaspoons paprika
⁄4 cup sliced green olives
1 small tomato, peeled and
⁄4 cup raisins
1 egg, hard boiled and
⁄4 cup plus 1 teaspoon water
⁄4 cup of water in a small bowl. Spread the dough
for one empanada on a clean counter and roll it out
until it’s about 1⁄2 inch thick. Scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of the beef filling onto the dough, leaving a
⁄4-inch border of dough. Wet your finger with the water
and lightly spread it over the border. Fold the dough
over and press the outside edge with a fork to seal.
Repeat until you run out of dough and filling.
One 14-ounce package ready-5
Beat the egg with 1 teaspoon of water. Brush the top of
made frozen empanada dough,
each empanada with the egg mixture. Place the empathawed
nadas on the baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they’re brown on top. Serve immediately.
1 egg
Per serving: Calories 369 (From Fat 144); Fat 16g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 86mg; Sodium 489mg;
Carbohydrate 44g (Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 20g; Iron 4mg; Calcium 24mg; Folate 22mcg.
Tip: Look for the Goya brand frozen empanada dough called discos. If you can’t find frozen
empanada dough, you can use pizza dough instead. Just roll out the pizza dough and cut it to the
desired size of your empanada (I recommend 1⁄2 inch thick and 5 inches in diameter).
Source: Verna Flemming, friend of author
Chapter 14: The Land, Sea, and Air: Main Dish Recipes
Beef and Bean Quesadillas
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: 15–20 min • Yield: 4 servings
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 ounces flank steak, sliced
⁄2 cup chopped onion
⁄2 cup chopped plum tomatoes
⁄2 cup canned black beans,
drained and rinsed
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet
with aluminum foil.
In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
Add the flank steak and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring
⁄2 cup shredded cheddar
8 small corn tortillas
Add the onion and tomatoes and cook for another 5
minutes, stirring frequently. Line a medium bowl with
a paper towel. Place the beef and onion mixture on
top of the paper towel to remove any excess oil.
Place four corn tortillas on the baking sheet. Spoon
of the steak mixture onto each tortilla and top each
one with equal amounts of black beans and cheese.
Add another corn tortilla to the top of each quesadilla and press down softly.
Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the tortillas are
slightly brown.
Per serving: Calories 285 (From Fat 107); Fat 12g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 28mg; Sodium 251mg;
Carbohydrate 31g (Dietary Fiber 5g); Protein 14g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 209mg; Folate 91mcg.
Tip: To prevent the quesadillas from curling up while baking, give the top layer a quick shot of
nonstick cooking spray.
Source: Elisa Zied, RD, and author of Feed Your Family Right! (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) and Nutrition at Your
Fingertips (Alpha)
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Nana’s Moussaka
Prep time: 15 min, plus standing time • Cook time: About 1 hr 45 min • Yield: 8 servings
1 large eggplant
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the eggplant into
1-inch-thick slices. Sprinkle the eggplant with a dash of
salt and place it in a colander; let it stand for 30 minutes.
Dash plus 1⁄4 teaspoon plus
⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon plus 1
tablespoon plus 1⁄4 cup
olive oil
Coat an 11-x-17-inch baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of
olive oil. Layer the eggplant slices on the pan and bake
for 20 minutes. Set aside.
1 onion, diced
1 pound lean ground beef
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over
medium heat. Sauté the onion until it’s tender, about
5 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook until it’s
browned, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the
tomatoes, 1⁄4 teaspoon of salt, and 1⁄4 teaspoon of pepper
and let everything simmer on low for about 5 minutes.
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
⁄4 teaspoon plus 1⁄4 teaspoon
⁄4 cup flour
4 cups lowfat milk
To prepare the béchamel sauce for the moussaka, heat
⁄4 cup of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium
heat. Add the flour and cook until the mixture turns a
golden color, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and
increase the heat to medium-high, stirring constantly
to prevent lumps. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and
boil until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes.
2 eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Reduce the heat for the sauce to low. Add about
⁄4 cup
of the sauce to the beaten eggs and stir well. Add the
egg mixture to the remaining sauce in the pan, stirring
constantly. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and the rest of
the salt and pepper. Continue to stir for 1 more minute.
To assemble the moussaka, lay the baked eggplant in
the bottom of a 2-quart baking dish. Cover it with the
beef mixture. Slowly pour the béchamel sauce on top
and bake uncovered for 1 hour.
Per serving: Calories 271 (From Fat 152); Fat 17g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 74mg; Sodium 204mg;
Carbohydrate 15g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 16g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 173mg; Folate 37mcg.
Source: Evie Lyras, friend of author
Chapter 14: The Land, Sea, and Air: Main Dish Recipes
Indian Lentil Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Prep time: 15 min • Cook time: 8 hr • Yield: 8 servings
In a 4- or 6-quart slow cooker, mix together the onion,
1 medium onion, chopped
cauliflower, zucchini, bell pepper, mushrooms, toma1 cup bite-sized cauliflower
toes, and lentils. Place the beef on top. Add the beef
broth, garlic, salt, curry powder, ginger, salt, and
2 medium zucchini, chopped
nutmeg. Stir everything together.
1 red bell pepper, seeded and
Cover the slow cooker tightly and heat on low for 8
One 8-ounce package button
mushrooms, sliced
One 14-ounce can no-salt-added
diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup uncooked lentils, rinsed
and picked over
2 pounds lean chuck or round
stew meat, cubed
Three 14-ounce cans low-sodium
beef broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger
⁄4 teaspoon salt
⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Per serving: Calories 293 (From Fat 76); Fat 8g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 71mg; Sodium 636mg; Carbohydrate 22g
(Dietary Fiber 8g); Protein 33g; Iron 6mg; Calcium 45mg; Folate 160mcg.
Note: Even though you may be tempted, don’t lift the lid of the slow cooker! Doing so could
increase the stew’s cooking time by 20 to 30 minutes. Let the stew cook for 8 hours and uncover
it when you’re ready to serve. (If you don’t want to wait 8 hours, increase the heat to the high
setting and cook for 4 to 5 hours.)
Note: To “pick over” lentils, simply run your hands through the lentils, looking for small stones or
debris that may have gotten mixed in during harvesting. Discard anything that doesn’t look edible.
Vary It! If you aren’t fond of Indian spices, leave out the curry, ginger, and nutmeg and use
oregano instead.
Source: Adapted from The Healthy Beef Cookbook by the American Dietetic Association (ADA), the National
Cattleman’s Beef Association, Richard Chamberlain, and Betsy Hornick, ©2006 (American Dietetic Association
and American Cattleman’s Beef Association), with permission of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Italian Stuffed Steak Rolls
Prep time: 20 min • Cook time: About 2 hr 8 min • Yield: 4 servings
One 10-ounce package frozen1
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
spinach, thawed
2 tablespoons pepperoncini
peppers, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons red onion,
⁄4 cup Parmesan cheese
⁄4 cup plain breadcrumbs
⁄4 cup shredded mozzarella
1 pound top round steak
1 tablespoon olive oil
One 28-ounce jar marinara
Squeeze the spinach to remove as much of the excess
water as possible. Place it in a medium bowl. Add the
peppers, garlic, oregano, red onion, Parmesan cheese,
breadcrumbs, and mozzarella cheese. Mix everything
together with a fork until it’s well blended.
Slice the round steak into four pieces (about 2-x-4
inches each) and pound each piece with a meat tenderizer until they’re 1⁄2 inch thin. Top each piece of steak
with 1⁄4 of the spinach mixture. Roll up each steak and
tie it with a clean butcher’s string.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium
heat. Add the rolls to the skillet and cook them until
they’re brown, about 2 minutes on each side, turning
them carefully so that all four sides are browned.
Pour the marinara sauce into the bottom of a 2-quart
oven-safe casserole dish. Carefully place each roll into
the sauce.
Cover the dish and bake for 2 hours. Remove the rolls
from the dish, untie and discard the string, and place
each roll on a serving plate. Top with the marinara
sauce and serve.
Per serving: Calories 414 (From Fat 174); Fat 19g (Saturated 6g); Cholesterol 74mg; Sodium 1,167mg;
Carbohydrate 26g (Dietary Fiber 6g); Protein 34g; Iron 6mg; Calcium 253mg; Folate 122mcg.
Note: To reduce the sodium in this dish, look for reduced-sodium cheese and marinara sauce.
Chapter 14: The Land, Sea, and Air: Main Dish Recipes
Cocoa-Rubbed Grilled Steaks
Prep time: 5 min, plus refrigerating time • Cook time: 12–14 min • Yield: 2 servings
1 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat the grill or grill pan to medium heat.
⁄4 teaspoon unsweetened
cocoa powder
In a small bowl, mix together the sea salt, cocoa
2 tablespoons ground
powder, cinnamon, pepper, cumin, brown sugar, chili
powder, garlic powder, and onion powder; stir until
well combined.
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dark-brown sugar
⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
Rub 2 tablespoons of the mixture onto each side of
the steaks. Refrigerate the steaks for 10 minutes to
allow the rub to soak into the meat.
1 teaspoon garlic powder
⁄4 teaspoon onion powder
Two 6-ounce boneless sirloin
Place the steaks on the preheated grill and cook until
they’re medium-well or well-done, about 6 to 7 minutes on each side, depending on the steaks’
Per serving: Calories 233 (From Fat 79); Fat 9g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 94mg; Sodium 651mg; Carbohydrate 5g
(Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 33g; Iron 5mg; Calcium 64mg; Folate 12mcg.
Note: If you’re using an uncovered charcoal grill, the steaks may take 7 to 9 minutes on each
side. If you’re using a gas grill, the steaks may take between 6 and 7 minutes per side.
Tip: Serve this dish with frozen microwaved veggies and a 90-second packet of brown rice for a
stress-free dinner.
Tip: The less you handle the steaks, the more tender they’ll be. Use tongs to turn the steaks on
the grill to retain tenderness and flavor.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Fishing for Something Different
for Dinner: Seafood Dishes
Not only is seafood okay to eat when you’re pregnant, but it’s a welcomed
part of your diet. The term seafood includes fish, shrimp, scallops, clams,
lobster, and more. In general, seafood has numerous benefits, not the least
of which is that most of it is very low in fat, which means it’s also low in calories (unless, of course, you feel compelled to deep-fry it or dip it into a vat of
butter). The fat it does have is the good kind — omega-3 fatty acids. The DHA
and EPA that make up these omega-3 fatty acids are found mostly in fatty
fish, such as salmon, herring, tuna, and sardines. (Turn to Chapter 3 to find
out all about the benefits these essential fats offer you and your baby and to
examine a list of the fish that are highest in omega-3s.)
One of the things I like about seafood is that it’s simple and clean in taste.
Just a squeeze of lemon and a dash of herbs can go a long way to give it
flavor. Throw in some tempting toppings, such as avocado mango salsa
or pear and fig chutney, and you soon realize that you really don’t have to
batter and deep-fry your fish to create a delicious, satisfying meal.
Although seafood has a simple taste, it has an undeserved reputation for being
difficult to cook. However, it’s actually quite easy to prepare with the right
instructions. The biggest thing with seafood is to practice good food safety:
Watch out for fish with a high mercury content. These fish include
swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel. Being extra vigilant is especially
important during pregnancy because mercury can stay in your system
for a long time and may affect nervous system development in your
baby. (For the lowdown on which fish are best to eat during pregnancy,
turn to Chapters 3 and 9.)
Cook fish until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees to prevent food-borne illness.
Steer clear of raw or undercooked fish, including oysters, while you’re
expecting because they can contain harmful bacteria. If you’re a sushi
lover, go for California rolls (cooked crabstick) or any cooked fish in
your rolls.
The five seafood recipes in this chapter give you a nice variety of seafood as
well as whole grains, fruits, and veggies. You get clams in the Spaghetti with
Clam Sauce and two different fish options in the Mango Avocado Salmon and
the Pecan-Crusted Tilapia with Pear and Fig Chutney. I bring in a little Thai
influence with the Thai Scallops with Noodles. (What can I say? I’m a sucker
for anything with peanut sauce.) Finally, enjoy shrimp with lots of veggies
and brown rice in the Garden Fresh Paella.
Chapter 14: The Land, Sea, and Air: Main Dish Recipes
Spaghetti with Clam Sauce
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: About 25 min • Yield: 4 servings
Four 6.5-ounce cans chopped
⁄4 cup olive oil
Drain the cans of clams, reserving
⁄4 cup of the clam
3 cloves garlic, chopped
⁄2 onion, chopped
⁄4 teaspoon dried oregano
⁄4 teaspoon pepper
⁄4 cup white grape juice
2 cups button mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons dried parsley
8 ounces dry whole-grain
4 tablespoons grated
Parmesan cheese
In a medium saucepan, mix together the olive oil,
garlic, and onion. Sauté over medium heat until the
garlic and onion are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the
oregano, pepper, grape juice, reserved clam juice,
and mushrooms. Simmer covered until the mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the clams, butter, and parsley flakes. Bring the
mixture to a boil; then reduce the heat and simmer
covered for 3 to 5 minutes.
Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil.
Add the spaghetti and cook, stirring frequently, until
it’s al dente (firm but not hard), about 9 to 10 minutes. Drain and transfer the spaghetti to a serving
Pour the clam sauce over the spaghetti and sprinkle
with 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese per serving.
Per serving: Calories 516 (From Fat 196); Fat 22g (Saturated 7g); Cholesterol 71mg; Sodium 969mg;
Carbohydrate 48g (Dietary Fiber 8g); Protein 35g; Iron 7mg; Calcium 114mg; Folate 18mcg.
Tip: This recipe originally called for white wine, but I substituted white grape juice considering
it’s best not to cook with alcohol while pregnant. If you’re preparing this dish while pregnant and
don’t like the sweet flavor, feel free to use reduced-sodium chicken broth rather than grape
juice. If you’re making this recipe in a nonpregnant state, feel free to swap the grape juice for
white wine!
Note: This dish is slightly high in sodium, so cut out the Parmesan cheese to reduce the sodium
Source: Anne van den Berg, friend of author and mother of six
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Mango Avocado Salmon
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: 12–15 min • Yield: 4 servings
2 small ripe avocados, peeled,
Preheat the broiler on high. Line an oven-safe baking
cored, and diced
pan with foil.
1 mango, peeled, cored, and
Combine the avocados and mango with the lime juice
and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss to coat everything
evenly and set aside.
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 tablespoons plus 2
tablespoons olive oil
Four 6-ounce salmon fillets
Rinse the salmon fillets, pat them dry with a paper
towel, and place them skin side down on the prepared
baking pan. Squeeze the lime over the fillets, drizzle
them with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and
season them with salt and pepper to taste.
1 lime, cut in half
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the fish in the oven and broil until the fish
browns on top, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Transfer the salmon to a serving plate, top it with the
mango avocado compote, and serve.
Per serving: Calories 522 (From Fat 315); Fat 35g (Saturated 5g); Cholesterol 97mg; Sodium 136mg;
Carbohydrate 15g (Dietary Fiber 5g); Protein 39g; Iron 3mg; Calcium 40mg; Folate 72mcg.
Note: Keep the salmon at least 6 to 8 inches from the broiler so the fish doesn’t burn on top and
remain undercooked on the bottom.
Tip: Serve the salmon with whole-grain couscous and a side of sautéed spinach to round out
this meal.
Source: Tina Ruggiero, MS, RD, LD, and coauthor of The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet (Fair Winds
Chapter 14: The Land, Sea, and Air: Main Dish Recipes
Pecan-Crusted Tilapia with
Pear and Fig Chutney
Prep time: 15 min • Cook time: 11 min • Yield: 4 servings
1 pear, peeled, cored, and
⁄2 cup chopped, dried figs
⁄4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
⁄8 teaspoon minced fresh
Four 6-ounce tilapia fillets
2 tablespoons lemon juice
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the
pear, figs, vinegar, brown sugar, and ginger. Cover
and allow the mixture to simmer, stirring frequently,
until the pears have softened, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Sprinkle the tilapia with the lemon juice and salt and
pepper to taste.
In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs,
pecans, and garlic powder. In a separate bowl, beat
together the eggs and water.
Salt and pepper to taste
⁄2 cup plain breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons finely chopped
⁄4 cup garlic powder
2 eggs
2 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons whole-wheat
Sprinkle both sides of each fillet with the flour, dip
the fillet into the egg mixture, and dredge it in the
pecan and breadcrumb mixture.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high
heat. Cook the fillets for 3 minutes on each side.
Top each fillet with
⁄4 of the pear and fig chutney.
2 tablespoons olive oil
Per serving: Calories 402 (From Fat 128); Fat 14g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 126mg; Sodium 148mg;
Carbohydrate 34g (Dietary Fiber 5g); Protein 38g; Iron 3mg; Calcium 82mg; Folate 29mcg.
Note: By pan-sautéing the fish and breading it, you’ll get a nice crispy fish without all the fat of
deep-frying. You know the fish is done when it flakes easily when you poke it with a fork.
Tip: Serve this dish with wild or brown rice and freshly steamed green beans for a complete
Vary It! Use apples, cranberries, peaches, or apricots in place of the pear and figs to suit your
taste. And if you want more pecan flavor, add some pecans to the chutney, too!
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Thai Scallops with Noodles
Prep time: 15 min, plus marinating time • Cook time: 10–12 min • Yield: 4 servings
1 lime, cut in half
Use a citrus zester or vegetable peeler to remove the
zest of half of the lime and put it in a small bowl.
Squeeze the juice from both halves of the lime into the
same bowl. Add the orange marmalade, red pepper
flakes, soy sauce, and garlic. Stir everything together.
2 tablespoons orange
⁄4 teaspoon crushed red
pepper flakes
⁄4 cup reduced-sodium soy
Place the scallops in a large resealable bag. Add the
lime and orange marmalade mixture to the bag and
toss gently to cover the scallops evenly. Lay the bag
flat in the refrigerator for 15 minutes so the scallops
can marinate.
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound scallops
1 tablespoon sesame oil
⁄2 cup chopped onion
In a wok or large sauté pan, heat the sesame oil over
medium-high heat. Add the scallops and marinade and
cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until the scallops
are sufficiently steamed. Transfer the scallops to a
bowl and cover to keep warm.
1 cup bite-sized broccoli
⁄2 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sugar snap peas
Add the onion, broccoli, and carrots to the hot pan and
8 ounces rice noodles, cooked
to package directions
⁄2 cup prepared Asian-style
peanut sauce
cook until they’re tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Add
the sugar snap peas and cook for 1 more minute.
Add the cooked rice noodles, scallops, and peanut
⁄4 cup peanuts, chopped
sauce to the skillet and stir until hot. Transfer everything to a serving dish and top with the chopped
Per serving: Calories 566 (From Fat 193); Fat 21g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 27mg; Sodium 1,633mg;
Carbohydrate 68g (Dietary Fiber 5g); Protein 27g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 84mg; Folate 71mcg.
Tip: To reduce the sodium in this dish, use less soy sauce and peanut sauce.
Vary It! Instead of scallops, use shrimp, chicken, or tofu. You can also swap the recommended
vegetables with your favorites.
Chapter 14: The Land, Sea, and Air: Main Dish Recipes
Garden Fresh Paella
Prep time: 15 min • Cook time: About 30 min • Yield: 6 servings
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over
1 tablespoon plus 1 tablespoon1
medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, and
olive oil
zucchini. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
1 onion, chopped
Add the turkey sausage and uncooked rice and cook
for 2 to 3 minutes.
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and
2 zucchini, quartered and
Stir in the vegetable broth, thyme, and saffron. Bring
the mixture to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes
uncovered, stirring occasionally.
4 ounces lean turkey sausage, 3
In a separate large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive
oil over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook until
One 14-ounce package quickcooking brown rice
3 cups vegetable broth
⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
⁄4 teaspoon dried saffron
pink, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
Add the tomatoes, peas, and cooked shrimp to the
rice and vegetable mixture and continue to stir and
cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the lemon juice.
24 large shrimp, peeled,
deveined, and tails removed
Transfer the shrimp, rice, and veggie mixture to a
serving dish and sprinkle with parsley before serving.
3 tomatoes, seeded and
⁄2 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
⁄2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Per serving: Calories 399 (From Fat 82); Fat 9g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 54mg; Sodium 427mg; Carbohydrate 65g
(Dietary Fiber 7g); Protein 16g; Iron 4mg; Calcium 85mg; Folate 60mcg.
Tip: If the dish is too sticky for you, or if you like your paella a bit soupier, add another cup of
vegetable broth.
Vary It! Saffron can be pricy, so feel free to leave it out or substitute turmeric instead.
Note: This is an excellent one-dish meal: You get your whole grains, vegetables, and protein all
in one!
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Embracing the Many White Meats
When it comes to white meat, what’s not to like? You get an inexpensive
source of high-quality protein that doesn’t cost you much in terms of fat and
calories, especially if you take the skin off of poultry. White meat generally
comes in three varieties:
Pork: Although pork is sometimes pink (think ham), it’s a meat that
most certainly deserves its few minutes of fame in a pregnancy diet.
Many cuts of pork are lean and packed with protein, iron, zinc, and
numerous B vitamins. This section features two pork-focused recipes:
my flavorful Super Easy Pulled Pork and a delectable Parmesan-HerbCrusted Pork Chop with sage and thyme.
Just be careful to always cook pork to an internal temperature of 160
Turkey: When most people think of turkey, they think of only one day
and one way to make it: the Thanksgiving roast turkey. But this particular white meat is far more versatile. You can buy it ground as either
ground turkey or ground turkey breast. (I recommend choosing ground
turkey breast over ground turkey whenever possible because it’s much
lower in fat. Just be aware that it can dry out because it’s so lean, so use
it in recipes that have vegetables or sauces or throw it in a soup, like in
the Turkey Cheeseburger Chowder I include in this section.) You can
also buy turkey in sausage form; for a tasty dish involving turkey sausage, check out the Sauerkraut and Turkey Sausage Pasta Bake later in
this section or the Garden Fresh Paella in the preceding section.
Always make sure you cook turkey to an internal temperature of 165
Chicken: People love chicken because its mild flavor makes it an
extremely versatile ingredient they can use in all kinds of recipes. You
can pair it with just about anything, which I certainly do in this section’s
six chicken recipes. White meat skinless chicken is about as lean as you
can get as far as animal proteins go. Its lean nature makes it a good partner for marinades because it really picks up the flavors.
Always cook chicken well to eliminate the risk of salmonella; well means
an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees. One good way to know
when chicken is fully cooked is when the juices run clear. But of course
the best and only way to know for sure is to take its temperature with a
meat thermometer.
Chapter 14: The Land, Sea, and Air: Main Dish Recipes
Super Easy Pulled Pork
Prep time: 5 min • Cook time: 7 hr • Yield: 8 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
Spray a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick cook1
2 pounds pork shoulder or pork
⁄2 teaspoon salt
Rub the pork with the salt, pepper, onion, and garlic.
Place the pork in the slow cooker. Pour the root beer
over the pork.
⁄2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons dried minced
Cover the slow cooker tightly and cook on low for 7
hours. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and
discard the remaining liquid.
2 cloves garlic, minced
One 12-ounce can root beer
One 12-ounce bottle prepared
barbecue sauce
ing spray.
Shred the pork with a fork. Pour the barbecue sauce
8 whole-grain hamburger buns
over the shredded pork and stir to coat the pork
evenly. Serve on whole-grain buns.
Per serving: Calories 305 (From Fat 108); Fat 12g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 66mg; Sodium 413mg;
Carbohydrate 28g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 22g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 67mg; Folate 17mcg.
Tip: For enhanced flavor, shred the pork after 6 hours, add the barbecue sauce to the pork in the
slow cooker, and continue to heat the pork for another hour.
Note: Serve with cole slaw for a complete meal!
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Parmesan-Herb-Crusted Pork Chops
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: 40–50 min • Yield: 2 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
⁄4 teaspoon salt
⁄8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried sage
⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
Two 8-ounce bone-in pork
⁄2 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a large baking
sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
In a small bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, sage, and
thyme. Rub the mixture on the outside of the pork
Place the Parmesan cheese, beaten egg, and bread3
crumbs in three separate shallow bowls.
1 egg, lightly beaten
⁄2 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Press each side of each pork chop into the Parmesan
cheese so that it sticks to the meat. Dredge each chop
in the egg, coating each side. Then dip it into the
breadcrumbs, pressing the crumbs onto the chop.
Place the pork chops on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake until the pork chops have reached the proper
temperature, about 40 to 50 minutes.
Per serving: Calories 480 (From Fat 255); Fat 28g (Saturated 8g); Cholesterol 159mg; Sodium 670mg;
Carbohydrate 12g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 42g; Iron 3mg; Calcium 209mg; Folate 27mcg.
Tip: Serve with roasted root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, or beets.
Chapter 14: The Land, Sea, and Air: Main Dish Recipes
Turkey Cheeseburger Chowder
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: About 40 min • Yield: 4 servings
In a large pot, combine the potatoes, carrot, onion,
3 potatoes, peeled and cut into1
broth, garlic, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil.
1-inch cubes
Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are
1 small carrot, grated
tender, about 15 minutes.
1 small onion, chopped
11⁄2 cups low-sodium chicken
or vegetable broth
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add
the ground turkey and cook it until it’s no longer
pink, about 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
2 cloves garlic, minced
⁄8 teaspoon pepper
Add the turkey to the potato-broth soup. Stir in 2
cups of milk and cook for another 5 minutes.
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound ground turkey breast
2 cups plus 1⁄2 cup lowfat milk
In a small bowl, combine the remaining
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 ounces Velveeta 2% Milk
Pasteurized Cheese
⁄2 cup of milk
with the flour and mix until smooth. Gradually stir
the flour-milk mixture into the soup.
Bring the soup to a boil and stir. Reduce the heat and
simmer until the soup has thickened, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the cheese and continue to heat the soup until
the cheese is melted, stirring constantly. Remove the
soup from heat and serve 11⁄2 cup per serving.
Per serving: Calories 429 (From Fat 94); Fat 11g (Saturated 5g); Cholesterol 98mg; Sodium 1,041mg;
Carbohydrate 39g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 44g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 459mg; Folate 37mcg.
Tip: To reduce the sodium in this recipe, cut the amount of cheese used in half.
Vary It! This recipe calls for ground turkey breast, but you can substitute lean ground beef if
you prefer.
Source: Tami Kohls, aunt of author
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Sauerkraut and Turkey
Sausage Pasta Bake
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: About 45 min • Yield: 6 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded
and chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
12 ounces dry whole-grain
bow-tie pasta
Four 3-ounce lean turkey
One 16-ounce can chopped
tomatoes, no salt added
1 cup sauerkraut
⁄4 cup shredded cheddar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 2-quart glass
or ceramic baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms and cook
until all the veggies are tender, about 5 minutes. Set
Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil over
high heat. Add the pasta and cook until it’s al dente,
about 12 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
In a medium skillet, cook the sausages over medium
heat for about 15 minutes, turning frequently. Slice the
sausages diagonally into bite-sized pieces.
In a large bowl, mix together the pasta, sautéed vegeta5
bles, sausage, tomatoes, and sauerkraut. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the cheese
over the top of the casserole.
Bake the casserole uncovered for 20 minutes.
Per serving: Calories 368 (From Fat 98); Fat 11g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 38mg; Sodium 569mg; Carbohydrate 52g
(Dietary Fiber 8g); Protein 20g; Iron 4mg; Calcium 84mg; Folate 51mcg.
Vary It! If you’re not a fan of sauerkraut, simply leave it out! Note, though, that you may need to
add a pinch of salt to the recipe if you take out the kraut.
Chapter 14: The Land, Sea, and Air: Main Dish Recipes
Rosemary Chicken on Asparagus Risotto
Prep time: 10 min, plus marinating time • Cook time: About 45 min • Yield: 4 servings
4 split boneless, skinless
chicken breasts
⁄2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
⁄2 pound fresh asparagus
spears, trimmed and cut into
bite-sized pieces
⁄4 cup chopped onion
⁄3 cup Arborio rice
3 cups low-sodium vegetable
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
⁄3 cup fat-free half-and-half
2 tablespoons grated
Parmesan cheese
Place the chicken breasts in a deep bowl. Pour the
vinegar over the chicken and refrigerate for 30 minutes so the chicken can marinate.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium
heat. Add the asparagus and heat until it’s tendercrisp, about 4 minutes. Remove the asparagus from
the pan and set aside.
In the hot saucepan, add the onion and cook until it’s
tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the uncooked rice
and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add 1 cup of the vegetable broth and increase the
heat to medium-high. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Add 1 more cup of broth, stirring frequently for 5 to 10 minutes. Add the third cup
of broth, stirring frequently and cooking until the
broth is absorbed, about 15 to 20 more minutes.
⁄4 teaspoon salt
⁄8 teaspoon pepper
Preheat the broiler. Remove the chicken from the vin5
egar and place it on a broiler pan. Sprinkle half of the
rosemary over the chicken. Broil for 5 to 6 minutes
on one side. Turn the chicken over and sprinkle the
other side with the remaining rosemary. Broil for
another 5 to 6 minutes.
When the rice mixture has absorbed the broth and
has a creamy consistency, remove it from the heat
and stir in the asparagus, half-and-half, cheese, salt,
and pepper. Transfer it to a serving platter and place
the chicken on top.
Per serving: Calories 388 (From Fat 78); Fat 9g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 75mg; Sodium 630mg; Carbohydrate 42g
(Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 34g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 120mg; Folate 51mcg.
Source (chicken recipe): Keri Gans, MS, RD, CDN, nutrition consultant, speaker, and author of The Small Change
Diet (Simon & Schuster)
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Curry Chicken Salad
Prep time: 15 min • Yield: 6 servings
⁄2 cup light mayonnaise
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, Greek
yogurt, and curry powder. Add salt and pepper to
taste. Set aside.
⁄2 cup plain lowfat Greek
1 tablespoon curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, combine the chicken, apple, celery,
onion, and grapes.
4 cups diced cooked chicken
Add the mayo-yogurt mixture and mix until everything
is well coated.
1 Granny Smith apple, cored
and diced
Serve a scoop of chicken salad on each lettuce leaf.
⁄2 cup diced celery
Top with the chopped walnuts.
⁄4 cup finely chopped red
1 cup red seedless grapes,
sliced in half
6 large lettuce leaves,
washed and dried
⁄2 cup toasted walnuts,
roughly chopped
Per serving: Calories 343 (From Fat 156); Fat 17g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 89mg; Sodium 246mg;
Carbohydrate 14g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 33g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 66mg; Folate 32mcg.
Tip: For the best taste, make the chicken salad ahead of time and let it chill for 4 hours before
Vary It! Pecans work just as well in this recipe if you prefer them over walnuts.
Source: Evie Lyras, friend of author
Chapter 14: The Land, Sea, and Air: Main Dish Recipes
Crispy Lime Chicken Tenders
Prep time: 10 min, plus marinating time • Cook time: 20–25 min • Yield: 4 servings
1 lime, cut in half
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound raw chicken tenders
Nonstick cooking spray
⁄2 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons dried cilantro
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
⁄2 cup plain breadcrumbs
Use a citrus zester or vegetable peeler to remove the
zest of half of the lime. Place the zest in a small bowl.
Squeeze the juice from both halves of the lime into
the same bowl.
Add the honey, olive oil, and garlic to the bowl; whisk
everything together.
Place the chicken tenders in a resealable plastic bag.
Pour the marinade over the chicken and seal the bag.
Lay the bag flat in the refrigerator and marinate for at
least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking sheet
with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine the chili powder, cilantro, and both types
of breadcrumbs and spread them out on a plate or
shallow bowl.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard
any extra marinade. Coat the tenders with the breadcrumb mixture and place them on the prepared
baking sheet.
Bake the chicken for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once.
Turn on the broiler for the last 3 minutes to crisp the
Per serving: Calories 191 (From Fat 51); Fat 6g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 63mg; Sodium 115mg; Carbohydrate 9g
(Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 24g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 22mg; Folate 9mcg.
Tip: If you have time, marinate the chicken for 2 to 4 hours. The longer you marinate, the more
flavorful your meal!
Note: Serve these tenders with sweet potato fries and another vegetable of your choice. Or if
you love salads, put the chicken tenders on top of a bed of greens and serve with your favorite
dressing for a crispy chicken salad.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Chicken Kabobs
Prep time: 20 min, plus marinating time • Cook time: About 10 min • Yield: 4 servings
2 lemons, sliced in half
⁄2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
⁄4 cup fresh parsley
1 pound boneless, skinless
chicken breast, cubed
2 cups grape tomatoes
Squeeze the juice from the lemons into a small bowl,
reserving the used halves. Add the olive oil, garlic
powder, rosemary, salt, pepper, and parsley to the
bowl. Whisk everything together.
Place the chicken in a large resealable bag. Place the
tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms in a
separate bag (use two bags if needed).
Divide the marinade evenly between the bags of
chicken and vegetables. Add one of the lemon halves to
each bag. Lay the bags flat in the refrigerator and marinate for at least 1 hour.
1 red bell pepper, seeded and
Spray the grill with nonstick cooking spray and preheat
cut into 1-inch pieces
to medium-high heat.
1 green bell pepper, seeded
and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup pearl onions, peeled
8 ounces whole button
Nonstick cooking spray
Remove the vegetables from the marinade and discard
the lemons. Pour the extra marinade in a small bowl;
set aside. Pierce the veggies onto metal skewers and
set the skewers on a baking sheet.
Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding the
extra marinade. Pierce the chicken on metal skewers
and set them on a baking sheet.
Grill the chicken until it’s well-done, about 7 to 8 minutes,
and the veggies until they’re crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Turn the skewers frequently to avoid burning and
brush the chicken and veggies with the leftover vegetable
marinade while cooking. Remove the chicken and veggies
from the skewers and place them on a serving dish.
Per serving: Calories 316 (From Fat 149); Fat 17g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 63mg; Sodium 642mg;
Carbohydrate 16g (Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 26g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 34mg; Folate 45mcg.
Note: Serve these tasty kabobs with herbed or wild rice for a complete meal.
Chapter 14: The Land, Sea, and Air: Main Dish Recipes
Peachy Chicken Barley Pilaf
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: About 20 min • Yield: 4 servings
2 cups water
⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick-cooking barley
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken
breasts, cut into bite-sized
In a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a
boil over medium-high heat. Add the barley and stir.
Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 to
12 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove
from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the chicken and cook until it’s browned, about 7
to 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
⁄4 cup lime juice
In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice and
⁄4 cup white balsamic vinegar 3
white vinegar. In a large bowl, mix together the
peaches and pomegranate seeds. Pour the lime juice
1 cup frozen sliced peaches,
mixture over the fruit and stir to coat everything
⁄3 cup pomegranate seeds
⁄3 cup chopped fresh parsley
Add the barley and chicken to the fruit and stir
gently. Sprinkle in the parsley, stir to combine, and
serve immediately.
Per serving: Calories 359 (From Fat 51); Fat 6g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 37mg; Sodium 338mg; Carbohydrate 60g
(Dietary Fiber 9g); Protein 19g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 36mg; Folate 25mcg.
Note: This is a wonderful dish for enjoying in the late fall and winter, when not a lot of produce is
in season. Pomegranates are in season at this time, and you can find frozen peaches any time of
Tip: You can find ready-to-use pomegranate seeds in the produce section of most supermarkets.
To save money, you can seed the pomegranate yourself, but note that doing so adds time to the
Tip: You can eat this leftover the next day as a cold barley salad.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Spinach, Date, and Blue
Cheese Chicken Panini
Prep time: 5 min • Cook time: About 10 min • Yield: 1 serving
2 slices crusty white
sandwich bread
1 tablespoon trans-fat-free
margarine spread
Place a medium skillet over medium heat. Spread one
side of each slice of bread with the margarine. Place
one bread slice, margarine side down, in the skillet.
Microwave the spinach for 30 seconds to wilt it.
⁄2 cup fresh, washed, and 2
Microwave the chicken until it’s steaming hot, about 30
dried spinach, stems removed
to 45 seconds.
3 ounces thinly sliced
reduced-sodium deli chicken
Add the chicken, spinach, and date to the bread slice in
the skillet.
1 fresh Medjool date, pit
removed and sliced
Spread mayonnaise on the side of the remaining piece
1 tablespoon light
of bread without margarine.
1 tablespoon crumbled
pasteurized blue cheese
Add the blue cheese to the sandwich in the skillet and top
with the second piece of bread, mayonnaise side down.
Use the bottom of another heavy skillet to press down
the sandwich. Cook until the bottom slice of bread is
browned, about 4 minutes. Flip the sandwich and press
it down with the heavy skillet. Cook until that side of
the bread is browned, about another 4 minutes.
Per serving: Calories 588 (From Fat 230); Fat 26g (Saturated 9g); Cholesterol 50mg; Sodium 882mg;
Carbohydrate 72g (Dietary Fiber 7g); Protein 22g; Iron 3mg; Calcium 110mg; Folate 97mcg.
Note: This recipe calls for deli-style chicken. To be safe, heat all deli meat until it’s steaming to
reduce the risk of listeria contamination. Doing so is simple in this recipe because you can stick
the deli meat in the microwave and transfer it immediately to the hot panini to keep it hot.
Tip: If you have a panini press you can use it in place of the skillets I use here.
Chapter 15
Plants, Please! Meatless Side
and Main Dishes
In This Chapter
Recipes in
This Chapter
▶Preparing soups that warm and fill your belly
TTomato Bulgur Soup
▶Discovering how beans and soy make delicious, protein-
TBroccoli Cheese Soup
▶Whipping up some tasty veggie dishes
TBlack Bean Chili
▶Incorporating nutritious ways to eat pasta and pizza
TRatatouille with
packed alternatives to meat
TSouped-Up Split Pea
Cannellini Beans
TQuinoa Tabbouleh with
eople eat from two main categories: plants
and animals. Along with making other healthy
lifestyle choices, eating balanced diets based on
plant foods may help prevent many of the chronic
conditions that affect Americans, including heart
disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Focusing on
plant-based foods while you’re pregnant allows you
to get whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and
beans that provide the essential nutrients and fiber
you and your baby need.
Just because plant-based diets may be better for
you doesn’t mean you need to become a vegetarian during or after your pregnancy. For our purposes, plant-based simply means that most of your
plate contains grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and
seeds. The rest of your plate’s contents can come
from animals — meats, eggs, and dairy.
Actually, pregnancy isn’t the best time to make a
major life change by becoming a vegetarian. If you
want to reduce your meat intake, make sure you
replace that meat with plant-based proteins, such
as legumes (beans), soy, nuts, and seeds.
Garbanzo Beans
TSloppy Lentil Joes
TGiant Beans with
Spinach and Feta
TTofu Vegetable Stir-Fry
TSesame Noodle Salad
TBaked Ziti with Tofu
TWheat Berry Edamame
with Dried Fruit
TSteamed Broccoli with
Mustard Sauce and
TZucchini Patties
TSpanakopita (Greek
Spinach Pie)
TSweet Potato Hash
TVegetable Lasagna
THomemade Gnocchi
with Pesto
TBroccoli, Beans, and
Feta Pasta
TRoasted Eggplant, Olive,
and Goat Cheese
Homemade Pizza
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
This chapter includes 20 tempting plant-based recipes. Each one can be a
meal all by itself, or you can pair one of these meatless recipes with your
favorite animal source of protein.
Filling Up on Soups and Chilis
Soups are an excellent way to get your vegetables! Most soups have at least
some kind of vegetable, whether they’re broth based with just a bit of carrots
and celery or vegetable based with pureed black beans or tomatoes. Unless
they’re cream-of-something, most soups are fairly low in fat, too.
Even though soups sometimes take a while to cook, they’re generally easy to
prepare. You toss a few ingredients into a pot, shut the lid, and let it simmer
while you go and relax. Soon the house fills up with the aromas of delicious,
filling soup.
To make sure you have plenty of room for all the broth and other ingredients
that go into homemade soups, I recommend using either a stockpot or a Dutch
oven, like the ones shown in Figure 15-1, whenever you prepare soups.
Figure 15-1:
A stockpot
(left) and
Dutch oven
This section gives you four different vegetarian soup options. Have a bowl all
by itself or try these ideas for creating a balanced meal:
Tomato Bulgur Soup: The bulgur and beans in this tomato-based soup
give it a hearty texture that’s quite filling. Add a side salad to get even
more veggie power from the meal.
Broccoli Cheese Soup: The rich flavor of this cheese-based soup goes
well with a light side salad and slice of whole-grain bread.
Souped-Up Split Pea Soup: Split pea soup is hearty and goes well with
some crusty bread, which you can use to scoop it up.
Black Bean Chili: The beans that make up the base of this chili provide
fiber and protein, which makes this soup meal-worthy, not just a starter.
Pair it with a simple fruit salad.
Chapter 15: Plants, Please! Meatless Side and Main Dishes
Tomato Bulgur Soup
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: About 30 min • Yield: 6 servings
⁄2 cup plus 31⁄2 cups lowsodium vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely
1 teaspoon cumin
1 cup uncooked bulgur
One 14-ounce can no-saltadded diced tomatoes
One 15-ounce can cannellini
beans, rinsed and drained
2 fresh basil leaves, chopped
4 cups fresh spinach
In a stockpot, heat
⁄2 cup of vegetable broth on high
heat until it’s boiling, about 10 minutes.
Add the garlic, onion, and cumin. Cook for 5 minutes,
or until the onions are clear.
Stir in the bulgur, remaining vegetable broth, diced
tomatoes, and cannellini beans. Bring the mixture to
a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover for 10
Add the basil and spinach and stir. Add salt and
pepper (if desired). Cover for another 5 minutes, or
until the bulgur is tender and the spinach is wilted.
Serve 2 cups per serving.
Salt and pepper to taste
Per serving: Calories 159 (From Fat 9); Fat 1g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 412mg; Carbohydrate 33g
(Dietary Fiber 9g); Protein 7g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 73mg; Folate 77mcg.
Note: If you end up with leftovers, the soup will probably be thicker the next day as the bulgur
continues to absorb liquid. Add milk or water as needed to get the soup back to the desired
Source: Allison Marco, MS, RD
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Broccoli Cheese Soup
Prep time: 15 min • Cook time: 30–35 min • Yield: 10 servings
One 10-ounce package frozen1
In a Dutch oven, combine the broccoli, potatoes, rice,
chopped broccoli
and water. Heat the broccoli mixture over medium heat
and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
2 medium white potatoes,
peeled and cubed
In a small skillet, heat the butter over medium heat.
⁄3 cup uncooked whole-grain2
Add the onions and sauté them until they’re clear,
about 5 minutes.
4 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
Add the onions, carrots, celery soup, tomatoes, and
1 cup chopped sweet onions
1 cup grated carrots
Two 10.75-ounce cans 98%
fat-free cream of celery soup
One 10-ounce can Rotel
tomatoes, undrained
cheeses to the Dutch oven. Add the Worcestershire
sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the parsley.
Continue to cook until the soup mixture is hot but not
boiling, about 5 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent the
cheese from sticking to the bottom.
Remove from heat. Serve 1 ⁄
11⁄2 cups cubed Velveeta 2%
Milk Pasteurized Cheese
2 cups per serving and add
a heaping tablespoon of sour cream to each cup, stirring right before serving.
⁄2 cup shredded Lorraine
Swiss cheese
⁄2 cup shredded sharp
cheddar cheese
⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
Salt and pepper to taste
⁄2 cup chopped parsley
⁄2 cup light sour cream
Per serving: Calories 265 (From Fat 93); Fat 10g (Saturated 6g); Cholesterol 31mg; Sodium 1,243mg;
Carbohydrate 30g (Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 15g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 401mg; Folate 34mcg.
Tip: To reduce the sodium in this dish, cut back on the amount of cheese and use no-salt-added
canned tomatoes and low-sodium soup.
Source: Ruth Hey, BSN, MEd, CPEN, and RN at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children
Chapter 15: Plants, Please! Meatless Side and Main Dishes
Souped-Up Split Pea Soup
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: About 50 min • Yield: 8 servings
⁄2 pound green split peas
⁄2 pound yellow split peas
One 48-ounce container lowsodium vegetable broth
One 12-ounce box frozen
winter squash, thawed
1 small onion, chopped
⁄2 cup chopped carrots
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Rinse the split peas in a colander and sort through
them to pick out any rocks or debris.
Pour the vegetable broth into a stockpot. Add the
peas and winter squash and heat the mixture over
high heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the chopped onion, carrots, garlic, and salt and
pepper to taste to the pot.
Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer
for 45 minutes, or until the peas are soft, stirring frequently. Serve 11⁄2 cups per serving.
Per serving: Calories 253 (From Fat 6); Fat 1g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 341mg; Carbohydrate 48g
(Dietary Fiber 6g); Protein 16g; Iron 3mg; Calcium 43mg; Folate 103mcg.
Tip: Some people like to puree split pea soup for a creamier texture. If you’re one of them, simply
use an immersion blender or pour the soup into a regular blender in small batches and blend
until smooth. If you’re using a regular blender, simply return the soup to the pot to get it back to
the desired serving temperature.
Vary It! You can use chicken broth if you aren’t vegetarian and want a bit of chicken flavor.
Source: Bonnie Taub-Dix, author of Read It Before You Eat It (Plume)
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Black Bean Chili
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: 40–50 min • Yield: 6 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium sweet onion,
In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the onion, bell pepper, cumin, and garlic and sauté
until the veggies are tender, about 5 minutes.
1 red bell pepper, seeded and
Add the tomatoes, oregano, chili powder, and salt.
Cook for 10 minutes.
1 tablespoon ground cumin
4 cloves garlic, chopped
Add the black beans and vegetable broth and cook for
One 15-ounce can no-saltadded diced tomatoes,
Add the cilantro and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the
1 teaspoon dried oregano
20 to 30 minutes.
soup from heat and serve, sprinkling lime juice on top
(if desired). Serve 11⁄2 cups per serving.
1 tablespoon chili powder
⁄2 teaspoon salt
Two 14-ounce cans black
beans, undrained
One 15-ounce can reducedsodium vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh
2 tablespoons lime juice
Per serving: Calories 178 (From Fat 36); Fat 4g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 617mg; Carbohydrate 27g
(Dietary Fiber 10g); Protein 9g; Iron 4mg; Calcium 82mg; Folate 150mcg.
Tip: Add a dollop of light sour cream to your bowl if you like your chili a bit creamier.
Source: Stacey Sullivan, friend of author and mother of three
Chapter 15: Plants, Please! Meatless Side and Main Dishes
Creative and Tasty Bean- and Soy-Based
Alternatives to Meat
Whether you call them legumes or beans, this group of vegetables offers lots
of benefits. Nutritionally, these starchy, plant-based proteins are superstars
because they’re high in fiber (up to 13 grams per cup!), have the amino acids
(building blocks of protein) you need, are loaded in potassium, magnesium,
iron, and more, and are super high in antioxidants. In fact, some studies show
that red beans have more antioxidants in them than either spinach or blueberries. (If you’re worried about the side effects of beans, the magical fruit,
head to Chapter 6 for tips on how to reduce gas.)
Perhaps you’ve avoided beans in the past because of the whole soaking overnight thing. Never fear! Canned beans are just as healthy as the dried kind,
and you don’t have to soak them or cook them for hours. Simply break out
your can opener and dinner is minutes — not hours — away. To reduce the
sodium in canned beans by about one-third, drain and rinse the beans before
adding them to your favorite recipe.
One particular type of bean — the soybean — is one of very few plant-based
foods known as a complete protein, meaning that it has all the essential amino
acids your body needs. No wonder soybeans are a natural meat replacement!
Soy comes in many forms: tofu, edamame (green soybean), tempeh, soy nuts,
soy milk, and the numerous meat alternatives, like veggie burgers, that fill
today’s grocery aisles.
This section features several bean-based recipes, including four different
soy-based recipes. Two of these soy-based recipes use tofu and two use
Tofu: Tofu has a naturally bland flavor, which is why it picks up flavors
so easily. Extra-firm tofu is good for stir-frying, whereas silken tofu
is perfect in smoothies or desserts in place of heavy cream or cream
cheese. You can find plain tofu in your grocery store’s produce aisle. To
track down various flavors of marinated tofu ready to break out of the
package and add to your favorite dishes, head to a health-food store.
Edamame: Most people know edamame just as an appetizer found in the
pod (don’t eat the pod; it isn’t edible!) at their favorite sushi place, but
shelled edamame can make a welcome addition to salads, soups, and
casseroles. You find it in the frozen food aisle or vacuum packed in the
produce section.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Ratatouille with Cannellini Beans
Prep time: 20 min, plus standing time • Cook time: 30 min • Yield: 8 servings
1 medium eggplant, cut into
⁄2 teaspoon salt
Place the eggplant in a colander. Sprinkle it with salt
and let it sit for 15 minutes.
1 tablespoon olive oil
In a large cast-iron skillet or a stockpot, heat the olive
1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Add the eggplant to the skillet and cook for another 5
1 red bell pepper, seeded and
1 green bell pepper, seeded
and chopped
⁄2 cup chopped sun-dried
tomatoes (not packed in oil)
1 zucchini, cut into chunks
oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and bell
peppers and cook for 5 minutes.
minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the eggplant
from sticking to the bottom.
Add the sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms,
marinara sauce, beans, fennel, thyme, and basil.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat
to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve 2 cups per serving.
1 cup sliced raw mushrooms
One 24-ounce jar prepared
marinara sauce
One 15-ounce can cannellini
beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon dried fennel
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Per serving: Calories 131 (From Fat 36); Fat 4g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 546mg; Carbohydrate 20g
(Dietary Fiber 5g); Protein 5g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 61mg; Folate 53mcg.
Tip: Serve this ratatouille with a nice crusty piece of whole-grain bread or pour it over a bed of
whole-grain pasta or brown rice for a well-balanced meal.
Vary It! I sometimes add fresh spinach right before the ratatouille is done simmering. Feel free
to sprinkle it with shredded pasteurized Parmesan or Asiago cheese for a little extra flavor.
Chapter 15: Plants, Please! Meatless Side and Main Dishes
Quinoa Tabbouleh with Garbanzo Beans
Prep time: 15 min, plus standing time • Cook time: About 15 min • Yield: 4 servings
2 cups water
1 cup red quinoa, dry
⁄4 teaspoon salt
⁄4 cup olive oil
In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Stir
in the quinoa and salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover
the pan, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Set aside
and allow the quinoa to cool to room temperature.
Drain any extra water remaining.
⁄4 cup lemon juice
⁄4 teaspoon pepper
11⁄2 cups quartered cherry or
grape tomatoes
In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice,
pepper, tomatoes, cucumber, olives, green onions,
garbanzo beans, parsley, and mint. Stir in the cooled
quinoa and serve 11⁄2 cups at room temperature.
1 cucumber, seeded and diced
⁄2 cup sliced black olives
3 green onions, chopped
One 15-ounce can garbanzo
beans, rinsed and drained
⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
⁄4 cup chopped fresh mint
Per serving: Calories 401 (From Fat 171); Fat 19g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 445mg; Carbohydrate 50g
(Dietary Fiber 9g); Protein 12g; Iron 9mg; Calcium 139mg; Folate 120mcg.
Vary It! Use white, black, or tri-color quinoa. The only real difference is the color of your meal.
Add chopped chicken or tofu to boost the protein content.
Figure 15-2:
quinoa (left)
and cooked
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Sloppy Lentil Joes
Prep time: 20 min • Cook time: About 45 min • Yield: 6 servings
11⁄2 cups lentils
Rinse the lentils and pick through them to remove any
stones or debris.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded
and chopped
1 carrot, shredded
Add the chili powder, tomatoes, water, vinegar, lentils,
1 stalk celery, thinly chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
One 15-ounce can crushed
tomatoes, undrained
Sauté the onion, bell pepper, carrot, and celery for
about 5 minutes, or until the veggies are tender.
brown mustard, Bragg Liquid Aminos or
Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and bay leaf
and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low
and simmer for 40 minutes, or until the lentils are
tender. Remove the bay leaf. Serve 1 cup per serving.
21⁄2 cups water
⁄4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown mustard
1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid
Aminos or Worcestershire
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
Per serving: Calories 249 (From Fat 30); Fat 2g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 477mg; Carbohydrate 42g
(Dietary Fiber 13g); Protein 15g; Iron 6mg; Calcium 51mg; Folate 262mcg.
Tip: Serve the lentil mixture over crusty whole-grain bread in an open-face style for a whole new
take on the sloppy Joe. You can also serve it over brown rice.
Note: If you have time, you can make this recipe in a slow cooker. After you sauté the vegeta-
bles, just add everything to the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours, or until the lentils
are tender.
Chapter 15: Plants, Please! Meatless Side and Main Dishes
Giant Beans with Spinach and Feta
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: 35 min • Yield: 6 servings
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
1 tablespoon plus 1 tablespoon1
olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups fresh spinach, stems
Two 15-ounce cans giant
butter beans, drained and
1 teaspoon dried dill
⁄4 teaspoon pepper
⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup canned diced tomatoes,
In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over
medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and spinach and
cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together the butter beans, dill,
pepper, parsley, tomatoes, and lemon juice. Stir in
the cooked onions, garlic, and spinach, and stir
gently with a spoon. Add the feta cheese and stir until
Transfer the mixture to a 2-quart baking dish. Top
with the breadcrumbs and the remaining olive oil.
Bake for 30 minutes and then serve 1 cup per serving.
⁄4 cup lemon juice
1 cup crumbled, pasteurized
feta cheese
⁄4 cup plain breadcrumbs
Per serving: Calories 203 (From Fat 92); Fat 10g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 22mg; Sodium 589mg; Carbohydrate 24g
(Dietary Fiber 6g); Protein 10g; Iron 3mg; Calcium 201mg; Folate 117mcg.
Note: If you can’t find canned giant butter beans, use canned baby butter beans. Or try using the
dry variety of giant butter beans. Simply cook the dry beans according to the package directions
and continue with the rest of this recipe.
Tip: Serve this as a main dish with brown rice or pasta or on the side of chicken or fish.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Tofu Vegetable Stir-Fry
Prep time: 20 min • Cook time: About 15 min • Yield: 4 servings
One 14-ounce package extra-1
Sandwich the tofu on a plate between paper towels and
firm tofu, drained
press down slightly. Discard the top towel. Take
another paper towel and place it on top of the tofu and
1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon
put a plate on top of the paper towel. Let it sit for 15
sesame oil
minutes. Remove the towels from the tofu and cut the
tofu into bite-sized pieces.
1 clove garlic, minced
⁄2 teaspoon minced fresh
In a small saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and
⁄2 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 dashes Tabasco sauce
the garlic and ginger over medium heat. Add the broth,
soy sauce, brown sugar, and Tabasco sauce (if
desired). Heat just to a boil.
In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the vinegar.
Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauce you made
in Step 2. Heat at a full boil until the sauce thickens,
about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
2 teaspoons cornstarch
In a wok or large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of sesame
2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
oil over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli, cauli2 cups chopped broccoli
flower, and carrots. Stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add the bok
choy and water chestnuts and stir-fry for 2 more minutes. Add the sugar snap peas and tofu and cook for an
1 cup chopped cauliflower
additional 2 to 3 minutes.
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced bok choy
(Chinese cabbage)
⁄2 cup canned sliced water
chestnuts, drained
Add the sauce you made in Steps 2 and 3 to the tofu5
veggie mixture and stir to coat everything evenly. Serve
2 cups of the stir-fry over 3⁄4 cup of brown rice.
11⁄2 cups sugar snap peas
3 cups prepared brown rice
Per serving: Calories 410 (From Fat 112); Fat 12g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 431mg; Carbohydrate 57g
(Dietary Fiber 8g); Protein 18g; Iron 4mg; Calcium 200mg; Folate 100mcg.
Vary It! Use whatever vegetables you like in this stir-fry. Other options include asparagus,
onions, bell peppers, and shiitake or button mushrooms. You can also add peanuts or cashews
for added flavor.
Chapter 15: Plants, Please! Meatless Side and Main Dishes
Sesame Noodle Salad
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: About 10 min • Yield: 4 servings
Cook the linguini according to the package directions
6 ounces whole-grain linguini 1
and drain.
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 cups thinly shredded red
2 cups shredded carrots
In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, sesame
oil, soy sauce, honey, and ginger to create the
In a large serving bowl, toss together the drained
pasta, cabbage, carrots, edamame, green onions, and
sesame seeds. Add the dressing and toss to coat
everything evenly.
Serve at room temperature (2 cups per serving).
2 cups frozen shelled
edamame, thawed
⁄4 cup chopped green onions
4 tablespoons sesame seeds
Per serving: Calories 419 (From Fat 142); Fat 16g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 215mg; Carbohydrate 55g
(Dietary Fiber 12g); Protein 18g; Iron 4mg; Calcium 127mg; Folate 222mcg.
Source: Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, and author of The Flexitarian Diet (McGraw-Hill)
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Baked Ziti with Tofu
Prep time: 20 min • Cook time: About 1 hr • Yield: 10 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9-x-13-inch
One 14-ounce package extrafirm tofu, drained
glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Sandwich the tofu on a plate between paper towels and
1 pound whole-grain ziti pasta
press down slightly. Discard the top towel. Take
another paper towel and place it on top of the tofu and
1 tablespoon olive oil
put a plate on top of the paper towel. Let it sit for 15
1 small onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and
Cook the ziti according to the package directions. Drain
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
⁄2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
and set aside.
In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium
heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté until
the veggies are soft, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside.
1 teaspoon dried basil
In a large bowl, crumble the tofu with your hands until
12 ounces part-skim shredded
the texture resembles that of cottage cheese. Add the
mozzarella cheese, divided
nutmeg, parsley, oregano, and basil to the tofu and mix
Two 24-ounce jars marinara
gently. Stir in half of the mozzarella cheese.
⁄4 cup grated Parmesan
Add the cooked pasta and vegetable mixture to the
cheese and tofu mixture; stir well. Add the marinara
sauce and stir until well combined.
Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish.
Sprinkle the top of the pasta with the Parmesan cheese
and the remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake uncovered for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the
cheese is melted and lightly browned. Serve 2 cups of
pasta per serving.
Per serving: Calories 389 (From Fat 121); Fat 13g (Saturated 5g); Cholesterol 21mg; Sodium 766mg;
Carbohydrate 49g (Dietary Fiber 7g); Protein 2g; Iron 4mg; Calcium 349mg; Folate 62mcg.
Chapter 15: Plants, Please! Meatless Side and Main Dishes
Wheat Berry Edamame with Dried Fruit
Prep time: 15 min, plus standing time • Cook time: 60 min • Yield: 6 servings
3 cups water
In a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a
boil over medium-high heat. Add the wheat berries.
Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 60
minutes, or until the wheat berries are soft. Drain the
excess water and allow the wheat berries to cool to
room temperature.
⁄2 teaspoon salt
11⁄2 cups wheat berries,
1 cup cooked and shelled
1 cup quartered dried apricots
In a medium bowl, combine the edamame, apricots,
and dates.
1 cup pitted and diced Medjool
In a small bowl, whisk together the pomegranate
juice, olive oil, and vinegar.
⁄2 cup 100% pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
11⁄2 tablespoons white
balsamic vinegar
Combine the wheat berries with the edamame mix4
1 cup crumbled, pasteurized
feta cheese
ture. Gently fold in the feta cheese and toasted
pecans. Drizzle the mixture with the pomegranate
dressing and toss to coat everything evenly. Serve 11⁄2
cups per serving at room temperature.
⁄4 cup chopped, toasted
Per serving: Calories 563 (From Fat 205); Fat 23g (Saturated 5g); Cholesterol 22mg; Sodium 488mg;
Carbohydrate 83g (Dietary Fiber 13g); Protein 14g; Iron 5mg; Calcium 173mg; Folate 88mcg.
Note: Wheat berries can also be sold as whole wheat kernels. Some packages tell you to soak
them overnight in water. You don’t have to do so as long as you cook them well, but you certainly
can soak them if you want to. Because wheat berries take so long to cook, make up a larger
batch and use them in another recipe later in the week. They keep plain in your fridge for several
Note: Dates are an often-forgotten fruit! They’re good plain, but they also go well in salads,
pasta dishes, and casseroles.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Embracing Vegetables
If you’re like most people, you’re not getting the recommended amounts of
vegetables (or fruits) each day. Maybe one of the reasons is because produce
goes bad in your crisper drawer before you get a chance to eat it. Maybe you
think frozen or canned vegetables aren’t as healthy as getting them fresh.
Think again! Studies have found that frozen and canned vegetables are just
as nutritious as — and sometimes more nutritious than — their fresh
Produce that’s picked to be canned or frozen is picked at its peak of ripeness
and nutritional value. The longer a food stays on the vine or tree or in the soil,
the more nutrients it absorbs. I’m not sure where the nutrients go, but studies
have found that fresh produce can lose up to 75 percent of its vitamin C when
stored longer than seven days, even if it’s refrigerated after harvesting.
Of course, you should still make fresh veggies part of your diet. To get the
most out of your fresh produce in terms of nutrients and taste, purchase it as
close after harvest as possible and eat it sooner rather than later. Farmers’
markets have become popular because they offer fresh, ripe produce that
you can take home and use that day. To lock in nutrients, steam or microwave your produce instead of boiling it.
The bottom line is that all produce is a winner, particularly during pregnancy, thanks to the abundance of folate, fiber, magnesium, and vitamins C
and A found in vegetables. To help you incorporate plenty of veggies in your
diet, I include four vegetable-focused recipes in this section. You can enjoy
each one as a main course or as a side dish. The decision is yours.
Locking in the good stuff: Freezing and canning
Although fresh produce is always a good
choice, don’t overlook frozen and canned varieties of your favorite fruits and veggies. The
first step in the freezing process is blanching
the produce (exposing it briefly to hot water or
steam) to kill bacteria and stop the enzymes
that cause it to go bad. The blanching process
locks in the nutrients, and the frozen state acts
as the preservative. While frozen, bacteria are
dormant and can’t cause spoiling.
Vegetables that wind up in a can are sealed in
so there’s no spoilage. Sodium is often added
to canned vegetables, but the amount is less
than you may think and usually not more than
what people typically add when cooking with
fresh produce. Look for low-sodium varieties of canned vegetables if you’re concerned
about sodium and drain and rinse the veggies
because you can reduce about 40 percent of
the sodium by doing so.
Chapter 15: Plants, Please! Meatless Side and Main Dishes
Steamed Broccoli with Mustard
Sauce and Cashews
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: About 7 min • Yield: 4 servings
1 head broccoli, cut into
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
21⁄2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
Salt and pepper to taste
⁄2 cup cashews, chopped
Steam the broccoli using a steamer basket in a cov1
ered saucepan over boiling water for about 6 minutes. Drain and set aside in a medium serving bowl.
In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium
heat. Add the green onions and garlic and sauté for 1
In a small bowl, whisk together the water, mustard,
white vinegar, honey, and salt and pepper to taste.
Add the sautéed onions and garlic to the wet
Drizzle the sauce over the broccoli and stir to coat.
Top with the cashews.
Per serving: Calories 178 (From Fat 105); Fat 12g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 158mg; Carbohydrate 17g
(Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 5g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 41mg; Folate 31mcg.
Vary It! Use cauliflower rather than broccoli or do a mixture of both! Instead of cashews, try
chopped peanuts or pecans.
Tip: If you don’t have fresh broccoli available, use frozen and microwave it for 3 minutes. Then
follow Steps 2 through 4 to prepare the sauce and the nuts.
Tip: You can also use the sauce in this recipe as a marinade or salad dressing. Or you can use it
to add a bit of flavor to any plain steamed vegetable.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Zucchini Patties
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: 16–20 min • Yield: 4 servings
1 medium zucchini, unpeeled1
Use a hand-held grater to shred the zucchini into a
medium bowl. Mix in the onion, bell pepper, and sun1
⁄4 cup diced sweet onion
dried tomatoes.
⁄4 cup diced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes (not packed
in oil)
3 tablespoons whole-wheat
⁄4 teaspoon garlic powder
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, garlic powder,
salt, seasoning mix, and thyme. Add the dry seasoning
mix to the vegetables. Mix in the beaten eggs and
Heat the oil on a nonstick griddle over medium heat.
⁄4 teaspoon salt
⁄4 teaspoon salt-free
seasoning mix of your choice
1 teaspoon minced fresh
Drop about 1⁄4 cup of the mixture on the griddle for each
patty and flatten gently with a spatula so it can cook
thoroughly. Cook the patties for about 4 to 5 minutes
on each side. The patties are done when the centers
are cooked through.
Repeat Step 3 for the rest of the mixture. Serve two pat4
2 eggs, lightly beaten
ties per serving.
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 tablespoon canola oil
Per serving: Calories 222 (From Fat 141); Fat 16g (Saturated 7g); Cholesterol 136mg; Sodium 356mg;
Carbohydrate 9g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 12g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 239mg; Folate 33mcg.
Note: Some people call these patties zucchini pancakes. Anything that resembles a pancake
causes my father to put syrup on it, which drives my mom crazy. But these are savory pancakes,
not sweet ones. No syrup necessary! (You’re welcome to put a pat of butter on each patty or dip
bite-sized pieces into a dill yogurt dip.)
Source: Jean Timpel, mother of author
Chapter 15: Plants, Please! Meatless Side and Main Dishes
Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)
Prep time: 30 min • Cook time: About 1 hr • Yield: 6 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tablespoon plus 1⁄4 cup
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
Two 10-ounce packages fresh
spinach, stems removed and
⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 eggs, lightly beaten
⁄2 cup ricotta cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-x-9-inch
square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over
medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté for
3 minutes. Add the spinach and parsley and sauté
until the spinach cooks down, about 1 minute.
Remove from heat, drain any excess liquid, and set
aside to allow the mixture to cool.
In a large bowl, mix together the beaten eggs, ricotta
cheese, and feta cheese. Add the dill, nutmeg, and
oregano. Stir the egg and cheese mixture into the
spinach mixture.
11⁄2 cups crumbled, pasteurized
feta cheese
Lay five sheets of phyllo dough in the baking pan so
that they cover the entire bottom of the pan. Brush
⁄3 cup chopped fresh dill
the top of each sheet lightly with olive oil.
⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon dried oregano
10 sheets frozen phyllo dough,
completely thawed
Fill the phyllo-lined pan with the spinach mixture and
fold any overhanging dough over the spinach filling.
Brush the top of the dough and mixture with olive oil
and layer the remaining five sheets of phyllo dough
on top of the filling, making sure to brush each sheet
with oil.
Tuck any overhanging dough into the pan to seal the
pie. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the top turns
golden brown.
Per serving: Calories 385 (From Fat 219); Fat 24g (Saturated 9g); Cholesterol 115mg; Sodium 793mg;
Carbohydrate 30g (Dietary Fiber 6g); Protein 14g; Iron 5mg; Calcium 318mg; Folate 164mcg.
Tip: To save on time, try using frozen spinach rather than fresh. Just thaw it in the microwave
and squeeze out the excess water before using it. You can also use 2 tablespoons of dried dill if
you don’t have fresh.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Sweet Potato Hash
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: 25 min • Yield: 4 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
2 large sweet potatoes, diced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 Granny Smith apple, diced
Add the sweet potatoes, cinnamon, nutmeg, and
cloves. Cook for 10 minutes and then add the apple
pieces. Cook until the potatoes are tender when poked
with a fork, about 10 minutes.
Add the raisins and cook until the potatoes and apples
have begun to crisp around the edges, about 5 minutes.
Add the chives. Serve immediately.
⁄4 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons coarsely
chopped chives
Per serving: Calories 179 (From Fat 34); Fat 4g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 12mg; Carbohydrate 36g
(Dietary Fiber 5g); Protein 2g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 42mg; Folate 24mcg.
Note: This sweet potato hash makes a great side dish for pork or chicken entrees.
Relying on prewashed greens for convenience
The modern focus on convenience makes preparing fresh salads as easy as making any other
meal (maybe even easier!). The prewashed
bags of greens available at most grocery stores
require nothing more than tearing open the bag,
giving the greens a quick rinse, and pouring
them into a salad bowl.
Remember: Even though the greens are prewashed, give them another rinse to be extra
cautious about the pesky bacteria that can
contaminate fresh greens; find out more about
potentially harmful bacteria in Chapter 4.
If you also purchase precut fruits and veggies,
crumbled or shredded cheese, and premade
dressing, you can literally have a salad ready in
3 minutes or less.
Chapter 15: Plants, Please! Meatless Side and Main Dishes
Serving Up Pasta and Pizza
Who doesn’t love to eat pasta and pizza in one form or another? Although the
Italians are known for both, many cultures have adopted their own versions
of noodles and the famous pizza pie.
Pizza often gets a bad rap, but I think it’s actually quite the nutritional gem.
The crust provides carbs and important B vitamins (like folate, which is crucial during pregnancy), the pizza sauce provides lycopene among other nutrients, and the cheese provides calcium, protein, and vitamin D.
To make your pizza a bit healthier, follow these guidelines:
Choose whole-grain crust when available.
Skip the greasy toppings like pepperoni and sausage. Choose Canadian
bacon or white-meat chicken if you want meat.
Load up on veggies and get creative with super-healthy veggies like spinach, eggplant, zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, and more!
Order your pizza with half the normal amount of cheese. Most pizza
places are happy to honor your request.
Make your own pizza instead of ordering it from a restaurant. Making
your own pizza allows you to control what you put on it.
I share a yummy pizza recipe, as well as a few pasta dishes, in this section.
Tomatoes: The savory fruit
Technically, tomatoes are a fruit, but many
people think of them as a vegetable because
they aren’t as sweet as most fruits and you eat
them in savory foods. Whatever you decide to
call them, make sure you call them to dinner
or lunch or even breakfast! Why? Because
tomatoes contain a phytonutrient called lycopene, which has been shown to help prevent
heart disease and certain cancers, specifically
breast, pancreatic, and colon.
Ketchup is one way to get in your daily dose
of tomato. In fact, the U.S. Department of
Agriculture actually considers this condiment
a vegetable. Research shows that your body
absorbs lycopene better when it’s heated and
combined with a bit of fat. So eat your ketchup
with a fat-containing food (like a lean burger) or
have marinara sauce with a bit of oil in it. Now
I’m not saying french fries dipped in ketchup
are the most nutritious food on the planet, but
that ketchup may not be so bad after all!
If ketchup isn’t your thing, look for other ways
to get your tomatoes: sun-dried tomatoes,
tomato juice, tomato sauce, or just plain sliced
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Vegetable Lasagna
Prep time: 25 min, plus standing time • Cook time: About 1 hr • Yield: 8 servings
One 10-ounce box frozen
chopped spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Defrost the spinach in
the microwave and squeeze out the excess water.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and
Sauté the onion, garlic, bell pepper, zucchini, and
mushrooms until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Set
In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, cot3
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
8 ounces button mushrooms,
One 15-ounce container
lowfat ricotta cheese
tage cheese, egg, and Italian seasoning. Mix in the spinach and half of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
Spread a thin layer of pasta sauce in the bottom of a
One 16-ounce container lowfat
pasteurized cottage cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon salt-free Italian
herb seasoning
9-x-13-inch glass baking dish. Place one layer of lasagna
noodles (about 5 noodles) on top of the sauce. Spread
⁄3 of the spinach-cheese mixture on top of the noodles.
Sprinkle 1⁄3 of the pepper and zucchini mixture on top of
the cheese. Spread 1 cup of pasta sauce over the vegetables. Repeat these layers twice more. Add a final
layer of noodles and top with the remaining sauce.
8 ounces part-skim mozzarella
Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
cheese, shredded and divided
Uncover and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese
and mozzarella cheese on top. Bake for 10 to 15 more
⁄2 cup grated Parmesan
minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Let stand for 10
cheese, divided
minutes before cutting and serving.
Two 26-ounce jars marinara
8 ounces lasagna noodles,
cooked and drained
Per serving: Calories 445 (From Fat 146); Fat 16g (Saturated 7g); Cholesterol 66mg; Sodium 1,379mg;
Carbohydrate 46g (Dietary Fiber 6g); Protein 31g; Iron 4mg; Calcium 482mg; Folate 142mcg.
Note: This recipe uses part cottage cheese rather than all ricotta cheese, which allows you to
use less mozzarella cheese. The result is a reduced amount of fat and calories and an increased
amount of protein. (Ricotta cheese doesn’t require the word pasteurized on the label because
the heat treatment used during curd formation meets the heat requirements for pasteurization
and makes it safe to eat. You’ll see the word pasteurized on cottage cheese packages, though.)
Chapter 15: Plants, Please! Meatless Side and Main Dishes
Homemade Gnocchi with Pesto
Prep time: 30 min • Cook time: About 20 min • Yield: 6 servings
2 large white baking potatoes
3 cloves garlic
⁄4 cup pine nuts
⁄4 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups fresh basil leaves
⁄2 teaspoon plus 1⁄2 teaspoon
⁄4 teaspoon pepper
⁄3 cup plus 1 tablespoon
olive oil
⁄4 cup shredded Parmesan
5 cups water
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour
Poke several holes in the potatoes with a fork.
Microwave them on high for 6 minutes. Wear an oven
mitt and turn the potatoes over. Microwave them for
another 5 to 6 minutes, or until they’re tender when
squeezed. Allow the potatoes to cool enough to hold
them without burning your hands. Peel the potatoes.
In a food processor, combine the garlic, pine nuts, and
walnuts. Blend until they have a pastelike consistency.
Add the basil, 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt, pepper, 1⁄3 cup of olive
oil, and Parmesan cheese and blend just until combined.
In a medium pot, bring the water to a boil over high
heat. Add the remaining salt to the water.
Use a hand mixer or potato masher to mash the
peeled potatoes until there are no lumps and the texture is light and fluffy. Stir in the egg yolks. Add 11⁄2
cups of the flour and stir until it forms dough.
⁄4 cup pasteurized Gorgonzola 5
Transfer the dough to a floured surface. Add enough
crumbles, for garnish
of the remaining flour so that it isn’t sticky. Cut the
dough into four sections. Gently roll each section into
a long rope. Cut the rope into bite-sized pieces.
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over
medium heat.
Add the gnocchi to the boiling water, putting only
half in at a time. When the gnocchi float to the top
(after about 3 to 5 minutes), take them out and put
them in the hot skillet. As the gnocchi brown, remove
them from the skillet and place them in a large serving bowl. Pour the pesto over the gnocchi and toss to
coat. Sprinkle with the crumbled Gorgonzola.
Per serving: Calories 457 (From Fat 225); Fat 25g (Saturated 5g); Cholesterol 78mg; Sodium 326mg;
Carbohydrate 48g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 11g; Iron 4mg; Calcium 119mg; Folate 113mcg.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Broccoli, Beans, and Feta Pasta
Prep time: 5 min • Cook time: About 20 min • Yield: 4 servings
6 cups water
6 ounces whole-grain
cavatappi pasta
In a large saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high
heat. Add the cavatappi pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until it’s al dente (firm but not hard). Drain and
set aside.
2 cups broccoli florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup canned cannellini
beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon dried Italian
⁄4 cup crumbled, pasteurized
feta cheese
In a large pot, steam the broccoli in a steamer basket
over 1 cup of boiling water over medium-high heat for 4
to 5 minutes, or until tender-crisp. Set the broccoli
aside and reserve 2 tablespoons of the water the broccoli was cooked in.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the steamed
broccoli, the 2 tablespoons of reserved water, the
beans, and the Italian seasoning. Stir for about 3
Reduce the heat to low and add the cooked pasta and
feta cheese. Stir for about 2 minutes. Serve
Per serving: Calories 270 (From Fat 58); Fat 6g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 8mg; Sodium 225mg; Carbohydrate 45g
(Dietary Fiber 8g); Protein 12g; Iron 3mg; Calcium 128mg; Folate 117mcg.
Vary It! Add roasted or sun-dried tomatoes or mix in a marinara sauce if you want that tradi-
tional tomato taste in your pasta dish. You can also use penne or any other pasta that you find.
Source: Keri Gans, MS, RD, CDN, nutrition consultant, speaker, and author of The Small Change Diet (Simon &
Chapter 15: Plants, Please! Meatless Side and Main Dishes
Roasted Eggplant, Olive, and Goat
Cheese Homemade Pizza
Prep time: 30 min, plus standing time • Cook time: 30–35 min • Yield: 6 servings
1 package prepared pizza
⁄2 unpeeled eggplant, sliced
Dash of salt
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Let the pizza dough
stand at room temperature. Place the eggplant in a
colander and sprinkle it with salt. Let it sit for 15
Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking
spray. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with
the olive oil and place them on the baking sheet. Bake
for 12 to 15 minutes, turning once. Let the eggplant
cool but keep the oven on.
⁄2 cup pizza sauce
⁄2 cup fresh spinach, stems
removed and torn into pieces
2 tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes (not packed
in oil)
2 tablespoons sliced black
2 tablespoons sliced green
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 cup shredded part-skim
mozzarella cheese
Spray a cookie sheet or pizza pan with nonstick cook3
ing spray. Dust the counter with the flour and use a
floured rolling pin to roll out the pizza dough to the
desired thickness (about 1⁄4 inch if you like thin crust).
Place the dough on the prepared cookie sheet or
pizza pan. Spread with pizza sauce.
Dice the cooled eggplant. Top the pizza with the egg4
plant, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, black and green
olives, and pine nuts. Sprinkle with the mozzarella
cheese and goat cheese.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the cheese is
melted. Let stand for a few minutes before cutting.
⁄2 cup crumbled, pasteurized
goat cheese
Per serving: Calories 334 (From Fat 85); Fat 9g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 15mg; Sodium 595mg; Carbohydrate 43g
(Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 15g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 154mg; Folate 55mcg.
Note: For a smoky eggplant taste, place the eggplant slices on a medium-hot grill and cook for 4
minutes on each side.
Tip: If you can find it, opt for whole-wheat pizza dough to get more fiber and added nutrients.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Chapter 16
How Sweet It Is: Dessert Recipes
In This Chapter
▶Creating smooth and creamy recipes that are packed with
good nutrition
▶Enjoying chocolate without the guilt
▶Sweetening your dessert plate with the refreshing taste
of fruit
Recipes in
This Chapter
TMixed Berry Frozen
TKiwi Custard Pie
TBanana Mini Trifle
TMango Coconut Rice
TFudgy Peppermint Black
Bean Brownies
he best advice I can give you when it comes
to eating dessert (a favorite hobby of mine,
I might add) is to be fully present in what you’re
doing at that exact moment. Dessert is too good
and too high in calories to eat in front of the TV or
while you’re doing or thinking of something else.
Sit down with your dessert of choice and enjoy
every bite. Take small bites, close your eyes, and
savor the flavor. If you do this, you’ll be surprised
by how little dessert you really need to truly satisfy your sweet tooth.
TDark Chocolate Cherry
Pistachio Bark
TChocolate Lover’s
Sippable Sundae
TPeanut Butter Chocolate
Chip Pie
TChocolate Butterscotch
Chip Bundt Cake
TFruit Cookie Pizza
TPineapple Spice Loaf
with Cream Cheese
TLemon Raspberry
TApple Cinnamon Crêpes
TWhite Chocolate Berry
Oatmeal Cookies
This chapter features three main types of desserts:
smooth and creamy treats, chocolate wonders,
and fruity favorites. Most of these recipes are
good-for-you dessert options that have a significant amount of nutritional value. However, I just
want to put the disclaimer out there that not every
recipe in this chapter is a nutritional powerhouse. After all, sometimes you
just need a little bit of sweet pleasure. My hope is that these desserts will
nourish as well as satisfy your sweet cravings during your pregnancy. (No
matter what your cravings are telling you, I guarantee you can find something
in this chapter to satisfy ’em.)
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Whipping Up Smooth and Creamy Treats
Did you know that you crave textures as well as tastes? Sometimes you know
you want something sweet, but after going through a cookie and a few bites
of cake, you still aren’t satisfied and find yourself searching for more. That
may be because even though the cookie and cake were sweet, they didn’t satisfy the creamy texture you were craving. Ice cream, pudding, mousse, and
custard provide you with the creamy goodness that hits the spot.
All too often, creamy means exactly that: cream! Most creamy concoctions
call for heavy whipping cream, which is extremely high not only in calories
but also in artery-clogging saturated fat. Definitely not the best thing for
you and your baby. Instead of using heavy cream, the recipes in this section
use either reduced-fat (2%) or lowfat (1%) milk. Milk provides nourishing
nutrients like calcium and protein with less impact on your overall caloric
budget and your arteries. You can play around with substituting reduced-fat
milk, evaporated skim milk, or fat-free half and half in many of your favorite
creamy recipes.
Not only do the following four recipes satisfy your “creamy tooth,” but
they’re also packed with nutrition! Here’s a sneak peek of some of the nutrients and corresponding foods you’ll find in these recipes:
Antioxidants: Berries, bananas, mango, and kiwi
Calcium: Milk and yogurt
Fiber: Berries, bananas, mango, kiwi, and brown rice
Folate: Berries, bananas, mango, and kiwi
Potassium: Berries, bananas, mango, and kiwi
Protein: Milk, yogurt, and brown rice
Enjoying ice cream the healthy way
Store-bought ice creams are one easy way
to satisfy your cravings for creamy goodness.
Following are some tricks for enjoying these
treats without overloading on empty calories
and fat:
✓ Look for reduced-fat or fat-free ice cream
or frozen yogurt in your favorite flavors.
✓ Practice portion control by scooping a halfcup serving into a small serving bowl and
walking away from the container.
✓ Give yourself a limit by purchasing individually wrapped ice cream treats on a stick or
in sandwich form. When the wrapper is
empty, you know you’re finished!
Chapter 16: How Sweet It Is: Dessert Recipes
Mixed Berry Frozen Yogurt
Prep time: 10 min • Freeze time: 2 hr • Yield: 6 servings
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup frozen raspberries
1 cup plain lowfat Greek
⁄4 cup powdered sugar
Nonstick cooking spray
6 fresh whole strawberries
6 mint sprigs (optional)
Place the frozen berries, yogurt, and powdered sugar
into a food processor or blender. Mix until the fruit is
well mixed but still a bit chunky.
Lightly coat 6 individual ramekins with nonstick cook2
ing spray. Divide the berry mixture among the 6
ramekins. Cover each dish with plastic wrap and
place it in the freezer. Freeze for 2 hours, or until the
mixture is firm.
Unmold the frozen yogurt by running a hot knife
around the edge of each ramekin and quickly dipping
it in hot water. Invert each ramekin over a small plate
and shake gently to get the yogurt to slide out.
Garnish each serving with a whole strawberry and a
mint sprig (if desired). Serve immediately.
Per serving: Calories 85 (From Fat 10); Fat 1g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 3mg; Sodium 12mg; Carbohydrate 16g
(Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 4g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 56mg; Folate 16mcg.
Vary It! Instead of berries, try this recipe with your favorite fruit combination. Think peaches,
pineapple, bananas, mango, papaya . . . the possibilities are as great as the fruit you can find!
Tip: Feel free to enjoy the frozen yogurt right from the ramekin if you’re in a rush for something
sweet and creamy!
Note: If you don’t have individual ramekins on hand, simply pour the berry mixture into a medium
glass bowl, cover, and freeze. When the yogurt’s frozen, scoop it out using an ice cream scoop.
Source: Tina Ruggiero, MS, RD, LD, and coauthor of The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet (Fair Winds
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Kiwi Custard Pie
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: About 55 min • Yield: 8 servings
1 premade frozen pie shell
4 eggs
1 cup reduced-fat milk
⁄4 cup sugar
11⁄2 teaspoons vanilla
5 ripe kiwi fruit, peeled and
Allow the frozen pie shell to thaw for 15 minutes at
room temperature. Preheat the oven to the temperature indicated on the pie shell package and bake until
the shell is just barely browned, about 15 minutes.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to mix together
the eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla until well blended.
Arrange the kiwi slices neatly in the pie shell. Pour the
filling mixture over the kiwi. Bake for about 40 minutes,
or until the filling is golden and set. Serve warm and
store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator.
Per serving: Calories 234 (From Fat 75); Fat 8g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 108mg; Sodium 153mg; Carbohydrate 36g
(Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 5g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 66mg; Folate 38mcg.
Vary It! I like this pie best when it’s warm, but if you’re a cold-pie lover, try it chilled. You can
also use a premade graham cracker crust in place of the traditional pie crust.
Tip: Check the pie after 30 minutes of baking time to see if the crust is browning. If it is, you may
want to cover the edges with some foil to make sure it doesn’t overbrown.
Source: Anne Nechkov, professional food stylist and chef
Chapter 16: How Sweet It Is: Dessert Recipes
Banana Mini Trifle
Prep time: 15 min, plus refrigerating time • Yield: 8 servings
One 3.4-ounce package
cheesecake-flavored instant
pudding mix
Empty the dry pudding mix into a large bowl. Add the
milk and use an electric mixer to slowly combine the
dry mix and milk.
11⁄2 cups lowfat milk
Fold in the whipped topping. Refrigerate the mixture
4 ounces light frozen whipped 2
for 5 minutes.
topping, thawed
24 vanilla wafer cookies
2 bananas, thinly sliced
⁄2 cup mini chocolate chips
Use a food processor to crush the vanilla wafer cook3
ies, leaving small chunks of cookie.
In individual glass dishes, layer the ingredients one
on top of another, starting with the crushed cookies,
then the pudding, then the slices of banana, and
finally the mini chocolate chips. Repeat once.
Finish off each serving with a small sprinkle of cookie
chunks and chocolate chips. Serve immediately.
Per serving: Calories 231 (From Fat 69); Fat 8g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 2mg; Sodium 237mg; Carbohydrate 38g
(Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 3g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 66mg; Folate 13mcg.
Vary It! If you’re not much of a cheesecake fan, feel free to use vanilla or banana-flavored
pudding instead. Also, add a layer or two of coconut flakes for a fun twist.
Tip: Wine glasses make great individual serving dishes for this yummy trifle.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Mango Coconut Rice Pudding
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: 1 hr 35 min • Yield: 6 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Coat an 8-x-8-inch
baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2 cups water
⁄8 teaspoon salt
In a medium saucepan, bring the water and salt to a
1 cup uncooked medium-grain
brown rice
11⁄2 cups lowfat milk
1 egg
⁄3 cup sugar
⁄2 teaspoon coconut extract
⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
⁄8 teaspoon nutmeg
⁄2 cup chopped, dried mango
⁄3 cup dried, sweetened
coconut flakes
boil. Add the rice. Return the water to a boil and then
reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer until the rice
is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 50
In a large bowl, stir together the cooked rice, milk, egg,
sugar, coconut extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and dried
Pour the rice mixture into the prepared dish and cover
with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the dish from
the oven and sprinkle the dried coconut on top. Bake
uncovered for another 15 minutes. Serve warm.
Per serving: Calories 164 (From Fat 23); Fat 3g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 2mg; Sodium 101mg; Carbohydrate 33g
(Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 3g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 82mg; Folate 20mcg.
Tip: To save time, use instant brown rice. For Step 2, simply cook the rice as directed on the
package. Then follow the rest of the directions.
Vary It! Instead of mango and coconut, use pineapple or raisins or experiment with dried cranberries or blueberries. You can also swap vanilla extract for the coconut extract.
Chapter 16: How Sweet It Is: Dessert Recipes
Pregnancy Must-Have: Chocolate!
Sometimes a girl just needs chocolate. Then she gets pregnant. For some
women, the cravings for chocolate intensify. Chocolate contains quite a few
calories thanks to all the fat and sugar, but it’s not all bad for you.
One study found that pregnant women who ate the equivalent of one dark
chocolate candy bar per day had an almost 70 percent reduced chance of
having preeclampsia. Why? Because dark chocolate has several nutrients
that make it at least somewhat nutritious:
Theobromine: This alkaloid (a naturally occurring chemical compound)
gives the cocoa bean its bitter taste, but research shows that it also
assists in blood pressure control and relaxes the smooth muscle around
the blood vessels so that they dilate more easily.
Flavonoids: These plant-based, naturally occurring chemicals offer
several health benefits, including antioxidant activity. Dark chocolate
specifically contains the flavonoid epicatechin, which reduces the risk of
blood clots.
Magnesium: This mineral is linked to lowering blood pressure.
Perhaps you’re wondering whether chocolate has to be dark for you not to
feel guilty about eating it. Dark chocolate has more cocoa in it, so it generally
has higher levels of the good stuff. Milk chocolate has less, and white chocolate has none. (White chocolate is actually just sugar and fat; it doesn’t contain any cocoa, which means it doesn’t contain any of the healthy ingredients
I mention in the preceding list.)
Although chocolate has its positives, it’s not something you should eat with
reckless abandon — even if your cravings are telling, make that commanding,
you to do so. The reality is that chocolate still contains a lot of calories, and it
tastes so good that it’s hard to stop eating after you start. Also, chocolate can
give pregnant women heartburn. Given these facts, try to indulge wisely and
use at least a bit of moderation when eating chocolate. I can’t give you hard
and fast numbers of how much chocolate you can eat in a day because those
numbers depend on what else you’re eating. If you’re pretty darn healthy and
are minding your calories everywhere else, you can eat about an ounce of
chocolate every day (that’s equivalent to six Hershey kisses).
This section has five chocolate recipes to satisfy your strongest chocolate
cravings. When you’re craving chocolate and ice cream, go for the Chocolate
Lover’s Sippable Sundae. It’s decadent but the portion is still manageable.
The Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pie is out of this world, and a little goes a
long way to satisfy. Don’t be afraid to enjoy your chocolate; just be sure to do
so in moderation!
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Fudgy Peppermint Black
Bean Brownies
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: 30 min • Yield: 16 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
One 15-ounce can black
beans, drained and rinsed
3 eggs
3 tablespoons canola oil
⁄2 cup unsweetened cocoa
⁄8 teaspoon salt
⁄2 teaspoon peppermint
⁄4 cup sugar
⁄2 cup semisweet chocolate
⁄4 cup ground peppermint
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-x-8-inch
baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In a blender or food processor, puree the black beans,
eggs, oil, cocoa powder, salt, peppermint extract, and
sugar until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chunks.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake uncov3
ered for 25 minutes.
Remove the brownies from the oven and sprinkle the
ground peppermint candies on top. Bake for another
5 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from
the pan.
Cut the brownies while they’re still warm before the
candy topping has a chance to cool completely and
Per serving: Calories 130 (From Fat 47); Fat 5g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 62mg; Carbohydrate 18g
(Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 2g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 12mg; Folate 17mcg.
Note: If you don’t spill the (black) beans about your secret ingredient, I promise no one will ever
know they’re in there.
Tip: I like to use ground candy canes or round peppermints for this recipe.
Vary It! Not a fan of peppermint? Exchange vanilla extract for the peppermint kind and drizzle
raspberry preserves on top in place of the candies (just swirl the preserves into the batter with a
knife prior to baking). You can also use white chocolate chips in place of the chocolate chunks.
Chapter 16: How Sweet It Is: Dessert Recipes
Dark Chocolate Cherry Pistachio Bark
Prep time: 15 min, plus refrigerating time • Yield: 24 servings
1 pound dark chocolate
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
⁄4 cup coarsely chopped,
unsalted, roasted almonds
In a large microwave-safe bowl, break up the choco2
⁄2 cup coarsely chopped
shelled pistachios
⁄4 cup coarsely chopped dried
late with your hands. Microwave the dark chocolate
on high until it’s completely melted (up to 2 minutes),
stirring every 30 seconds.
Stir the almonds, pistachios, and cherries into the
melted chocolate.
Spread the mixture onto the prepared pan and refrig4
erate until the bark is set, about 30 minutes.
Break the chocolate into 1-ounce pieces and serve.
Per serving: Calories 141 (From Fat 74); Fat 8g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 1mg; Sodium 1mg; Carbohydrate 15g
(Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 2g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 9mg; Folate 2mcg.
Vary It! Use cashews rather than pistachios, blueberries rather than cherries, or milk chocolate
rather than dark.
Note: Thanks to the red color of the cherries and the green color of the pistachios, this recipe
may become a new favorite treat for your holiday parties.
Figure 16-1:
How to
chop nuts.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Chocolate Lover’s Sippable Sundae
Prep time: 10 min • Yield: 2 servings
1 cup chocolate lowfat frozen1
In a blender, blend the frozen yogurt and milk until
⁄4 cup lowfat milk
4 tablespoons hot fudge,
warmed and divided
⁄4 cup crumbled chocolate
sandwich cookies, divided
Pour half of the yogurt mixture into two 8-ounce
glasses. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of hot fudge over each
shake. Top the two shakes with 1⁄8 cup of the cookie
2 tablespoons light whipped 3
Divide the other half of the yogurt mixture evenly
topping (spray can or tub)
between the two shakes on top of the cookie layer. Top
each shake with another tablespoon of hot fudge.
2 maraschino cherries
Sprinkle the rest of the cookie pieces on top of the
fudge in each glass. Add 1 tablespoon of whipped topping on top. Place one cherry on top of each glass.
Enjoy with a straw.
Per serving: Calories 346 (From Fat 77); Fat 9g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 7mg; Sodium 334mg; Carbohydrate 62g
(Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 9g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 218mg; Folate 25mcg.
Note: This recipe doesn’t have an overwhelming amount of nutritional value, but when you’re
craving ice cream and chocolate, it’s guaranteed to hit the spot!
Vary It! Add a banana to the shake mixture and use strawberries in the layers in place of the
cookie pieces to make a strawberry-banana chocolate split sundae!
Chapter 16: How Sweet It Is: Dessert Recipes
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pie
Prep time: 10 min, plus refrigerating time • Yield: 8 servings
One 8-ounce package
⁄3-reduced-fat pasteurized
cream cheese, softened
⁄2 cup peanut butter
In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream
together the cream cheese, peanut butter, and sugar.
Fold in the whipped topping.
⁄2 cup sugar
Pour the pie filling into the cookie crust and spread
One 8-ounce container light
frozen whipped topping,
Decorate the outside edge of the pie with mini choco3
Prepared chocolate cookie pie
late chips. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or more before
⁄2 cup mini chocolate chips
Per serving: Calories 473 (From Fat 269); Fat 30g (Saturated 13g); Cholesterol 22mg; Sodium 377mg;
Carbohydrate 45g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 9g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 39mg; Folate 30mcg.
Note: It doesn’t matter whether you use creamy or crunchy peanut butter, so pick whichever
one you like better.
Tip: This pie is so decadent and delicious that you can get away with cutting the slices smaller
than 1⁄8 of the pie. A little goes a long way to satisfy!
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Chocolate Butterscotch Chip Bundt Cake
Prep time: 15 min, plus cooling time • Cook time: 45–50 min • Yield: 16 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
11⁄4 cups sugar
2 eggs
⁄4 cup canola oil
11⁄2 cups plus 2 tablespoons
lowfat milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
11⁄2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
⁄2 cup unsweetened cocoa
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a Bundt pan
with nonstick cooking spray.
In a small mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to mix
together the sugar, eggs, and oil. Add 11⁄2 cups of milk,
the lemon juice, and the vanilla extract slowly and
mix well.
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flours, cocoa
powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour the
liquid mixture over the dry mixture and mix until
everything is moistened and blended. Stir in 1⁄2 cup of
butterscotch chips with a spoon.
Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Bake for
45 to 50 minutes.
2 teaspoons baking powder
11⁄2 teaspoons baking soda
⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butterscotch chips,
Remove the pan from the oven, set it on a wire rack,
and allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes. Turn the partially cooled cake upside down over a serving plate and
gently shake the pan to get the cake out. Allow the cake
to cool completely.
Prepare the butterscotch glaze by melting the remain6
ing 1⁄2 cup of butterscotch chips and 2 tablespoons of
milk in a small microwave-safe bowl for 45 seconds, or
until melted. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake.
Per serving: Calories 216 (From Fat 65); Fat 7g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 25mg; Sodium 240mg; Carbohydrate 35g
(Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 4g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 50mg; Folate 20mcg.
Vary It! Don’t love butterscotch? Make this a triple-chocolate cake by using chocolate chips in
place of the butterscotch chips for both the cake and the glaze.
Chapter 16: How Sweet It Is: Dessert Recipes
Diving into the Refreshing,
Sweet Taste of Fruit
As I’m sure you already know, what you’re supposed to eat and what you
want to eat aren’t always the same thing. Because you need nutrient-rich
foods but may often want something sweet when you’re pregnant, fruity
dishes, particularly fruit desserts, are the perfect solution.
Fruit contains natural sugars that give it that sweet taste, so you don’t have
to add a ton of sugar to make a gratifying dessert. And the best part about
including fresh, frozen, or dried fruit in your sweet treats is that you get a
handful of extra vitamins, minerals, and fiber for you and your baby. So when
creamy or chocolate desserts seem a little too rich for your tastes, focus on
refreshing fruit desserts instead.
Not only is fruit flavorful, but it’s also colorful! Fruit adds color to your table,
and with that color comes a bevy of nutrients:
Orange and yellow fruits are high in antioxidants, such as beta carotene
and vitamin C, which improve immunity and protect cells. Try to eat
plenty of oranges, tangerines, cantaloupe, mango, lemon, papaya,
pineapple, pumpkin, and apricots.
Blue and purple fruits contain the phytonutrients anthocyanins, which
help with memory. Be sure to eat your share of grapes (raisins), plums
(prunes), blackberries, blueberries, and dates.
Green fruits contain chlorophyll and are high in essential nutrients such
as folate and carotenoids, which help improve vision. Healthful green
fruits include kiwi and honeydew.
Red fruits contain the heart-healthy compounds lycopene and anthocyanins. Eat apples, strawberries, raspberries, cherries, watermelon, pomegranate, and red grapefruit for heart health.
This section has five fruity and delicious recipes that are sure to refresh;
they’re no slouch in the nutrition department either. When you dig into these
dishes, you’ll get some whole grains (courtesy of oats and whole-wheat flour),
lots of fiber (thanks to the wide variety of fruits), and, of course, folate galore!
If you’re looking for a burst of sunshine on your dessert plate, check out the
Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes. They’re sweet, tart, and creamy all in one. For a
colorful party plate, make the Fruit Cookie Pizza and have fun artfully arranging the fruit. You’re sure to impress your guests!
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Fruit Cookie Pizza
Prep time: 20 min • Cook time: 12–15 min • Yield: 12 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
One 18-ounce package
refrigerated sugar cookie
One 8-ounce package
⁄3-reduced-fat pasteurized
cream cheese, softened
⁄2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange zest
21⁄2 cups sliced fresh
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-inch pizza
pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Spread the cookie dough on the bottom of the pizza
pan to create the crust. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or
until golden brown. Set the crust aside to cool.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together
the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, and orange
Transfer the cooled cookie crust to a serving platter
and spread the cream cheese mixture on top of it.
1 cup peeled and sliced kiwi
Arrange the strawberries, kiwi, and blueberries on top
of the crust, gently pressing them into the cream
1 cup blueberries
cheese mixture so that they stay in place. Use a pizza
cutter to cut the fruit pizza into 12 slices.
Per serving: Calories 315 (From Fat 131); Fat 15g (Saturated 5g); Cholesterol 28mg; Sodium 276mg;
Carbohydrate 43g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 4g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 63mg; Folate 37mcg.
Tip: You may have to let the cookie dough sit out for a few minutes before it’s soft enough to
press into the pan. But for food safety reasons, don’t allow it to sit out for more than 1 hour.
Vary It! Use raspberries, peaches, cherries, bananas, pineapple, mango — whatever kind of
fruit you love or is in season. (If you opt for bananas, toss ’em in lemon juice so they don’t brown
and ruin the look of your pizza.)
Chapter 16: How Sweet It Is: Dessert Recipes
Pineapple Spice Loaf with
Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time: 20 min, plus cooling time • Cook time: 60 min • Yield: 16 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon plus 1⁄2 teaspoon
vanilla extract
2 tablespoons canola oil
⁄2 cup unsweetened
⁄2 cup finely shredded carrots
⁄2 cup canned, crushed
pineapple, drained
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Coat a loaf pan with
nonstick cooking spray.
In a small bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs,
sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, and oil. Mix in the applesauce, carrots, and pineapple.
In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, salt,
cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. Add the wet mixture
to the dry mixture and mix with an electric mixer
until moistened.
⁄4 cup whole-wheat flour
⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for
60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the
center comes out clean. Cool the loaf in the pan on a
wire rack for at least 1 hour.
⁄2 teaspoon salt
⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
To prepare the frosting, beat together the cream
cheese, butter, 1⁄2 teaspoon of vanilla, and powdered
sugar. Spread the icing on top of the cooled loaf.
⁄2 teaspoon allspice
⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 ounces 1⁄3-reduced-fat
pasteurized cream cheese,
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
Per serving: Calories 179 (From Fat 45); Fat 5g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 34mg; Sodium 150mg; Carbohydrate 31g
(Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 3g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 15mg; Folate 17mcg.
Tip: To turn this recipe into a breakfast bread rather than a dessert, simply leave off the cream
cheese frosting.
Vary It! If you like nuts in your bread, add 1⁄2 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts to the batter
before baking.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes
Prep time: 40 min, plus cooling time • Cook time: 20 min • Yield: 12 servings
⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons
butter, softened
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin
1 cup plus ⁄4 cup sugar
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 eggs
⁄2 cup buttermilk
11⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
⁄4 teaspoon salt
⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons plus 2
tablespoons raspberry
⁄2 cup lemon juice
4 ounces 1⁄3-reduced-fat
pasteurized cream cheese,
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⁄2 cup powdered sugar
pan with paper liners.
⁄2 cup of
butter and 1 cup of sugar. Add the lemon zest, eggs,
and buttermilk and mix well.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and
baking soda. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet
ingredients and mix until just moistened.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling each cup
⁄3 of the way full. Spoon 1⁄2 teaspoon of raspberry preserves on top of each cupcake, making sure to keep the
preserves in the center of each muffin cup.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a
cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes in the pan
on a wire rack for 5 minutes and then remove them
from the pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and the
remaining 1⁄4 cup of sugar. With a toothpick, poke small
holes in the top of the warm cupcakes. Using a pastry
brush, brush the lemon syrup onto the cupcakes.
4 ounces light frozen whipped
To prepare the frosting, use an electric mixer to cream 2
topping, thawed
tablespoons of butter and the cream cheese until smooth.
Beat in the remaining 2 tablespoons of preserves and the
vanilla extract. Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat
until smooth. Fold in the whipped topping. Spread the
frosting on top of the cooled cupcakes.
Per serving: Calories 318 (From Fat 124); Fat 14g (Saturated 9g); Cholesterol 69mg; Sodium 136mg;
Carbohydrate 45g (Dietary Fiber 0g); Protein 4g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 29mg; Folate 33mcg.
Tip: If you don’t have buttermilk, mix 1 cup of reduced-fat milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
or white vinegar. Let the mixture stand for 5 to 10 minutes before using it.
Source: Kristina LaRue, RD
Chapter 16: How Sweet It Is: Dessert Recipes
Apple Cinnamon Crêpes
Prep time: 10 min • Cook time: About 10 min • Yield: 2 servings
1 teaspoon butter
1 apple, peeled and finely
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon butter, melted
⁄4 cup lowfat milk
⁄4 cup water
⁄8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
⁄8 teaspoon vanilla
⁄4 cup whole-wheat flour
⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
Nonstick cooking spray
Melt the butter in a medium skillet. Add the apple,
cinnamon, nutmeg, and powdered sugar. Cook until
the apple pieces are soft, about 3 to 4 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, melted
butter, milk, water, salt, sugar, and vanilla. Gradually
stir in both flours.
Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat.
Spray the skillet with nonstick cooking spray.
Pour half of the batter into the hot skillet. Tilt the pan
to make sure the batter coats the surface of the pan
in a very thin layer.
Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the bottom is
slightly browned. Loosen the crêpe with a spatula,
flip it, and cook it on the other side for 1 minute.
Remove the crêpe from the pan and set it on a covered plate to keep it warm.
Repeat Steps 4 and 5 to make the other crêpe.
Spoon half of the apple mixture into each crêpe and
gently roll it up. Serve immediately.
Per serving: Calories 311 (From Fat 135); Fat 15g (Saturated 8g); Cholesterol 138mg; Sodium 195mg;
Carbohydrate 38g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 8g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 65mg; Folate 47mcg.
Vary It! Instead of using apple cinnamon filling, fill your crêpes with some chocolate hazelnut
spread, a sliced banana, and a sprinkle of coconut.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
White Chocolate Berry Oatmeal Cookies
Prep time: 15 min • Cook time: 24–30 min • Yield: 24 servings
6 tablespoons butter, softened
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover two cookie
sheets with parchment paper.
⁄4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
11⁄2 cups rolled oats
⁄3 cup whole-wheat flour
⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
⁄2 teaspoon salt
⁄2 cup dried blueberries
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together
the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg and almond
extract and mix well.
In a separate bowl, use a spoon to mix together the
oats, both kinds of flour, baking soda, and salt.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients
and mix until moistened. Add the blueberries, cherries,
and chocolate chips and mix until the fruit and chocolate chips are just blended in.
⁄2 cup dried cherries
Use a tablespoon to drop the cookie dough onto the
⁄2 cup white chocolate chips 5
baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each cookie.
Bake each batch of cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, or
until the cookies are browned on top. Cool the cookies
on the pans for a few minutes and then transfer them
to a wire rack to cool completely.
Per serving: Calories 126 (From Fat 41); Fat 5g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 17mg; Sodium 111mg; Carbohydrate 20g
(Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 2g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 20mg; Folate 6mcg.
Vary It! Use dark chocolate chips in place of the white chocolate chips, take out the blue-
berries, and double the amount of dried tart cherries for a chocolate-covered cherry cookie.
Tip: If you’re in a time pinch, you can bake both cookie sheets at the same time. Just try to fit
both cookie sheets on the same oven rack.
Chapter 17
Cook It Fast: Speedy Recipes
Ready in 10 Minutes or Less
In This Chapter
▶Incorporating convenience foods that can save you time
while still nourishing you and your baby
▶Enjoying delicious, flavorful dishes that are fast and easy to
Recipes in
This Chapter
TDecaf Mocha Smoothie
TDill and Chive Veggie Dip
THoney Orange Grapefruit
TThree-Bean Artichoke
ith the hectic pace of life today, carving
out the time to cook a balanced meal can
be tough. Toss pregnancy into the mix and you
have an added dimension — you’re busy and tired
and your feet may be swollen. All the more reason
not to spend hours on your feet in the kitchen.
▶ Chicken Hummus Pita
THavarti Pear Grilled
Cheese on Pumpernickel
TSesame Asparagus
TSautéed Summer Fruit
over Ice Cream
TRicotta Parfait
TGrilled Bananas
When you’re feeling tired and want to spend as
little time cooking as possible, quick and simple
meals sound pretty good! Hence, I’ve devoted this entire chapter to recipes
that require very easy, quick preparation. You can have them on the table in
10 minutes or less. I’ve tried to include a variety of recipes to meet your need
for speed — speedy recipes that is! Most of them use some kind of convenience food to make your life easier, and all of them supply nutrients that
you and your growing baby need. Whatever time of day you’re in a hurry —
breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack time, or dessert — you’re sure to find the
perfect quick (and delicious!) recipe in this chapter.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Relying on Convenience Foods
One of the first rules of quick cooking is relying on convenience foods, as in
foods that have been prepared and designed for ease of use and consumption. Convenience foods have gotten a bit of a bad reputation because some
people believe that convenience automatically equals unhealthiness, but
that’s just not true. Sure, some convenience foods have a good deal of fat,
sugar, or salt added, but this section proves that convenience can mean not
only quick and delicious but also healthy and nutritious.
You likely have to pay a bit more for convenience foods, but if they save you
time and reduce your (and your baby’s!) stress level, the extra cost is well
worth it.
Following is a whole list of options for cutting out preparation time while still
maintaining the nutritional value of your food:
Precut fruits and vegetables: Studies have shown that people are more
likely to eat fruit when it’s already cut up and ready to go than when
they have to cut it up themselves. As for veggies? A lot of fresh veggies
now come in a bag that goes straight into the microwave for steaming.
Check out the Honey Orange Grapefruit Salad to experience the joys of
precut produce for yourself; it calls for canned or jarred grapefruit that’s
presectioned so there’s no mess.
Precut and pureed spices: You’ve likely been using chopped garlic for
a while, but have you seen the fresh purees of basil, oregano, ginger,
lemongrass, and the like? When you don’t want to buy fresh herbs and
waste the leftovers, look for these tubes of herbs, which will keep for
much longer and still give you the taste of fresh in your recipe. For a
recipe that takes advantage of these prepared spice wonders, check out
the Dill and Chive Veggie Dip recipe, which uses jarred, minced garlic.
Prechopped and ground nuts and seeds: Don’t have time to chop your
walnuts, pecans, or flaxseed? You can buy them prechopped. Give preground flaxseed a try in the Decaf Mocha Smoothie recipe.
Bottled lemon and lime juice: The little bottles of lemon and lime juice
are so easy to store and use that I don’t buy fresh lemons or limes anymore unless I need the zest or want the actual wedges. For a yummy
dish that uses bottled lemon juice, try the Three-Bean Artichoke Salad.
Frozen and canned vegetables: Don’t forget about the convenience
of simply sticking a bag of frozen veggies in the microwave or popping
open a can and draining it. Canned beans and stewed tomatoes are two
staples that I always have in my cabinet. The Three-Bean Artichoke
Salad recipe uses three different cans of vegetables: two cans of beans
and one can of artichokes.
Chapter 17: Cook It Fast: Speedy Recipes Ready in 10 Minutes or Less
Prepared hummus: You could make your own hummus, but why would
you, given the incredible variety of flavored hummus available? Try out
the super-easy, super-fast Chicken Hummus Pita recipe by using the prepared hummus of your choice.
Precooked, presliced, and preportioned meats: These can range
from canned chicken and tuna to roasted chicken at the grocery store
to frozen meatballs to precooked refrigerated meat ready to add to a
recipe. If you buy meats when they’re warm (like hot rotisserie chicken),
just be sure to reheat them to the safe temperatures listed in Chapter
10, based on the type of meats you’ve purchased. Check out the Chicken
Hummus Pita for a tasty way to use this convenience food.
Making the most of your microwave
Not only is your microwave a tool for fast cooking, but it’s also often a healthier way to cook.
Here are some of my favorite ways to use a
Just open the top of the package and stick
it in the microwave for 90 seconds. If that’s
too convenient for you, you can also cook
instant rice or couscous in about 5 minutes.
✓ Boil water. Especially when you need just
a small amount, boiling water in the microwave is super easy. For larger batches,
start boiling the water in the microwave
and then transfer it to a pan.
✓ Precook potatoes. If I want my baked
potato to have a crispy peel but don’t have
the time to bake it all the way, I precook it in
the microwave for 5 to 6 minutes and then
just use the oven for 10 minutes to finish it
off and crisp it up. (Just don’t forget to poke
holes in the potato before popping it in the
microwave.) As for quartered potatoes that
are destined for the skillet, I often microwave them for a few minutes to soften them
before throwing them in the skillet; doing so
really speeds up the cooking process.
✓ Melt foods. You can quickly melt margarine,
chocolate, and pretty much anything else in
the microwave. Be sure to melt the food in
batches and stir it in between so you don’t
overcook and burn it.
✓ Defrost frozen foods. Skip dangerous
countertop defrosting in favor of using the
safer (and faster!) defrost setting on your
✓ Prepare frozen meals. You can’t beat the
convenience of a meal ready in three to five
✓ Make grains. One of my secret weapons for
dinner is microwaveable packets of brown
rice or (my favorite) quinoa/wild rice blend.
✓ Steam vegetables. Instead of boiling or
steaming veggies on the stove, add a touch
of water to the bottom of a microwave-safe
bowl and add your fresh, frozen, or canned
veggies of choice. Then microwave them.
✓ Make breakfast. Oatmeal, quinoa, cream
of wheat, hot chocolate, coffee, tea — all
these breakfast staples can be prepared in
the microwave in seconds.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Decaf Mocha Smoothie
Prep time: 5 min • Yield: 1 serving
11⁄2 cups ice
⁄2 cup strong decaf coffee,
In a blender, combine all the ingredients. Blend until
⁄2 cup lowfat milk
Pour the smoothie mixture into a tall glass and enjoy.
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened
cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
⁄4 cup plain nonfat Greek
1 small banana
Per serving: Calories 328 (From Fat 49); Fat 6g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 5mg; Sodium 100mg; Carbohydrate 62g
(Dietary Fiber 7g); Protein 13g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 222mg; Folate 50mcg.
Vary It! If you’re a peanut butter lover, add a tablespoon of creamy peanut butter before
Note: If you’re missing your coffee or high-calorie blended coffee drinks, this one is sure to satisfy! The banana boosts the nutritional content and you get your coffee fix!
Chapter 17: Cook It Fast: Speedy Recipes Ready in 10 Minutes Or Less
Dill and Chive Veggie Dip
Prep time: 5 min, plus refrigerating time • Yield: 6 servings
1 cup plain nonfat Greek
⁄4 cup light mayonnaise
In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients. Stir until
well blended.
1 tablespoon dried dill
Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving to allow the
flavors to blend.
⁄4 teaspoon seasoning salt
2 tablespoons chopped fresh
1 teaspoon preminced garlic
Pepper to taste
Per serving: Calories 56 (From Fat 30); Fat 3g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 4mg; Sodium 122mg; Carbohydrate 3g
(Dietary Fiber 0g); Protein 4g; Iron 0mg; Calcium 36mg; Folate 1mcg.
Tip: If you’re in a hurry, you can serve this dip immediately after making it. It tastes just fine even
if you don’t let the flavors blend in the fridge for 2 hours.
Note: Serve this dip with an assortment of raw carrots, broccoli, red peppers, cauliflower,
celery, grape tomatoes, and more for dipping.
Note: Never keep perishable dips like this at room temperature for longer than 2 hours. After
2 hours are up, throw out the dip. Don’t reuse any dip that’s been sitting out.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Honey Orange Grapefruit Salad
Prep time: 10 min • Yield: 4 servings
One 15-ounce can mandarin
oranges in juice, drained
One 15-ounce can red
grapefruit sections in light
syrup, drained
1 large banana, sliced
In a medium bowl, mix together the oranges, grapefruit,
banana, and kiwi.
Drizzle the fruit mixture with the honey and sprinkle
the mint on top. Toss the fruit gently to cover everything evenly and serve immediately.
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons chopped fresh
Per serving: Calories 130 (From Fat 4); Fat 0g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 6mg; Carbohydrate 33g
(Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 2g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 33mg; Folate 25mcg.
Note: You can also use jarred grapefruit sections, which you find in the refrigerated produce
section. The jarred grapefruit is typically packaged in juice rather than syrup, which means less
Vary It! Use mangos, peaches, pears, and berries in this salad in place of, or in addition to,
some of the fruit listed.
Chapter 17: Cook It Fast: Speedy Recipes Ready in 10 Minutes Or Less
Three-Bean Artichoke Salad
Prep time: 7 min • Yield: 8 servings
One 15-ounce can garbanzo
beans, drained and rinsed
In a large bowl, combine the beans, artichoke hearts,
One 15-ounce can black
beans, drained and rinsed
olive oil, and lemon juice. Sprinkle the mixture with
salt and pepper to taste. Stir until well combined.
Serve about 3⁄4 cup of the bean mixture on a 1⁄2-cup bed
1 cup sliced fresh green beans2
of fresh arugula for each serving.
One 16-ounce can quartered
artichoke hearts, drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups fresh arugula
Per serving: Calories 110 (From Fat 37); Fat 4g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 311mg; Carbohydrate 13g
(Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 5g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 42mg; Folate 58mcg.
Note: I’m not a fan of the typical vinegar-tasting dressings on bean salads, so I use a simple mix
of olive oil and lemon in this recipe.
Vary It! If you like more veggies, add chopped red or green bell peppers and onions.
Note: Garbanzo beans also go by the name chickpeas.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Chicken Hummus Pita
Prep time: 10 min • Yield: 1 serving
2 tablespoons prepared
hummus (flavor of your
⁄2 whole-grain pocket pita
Spread the hummus on the inside of the pita.
Fill the pita with the cold chicken breast, salad greens,
tomato, cucumber, carrots, and black olives.
2 ounces cold, cooked
boneless chicken breast,
1 cup prewashed salad
greens, rinsed
⁄2 small tomato, diced
⁄4 cucumber, diced
⁄4 cup shredded carrots
2 tablespoons sliced black
Per serving: Calories 286 (From Fat 73); Fat 8g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 48mg; Sodium 506mg; Carbohydrate 31g
(Dietary Fiber 8g); Protein 25g; Iron 4mg; Calcium 87mg; Folate 121mcg.
Tip: Add a squeeze of fresh lemon before serving to bring the flavors together.
Vary It! Add your favorite sliced or shredded cheese for even more flavor.
Tip: If you want to save a little cash and not buy a package of presliced cooked chicken breast,
just cut up some chicken breasts that are left over from a previous meal.
Chapter 17: Cook It Fast: Speedy Recipes Ready in 10 Minutes or Less
Letting Flavor Stand Out in Quick Dishes
Just because you’re using convenience foods and getting meals on the table
in minutes doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice taste. In fact, why not make
flavor a star in your speedy recipes? Here’s how:
Spice it up. One of the best ways to add flavor in seconds is to explore
your spice cabinet. For example, just a pinch of paprika or a dash of
oregano can enhance the natural flavors of meats, vegetables, and
grains. To see the magic of spice in action, try the Sautéed Summer Fruit
over Ice Cream recipe in this section; the allspice in this dish really
brings the flavor of the peaches to a new level.
You can save a step by finding foods that are already flavored, like the
dill-flavored Havarti cheese used in the Havarti Pear Grilled Cheese on
Pumpernickel recipe.
Go fresh with herbs. Fresh or pureed herbs can do wonders to enhance
bland food. Case in point: Plain instant rice isn’t so plain when you jazz
it up with some chopped fresh parsley or cilantro. If you happen to have
your own potted herb garden, you can pinch off those fresh herbs in a
Extract it. I’m addicted to almond extract. I put it in pancake mix (now
my secret’s out!), oatmeal, smoothies, coffee, and pretty much anything
else I can add it to. If you’re looking for a new twist on extract, try the
Ricotta Parfait recipe in this section. The almond extract really brings
out the flavor of the peaches. Instead of always using vanilla extract,
play around with the many extract flavors available.
Embrace flavored vinegars and oils. Flavored vinegars, such as balsamic, apple cider, and herb- or fruit-infused, are an excellent way to
add flavor without calories or fat. Trust me, the first time you add a
balsamic glaze to chicken or fish, you’ll be hooked. Different oils provide
different flavors, too. To see what I mean, try the Sesame Asparagus
recipe, which uses sesame oil rather than olive oil. The sesame oil adds
to the sesame seeds and soy sauce to give the veggies a real Asian flair.
I encourage you to branch out and try flavors other than your traditional
standbys. You may be pleasantly surprised by the results. For example, the
Grilled Bananas recipe in this section uses butterscotch chips rather than
traditional chocolate chips for an enhanced flavor.
As you experiment more in the kitchen, you’ll find your own tricks and secrets
to enhancing flavor without adding calories or sacrificing nutrition.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Havarti Pear Grilled Cheese
on Pumpernickel
Prep time: 2 min • Cook time: 6 min • Yield: 1 serving
2 slices pumpernickel bread 1
Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Spread each
slice of bread with 1 teaspoon of margarine.
2 teaspoons trans-fat-free
margarine spread
Place one slice of prepared bread on the skillet (marga2 slices Havarti dill cheese 2
rine side down) and top with one slice of cheese, the
pear slices, and the second slice of cheese. Top the
⁄4 pear, sliced
whole thing with the second slice of bread (margarine
side up).
Cook the sandwich until it’s crispy on one side, about 3
minutes. Carefully flip over the sandwich with a spatula
and cook it until the other side is crispy, about 3
Per serving: Calories 373 (From Fat 191); Fat 21g (Saturated 11g); Cholesterol 46mg; Sodium 687mg;
Carbohydrate 31g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 15g; Iron 2mg; Calcium 344mg; Folate 45mcg.
Tip: Slice up the rest of the pear to have on the side or on a bed of greens for a quick salad.
Vary It! Use apple slices and cheddar or Swiss cheese on whole-wheat bread for a tasty variation of this sandwich.
Tip: You can use a panini maker (sandwich press) or indoor nonstick grill to make this sandwich
in even less time because it allows you to heat both sides of the sandwich at once.
Chapter 17: Cook It Fast: Speedy Recipes Ready in 10 Minutes Or Less
Sesame Asparagus
Prep time: 2 min • Cook time: 8 min • Yield: 4 servings
1 pound asparagus spears,
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy
Place the asparagus on a baking sheet. Drizzle the
asparagus with the soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame
seeds, and move the asparagus around on the baking
sheet to cover it evenly.
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Bake the asparagus until it’s tender, about 8 minutes.
Halfway through cooking, gently stir the asparagus.
Per serving: Calories 61 (From Fat 42); Fat 5g (Saturated 1g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 157mg; Carbohydrate 3g
(Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 2g; Iron 4mg; Calcium 11mg; Folate 82mcg.
Vary It! If you don’t want the Asian flair, just drizzle the asparagus with olive oil and sprinkle it
with garlic salt and dried rosemary.
Tip: The asparagus cooks so fast because the oven is really hot. Make sure the oven is completely preheated when the asparagus goes in; otherwise, the cooking time will increase.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Sautéed Summer Fruit over Ice Cream
Prep time: 7 min • Cook time: 3 min • Yield: 2 servings
1 tablespoon trans-fat-free
margarine spread
Melt the margarine spread in a medium skillet over
medium heat.
1 large peach, peeled, pitted,
and sliced
Add the peach slices to the skillet and sauté them for
about 2 minutes, or until tender. Add the brown sugar,
2 teaspoons brown sugar
cinnamon, and allspice and cook for another minute.
⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
⁄4 teaspoon allspice
⁄2 cup raspberries
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup reduced-fat vanilla ice
In a small bowl, mix together the raspberries and
sugar, coating the berries evenly.
⁄2 cup of ice cream into two separate dishes. Top
each serving of ice cream with 1⁄2 of the peaches and
Per serving: Calories 217 (From Fat 78); Fat 9g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 9mg; Sodium 118mg; Carbohydrate 34g
(Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 3g; Iron 1mg; Calcium 111mg; Folate 15mcg.
Vary It! Instead of peaches, use pineapple, apples, pears, bananas, or any fruit of your choice.
Just cook it until it’s tender.
Tip: If you want to warm your raspberries, too, just add them to the peaches in the skillet with a
minute left in cook time and delete the teaspoon of sugar.
Note: If peaches aren’t in season, you can use 8 slices of frozen peaches in place of the large
fresh peach.
Chapter 17: Cook It Fast: Speedy Recipes Ready in 10 Minutes Or Less
Ricotta Parfait
Prep time: 5 min • Yield: 1 serving
⁄2 cup plain nonfat Greek
In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, ricotta
cheese, almond extract, and sugar.
⁄4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
⁄2 teaspoon almond extract
Pour half of the yogurt and ricotta mixture into the
1 teaspoon sugar
⁄2 cup high-fiber bran cereal
bottom of a parfait glass. Top with half of the cereal,
berries, and almonds. Repeat these layers with the
other half of the ingredients.
⁄4 cup dried berry mix
⁄4 cup sliced, toasted almonds
Per serving: Calories 438 (From Fat 156); Fat 17g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 25mg; Sodium 205mg;
Carbohydrate 66g (Dietary Fiber 19g); Protein 23g; Iron 6mg; Calcium 333mg; Folate 107mcg.
Tip: Use a cereal like All Bran or Fiber One; they’re super high in fiber! Fiber One stays crunchier, so use it if you like crunchy cereal.
Vary It! I like to use a dried berry mix with cranberries, blueberries, and cherries, but you can
use dried pineapple, mango, coconut, figs, dates, or any fresh or canned fruit you have available.
Note: You find sliced almonds in bags in the baking aisle.
Part III: Cooking for Pregnancy
Grilled Bananas
Prep time: 2 min • Cook time: 5–8 min • Yield: 2 servings
2 bananas (in peel)
Preheat the grill to medium heat.
2 tablespoons mini
With a knife, split through the banana peels lengthwise
2 tablespoons butterscotch
from top to bottom, cutting only halfway through the
bananas so that you’re creating a pocket in the fruit.
Keeping the peels on, divide the marshmallows and
butterscotch chips evenly between the two bananas
and insert them into the split peels.
Wrap each banana loosely in aluminum foil and place
the bananas split side up on the grill. Close the lid and
cook them for 5 to 8 minutes.
Place the wrapped bananas on a plate and remove the
foil. Open the peels a bit wider and serve with a spoon.
Per serving: Calories 176 (From Fat 34); Fat 4g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 12mg; Carbohydrate 37g
(Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 2g; Iron 0mg; Calcium 11mg; Folate 23mcg.
Tip: Stuff the marshmallows in before the butterscotch chips so they don’t stick to the foil when
you grill them. The banana peels will turn black. That’s normal!
Note: This is a great dessert for any night you’re grilling out. The grill’s already hot, so you can
just put the bananas on as soon as the meat comes off. Leave them on for longer than 8 minutes
for them to caramelize even more. If you don’t have a grill, you can bake the bananas in the oven
at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.
Vary It! Use dark chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, coconut flakes,
dried cranberries, or a spoonful of almond or peanut butter to mix up the taste of this dessert.
Part IV
What You May Not
Be Thinking about
but Should
In this part . . .
ecause few pregnancies go according to any kind of
textbook, this part has you covered if you end up
with an unexpected medical issue that has nutritional
implications, such as anemia or gestational diabetes. If
you have food allergies, this part helps guide you in what
to eat to make sure you’re still getting the required nutrients you and your baby need.
Even though these nine months may feel long, the first few
weeks and months after delivery fly by in the blink of an
eye. To prepare you for your postpartum life, this part features a chapter devoted to feeding your baby and taking
care of yourself after delivery, as well as a chapter that’s
all about helping you losing lingering pregnancy pounds
when the time comes to get back into shape.
Chapter 18
Help Me, Doc! Situations That
Require Medical Attention
In This Chapter
▶Eating right and exercising to help control medical conditions you may face during
▶Surveying the nutrition concerns of mothers in special circumstances
lthough I hope that every pregnancy runs its course without a hitch,
sometimes things get a tad complicated medically. Fortunately, good
nutrition is one of the best ways to deal with these special situations. This
chapter covers some of the common medical conditions women face during
pregnancy, specifically those with nutritional implications, like gestational
diabetes, high blood pressure, and anemia. It also addresses the specific nutritional concerns of teens, cancer survivors, and women carrying multiples.
Using Diet and Exercise to Help Control
Certain Medical Conditions
Good nutrition is vital during every woman’s pregnancy, but certain health
conditions require that you pay even closer attention to your diet to improve
symptoms and reduce complications. In fact, the “prescription” for many
pregnancy-related conditions (whether you develop them before or during
pregnancy) is not medication, but rather lifestyle changes like eating right
and exercising regularly.
If you have gestational diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, or anemia, you need to follow your doctor’s advice on
how to control your symptoms to reach the best possible outcome for you
and your baby. But you may also want to seek out more specific, individualized advice from a registered dietitian (RD). An RD can sit down with you and
map out the best nutrition plan possible to keep you and your baby healthy.
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should
You can find an RD in your area by visiting, clicking the
Find a Registered Dietitian button, and typing in your zip code. (You can also
search specifically for an RD who specializes in maternal nutrition.)
Gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that can develop in the second half
of pregnancy, affects how your body uses glucose (blood sugar). Scientists
aren’t entirely sure why some pregnant women develop gestational diabetes and others don’t because pregnancy itself affects certain hormones that
impact how insulin clears glucose out of the blood and gets it into cells. As
your pregnancy progresses and your baby grows, the placenta produces hormones that block insulin, which may cause higher-than-normal glucose levels
in the blood. Some women develop gestational diabetes in response to insulin’s not working as efficiently during pregnancy.
Although anyone can develop gestational diabetes, you may be at a higher
risk if you
Have a family or personal history of diabetes or gestational diabetes (if
you had gestational diabetes with a prior pregnancy, it’s highly likely
you’ll have it again)
Are overweight prior to pregnancy
Are African American, Hispanic, Asian, or American Indian
Are older than 25 years old
Most women with gestational diabetes don’t experience the common symptoms of diabetes — unusual thirst, frequent infections (such as yeast and bladder), blurred vision, and weight loss. The only way to know for sure whether
you have gestational diabetes is to undergo a glucose tolerance test, which
your doctor will order when you’re between 24 and 28 weeks.
During the one-hour glucose tolerance test, you have to drink a sugary solution and then wait an hour before having your blood tested. The doctor looks
to see whether your body properly clears out the glucose or it leaves too
much in your bloodstream. If your glucose level stays high, your doctor will
likely recommend that you have a longer, three-hour glucose tolerance test
to look in more detail at how your body is clearing glucose. If you fail that
test, then you’re among the estimated 4 percent of women who develop gestational diabetes.
If you’re diagnosed with gestational diabetes, expect to make more frequent
visits to your doctor. Also expect to have to monitor your own blood sugar
levels at least once a day and very likely several times each day (first thing
in the morning and after every meal) with a finger stick and a blood glucose
Chapter 18: Help Me, Doc! Situations That Require Medical Attention
Myth buster: Sugar and diabetes
You’ve probably heard the myth that eating too
much sugar causes you to get diabetes. Well,
it’s not true. Although reducing your intake of
sugar helps control your glucose levels after
you already have diabetes, no specific threshold
of sugar actually causes you to have diabetes.
Now I’m not saying that you can eat all the
gummy bears you want; you still need to watch
your sugar intake while pregnant. After all, most
high-sugar foods are low in nutrients and don’t
help nourish you or your baby.
If you’re one of those women who gets to add “gestational diabetes” to her
list of unpleasant pregnancy side effects, read on to find out about the complications that can arise from this condition and tips for how to manage it.
Potential complications
With proper treatment, most women who have gestational diabetes go on to
deliver healthy babies. They then return to a normal, nondiabetic state within
six to eight weeks after delivering. If, however, you don’t properly control your
blood sugar through diet, exercise, and/or medications, the following complications can arise:
Risk of high blood pressure, preeclampsia, and eclampsia: Mom is at
higher risk of developing these conditions during pregnancy. (I give you
the scoop on these conditions later in this chapter.)
High-birth-weight baby: Because of Mom’s high glucose levels, Baby
makes extra insulin, causing her to grow bigger. In fact, women with gestational diabetes often deliver babies who weigh more than nine pounds.
Preterm labor: A mother with gestational diabetes may naturally go into
labor early, or her doctor may recommend early delivery because of the
baby’s large size.
Increased risk of cesarean delivery: Because of the baby’s large size,
a cesarean delivery (also known as a C-section) is often necessary to
deliver the baby.
Respiratory distress in Baby: Many babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes have immature lungs and need help breathing until their
lungs become stronger and more developed. These respiratory issues
often happen in babies who are born preterm, but it can also occur in
babies who aren’t born early.
Jaundice in Baby: Some babies born to diabetic mothers have immature
livers that can’t break down bilirubin (a yellow pigment that’s created as
a natural byproduct when the body breaks down red blood cells). Too
much bilirubin leads to a yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes.
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should
Low blood sugar in Baby after birth: Some babies are at risk of having
their blood sugar go too low because they produced more insulin during
development in the womb. (Insulin naturally lowers blood glucose
levels.) Low blood sugar can lead to shakiness, seizures, and trouble
breathing for an infant.
Development of type 2 diabetes later in life: Both Mom and Baby are at
higher risk of developing diabetes later in life.
Treating gestational diabetes with a carb-controlled diet and exercise
The universal treatment for gestational diabetes — whether you have a
mild case or a severe one that requires daily insulin injections — is a diet
that moderates your carbohydrate intake. As I explain in Chapter 3, carbohydrates are found mostly in grains, fruits, vegetables, and sweet foods.
Although you shouldn’t start following the Atkins diet (a diet that’s very low
in carbohydrates), you do need to use caution with portion sizes of carbcontaining foods. Also try to avoid sugary foods, specifically liquid sources of
sugar like regular soft drinks and even fruit juices, and limit portions of desserts, candy, and processed starches, like white bread, white rice, and many
low-fiber cereals and crackers.
Fill up on foods that are high in fiber and protein to prevent spikes in your
blood sugar.
If you’re a carb lover, don’t panic. Make an appointment with an RD who’s also
a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), and he or she can walk you through the
best diet for you. Work with your RD to develop an individualized plan with
the right amount of carbs, proteins, and fats that will nourish you and help
you control your gestational diabetes at the same time.
Regular exercise is another part of the standard gestational diabetes treatment plan. Exercise can increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin, meaning
that your body doesn’t need to produce as much of it to clear out the excess
glucose. Check with your doctor for any limitations you may need to incorporate into your exercise routine.
Polycystic ovary syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder that
results in irregular menstruation, cysts on the ovaries, and overproduction
of androgens (male hormones). PCOS is a leading cause of infertility, in part
because many women with PCOS are overweight or obese. If you have PCOS
and you’re reading this, then congratulations on overcoming this pregnancy
Chapter 18: Help Me, Doc! Situations That Require Medical Attention
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown, but insulin levels that are too high
(often due to the woman’s being overweight or borderline diabetic) are
thought to cause a spike in androgen production by the ovaries, leading to
symptoms of PCOS. These symptoms include menstrual irregularities (prior
to getting pregnant of course!), acne, or hair on your face or body. Testing
includes blood tests for hormone or metabolic abnormalities in addition to a
history and physical examination. (Note: Women don’t usually get tested for
PCOS while pregnant; they typically already know they have it.)
The big pregnancy complication for many women with PCOS is that PCOS can
lead to insulin resistance, which results in high blood sugar and diabetes. If
you have PCOS, alert your doctor as soon in your pregnancy as possible so
that you can be screened earlier for gestational diabetes (see the preceding
section for details). Follow your doctor’s instructions on medications and lifestyle modifications, such as a carb-controlled diet and increased exercise, that
are necessary to keep your blood sugar under control.
Depending on your pre-pregnancy weight, you may also be advised to adjust
the desired amount of weight gain during your pregnancy (I share the average weight gain numbers in Chapter 5). I also recommend visiting an RD who
specializes in pregnancy and PCOS to create an individualized nutrition plan
for you.
High blood pressure and preeclampsia
Even if you didn’t have high blood pressure (also called hypertension) before
you were pregnant, you may develop it while you’re pregnant, particularly in
the second or third trimester. This is especially true if you have a family history of high blood pressure or you’re overweight prior to getting pregnant.
Your doctor measures your blood pressure at every prenatal visit. Because
you likely won’t feel any symptoms if you have high blood pressure, it’s
extremely important that you attend all your prenatal appointments.
If high blood pressure goes undiagnosed, the risks for Baby and Mom are
significant. High blood pressure can restrict the flow of blood to the placenta,
potentially robbing your baby of the oxygen and nutrients carried in that
blood and leading to placental abruption (when the placenta separates from
the uterus), premature delivery, and/or a low-birth-weight baby. Risks to
Mom include a higher risk of stroke or heart attack.
Sometimes high blood pressure leads to preeclampsia, a condition that’s
marked by a combination of high blood pressure, swelling, and excess protein
in the urine (detected with a urine test your doctor may order). Preeclampsia
can cause damage to the mother’s liver, kidneys, and brain. It can also lead to
fatal complications for the mother and baby. The only real cure for preeclampsia is delivery of the baby.
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should
If you have high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, or a history of kidney
or liver problems, you’re at higher risk of developing preeclampsia. This
condition occurs more often in women who are pregnant for the first time,
especially those women who are over age 40. Multiple pregnancies (twins,
triplets, or more) can also increase a woman’s risk of developing this condition. Women typically develop preeclampsia in the second half of pregnancy.
Symptoms of preeclampsia include blurred vision, severe headaches that
won’t go away, fatigue, pain in the abdomen on the right side, shortness of
breath, and infrequent urination. Gaining five or more pounds in a week can
also be a sign of preeclampsia (from retaining fluid/swelling). Some swelling is
normal in pregnancy, especially in the hands, feet, and face, but if you’re concerned about your swelling or if you have any of the other symptoms (especially together), call your doctor.
Whether you have high blood pressure or preeclampsia, the primary nutrition recommendation is the same: Limit your intake of sodium to less than
2,300 mg per day. (Your doctor may want you to lower your intake to 1,500
mg if your case is more severe, so be sure to check with him or her to find
out how much you need to modify your diet.) Chances are most of your daily
sodium comes from processed and prepared foods, including soups, sauces
(such as soy, BBQ, and tomato), condiments (think pickles and olives),
cheese, processed meats (such as ham, pepperoni, and sausage), and restaurant food. Try to avoid these major sodium sources and read labels to see
how much sodium is in the foods you’re consuming.
Here are some additional diet-related ways to keep high blood pressure at bay:
Take in more potassium. Potassium helps you maintain proper fluid balance in your body and has been shown to help with blood pressure control. Every fruit and vegetable has at least a little bit of potassium, but
bananas, potatoes, and legumes (beans) have the most. Aim to consume
at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day to get your daily
4,700 mg.
Embrace dairy products. Calcium has been shown to help keep blood
pressure in check, so drink your milk and eat your yogurt (these foods
are also good sources of potassium) or take a calcium supplement to get
your 1,000 mg per day.
Avoid caffeine. Caffeine can raise blood pressure, so avoid it if you have
blood pressure issues.
Consider taking an omega-3 supplement. Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and
EPA) have been found to help reduce blood pressure, so eat fatty fish
such as salmon or take a fish-oil-based omega-3 supplement. Find out
more about omega-3s in Chapter 3.
Chapter 18: Help Me, Doc! Situations That Require Medical Attention
Along with adjusting your diet, you can make two other important lifestyle
changes to help control your blood pressure: exercise and stress management. Check with your doctor to find out if you need to incorporate any limitations into your exercise routine and then head over to Chapter 5 for tips
on adding exercise to your day. Controlling stress isn’t easy, especially when
you’re preparing to bring a new life into the world, but getting plenty of rest
and relaxation can help you keep it under control.
Anemia, or abnormally low levels of red blood cells, is fairly common in pregnancy because of the increased blood volume and the high demand for iron
(the mineral that helps make red blood cells, which carry oxygen from the
lungs to all parts of the body). To account for the increase in blood volume,
pregnant women need to consume about 27 mg of iron per day.
You may be at risk of anemia if you entered pregnancy with low iron levels, or
if you aren’t getting enough iron in your diet now that you’re pregnant. Your
doctor will probably check your iron levels when you become pregnant and at
least once more during your pregnancy. However, contact your doctor right
away if you experience any of the following symptoms of anemia:
Unusual weakness or fatigue
Numbness in the hands and feet
Paleness of the skin
Chest pain
Irregular heartbeat
If you’re anemic, you could have a low-birth-weight baby and/or preterm delivery. Low-birth-weight babies, especially those born preterm, can have learning
disabilities, vision or hearing loss, respiratory problems, and heart defects.
Studies on low-birth-weight babies have also shown a risk of chronic diseases
such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease later on in life.
The best way to treat anemia is to consume more iron-containing foods; I
introduce you to these foods in Chapter 3. Another way to get your daily
dose of iron is to take a supplement. Your prenatal vitamin has some iron,
but your doctor may recommend that you take even more iron in supplement
form if your blood levels are too low. Note: Iron in supplements has been
known to constipate some people, so eat high-fiber foods and drink plenty of
water to prevent that unpleasant side effect.
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should
Nutrition Advice for Mothers
with Special Considerations
As you probably already know, every pregnancy is different and every
woman brings with her a unique set of genetics, habits, medical history,
and circumstances. Parts I and II of this book present nutrition advice that
applies to the average pregnant woman, but the following sections offer
advice that’s more specific to teenage mothers, mothers who’ve conquered
cancer, and mothers carrying multiples.
Nutritional concerns for teenage mothers
Pregnant teens bring a unique set of circumstances to pregnancy because
they’re often very busy with social events and school schedules and aren’t
always thinking about taking care of their bodies. Add to these issues erratic
eating schedules with skipped meals and high-calorie, low-nutrient food
choices and you have quite a challenge. To top it all off, a teenage body is
still growing and needs nutrients to do so, and an unborn baby has to compete for those same nutrients. Teen pregnancies are considered high risk for
all of these reasons, which is why it’s important to go to all doctor’s appointments throughout your pregnancy.
From a nutritional perspective, teenage mothers need four nutrients in higher
amounts than adult mothers. Because teens are still in their bone-building
years, they need 1,300 mg of calcium and 1,250 mg of phosphorus (a key component in bone and teeth). The other two nutrients teens need more of are
magnesium (for bone health as well as enzyme production) at 400 mg a day
and zinc (for tissue growth and immunity) at 12 mg a day.
If you’re a pregnant teen, you absolutely must take a prenatal vitamin to
ensure that you’re getting many of your vitamins and minerals in supplement
form. You may also need to take an extra calcium supplement that contains
vitamin D and phosphorus to meet the increased demand for bone health,
especially if you’re not getting three to four servings of dairy foods (milk,
yogurt, and cheese) every day. Talk to your doctor to find out how much and
what kind of additional supplements you should take.
Pregnancy is not the time to restrict calories or worry about body image or
weight gain; you need to eat plenty of nutritious foods to fuel your body and
your baby. Generally speaking, pregnant teens under 18 years should gain 35
pounds during their pregnancy. If you’re dealing with emotions that revolve
around body image and not wanting to gain weight, talk with a therapist or
your doctor about your feelings.
Chapter 18: Help Me, Doc! Situations That Require Medical Attention
Nutritional concerns for mothers
who are cancer survivors
If you’re a cancer survivor, you need to focus on fueling yourself with good
food to help keep your body strong from the inside out. Your body has
already gone through the trauma of cancer and treatment, which may have
left you entering pregnancy with a less-than-ideal nutritional status. Aim to
get 9 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables every day (no, that’s not a typo).
Fruits and vegetables contain the most cancer-fighting nutrients and provide
many of the nutrients you and your baby need.
Consult with an RD who can help you develop an eating plan that’s right for
you. Eat well-balanced meals that include whole grains, lean proteins, fruits,
vegetables, and healthy fats so you can maintain or improve your nutritional
status while pregnant. Always have healthy snacks handy so you can keep
your body full of the energy you need. Talk to your doctor about your medical history to see whether she has any additional advice.
Nutritional concerns for
mothers of multiples
Carrying twins (or triplets or more!) is becoming more and more common.
Women are having babies later in life, and one of the outcomes has been a
higher rate of twins due to more than one egg being released in older women
as a result of either hormonal changes or the use of fertility technologies.
A multiple pregnancy is considered high risk, so expect that your doctor is
going to want to see you more frequently to make sure you’re not developing
diabetes, high blood pressure, or preeclampsia or going into preterm labor.
If you started your pregnancy at a normal weight, you should shoot to gain 37
to 54 pounds if you’re having twins. If you’re having triplets, your doctor may
recommend that you gain more weight. Basically, work with your doctor to
come up with the right weight gain plan for you.
Gaining those extra pounds takes extra energy. Expect to eat a few hundred
more calories for each child you’re carrying. Try to get these extra calories
through nutrient-rich foods. Chapter 11 provides you with some sample meal
plans, but you may need to add a few snacks or increase portions of proteins
to accommodate your increased needs. (Flip to Chapter 7 for some healthy
snack ideas.) Your doctor may also tell you to take even more folic acid, calcium, or iron in addition to your prenatal vitamin.
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should
When you’re carrying multiples, your uterus is larger than that of a woman
carrying a single child. Consequently, your stomach may feel less than inviting
to more food. If you know exactly what I mean, spread your meals and snacks
throughout the day so that you get consistent food in small-enough portions
to prevent heartburn.
Surviving bed rest without gaining too much weight
No woman goes into her pregnancy thinking
she’ll have to spend days on end in bed prior
to delivery, but that’s precisely what happens
for some women. Doctors typically prescribe
bed rest only when they’re concerned about
the placenta, premature dilation, preterm labor,
or high blood pressure. The term bed rest can
have varying meanings from complete rest in a
hospital bed to modified bed rest on a couch
or bed while at home. If your doctor recommends bed rest for you, ask for specific guidelines regarding things such as proper positions,
bathroom breaks, baths, car rides (and driving),
household chores, and sex.
Although right now you may welcome bed rest
as a break from your crazy life, it gets old fast
when you realize you can no longer go out to
eat, go see a movie, or even go to the grocery
store. When you’re on bed rest, you’re not only
restricted from moving much (burning fewer
calories) but you’re also sitting around getting
bored. Turning to food is one way to cut the
monotony, but the result can be unwanted extra
pounds of fat.
To keep yourself from gaining too much weight
(and losing a lot of muscle tone) while on bed
rest, try out these tips:
✓ Don’t drown yourself in food because
you’re bored. Stay occupied with visiting
with friends and family, watching movies,
doing Sudoku and crossword puzzles,
reading books and magazines, knitting,
tweeting, blogging, scrapbooking . . . and
anything else you can find to take your mind
off the fact that you’re confined to a bed.
✓ Ask your doctor if you can stretch or lift light
weights (upper body only) to prevent blood
clots and maintain strength. Just make sure
you follow all your doctor’s guidelines and
✓ Eat small, frequent meals and snacks to
prevent heartburn.
✓ Eat less (fewer calories, smaller portions)
than you would if you were active, but
remember that you still need to take your
prenatal vitamins and eat nutrient-rich
✓ Ask your doctor about getting a prescription for physical therapy first while you’re
on bed rest to help prevent muscle loss and
then after you deliver to help you regain
your strength.
✓ Lay on your side but switch sides frequently
to prevent skin sores and aches and to get
some movement.
Remember: Try not to dwell on the negatives of
bed rest and remember that every day of bed
rest keeps your baby in the womb where critical
development is taking place.
Chapter 19
Mommy-and-Me Food Allergies
In This Chapter
▶Discovering the most common food allergens
▶Figuring out how to deal with a suspected allergy and prevent food allergies in your baby
ood allergies are estimated to affect more than 12 million Americans, or
4 percent of the U.S. population. Children in particular have higher rates
of food allergies during their first year or two of life due to their immature
immune systems. After they reach age 5, many children outgrow food allergies, but some food allergies stay for a lifetime.
A food allergy occurs when your immune system mistakes the proteins in the
food you eat for invaders and battles with them, causing a series of bodily reactions that may endanger your health. Currently, doctors don’t have a cure for
food allergies. Avoidance is the only strategy proven to prevent outbreaks.
In this chapter, I share substitutes for the eight most common food allergens
so that if you have an allergy to one (or more) of these foods — or even if you
merely suspect you may be allergic to one of them — you can be confident
you’re still ingesting the nutrients you and your baby need. I also let you
know what to do if you think you may be allergic to a food, and I reveal some
simple steps you can take to help reduce your child’s risk of developing a
food allergy.
Identifying Common Food Allergens
Eight foods make up 90 percent of the food allergies people experience. If
you’re allergic (or suspect you’re allergic) to one of the following foods, make
sure you eat other foods that have similar nutrients so that you can avoid
the food you’re allergic to while still getting a balanced diet during your pregnancy. I offer suggestions for allergen substitutes in the following list:
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should
Symptoms of food allergies
Symptoms of food allergies can appear anywhere from minutes after consuming a food to about
two hours afterward. Typical symptoms include the following:
✓ Tingling in the mouth or throat
✓ Abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea
✓ Swelling of the tongue and throat
✓ Wheezing or difficulty breathing
✓ Rashes (eczema)
✓ Loss of consciousness
✓ Hives (swelling)
Milk: A key ingredient in cheese, yogurt, and ice cream, milk is rich in
calcium and vitamin D, among other nutrients. Choose fortified soymilk in place of regular milk, and look for dairy-free cheeses to get your
calcium. If soymilk isn’t your thing, take a calcium supplement (500 to
1,000 mg). Also take a vitamin D supplement because it’s difficult to get
through food.
Eggs: Eggs are not only a breakfast staple but also an ingredient in a lot
of other dishes, especially baked goods. Eggs are high in choline (I tell
you all about this nutrient’s importance in Chapter 3), so if you can’t
have eggs, incorporate beef, poultry, wheat germ, cauliflower, broccoli,
and soy lecithin into your diet to make sure you’re still getting enough
choline. Read labels carefully and look for the words egg, egg white, and
albumin in ingredient lists. Mayonnaise typically contains egg, as do flu
and other vaccines.
Peanuts: Peanuts are highly allergenic, so if you’re allergic to them,
don’t touch them or let them touch your food. Read labels and avoid
foods that say they’re processed in a plant that also processes peanuts.
Peanuts have monounsaturated fat, protein, fiber, folate, and other B
vitamins. To get these same nutrients, you can eat tree nuts (if you’re
not allergic to them, that is), beans (garbanzo beans, navy beans, kidney
beans, black beans, and so on), or lentils.
Tree nuts: These nuts include walnuts, almonds, cashews, and pecans.
They’re full of protein, fiber, unsaturated fats, vitamin E, folate, and B
vitamins. To get these nutrients if you’re allergic to tree nuts, simply
include some vegetable oils, avocados, and whole grains in your diet.
Just as with peanuts, avoid touching tree nuts or eating foods processed
in the same plant as tree nuts if you have an allergy.
Fish: Fish, such as salmon, tuna, and cod, is an excellent source of
protein and the best place to get the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.
Chapter 19: Mommy-and-Me Food Allergies
If you’re allergic to all fish, turn to other meats and meat alternatives
for protein. To get your omega-3 fatty acids, your best bet is to take
a fish-free DHA/EPA omega-3 supplement, like Ascenta NutraVege or
Spectrum’s Vegetarian DHA supplement.
Shellfish: Shellfish, such as shrimp, lobster, and crab, is a lean protein
that offers various vitamins and minerals, including selenium, vitamins D
and B12, and zinc. You can get protein and many of these nutrients from
other lean meats (lean beef, white-meat skinless poultry, or lean pork) or
meat alternatives (soy foods and legumes), and you can take a vitamin D
supplement and get selenium from chicken, eggs, nuts, and seeds. You
can get your omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) from a shellfish-free
supplement (check the label to make sure it’s shellfish-free).
Soy: Soy is the main ingredient in edamame (green soybeans), tofu, soymilk, and many vegetarian meat and dairy alternatives. Manufacturers
also add soy to many other foods, so read ingredient lists carefully and
avoid foods with ingredients such as soy lecithin, soybean oil, miso,
tamari, textured vegetable protein, and bean curd. Soy is a good source
of protein and nutrients such as folate and other B vitamins, potassium,
and iron. If you can’t have soy, eat meat, eggs, or dairy to make sure you
still get these nutrients.
Wheat: You find wheat in a lot of grains, especially bread and bread
products (bagels, English muffins, and so on), tortillas, cereals, and
crackers. Wheat foods contain complex carbohydrates, folate, iron, B
vitamins, and more. Look for wheat-free foods that provide similar nutrients, like rice, potatoes, and quinoa.
What to Do If You Suspect
a Food Allergy
If you suspect that you have a food allergy, keep a detailed food journal.
Record not only the foods you eat but also the symptoms you experience and
the timing of the symptoms as they appear. Keep in mind that some reactions
can take several hours to appear. After you narrow down the food or foods
that may be causing problems, avoid those foods for the duration of your
pregnancy and talk to your doctor to find out how to deal with your allergies
during pregnancy.
Read food labels carefully to look for any foods you may be allergic to.
Become aware of all the different ways a particular food may be listed. For
example, ingredient lists can list milk as yogurt, cheese, butter, cream, milk
solids, whey, casein, lactose, and lactalbumin, just to name a few. Research
each food you may be allergic to so you can avoid it at all costs.
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should
Distinguishing between food allergies
and food intolerances
Food intolerances are different from allergies. Intolerances don’t provoke an allergic
reaction and aren’t considered as dangerous.
Lactose intolerance (the inability to digest lactose, or milk sugar) is the most common food
intolerance. Some women find that they can’t
digest milk as easily when they’re pregnant. If
you’re especially gassy or have loose stools
after drinking milk or eating ice cream, don’t
be alarmed. Simply look for lactose-free milk
(or use soymilk) and avoid cream-based foods.
Hard cheeses, such as cheddar, mozzarella,
and Swiss, are typically low in lactose and not
as problematic.
Don’t get tested for food allergies while pregnant. A positive reaction could
result in less oxygen to you and your baby. Or you could go into anaphylactic
shock, a severe allergic reaction that can come on quickly and cause death.
The time to get tested for a food allergy is after your little one has safely
entered the world.
Preventing Food Allergies in Your Baby
About 3 million children in the United States have food allergies. Many children can outgrow food allergies, especially those from milk, soy, eggs, and
wheat. However, allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish often last
a lifetime. The following sections offer guidance on the steps you can take to
prevent your child from developing a food allergy, starting before he’s born
and continuing throughout his first year.
Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of food allergies, so make sure
you avoid smoking when pregnant and stay away from anyone who’s smoking
around you to decrease your exposure to second-hand smoke.
Deciding whether you need to avoid
certain foods while pregnant
The science around preventing food allergies is still fairly controversial and
inconclusive. Years ago, the general consensus was that all pregnant women
should completely avoid potentially allergenic foods to help reduce allergies
in their kids. However, more recent evidence shows that complete avoidance
isn’t necessary. In fact, eating potentially allergenic foods may be beneficial
because doing so exposes the baby to those foods early on.
Chapter 19: Mommy-and-Me Food Allergies
If you, your partner, or one of your older children has a food allergy, your
baby has a higher risk of developing a food allergy. Obviously, if you’re allergic to a particular food, you need to avoid it during your pregnancy. But if
your partner or an older child is allergic to a certain food, you may also want
to avoid that allergen, especially during the third trimester.
Then again, because the science is still evolving and no one’s really sure
whether complete avoidance is necessary for high-risk mothers, you can opt
to reduce your intake (instead of completely eliminating the food from your
diet). For example, if your toddler is allergic to peanuts, you may decide to
eat peanuts during this pregnancy but reduce your daily PBJ to once a week
or twice a month.
Antioxidant vitamins C, E, and beta carotene, as well as vitamin D, have been
shown to help with allergy prevention. Omega-3 fatty acids are also good for
allergy prevention because they assist in reducing inflammation and promote
development of a healthy nervous system (find out more about omega-3 fatty
acids in Chapter 3). Probiotics encourage good bacteria in the digestive tract,
and some studies have found that taking them while pregnant may help with
mild reduction of allergies in babies. You find probiotics in supplement form
or in foods like yogurt and kefir.
Recognizing the role breast-feeding
plays in allergy prevention
After your baby arrives, you can take a major step toward reducing his risk
of developing food allergies by breast-feeding him exclusively for the first
four to six months of his life. Breast milk contains your natural antibodies to
strengthen your baby’s immune system, helping him fight off allergies and sickness those first few months of life when his immune system is weaker. In addition to getting important immune-building factors from your milk, your baby
also avoids the common allergens found in cow’s milk and soy-based formulas.
Avoiding potential food allergens while breast-feeding is more necessary if
you have a baby who’s at high risk of developing allergies. If you, your partner, or an older child has an allergy to a specific food, simply avoid that food
while breast-feeding. But don’t feel like you have to avoid all eight of the most
common food allergens (I list these earlier in the chapter).
If you don’t have allergies in your family, you can eat moderate amounts of
all potentially allergenic foods while breast-feeding. Just be aware that your
baby may have a reaction to one (or more) of those foods. Watch for signs
that your baby isn’t tolerating your milk. These signs include extraordinary
fussiness, unusual stools, bloody diarrhea, hives, eczema, or trouble breathing. Seek medical help from your baby’s pediatrician and consult with a registered dietitian who specializes in pediatric allergies.
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should
Creating taste preferences in your baby
Have you ever wondered why some babies
accept their broccoli and green beans with no
complaint while others spit them out, shuddering up and down?
Along with your baby’s heart and lungs, the
areas of her brain that are associated with taste
and smell are also developing while she’s in
the womb. Your amniotic fluid, which your baby
inhales and swallows, has different flavors and
smells, depending on what you eat. So what you
eat can literally shape your baby’s palate.
You have five taste senses: sweet, sour, salty,
bitter, and umami (savory). Your body’s natural
instinct is to reject bitter and sour and to accept
sweet, umami, and salty tastes. Most vegetables contain natural bitter-tasting compounds,
so if you want your baby to accept her veggies,
you have to introduce her to those flavors very
early on in life. Role modeling healthy eating
behaviors literally starts while your baby is in
the womb.
If you can’t breast-feed or are simply uninterested in breast-feeding and food
allergies tend to run in the family, use a hypoallergenic formula.
Introducing food allergens to your child
The best way to reduce allergic reactions in any child is to delay introducing solid foods until she’s 4 to 6 months old. Scientists used to think that
delaying solid foods for longer than six months was beneficial in allergy
prevention, but more recent recommendations from the American Academy
of Pediatrics (AAP) show that 4 to 6 months old is a good time to begin
introducing babies to solid foods. For the best results, start with low-allergy
foods, such as rice cereal and bland fruit and vegetable purees (green beans,
squash, and applesauce, for example). The AAP has also found no current
convincing evidence to delay the introduction of foods that are considered to
be highly allergenic, such as fish, eggs, and peanuts.
Allergic responses typically don’t occur after just one exposure to food. Offer
only one new food every few days so that you can determine which food
caused the reaction if your baby has one. After your baby has a nice repertoire of foods, vary the routine to provide different foods that provide a variety of flavors (and nutrients) on a regular basis.
Excessive exposure to foods can cause allergic reactions. For instance,
common allergens in other countries vary from those in the United States
because their staple foods are different. Rice is a common allergen in Japan,
whereas chickpeas are a common allergen in India. To avoid overexposure to
the common allergens in your culture, offer a variety of foods to your infant.
Chapter 20
After the Arrival:
Caring for You and Your Baby
In This Chapter
▶Eating right after delivery to help speed up your recovery
▶Considering the benefits of nursing
▶Knowing what to eat while you nurse
▶Feeding your baby (with breast milk or formula) to ensure proper growth
ongratulations on your new arrival! You’ve been carrying your gorgeous
new bundle for the past 40 weeks or so, and now you’re able to enjoy
the fruits of your labor (literally!). Whether you had a 30-hour labor or a
planned C-section delivery, childbirth takes a lot out of you, but good nutrition can help restore your body to what it once was. This chapter tells you
all about the nutrients you need as you recover from childbirth. And because
choosing to breast-feed comes with its own set of nutrition rules, this chapter also helps you make the decision about nursing and introduces you to
the basics of nursing nutrition. Last but not least, it gives you a quick crash
course in feeding your little one, whether you opt for breast milk or formula.
Getting the Nutrients You Need
to Fuel Your Recovery
Good nutrition is important all throughout your life, but it’s critical when
you’re recovering from childbirth — the first two to four weeks (or so) after
vaginal delivery and eight to ten weeks (or so) after C-section delivery. The
nutrients provided in healthy foods aid your body in repairing and rebuilding after pregnancy and delivery. In fact, your recovery time could be longer
if your body doesn’t get the proper nourishment. So make sure you nourish
your body with lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy.
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should
Certain nutrients are especially important during the recovery period. Make
sure you get plenty of the following in your post-delivery diet:
Iron: Due to the blood loss during delivery (you lose some blood with
both vaginal and C-section deliveries), make sure you’re still getting
plenty of iron — 27 grams (g) — during the recovery period after
giving birth. After your recovery period, you can drop down to the prepregnancy iron intake level of 18 g per day as long as your doctor hasn’t
determined that you’re anemic or recommended a higher level. Find out
how to add more iron to your diet in Chapter 3.
Protein: Protein has the amino acids your body needs to help it build
and repair cells and muscles that were damaged during childbirth, especially if you had a C-section. Try to get the 71 g per day (the same you
needed during pregnancy) throughout the recovery period following
delivery. No need to go out of your way to eat large steaks; just focus on
getting protein from meats, seafood, dairy, eggs, beans, soy, or nuts at
every meal. See Chapter 3 for more on adding protein to your diet.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is good for wound healing whether you delivered
vaginally or via C-section. Aim to get 85 milligrams (mg) during the
recovery period by drinking your 100 percent fruit juice, eating some
strawberries or kiwi, and eating plenty of other fruits and vegetables.
Fiber: Many women complain of constipation in the weeks following
delivery. To avoid becoming one of them, drink lots of fluid and eat 28 g
of fiber per day during the recovery period. (Refer to Chapter 3 for ideas
on adding more fiber to your diet.)
You may also find that taking a probiotic supplement on a regular basis
helps relieve constipation. If you get really constipated and don’t have
a bowel movement for several days, use a natural laxative or stool
softener every few days until you become regular again. Moving your
body with some daily physical activity can also help keep your bowels
Keep taking a multivitamin after you deliver to help fill in any nutrient gaps in
your diet. If you’re nursing, continue taking your prenatal vitamins until you
stop nursing. If you’re going the formula route and still have some prenatal
vitamins left, finish them off and then switch over to a general women’s
Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family to help you in your recovery by preparing nutritious meals. If you’re cooking for yourself, cook more than you
need and freeze the extra to use on a difficult day when you don’t have the
time or energy to cook.
Chapter 20: After the Arrival: Caring for You and Your Baby
Adding caffeine and alcohol back into your diet
Did you pack Champagne or wine in your hospital bag? Tempted to order a double espresso
in the recovery room?
You’ve been so good during your pregnancy,
and now you want to celebrate with some caffeine and alcohol, right? Enjoying a drink of
either is okay, but be careful about how much
you drink if you’re nursing (they both pass into
breast milk). Keep in mind that you may get jittery
or not sleep well if you drink too much caffeine
at once, so ease back into your caffeine routine
with half regular/half decaf coffee. As for alcohol, limit yourself to half of an alcoholic drink
while you build up your tolerance again, and, of
course, don’t drink heavily when you’re caring
for your child. (Moderate drinking guidelines
suggest women stick to no more than one drink
per day all the time, not just after pregnancy.)
See the section “Being smart about alcohol and
caffeine” for details about consuming these
substances when nursing.
To Nurse, or Not to Nurse?
Deciding to breast-feed instead of feeding your baby formula has implications
for both parties starting soon after your little one makes her debut, so you need
to make your choice before giving birth. The following sections provide you
with some points of consideration to aid you in the decision-making process.
The choice not to breast-feed has already been made for some women. If you
have an infection like tuberculosis or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV),
are on certain medications or treatment for cancer (like those for chemotherapy or radiation), or are drinking heavily or using drugs, do not breast-feed.
If you’ve had breast implants, you should be able to breast-feed, but you may
not produce quite as much milk and may need to supplement with formula to
make sure your baby gets enough to eat.
Benefits of nursing for Mom
You may be surprised to find out that your baby isn’t the only one who benefits from nursing. You get quite a few benefits, too:
Breast milk is the most nutritious food you can give your child. A
healthy baby is a happy baby, and a happy baby makes for a happy
mom! (I review all the benefits of breast milk for your baby in the next
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should
Producing milk requires a lot of calories, and many of those calories
come from your body as it breaks down its fat stores. Translation:
Good-bye lingering pregnancy pounds — provided you don’t exceed
your calorie needs. (In other words, you can’t overeat and expect to lose
Nursing gives you a chance to develop a special bond with your child.
Your baby is physically depending on you for nourishment, and the time
you spend together on the recliner or couch feeding is special time.
Nursing can help improve your mood. Most women experience some
mood swings after giving birth; hormones, a brand new lifestyle, and a
lack of sleep all contribute. Studies have shown that women who breastfeed have lower incidence of postpartum depression, mainly because
of the hormone oxytocin, which signals milk production in the body.
Oxytocin has also been linked to reduced levels of anxiety, leaving you
more relaxed and able to bond with your baby.
Nursing may protect your health in the future. Some studies show a
lower incidence of ovarian and breast cancer in women who breast-fed
their infants.
Nursing is free (or at least a lot cheaper than expensive formula).
Breast pumps, if you need them, aren’t cheap, but compared to the cost
of formula, they’re a small investment to make.
Nursing requires that you sit down numerous times every day to relax.
It’s a great time to read, meditate, or get caught up on your favorite TV
shows with your feet up. I read more books while I was nursing than I
had in the previous three years!
How long should I nurse?
Breast milk can provide all the nutrition your
baby needs for the first six months of life. At
four to six months, you can start introducing
solid foods, but keep in mind that breast milk
or formula will continue to be your baby’s primary nutrition until about a year when he starts
eating a larger portion of solids.
So exactly how long should you plan to breastfeed? The American Academy of Pediatrics
recommends breast-feeding for one year. The
World Health Organization recommends doing
so for two years. How long you go is up to you
and your baby. I nursed for one year with each
of my boys. Right when we got to the end of that
year, I could tell they were ready to move onto
solids and bottles, and I was very happy that I
had met my goal of lasting the full year.
If the thought of nursing for a year or more is
scary, just remember that any amount of time
you nurse is better than no time at all. Whether
you nurse for one week, three months, six
months, or two years, your baby is still getting all the benefits from your breast milk that I
describe in this chapter.
Chapter 20: After the Arrival: Caring for You and Your Baby
Can I nurse if I had multiples?
Nursing multiples is definitely a possibility. Even
if you can’t provide all of their nutrition after birth,
partial nursing for each baby still offers benefits.
Some women are able to exclusively breastfeed multiples successfully for a short period
of time; others have to rely on supplementation
with formula. Just keep in mind that you need
more fluid and nutrition if you’re producing
more milk (see the “Practicing Good Nutrition
When You’re Nursing” section for guidelines on
a nursing mom’s nutrient needs).
Benefits of breast milk for Baby
Breast-feeding is as good for your baby as it is for you; it offers the following
Breast milk contains just the right proportion of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals that your baby needs for healthy
growth (as long as you continue to eat right while nursing).
Breast milk is full of antibodies and immune properties that help protect
your baby against infections and illnesses and that are impossible to
mimic in formula. More immune properties translate to fewer doctor
visits and sick days and reduced risk of allergies.
Breast milk is easy to digest, clean, and safe. After all, you don’t have to
worry about whether you cleaned your bottles all the way or whether
the water you’re using with the formula is safe and free of bacteria. Plus,
the breast milk is fresh out of the breast, whereas formula may sit out
for a while before your baby drinks it.
Breast milk reduces your baby’s chances of developing many chronic diseases later in life: obesity, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, certain cancers,
and intestinal diseases. Researchers think that what babies are fed early in
life has a specific metabolic programming effect, meaning that the nutrition
early in life programs a person’s metabolism and health for the future.
Some studies suggest that breast-fed babies have higher IQ test scores
later in life due to the unique fatty acids found in breast milk as well as
the emotional bonding that may contribute to brain health.
Overcoming obstacles of breast-feeding
Even though I firmly believe nursing is the best thing for you and your baby,
before you make your decision, you need to realize that breast-feeding does
have its difficulties:
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should
Nursing requires a certain level of commitment. Whether you’re in the
middle of making or eating dinner, enjoying time with friends, or getting precious sleep, if your baby’s hungry, you have to stop what you’re
doing to feed her.
Many times as my husband watched me lugging my pump everywhere or
missing out on social events because I was in the back room nursing, he
would say, “I’ll make sure those boys know the commitment you made
to nurse them.”
Nursing in public can be awkward. Depending on your comfort level of
nursing in public, you may find yourself sitting in the car or bathroom a
lot more often. If you do nurse in public, bring along a drape or big blanket to be as discreet as possible.
Nursing requires that you continue to pay close attention to what you
eat and drink. The nutritional do’s and don’ts for nursing (outlined in
the next section) are somewhat of a continuation of those for pregnancy.
Seeking out nutritious foods to build the nutrient content of your milk
and avoiding those foods and drinks that can be harmful in your milk are
still on the top of the priority list.
You have to plan when and where to pump. If you’re a working mom
and are still nursing when you go back to work, a breast pump is a
necessity. I highly recommend a hands-free pumping bra (to be used
only when you’re pumping) so you can be free to flip through a magazine or work on the computer while you’re pumping. Create a checklist
so that you don’t forget to pack any of the pump parts each day. Clean
your pump between pumping sessions and keep the milk cold in the
refrigerator or in a cooler with ice packs to keep it safe.
Practicing Good Nutrition
When You’re Nursing
Rule number one of nursing nutrition: You have to eat some additional calories per day to help your body produce milk. In fact, nursing women need to
consume about 330 to 400 more calories than they did before pregnancy. The
more active you are and the more milk you produce, the more calories you
If you’re trying to lose weight and nurse at the same time, don’t consume
fewer than 1,800 calories a day. If you do, your milk production may suffer.
Later in this chapter, you find some sample meal plans that are based on
getting 2,200 calories per day, an amount that supports milk production but
can also promote a small amount of weight loss (depending on your caloric
Chapter 20: After the Arrival: Caring for You and Your Baby
As for what you should eat to get the calories your body needs, treat your
lactation, or nursing, diet pretty much the same as your pregnancy diet.
Continue to fill your plate with nutritious foods and limit your intake of those
foods that provide little nutritional value and a lot of excess calories. The
next sections break down the specific nutrients you need to pay attention
to when you’re nursing, provide some sample menus so you can see how to
incorporate them into your diet, and offer some advice for consuming caffeine and alcohol.
Focusing on carbohydrates,
proteins, and fats
Carbohydrates are your body’s source of energy, and when you’re nursing,
you need about 300 g of carbs per day to support milk production. Your body
also needs 29 g of fiber, the part of complex carbohydrates that doesn’t get
digested, per day, so load up on those whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. As for protein, aim to get the same amount per day as you did when
you were pregnant: about 20 percent of your calories. For example, if you’re
eating 2,200 calories per day, aim to get 110 g per day.
Fat is necessary in everyone’s diet. Focus on the healthier monounsaturated
and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, olive or canola oil, and avocados. Limit your intake of the artery-clogging saturated and trans fats. Aim to
get about 73 g of fat (that’s 30 percent of your daily calories for a 2,200-calorie
nursing diet). Fats in your diet help you absorb certain nutrients (including
vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as some phytonutrients) that are important for
you and your baby.
You can read more about where to get carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and fats
in Chapter 3.
Highlighting other important nutrients
Most of the nutrients you need to pay special attention to when you’re nursing are the same ones you focused on during pregnancy, but the amounts
you take in may actually be greater than they were when you were pregnant.
Believe it or not, creating milk requires more energy and nutrients than growing a baby!
Following are some of the nutrients you need to focus on if you’re a nursing
mom, arranged in order of importance:
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should
DHA and EPA: These omega-3 fatty acids help with heart health, and
DHA, in particular, helps your baby’s brain development and vision. Aim
to get at least 300 mg of DHA and 220 mg of EPA per day from fish or
supplemental fish oil.
Vitamin D: Vitamin D is necessary for bone health and overall disease
prevention for your baby. Some studies suggest that lactating women
take 1,000 to 6,000 international units (IU) of supplemental vitamin D to
sustain an adequate amount of vitamin D in their breast milk. Because
most women don’t have adequate vitamin D levels in their breast milk,
the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends giving at least 400 IU
of supplemental vitamin D drops per day to all breast-fed infants up to
the age of 1 year. (Note that infant formula provides adequate vitamin D,
so drops aren’t necessary for formula-fed babies.)
Vitamin A: Vitamin A promotes healthy vision, immunity, and cell and
tissue growth in your baby’s body. Your vitamin A needs almost double
compared to pre-pregnancy. Aim to get 4,333 IU (1,300 micrograms, or mcg)
each day by eating fruits and vegetables that are dark orange or green (like
sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, papaya, and spinach) or liver.
Choline: Choline assists with development of the hippocampus, the
memory center of the brain. Aim to get 550 mg each day from egg yolks,
fish, beef, poultry, pork, or wheat germ.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C helps build connective tissue, heals wounds, and
boosts immunity in your baby. Aim to get 120 mg of vitamin C, which
is found in fruits and vegetables and is especially high in citrus fruits,
strawberries, kiwi, bell peppers, and potatoes.
Potassium: Potassium helps maintain the right fluid balance and blood
pressure in your baby. You need 5,100 mg daily, and you find it in
bananas, beans, fish, potatoes, tomatoes, almonds, and more.
Chromium: Chromium helps to keep blood sugar in proper range by
working in insulin. The amount of chromium you need while breastfeeding (45 mcg) is almost double what you needed pre-pregnancy. You
find chromium in beef, poultry, pork, whole grains, and cheese.
Continue taking your prenatal vitamin as long as you nurse. The prenatal
vitamin helps you meet the increased nutrient needs of nursing even on days
when your diet isn’t quite perfect.
Staying hydrated
To create a liquid in your body, you need to add extra liquid to your diet —
128 ounces (or 3.8 liters or 16 cups) of liquid per day to be exact. Not all of
that liquid has to be water (other fluids can hydrate, too), but do try to get at
last half of your total 128 ounces from water. See Chapter 3 for some helpful
hydration tips.
Chapter 20: After the Arrival: Caring for You and Your Baby
To help you get all the fluid you need in a 24-hour period, keep a bottle of
water near where you nurse and drink up while your baby drinks from you.
When I was nursing, I always put an insulated mug of ice water on the table
next to the recliner I sat in while nursing before I went to bed at night. That
way, I could hydrate while nursing even in the middle of the night!
Sampling some meal plans for nursing moms
I created the following sample meal plans so you can see how to put this
chapter’s nursing nutrition recommendations into action. Both plans provide
you with 2,200 calories. Not only does this amount of calories give you the
extra calories you need for nursing, but it also promotes gradual weight loss.
(For more information on losing excess pregnancy pounds the healthy way,
see Chapter 21.)
Day 1
⁄3 cup of Homemade Maple Berry Crunch Granola (Chapter 12)
6 ounces of lowfat or nonfat Greek yogurt
Snack 1
1 orange
Spinach, Date, and Blue Cheese Chicken Panini (Chapter 14)
10 baby carrots with 2 tablespoons of light ranch dressing
Snack 2
⁄2 cup of lowfat cottage cheese with 1⁄2 cup of canned pineapple (canned
in juice)
Snack 3
100-calorie, high-fiber muffin top, like VitaTop (or other fiber-rich
nutrition bar)
4 ounces of skinless turkey breast cutlet cooked in 1 tablespoon of
olive oil
⁄2 cup of cooked quinoa
1 cup of cooked broccoli
Snack 4
8 ounces of lowfat chocolate milk
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should
Enjoy your chocolate milk cold or heat it up to make it hot chocolate! Oh, in
case you were wondering, chocolate milk does contain a very small amount of
caffeine, but it’s not enough to keep you awake or to pass into your breast
Day 2
2 frozen whole-grain waffles
1 tablespoon of peanut butter
⁄2 of a banana
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
Snack 1
1 cup of frosted shredded wheat cereal (dry or with 1⁄2 cup of lowfat milk)
White Bean and Portobello Salad (Chapter 13)
Snack 2
1 cup of frozen or canned low-sodium vegetable soup
Snack 3
2 fresh Medjool dates
1 Italian Stuffed Steak Roll (Chapter 14)
1 cup of cooked, quartered roasted potatoes
1 cup of cooked sugar snap peas
Snack 4
1 cup of light or lowfat ice cream
Being smart about alcohol and caffeine
Alcohol and caffeine pass into breast milk, which means that if you’re taking in
these substances, your baby is, too. Alcohol can interrupt a baby’s sleep, and
large amounts passed to a newborn on a regular basis can cause problems
with brain development. Alcohol may also affect your ability to produce milk
because it suppresses oxytocin, the hormone that signals milk production in
your body.
Chapter 20: After the Arrival: Caring for You and Your Baby
What’s your flavor?
You may have heard people say that you
shouldn’t eat garlic, onions, beans, or spicy
foods while nursing because they may upset
the baby. Well, every baby is different, but some
do get fussy or particularly gassy when they get
certain foods through your milk. For example,
my son spit up more than usual after I ate artichokes, so I cut them out of my diet for the rest
of the time I nursed him. If you suspect that certain foods are causing problems for your baby,
keep a diary of the foods you’re eating and the
symptoms your baby is having and see if you
can find a connection.
Your baby experiences different flavors based
on the foods you eat. So if you want a child
who’s more likely to eat fruits and vegetables,
start introducing him to these flavors early on
through your breast milk. (No guarantees it’ll
work, though!)
Ideally, you’ll continue to avoid alcohol throughout the entire time you’re
nursing, but if you feel the need to have an occasional (once or twice a week
or less) alcoholic drink, try to have it right after a feeding. Alcohol isn’t
stored in your milk, so as long as you wait two to three hours after you have
one drink to feed your baby, the amount of alcohol that passes to your baby
will be very small. You can also pump and discard (pump and dump) your
milk to avoid passing alcohol to your baby. Keep in mind, though, that if you
don’t have pumped milk from a previous session stored, you may need to
feed your baby formula to make up for the dumped milk.
As for caffeine, even small amounts of this stimulant can leave a baby jittery
and irritable, cause interrupted sleep, increase her heart rate, and affect her
In general, limit yourself to no more than 200 to 300 mg of caffeine per day. (To
see the typical amounts of caffeine in foods and beverages, see Chapter 2.) If
you notice that your baby seems to be feeling the effects of the caffeine you’re
taking in, cut out caffeine from your diet. Your baby will be most sensitive for
the first six months, but it’s best to limit caffeine the whole time you’re nursing.
Feeding Baby
Your baby’s stomach is only the size of a thimble when he’s born. With such
a tiny stomach, he needs to eat frequently to get all the nutrition he needs
in a day. You have two options for feeding your newborn: breast milk or
formula. I cover breast milk earlier in this chapter. Formula is food that’s
specially designed to simulate and be a proper substitute for breast milk. The
sections that follow cover the basics of feeding your baby with either option.
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should
Regardless of what you choose to feed your baby, be sure to take him in for
his regularly scheduled checkups so that your pediatrician can monitor his
growth. The best way to find out if your baby is getting enough nutrition is to
see whether he’s growing at the proper pace with his length, weight, and head
circumference. By the time he’s a few days old, he should have six or more
wet diapers and one or more dirty diapers each day, and you should be feeding him about 8 to 12 times per day.
With breast milk
The first milk your baby receives from you is called colostrum. It’s typically
yellow in color and is chock-full of antibodies that help build your baby’s
immune system. (Colostrum is almost like your baby’s first immunization —
only a lot less painful!) Colostrum lasts for two to four days after delivery.
After colostrum is gone, your milk comes through in two stages. First, you
have the transitional milk, which comes in between two and five days and
lasts until about 14 days after birth. Transitional milk is creamy and provides
the fat your baby needs during these first few weeks. After transitional milk,
you have mature milk, which is thinner and more watery. You’ll produce this
type of milk until you stop nursing; it provides the sole source of nutrition for
your baby for the first four to six months of life.
The sooner you start breast-feeding and the more often you offer the nipple,
the more likely your baby is to latch on. Your nipples will be sore for a week
or two, but the soreness will pass quickly and the benefits far outweigh a few
weeks of pain. (See the earlier section “Benefits of breast milk for Baby” for
While nursing, you can hold your baby in three main positions: the traditional cradle position, the lying down position, or the football hold. Figure
20-1 shows an example of each position. Choose the position that works
for you and allows your baby to breathe. Always make sure his nose isn’t
pressed against your skin to the point where he can’t breathe.
If you ever feel significant pain in one of your breasts, feel around for a lump.
You probably have a clogged duct. Apply warm compresses and gently massage it while your baby is nursing to try to unplug it. Call your doctor if the
pain progresses and you feel achy, feverish, and have reddened areas on your
breast. You probably have mastitis and will need an antibiotic to relieve the
infection. The good news is that you can keep nursing because the infection
won’t pass to your baby.
Allow your baby to tell you when he’s done eating. Initially, you may be nursing for 10 to 15 minutes on each side, poking him awake as he falls asleep on
the breast. After a while, though, he’ll become a pro and will suck you dry in a
few minutes so he can get back to the important task of playing.
Chapter 20: After the Arrival: Caring for You and Your Baby
b. Lying down
a. Cradle position
Figure 20-1:
Three main
for breastfeeding.
c. Football hold
With formula
Millions of research dollars have gone into making formulas with just the
right mix of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and calories
for infants. Most infant formula also has omega-3 fatty acids added, and some
have probiotics (healthy bacteria to boost immune and digestive health).
Formula comes in a few different varieties:
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should
Ready-to-use liquid: This is the most convenient type of formula
because it doesn’t require any mixing or measuring. You just open it up
and serve. It’s typically also the most expensive.
Concentrated liquid: This type of formula requires you to mix it with
water to bring it to the right concentration for your infant. The good
news is that it mixes easily since it’s already in liquid form.
Powdered formula: This formula type requires you to mix it with water.
It’s the most economical choice of formula type and also takes up the
least amount of storage space in your pantry. If you go this route, just
make sure you mix it well to prevent lumps.
If your baby can’t handle these regular formulas, you can also find cow’s
milk–based, soy-based, lactose-free, and hydrolyzed varieties. In addition,
you can find special formulas for premature babies and a hypoallergenic
variety for those at risk of allergies. Ask your pediatrician if you’re not sure
which kind of formula is right for your baby.
Don’t try to make your own formula or use regular soy or cow’s milk as formula. Your baby has very specific needs in the first year of life, and formulas
have been designed to meet those nutritional needs. Also, make sure you mix
and use your formula according to the package directions. Don’t add olive oil,
baby cereal, or anything extra to formula. If you add other foods, your baby
will fill up on those foods and potentially miss out on the essential nutrients in
the formula.
Substituting generic formula for its more expensive name-brand counterpart
is perfectly fine as long as you trust the generic brand to have the same nutritional quality as the name brand.
To prepare a bottle of formula, make sure everything — from the surfaces
you use to prepare the bottle to your hands and the bottle itself — is clean. If
you have to add water to the formula, use boiled, cooled water to make sure
it’s bacteria-free. Test the temperature of the bottle by dripping one droplet
of milk on the inside of your wrist. If it’s too warm, let the bottle cool in cold
water for a few minutes. Throw away the unused contents of a prepared
bottle if your baby doesn’t finish the bottle within two hours. You may be
tempted to put it back in the refrigerator for later, but the safest thing to do
is to throw it out and prepare a new bottle for the next feeding.
When feeding your baby with a bottle, cradle his head, keeping him in a semiupright position (laying him flat may cause ear infections). Tilt the bottle so
that the entire nipple area of the bottle is filled with milk to keep him from
swallowing air. Allow your baby to drink as much as he wants, not forcing
him to finish the whole bottle. If he finishes it and wants more, make another
fresh bottle and offer him more. Finally, burp him by gently patting his back
while he’s over your shoulder or on your lap.
Chapter 21
Losing Those Lingering Pounds
In This Chapter
▶Creating realistic goals for weight loss after pregnancy
▶Figuring out how many calories you need and what you should eat to get them
▶Fitting exercise into your new routine
▶Getting your body ready for another pregnancy
osing all your pregnancy weight can easily take nine months to a year. If
you gained a lot of weight, shedding those excess pounds can take even
longer. So don’t aspire to be like your favorite celebrities who bounce right
back into shape after having a baby. If you do, you’ll be setting yourself up
for certain failure. Why? Because returning to your pre-pregnancy weight in
just a few weeks isn’t realistic — unless of course you have a trainer, chef,
nanny, and housekeeper, and your full-time job is having an ideal image. Also,
many celebrities take the weight off quickly by losing it the wrong way, and
you don’t want to do that either.
This chapter focuses on helping you get your pre-pregnancy body back the
healthy way — by eating good-for-you foods, watching portion sizes, and
exercising, not getting sucked into some fad diet. I share diet and exercise
advice aimed at getting you slimmed down and full of good energy to spend
with your new family. I also present tips for getting your body ready to start
trying for another child when the time is right.
If you’re reading this chapter while you’re still pregnant and find yourself
dreaming about getting your body back, remember that the best way to lose
the pregnancy pounds is to avoid gaining an excessive amount of weight while
you’re pregnant. Turn to Chapter 5 to find the recommended weight gain
based on your pre-pregnancy weight.
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should
Setting Yourself Up for Success
with Realistic Expectations
The first step to successfully losing weight after your babe is born is to have
realistic expectations based on the amount of weight you gained throughout
the past 40 or so weeks. During the average pregnancy, the momma-to-be
gains anywhere from 25 to 35 pounds. Approximately 10 of these pounds
come off right after you deliver your baby and the placenta. Within one to
two weeks after delivery, you’ll likely lose another 5 (or more) pounds as the
fluid balance in your body starts to return to normal.
Before you start worrying about losing the rest of your pregnancy pounds,
remember that your body just went through a lot carrying your baby and
delivering him safely into the world. Give yourself a few weeks of rest and
recovery and enjoy this time with your new baby before you start restricting
calories and working out. After all, you can’t care for your baby if you don’t
care for yourself, and doing too much too soon is a surefire way to add unnecessary physical and emotional stress.
The following sections give you an idea of how long your belly will continue
to look pregnant and how quickly you should strive to lose the extra weight.
Knowing how long your belly will stay
The stories of women who walk out of the hospital in their pre-pregnancysized jeans are exaggerated. The reality is that your pregnancy belly sticks
around for a while (for example, I left the hospital after delivery looking like
I was still about five months pregnant). It’s not fat that’s overstaying its welcome; it’s your uterus or, more accurately, the size of your uterus.
Your uterus takes about four weeks to contract back down to its normal size.
Every day of those four weeks, your uterus shrinks just a little bit more. Need
proof? Check your panties. Bleeding is a sign that your uterus is indeed shrinking, and you can expect to bleed for about ten days after delivery. Warning: If
you’re concerned that your bleeding may be abnormal, call your doctor right
You can help speed up your uterus’s shrinking act by breast-feeding. Nursing
your baby releases hormones that help shrink the uterus.
If you’re like me and can’t stand the thought of wearing your maternity clothes
any longer but can’t yet fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes, consider buying a
few inexpensive pairs of pants that are a size or two larger than your normal
size. These transitional pieces can get you through until your pre-pregnancy
clothes fit again.
Chapter 21: Losing Those Lingering Pounds
After your uterus shrinks back to its normal size, you’ll notice that you still
have some skin and fat remaining. The skin should shrink back on its own,
but it’ll take time to adjust to your body’s new shape. The excess fat, on the
other hand, won’t go away by itself. But don’t worry; by following the nutrition and exercise strategies I outline later in this chapter, you can shrink the
excess fat back to its pre-pregnancy level.
Understanding proper rates of weight loss
If you gained the recommended 25 to 35 pounds during your pregnancy, aim
to lose about 1 pound per week beginning about one month after delivery.
Bear in mind that the more weight you gained during your pregnancy, the
faster it may come off. So if you happened to gain 50 or 70 pounds during
your pregnancy, healthy weight loss could be more like 2 pounds per week.
Say you have an extra 12 to 20 pounds still hanging on a month or so after
delivery. Losing that weight at a rate of 1 pound per week will take about
three to five months. Note that if you’re nursing, you will probably still weigh
a few more pounds than pre-pregnancy due to the weight of the milk and
storage of calories required to produce milk (in the form of body fat).
Although you want to lose your excess pregnancy weight at a reasonable
rate, try your best to get down to your pre-pregnancy size by your baby’s first
birthday. Many women who don’t get the weight off within the first year after
childbirth struggle to get it off for the rest of their lives, which can lead to
health risks associated with being overweight, such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and joint problems.
Fueling Your Body the Right Way
I’ve seen many people exercise themselves into the ground and not lose
weight because they’ve ignored their diet. What, when, and how you eat can
easily determine how much weight you lose post-pregnancy. After all, half of
the weight-loss equation has to do with the calories you consume in the food
you eat. If you don’t pay attention to your diet, you can exercise a ton and
still not experience any weight loss.
If you treated pregnancy as a time to clean up your diet and fill your plate
with nutritious foods, stay on that path after you deliver to lose excess
weight and increase your energy level. If, while pregnant, you chose to “treat”
yourself to an assortment of high-calorie foods in large quantities, now’s the
time to clean up your food choices and focus on getting yourself healthier.
After all, you’re not just doing this for yourself; you have your baby to think
about now!
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should
If you were taught to clean your plate from a young age, you’ve likely continued to do so as an adult out of habit. Well, you need to break this habit
if you want to have an easier time losing your pregnancy weight. Instead of
worrying about cleaning your plate, pay attention to your body’s hunger cues
so that you can recognize the difference between feeling satisfied and feeling stuffed. In doing so, you can determine when to push the plate away and
when to keep eating. (I help you discover how to read your body’s hunger
signals in Chapter 7.)
Another part of the weight-loss equation is not allowing yourself to become
ravenously hungry. If you do, you’ll be much more likely to succumb to temptation and eat too much too quickly; not to mention you’ll probably eat food
that’s not the healthiest for you. So to keep your hunger at bay, eat small
snacks throughout the day that are high in either fiber or protein. For a list of
satisfying snack ideas, see Chapter 7.
Focusing on nutrient-dense foods
Nutrient-dense foods provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function; as a bonus, they’re often low in calories, too. Beginning right after delivery, start focusing on foods that contain the following filling components (see
Chapter 3 for more details on each one):
Fiber: Fiber is literally indigestible plant matter. Your body tries to
digest it but can’t, so it keeps you feeling full longer (and also helps keep
you regular). Eat a minimum of 25 grams of fiber per day.
Protein: Protein also takes longer to digest, keeping you feeling satisfied
for a longer period of time. Aim to get 75 grams of protein per day (that’s
20 percent of your calories, based on a 1,500-calorie weight-loss diet; see
the next section for details on how many calories you should be getting).
Fat: Focus on eating healthy fats, like those found in fish, olive oil, nuts,
seeds, and avocados. Eat about 50 grams of fat per day (that’s 30 percent of your calories, based on a 1,500-calorie weight-loss diet; skip to
the next section for more on how many calories you need).
Water: Drinking water before and during meals aids in digestion and
helps fill you up a bit, even if only temporarily. Drink 91 ounces of total
fluid (a little more than eleven 8-ounce cups, or 2.7 liters) per day, with
the majority of that coming from water.
Aim to reduce or eliminate your intake of foods that don’t fill you up and that
don’t give you any nutritional value, especially while you’re trying to lose those
lingering pregnancy pounds. Consume items like alcohol, sweets and desserts,
fried foods, and regular soft drinks occasionally (as in, not frequently) and in
small, reasonable quantities.
Chapter 21: Losing Those Lingering Pounds
Creating a calorie deficit
To lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than you burn. Sounds
easy enough, right? The problem is that you don’t have a gas gauge that tells
you exactly how much fuel you’re burning at different times throughout the
day. So instead of knowing exactly how many calories you need to consume
each day, you have to guesstimate.
If you’re nursing, I recommend that you consume between 1,800 and 2,200 calories per day. If you go much lower, you may compromise your body’s milk production. If you’re not nursing, I recommend that you consume between 1,500
and 1,800 calories per day, depending on your metabolism. If you go lower than
that, you’ll have a hard time getting all the nutrients you need in a day.
To help you determine just how many calories you need to support weight
loss, keep track of what you eat and drink for a week. You can do so by logging into one of the many calorie-tracking websites (like
or smartphone applications (like Lose It!) or by using a food journal such as
Calorie Counter Journal For Dummies (written by Rosanne Rust and Meri Raffetto
and published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). Tracking what you eat and drink is
extremely eye-opening. In fact, studies have proven that people who keep track
of what they eat lose twice as much weight as those who don’t pay any attention.
As you track what you eat, focus on where your calories come from. Be aware
that you can end up with 500 or more extra calories at a meal just by having
bread and butter or olive oil and an alcoholic or sugary drink. Add an extra appetizer or dessert — or both — and you can easily pile on an extra 1,000 calories!
After you track your food and drink for a week, you’ll have a rough idea of
how many calories you consume per day. Say that number is 2,600 calories
on average. For most women, that’s too many and is probably leading to
weight gain. For the next week, focus on eating 300 to 400 fewer calories than
what you’re currently eating and try to burn an extra 100 to 200 calories
in exercise (see the later section “Incorporating Exercise into Your PostDelivery Routine” for details). Doing so gives you a sum deficit of about 500
calories per day, which should help you lose about a pound per week. (It
takes about 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound of fat. If you divide 3,500 calories
by 7 days a week, you get 500, which is the calorie deficit per day you need to
lose 1 pound per week.)
Don’t drop your calorie intake down to 1,500 calories (or 1,800 calories, if
you’re nursing) until about a month after delivery so that you can recover
from childbirth before you start restricting your intake. Right after delivery,
focus on eating nutrient-dense foods, not reducing calories (see the preceding
section and Chapter 20 for more on what to eat during the recovery period).
Your body needs good nutrition to recover, and if you just reduce your calorie
intake (and don’t focus on what you eat), you risk getting sick or injured from
too much restriction too soon.
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should
Anytime you restrict calories, you should also take a multivitamin supplement. You can continue taking your prenatal vitamin until it runs out and then
switch to a regular women’s multivitamin (unless you’re nursing, in which
case you should stick with the prenatal until you stop nursing). However,
don’t rely solely on that supplement to give you everything you need! Fill your
plate with nutrient-rich foods that will provide your body with the things it
needs to function at its best.
Sampling some meal plans
to help you lose weight
The following sample meal plans provide you with 1,500 calories per day.
(Note that if you’re nursing, you need to take in at least 1,800 calories per
day; turn to Chapter 20 for sample meal plans just for nursing moms.) By following the examples set in these plans, you can get the nutrients you need to
keep your strength up while also losing weight.
Day 1
Ricotta Parfait (Chapter 17)
Snack 1
12-ounce decaf skim latte
Frozen meal with fewer than 300 calories (such as Healthy Choice, Kashi,
Amy’s, Meals to Live, Lean Cuisine, or Smart Ones)
Snack 2
6 ounces of lowfat or nonfat Greek yogurt
Snack 3
1 whole red pepper or other raw vegetable(s), cut into slices
3 ounces of lean steak (like sirloin or round steak)
⁄2 cup of mashed potatoes (made with skim milk and just a little bit of
added fat)
1 cup of cooked green beans
Snack 4
⁄4 cup of frozen grapes
Chapter 21: Losing Those Lingering Pounds
Myth buster: Foods that burn calories
You’ve probably heard people say that celery,
grapefruit, cucumbers, lettuce — the list goes
on and on — all burn more calories than they
contain. Unfortunately, this myth isn’t true. Yes,
part of your metabolism (the number of calories
you burn in a day) is attributed to the thermic
effect of food, or in layman’s terms, the calories
needed to digest your food. However, the
number of calories that you burn while chewing and that your intestines burn while digesting
is actually very small. If you enjoy eating very
low-calorie foods, keep them in your diet, but if
you dip that celery into ranch dressing, all bets
are off!
Frozen grapes are an excellent low-calorie treat to eat in place of ice cream at
night! Plus, they take longer to eat because you can savor them one at a time.
Day 2
6 ounces of low-sodium tomato juice
2 egg whites plus 1 whole egg
1 light whole-grain English muffin
Snack 1
1 SOYJOY nutrition bar (or other nutrition bar that has about 130 to 150
11⁄2 cups of Black Bean Chili (Chapter 15)
11⁄2 cups of a mixed greens salad with 2 tablespoons of light salad dressing
Snack 2
2 pieces of Laughing Cow light cheese (or any lowfat, pasteurized cheese
that has about 70 calories total) with 1 ounce of whole-grain crackers
Snack 3
1 peach
3 ounces of skinless chicken breast
⁄2 cup of whole-wheat spaghetti
⁄2 cup of meatless marinara sauce
⁄2 cup of cooked spinach
Snack 4
Mixed Berry Frozen Yogurt (Chapter 16)
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should
Incorporating Exercise into Your
Post-Delivery Routine
After giving birth, many women think they have a free pass that says they
either shouldn’t or don’t have to exercise. Not true! Sure, you need a few
weeks or months (depending on your individual circumstances) to recover
from childbirth, but don’t let too much time pass before you reap the benefits of getting active and staying fit. If you do, you’ll miss out on these great
benefits of post-pregnancy exercise:
A reduced risk of postpartum depression or lessened symptoms
Stress relief
Improved concentration
The loss of pregnancy fat stores
The ability to be a good example of being active to your child(ren)
One of the best gifts you can give your children is the gift of good health,
both for them and you. If you’re not healthy, you’re at risk of chronic conditions and premature death, and you may not have the good energy required
to properly care for your children. If losing the pregnancy pounds isn’t a big
enough motivator to get you moving, think about the boundless love you have
for your new baby and stay fit for her.
The next sections offer advice for beginning your post-delivery exercise routine and suggestions for the types of exercise you should focus on.
Check with your doctor before starting any post-delivery exercise, especially
if you had a complicated pregnancy or delivery. So if you want to start exercising before your postpartum follow-up appointment (usually six weeks after
delivery), be sure to call your doctor first.
Getting started
As soon as you have the green light from your doctor, slowly start incorporating exercise back into your routine. Aim for three 30-minute sessions each
week and build from there. If you’re short on time, remember that even brief
bouts of exercise can be beneficial. Do five or ten minutes of exercise several
times throughout the day when your baby is sleeping to squeeze some fitness into your day.
As you begin to exercise post-pregnancy, keep in mind the following serious
Chapter 21: Losing Those Lingering Pounds
Don’t push yourself too hard, even if you were in good shape before
and during your pregnancy. If you do, you may wind up with a serious
injury because your joints are more elastic for several months following
delivery. (This increased elasticity is due to a hormone called relaxin
that’s released during pregnancy.) Case in point: I was active during
both of my pregnancies, running or doing the elliptical machine and
lifting light weights until the day I delivered. I got back on the treadmill
two weeks after having my first child. I started with walking but soon
brought it up to running within a few days. Unfortunately, I ended up
injuring my hip because I did too much too soon. Within a month after
giving birth, I started running at levels I was doing pre-pregnancy, not
realizing that my bone structure, especially the alignment of my hips,
had changed. I urge you to learn from my mistake; don’t do too much
too soon!
If you had a C-section, make sure you wait the required eight weeks
before you climb any stairs or do any heavy lifting (anything heavier
than your baby), running, or other form of exercise. If you don’t let
your body recover fully from major abdominal surgery (a process that
takes at least eight weeks) before you start exercising again, you risk
causing permanent damage to your body.
Wait about four to eight weeks after giving birth to start doing heavy
abdominal exercises (like abdominal crunches), especially if you’ve
noticed a gap in your abdominal muscles. Start slowly when you do
add abdominal exercises into your routine. Stop exercising and see
a doctor if you notice excessive bleeding, have pain, are unusually
exhausted or short of breath, or have soreness in your muscles that
doesn’t go away after a few days.
Consider starting out with simple walking. Meet other new moms for stroller
walks, walk on a treadmill, or go out by yourself for some alone time to destress. Even if you’re not a jogger, you may want to invest in a jogging stroller,
which has bigger wheels and is ideal for long exercise walks. If you want to
exercise with other moms and your stroller, search for a Stroller Strides class
in your area at
Other good activities to start with include using elliptical trainers, cycling,
swimming, and participating in low-impact aerobics, Pilates, and yoga classes.
Look for a postnatal exercise class where newborns are welcome either to
sleep in the car seat while you work out or to be part of the exercise.
If you’re nursing, feed your baby (or pump) before you exercise because
your milk may have a sour taste to your baby for a period of time after you’ve
finished intense exercise due to a high lactic acid content. Also be sure to
drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise to keep yourself well
hydrated, and don’t forget to buy a supportive exercise bra in your new nursing size. (For pointers on proper nutrition while nursing, see Chapter 20.)
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should
Fitting in all three types of exercise
Exercise comes in three types: aerobic (cardiovascular), strength training
(weight lifting), and stretching (flexibility). Try to incorporate all three in
your post-pregnancy workout so that you have a well-rounded routine that
strengthens your muscles, heart, and lungs while preventing injuries.
Aerobic exercise: Anything that requires you to move major muscle
groups and causes your heart to pump at a higher rate for a sustained
length of time. Aerobic exercise burns the most calories quickly; after
all, you can burn 300 or more calories in one 30-minute aerobic session,
depending on the intensity of exercise. Examples of aerobic exercise
include walking, running, hiking, cycling, swimming, stair stepping,
cross-country skiing, and participating in aerobic classes. When you first
start out, aim to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times
per week; then work up to doing some aerobic exercise most days of the
week. Extend your exercise time as you get more fit.
Strength training: Anything that requires challenging your muscles to
grow. You can do strength training with weight machines, dumbbells,
resistance bands, and even your own body weight. The advantage of
strength training is that it helps build strong bones and muscles. The
more muscle you have, the more calories you burn all the time, whether
you’re exercising, sleeping, or rocking your baby. Strength training also
helps stabilize your core muscles, reducing your risk of injury. Aim to
spend two 20- to 30-minute sessions doing strength training each week
and do your best to work all your major muscle groups. Find a challenging weight that you can lift for 8 to 12 repetitions before you tire and try
to do two sets of each exercise.
One of my favorite strength-training workouts doesn’t use a single piece
of equipment — except for my own body! I use a set of workout cards
called Powerhouse Hit The Deck. I pick a workout card and do that exercise for 30 seconds and then pick another card for my next exercise. I
love this workout because you can do it anywhere and you can choose
as many cards (exercises) as you have time for. (Check out www.power for more details
on this particular workout.)
Stretching: Anything that elongates the muscle to improve its elasticity and flexibility. Stretching is best to do after you’ve exercised when
your muscles are still warm; it’s a great way to prevent injuries. As part
of your stretching routine, start by stretching all your major muscle
groups, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, chest, and back, and
then move on to your smaller muscles, including your biceps, triceps,
and calves. Hold each stretch for at least 15 to 30 seconds and do each
stretch twice for maximum benefit. Don’t bounce around while you
stretch, but rather hold the pose steady while you feel mild discomfort.
Chapter 21: Losing Those Lingering Pounds
In addition to aerobic exercises, strength training, and stretching, make sure
you find time to do your Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. You can do these exercises by squeezing the muscles inside your vagina
that stop the flow of urine. Aim to do three sets of ten exercises, squeezing for
ten seconds and relaxing for ten seconds for each one, daily.
Preparing for the Next Baby Bump
Some women are so overwhelmed with their new baby that they can’t even
think about having another one; others fall so deeply in love that they start
planning the next one right away. If you’re ready to bring another little one
into this world, make sure you properly prepare your body before becoming
pregnant again. The next sections tell you how to do so.
If you were carrying excess pounds before or gained too much during your
first pregnancy, take some time to lose weight before trying to get pregnant
again. Losing excess weight before you get pregnant decreases your chances
of developing gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and preeclampsia, as
well as reduces the odds that you’ll need a C-section. (Find out more about the
risks of carrying excess weight in Chapter 5.)
Deciding how soon to start trying again
To give your next baby the best chance at good health, try to wait a minimum of 11 to 18 months before getting pregnant again. The ideal time to
wait (according to research on optimal pregnancy outcomes) is between 18
months and 2 years. Note that this range is the time span from delivery of the
first baby to pregnancy with the next one, not delivery of the next baby.
Why wait? Here are just a few good reasons:
Your hormones (specifically, those that affect ovulation) are still stabilizing for the months (up to a year) after you’ve had a baby. Because getting
pregnant is highly dependent on hormonal reactions, your chances of
getting pregnant will be higher after you reach proper hormone levels.
Pregnancy definitely takes a lot out of you physically, emotionally, and
You need some time to adjust to having a new baby in the house; in
other words, you need to adjust to not getting proper sleep and rest.
If you’ve been nursing, producing milk can deplete your body’s nutritional stores, especially if you’re not eating a balanced, healthy diet. (By
the way, it’s a myth that you can’t get pregnant while nursing. Pregnancy
Part IV: What You May Not Be Thinking about but Should
is less likely but still possible. Consider using some form of birth control
to prevent an earlier-than-desired pregnancy. Your doctor can recommend birth control methods that are safe while nursing.)
Studies have found that a short gap (especially less than six months) between
pregnancies has been associated with preterm delivery, low weight for gestational age, early infant death, birth defects, and even maternal death. On the
other hand, waiting longer than five years between pregnancies has also been
associated with premature delivery.
Restoring your nutritional status
In order to best restore your nutritional status — in other words, in order to
fill up your vitamin, mineral, and protein stores — keep eating as you were
during pregnancy, minus the extra calories. Minimize your intake of emptycalorie foods and fill your plate with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, lowfat
dairy, beans, nuts and seeds, and whole grains.
During pregnancy, your body can become depleted in many nutrients, particularly the following ones:
Iron: You need more iron during pregnancy due to increased blood
volume. Your doctor can check your iron levels with a simple blood test
and give you recommendations as to whether you need to supplement
or not. You can help keep your iron levels high by continuing on a prenatal vitamin between pregnancies.
Folate: This nutrient is necessary in those preconception months
because the moment you become pregnant it’s used to help form critical
parts of your baby, like the neural tube, which is part of the brain stem
and spinal cord. Make sure you eat foods that are high in folate (see
Chapter 3) and take your prenatal vitamin.
Protein: Protein helps your body build and repair muscles and tissue.
It also keeps you feeling fuller longer, so it may help you shed some of
those extra pregnancy pounds between babies. Aim for eating some
form of protein (think meats, seafood, dairy, soy, beans, and nuts) at
each meal and incorporate it into snacks.
Taking supplements between babies is a good idea. So continue taking your
prenatal vitamin, extra vitamin D, and an omega-3 supplement that contains
DHA and EPA fatty acids. Limit alcohol and caffeine so you don’t have to cut it
out/reduce it after you find out you’re pregnant again.
Part V
The Part of Tens
In this part . . .
ho doesn’t love a top ten list? This part gives you
two of ’em. First, I give you a concise list of foods
that I’ve identified to be ultra healthful and packed with
pregnancy-critical nutrients. Next up is a list of ten key
strategies to help you lose the pregnancy pounds when
you’re ready to get back to your pre-pregnancy weight.
Chapter 22
More Than Ten Nourishing Foods
for Your Whole Pregnancy
In This Chapter
▶Discovering foods that provide essential nutrients for you and your baby
▶Branching out to try some potentially new-to-you nutritious foods
he best way to meet the extra nutrient demands of you and your baby
is to incorporate nutrient-dense foods into your daily meal plan (which
includes both meals and snacks). In this chapter, I list eleven such nutrientdense pregnancy superfoods that are not only nutritious but also delicious.
(What can I say? I couldn’t resist throwing a bonus food into the mix.)
Asparagus is the leading vegetable source of folate. It’s also high in several
other B vitamins, iron, vitamin K, vitamin A, and fiber. Coming in at about 40
calories per cup cooked, asparagus is one of the best nutritional bargains
a pregnant woman can get. I personally love sautéing asparagus in a dash
of olive oil with some fresh garlic — yum! You may also like the Sesame
Asparagus recipe in Chapter 17.
Asparagus contains a sulfur compound called methyl mercaptan that makes
some people’s urine smell funny as soon as 15 minutes after they eat asparagus.
Have you ever noticed this? Some of you are nodding yes while the rest of you
are thinking, “She’s gone off the deep end, talking about smelly urine!” But I
assure you, this compound is real! Not everyone has the gene to break it down,
so only some people have smelly urine. So if you try asparagus for the first
time during your pregnancy, don’t panic if your urine smells funny afterward!
Part V: The Part of Tens
Avocados often get a bad rap for being high in fat, but the fat they contain is
actually the heart-healthy monounsaturated kind that your body needs a bit
of during pregnancy. These fruits also boast 20 essential vitamins and minerals, including pregnancy-necessary folate, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K,
and a bit of choline, iron, and zinc. As a nutritious bonus, a whole avocado
also contains 13 grams of fiber. How can that creamy and delicious fruit pack
in all those nutrients? Only nature knows.
One ounce (or three slices) of avocado is just 45 calories, so you can enjoy
this pregnancy superfood without having to worry about going overboard
on your calorie intake. The next time you entertain, try the Avocado Shrimp
Martinis in Chapter 13 for something a little different.
Most people think of beef as a protein source, and although it certainly is
one, beef is also a nutritional powerhouse of iron, zinc, vitamins B6 and B12,
niacin, selenium, and choline — all in high doses. Before you start worrying
about beef being too fattening to eat during pregnancy, realize that the government has labeled 29 different cuts of beef as lean. All 29 lean cuts are actually lower in fat than skinless chicken thighs.
Turn to Chapter 14 for some excellent beef recipes, like the tasty CocoaRubbed Grilled Steaks — how can you not love chocolate and beef together?
If you’re not a steak lover, try using ground beef in tacos, spaghetti with meat
sauce, or Nana’s Moussaka (a unique recipe with eggplant that I include in
Chapter 14).
Berries are generally high in antioxidants and vitamin C, and they offer some
potassium, manganese, and fiber. However, each kind of berry has at least
one nutritional standout:
Strawberries have 98 milligrams of vitamin C and 40 micrograms of
Raspberries and blackberries each have 8 grams of fiber per cup.
Blueberries are highest in antioxidants and have 29 micrograms of
vitamin K.
Chapter 22: More Than Ten Nourishing Foods for Your Whole Pregnancy
A 1-cup serving of berries costs you only 50 to 84 calories, depending on which
berry you choose. Try them out in the berry good Berries and Cream French
Toast in Chapter 12 for breakfast, the Fruity Poppy Seed Salad in Chapter 13 for
lunch, or the Mixed Berry Frozen Yogurt in Chapter 16 for dessert.
If you’re looking for a nutritional powerhouse, look no further than the
green soybean called edamame. Every 1-cup serving of edamame contains
17 grams of protein plus 8 grams of fiber and loads of folate, iron, vitamin K,
choline, potassium, and zinc. If you haven’t tried it, now is the perfect time
to branch out.
You often find edamame as an appetizer at Japanese restaurants, but you can
also get it in the produce or frozen section of all major grocery stores and
natural health food stores. Edamame looks like sugar snap peas, but unlike
pea pods, edamame pods aren’t edible. So when you eat edamame, pop the
beans into your mouth and discard the shell. Some stores carry alreadyshelled edamame that’s ready to eat out of the package or add to your favorite dish. I share several fun edamame recipes in Chapters 13 and 15.
Along with edamame, other soy foods like tofu, tempeh, soymilk, and soy nuts
are good ways to get plant-based protein throughout your pregnancy. Soy is
a complete protein, which means it contains all the essential amino acids (the
building blocks of protein) that you and your baby need.
I’ve included eggs in this superfood list not only because they’re a good
source of high-quality protein but also because they’re one of the best food
sources of choline. Choline isn’t the easiest thing to get in your diet, but
it’s vital for brain development. Eggs also provide selenium, riboflavin, and
vitamin B12, a bit of iron and zinc, and a good deal of lutein and zeaxanthin,
which help with vision. Look for the DHA-enriched eggs to get an extra dose
of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), the omega-3 fatty acid that’s vital for brain
The important thing about eggs is that most of these nutrients are found in the
yolk. Years ago people were dumping the yolks due to cholesterol concerns,
but now researchers know that an egg every day doesn’t raise cholesterol
levels when it’s part of an overall lowfat diet. So don’t dump the yolk or order
egg white omelets while you’re pregnant because you’ll be missing out on a lot
of the beneficial nutrients eggs have to offer.
Part V: The Part of Tens
Need another reason to love eggs? They’re inexpensive and versatile. Of
course, they work great in breakfast; turn to Chapter 12 for some great recipes. But you can also eat hard-boiled eggs as snacks or in salads and use eggs
to whip up yummy desserts.
For safety reasons, always cook your eggs until they’re firm — no runny yolks!
Greek Yogurt
Most yogurt contains “good” live-culture bacteria that help with digestion
and boost the immune system. All yogurt varieties can be beneficial during
pregnancy because of their calcium, vitamin B12, riboflavin, potassium, and
phosphorus, but I especially like Greek yogurt because it generally has twice
as much protein as regular yogurt. I also find that most Greek varieties have
less sugar. Greek yogurt is strained differently than American-style yogurt,
providing a rich, creamy, thick texture and a tangy taste, so don’t be alarmed
when you try it for the first time.
Traditional Greek yogurt is extremely high in fat, specifically artery-clogging
saturated fat. Read yogurt labels carefully and look for the numerous 0% or 2%
fat varieties of Greek yogurt available on the market.
I typically have one serving of lowfat or nonfat Greek yogurt every day for
my midmorning snack. You find three very different (but yummy!) ways
to use Greek yogurt in Chapter 17: Dill and Chive Veggie Dip, Decaf Mocha
Smoothie, and Ricotta Parfait.
One of my former coworkers used to call me the “Bean Queen” because I told
all my clients to eat more beans (also known as legumes)! The legumes food
category includes lentils, black-eyed peas, split peas, as well as black, red,
kidney, pinto, soy, garbanzo, and cannellini beans. Legumes, in general, are
one of the most nutritious foods because they provide carbohydrates, fiber,
and plant-based protein. But they also have folate, potassium, iron, calcium,
and zinc.
If you want the numerous health benefits of beans without all the legwork,
think canned. Instead of soaking them overnight (like you have to do with
dried beans), all you have to do with canned beans is pop open a can of ’em,
drain ’em, and rinse ’em in a colander (to get one-third of the sodium off and
Chapter 22: More Than Ten Nourishing Foods for Your Whole Pregnancy
potentially reduce the gassy feelings you have after eating them). Then they’re
ready to go in any recipe. I’m such a bean fan that I sometimes eat garbanzo
beans (also called chickpeas) right out of the can!
Throughout Part III, you find soup, salad, pasta, sandwich, and even dessert
recipes that all contain beans. See whether you can find the dessert recipe in
Chapter 16 that calls for beans and give it a try!
Drinking milk is one easy way to get your recommended three servings of
dairy a day. Every 8-ounce glass of milk supplies 30 percent of your daily calcium and 8 grams of protein, as well as riboflavin, vitamin B12, and vitamin D.
(In fact, milk is one of the only food sources of vitamin D, and it’s not even in
milk naturally. It’s fortified into it.) Milk comes in several varieties. I recommend sticking with lowfat (1%) or fat-free (skim) to avoid the artery-clogging
saturated fat found in 2% and whole milk.
You can enjoy milk simply by drinking a glass of it with a meal or snack, but
you can also use it in smoothies, on cereal, in oatmeal, or in treats like hot
chocolate or pudding. In addition to drinking it plain, you may find that you
enjoy chocolate milk; after all, it’s a sweet and nutritious treat!
Milk contains a natural sugar called lactose. If you’re lactose intolerant (in
other words, if you get gassy or experience diarrhea after drinking milk), look
for lactose-free on the labels of the milk you buy. You get the same benefits
without the lactose and the unpleasant side effects.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-oh-wa) has been around for thousands of years;
in fact, the Incas considered it to be the “mother of all grains.” What is it?
Quinoa is a gluten-free whole grain that comes in red and white varieties.
Vegetarians love it because it’s high in protein and contains all the essential
amino acids that are typically found in animal proteins. Quinoa is also loaded
in nutrients, especially those essential pregnancy nutrients, like fiber, folate,
iron, potassium, and a nice array of B vitamins.
Before you cook quinoa, be sure to rinse the seeds thoroughly to remove
bitter compounds. Then you can cook it in about 15 minutes on the stovetop.
Once prepared, it has a light and fluffy texture and a mild and almost nutty
flavor, which makes it a great addition to both savory and sweet dishes.
Part V: The Part of Tens
The crunchy texture promotes its use in cold salads or as a nice alternative
to rice in side or main dishes. You can also make quinoa as a hot cereal, just
like cream of wheat. Check out the Quinoa Nut Mix in Chapter 13 for a great
quinoa snack.
Salmon is one of the best available food sources of DHA omega-3 fatty acids.
During pregnancy and early childhood, DHA is critical for brain and nervous
system development, so if you want your child to be smart, get plenty of DHA
when you’re pregnant. Along with DHA, salmon also contains protein, vitamins B6 and B12, niacin, and phosphorus.
If you’re worried about getting too much mercury from fish, salmon is a great
option for you because it’s considered to be a low-mercury fish. Plus, it’s easy
to find in restaurants and grocery stores everywhere. Watch out for smoked
salmon, though, because it can harbor dangerous bacteria. (For more information on foods to steer clear of throughout your pregnancy, see Chapter 4.)
Skip on over to Chapter 14 for a delicious salmon recipe with a nice mango
and avocado salsa. Or try poached salmon served cold on top of a green
salad. If you make a lot of quick meals, consider making canned salmon a
staple in your pantry.
Chapter 23
Ten Tricks for Getting Back to
Your Pre-Pregnancy Weight
In This Chapter
▶Eating smaller portions and paying attention to what (and how much) you’re eating
▶Exercising to burn calories and build muscle mass
▶Getting the sleep you need and taking time for yourself
dmittedly, losing weight is never easy, especially when you’re still
physically recovering from childbirth and mentally and emotionally
adjusting to life with a new baby. But you don’t have to be one of those
women who never loses her lingering pregnancy pounds.
This chapter arms you with ten tricks for getting rid of the extra pregnancy
weight. If you implement these tricks, you can return to your pre-pregnancy
weight and have the energy you need to care for your new bundle of joy.
Don’t expect the weight to come off overnight or even in a few weeks. Some
people say it takes nine months to grow a baby and nine months to get your
body back after pregnancy. Although it may seem like forever now, nine
months isn’t a bad goal to shoot for. After all, the slower the weight comes off,
the more likely it is to stay off because you’re not following fads or gimmicks
or starving yourself and putting yourself at risk of malnutrition. Have patience
with yourself and be persistent in your efforts to lose that excess pregnancy
Listen When Your Belly Says It’s Full
Your belly always tells you when it’s had enough. So instead of cleaning your
plate every time you sit down to a meal, listen to what your belly is saying. I
assure you there’s a distinct difference between feeling satisfied and feeling
Part V: The Part of Tens
stuffed. When you push the plate away at satisfied, you leave room for your
body to use stored fat as energy so you can get the weight loss you desire.
(For help becoming more in tune with your body’s hunger and fullness signals, flip to Chapter 7.)
If you do clean your plate, wait at least 15 to 20 minutes before going back for
seconds. Why? Because it takes about that long for your stomach’s fullness
signal to reach your brain. If you wait, you may find that you’re not hungry for
seconds after all. Eating your meals slowly also helps with this delay so you
can stop before you overeat, only to feel stuffed 15 minutes later when your
brain catches up to your stomach.
Don’t Starve Yourself
Starving yourself is not the way to get your pre-pregnancy body back.
Skipping meals only leads to deprivation and an invitation to binge when
your willpower finally caves in. If you starve yourself, you risk ending up with
a pan of brownies or bag of chips calling your name.
If you’re formula-feeding, don’t eat less than 1,500 calories a day while you’re
recovering from childbirth; if you’re nursing, don’t eat less than 1,800 calories.
If you eat too few calories, your body senses that it’s starving and goes into
crisis mode, lowering your metabolism to conserve its fat stores. The other
major disadvantage to eating too few calories is that you could become malnourished. Getting the carbohydrates, proteins, essential fats, vitamins, and
minerals you need is hard to do when you’re eating so few calories.
Eat Small Portions and Eat Frequently
One easy way to control your calorie intake is to control your portion sizes.
Chapter 8 offers some tips for managing portion size when dining out, but
you also need to pay attention to portion size at home. Consider eating from
smaller plates until you have a better idea of the appropriate single-serve
portion sizes of different foods. Drinking a glass of water before and with
your meals can also help you eat less.
Eating smaller portions goes hand in hand with eating frequently. The snacks
you eat in between meals help curb your appetite so you don’t become ravenously hungry and eat everything in sight. They also give you something to
look forward to in between meals so that you can more easily push the meal
plate away. After all, not stuffing yourself during mealtime is easier to do
when you know you have a snack waiting for you later.
Chapter 23: Ten Tricks for Getting Back to Your Pre-Pregnancy Weight
Choose snacks with fiber and protein to help keep you feeling full longer. Flip
to Chapter 7 for some healthy and satisfying snack suggestions and Chapter
13 for a few tasty snack recipes. Just make sure you measure out snacks like
nuts, crackers, and ice cream so you don’t end up eating the entire container!
Be Mindful of What You’re Eating
Being mindful of what you’re eating means avoiding distractions, slowing
down, and being aware of exactly what you’re eating and how much you truly
need. This level of awareness can help you feel fully satisfied with smaller
amounts of food, which often leads to weight loss. Food is one of the many
pleasures in life, and you should enjoy it to its fullest capacity. So try to
appreciate every calorie you eat.
Instead of eating while standing at the kitchen counter or sitting in front of the
TV, use the Plate-Chair-Table rule. Put your food on a plate (doing so helps
ensure that you eat a reasonable portion) and always sit down in a chair at a
table so that you can fully appreciate your food.
Are you a nighttime snacker? For many people, the most dangerous time of
day for mindless eating is after dinner. Having a snack in the evening can actually be a good idea, but keep the snack at about 150 calories and account for
your nighttime snack calories in your daily calorie budget. If you find yourself munching mindlessly or going from one food to the next in the evenings,
brush your teeth! If you’re anything like me, you’ll stop eating just so you don’t
have to brush your teeth a second time in one night. Plus, most foods don’t
taste as good when your mouth is full of mint!
Get Moving
You’ve heard it before: To lose weight, the number of calories going into your
body must be less than the number of calories going out. Obviously, cutting
back on what you eat can help reduce the calories you take in, but being
more active can help you expend more calories.
Being active doesn’t have to mean “exercising,” especially during the first few
weeks after you give birth. You can be more active simply by parking farther
away from the store, taking the stairs rather than the elevator, or walking your
baby around the room rather than sitting in the rocking chair.
Part V: The Part of Tens
Talk to your doctor about when it’s safe for you to start adding exercise
(beyond a little extra movement in your daily activities) back into your routine. Find tips for how to start exercising again in Chapter 21.
After your doctor clears you to exercise again postpartum, you can start
working more traditional exercise — like walking, running, and cycling —
back into your daily routine. Any amount of exercise is better than none, so
start out by getting 10 minutes of exercise each day and work up to 30 minutes most days of the week. No matter what you do for exercise, it’s a great
way to relieve stress, give you a break away from your baby, and, of course,
burn calories.
A good time to exercise is while your baby is sleeping, but you can also have
someone else watch the little guy while you take a quick exercise break. If you
go this route, try to exercise outside or away from home so that you’re not
tempted to give up midway through your workout if your baby starts fussing.
Increase Your Muscle Mass
The more muscle you have in your body, the more calories you burn when
you’re doing any activity, whether it’s exercising or sleeping. Muscle is constantly active, burning a few calories even at rest.
You build muscle by engaging in strength training (weight lifting). This type
of exercise not only burns calories while you’re doing it but also continues
burning them for a period of time afterward. Your body has to build and
repair the muscles you just used, and that process requires that you burn
more calories.
While you were pregnant, you probably gained a little bit of muscle. After all,
the more weight you have on your body, the more muscle you need to carry
it. So if you gained 30 pounds during your pregnancy, your legs had to carry
those extra 30 pounds everywhere — when you climbed the stairs, when you
got up from sitting, when you walked down the block . . . you get the idea.
Now that you weigh less, you need to do resistance exercise if you want to
keep that extra muscle.
You can do strength training with weight machines, dumbbells, resistance
bands, or even your own body weight. Anything that challenges your muscles
helps strengthen them and ultimately leads to burning more calories.
Chapter 23: Ten Tricks for Getting Back to Your Pre-Pregnancy Weight
Breast-feed to Burn More Calories
Depending on how much milk you produce, you can actually burn more
calories while breast-feeding than you did while growing your baby in your
womb. Breast-feeding (or nursing) is really the best-kept secret for losing
weight postpartum. Of course, because you still need to balance the calories
you’re eating with the calories you’re burning, I can’t guarantee you’ll lose
weight simply by nursing. However, even without all the benefits breast milk
offers your baby (many of which I outline in Chapter 20), nursing is worth the
hard work simply to mobilize some of the extra fat your body stored during
Breast milk is naturally high in fat because your baby needs those essential
fats during her first few years of life, especially for brain development. How
does your milk get so high in fat? You guessed it — by breaking down excess
fat from your body! Pregnancy hormones signal your body to store fat while
pregnant, but your body gladly mobilizes that fat into breast milk after you
deliver. Isn’t nature wonderful?
Get Enough Sleep
A good seven or eight hours of sleep can do wonders for your body weight.
Don’t buy it? Studies of sleep-deprived individuals have shown that these
people are heavier than those who get the recommended seven or eight
hours of sleep a night.
Two specific hormones are to blame for the excess weight in sleep-deprived
folks: leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is produced in your fat cells, and it’s responsible for telling your brain when you’re full when eating a meal. Ghrelin is
produced in your gastrointestinal tract, and its job is to tell your brain when
you’re hungry. When you’re sleep deprived, your body decreases production
of leptin and increases production of ghrelin. The result is one tired mommy
who’s hungry and can’t get satisfied and keeps on eating — not exactly the
best scenario for weight loss.
Perhaps you’re laughing at the mere thought of getting a decent night’s sleep
considering such a thing is quite difficult to achieve when you have a new
baby, especially if you’re nursing. If you have trouble getting enough sleep,
create rituals at bedtime (like taking a relaxing bath, meditating, or reading
quietly) so that you fall asleep easily when you do go to bed. Talk to your
partner about your need for sleep, and ask him or her to help you discipline
Part V: The Part of Tens
yourself to get to bed at a decent hour in the evening. (Note: If you’re a
napper, steal a refreshing 20-minute nap each day, but don’t nap any longer
than that or else you risk disrupting your nighttime sleep, which is more
Make Time for Yourself
Taking time for yourself can help lead to weight loss for two key reasons:
The time you take for yourself can relieve stress, which can help cut
back on emotional eating by decreasing the release of stress hormones
that promote overeating.
You can use the time you carve out for yourself to get uninterrupted
exercise time by going to the gym or taking a nice long walk.
Focusing on yourself may be difficult when you have a new little bundle of
love to focus all your attention on. However, you can’t be the best mom you
can be if you don’t take care of yourself. Even carving out 15 minutes (or
more) of uninterrupted time each day to soak in the tub, read a magazine,
surf the Internet, or go for a walk can refresh you and renew your energy.
Remember Why You’re Trying
to Lose Weight — For Baby
Now that you have a beautiful child to love, keeping yourself at a healthy
weight is even more important than it was before if you want to be around for
all the significant and special times that lie ahead in your child’s life.
If you ate healthier while you were pregnant because you wanted to fuel your
baby with the right nutrients to grow and develop in your womb, then guess
what? Those same healthy foods that were good for your baby are just what
you need to stay energized and healthy. Keep eating all those fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, lowfat dairy products, and healthy fats that
became your staples during pregnancy. (I tell you all about these delicious
but nutritious foods in Chapter 3.)
When you don’t feel like taking the stairs or popping in that workout DVD,
think of your sweet babe’s face and all the moments you have to look forward
to together. That’s some serious motivation to get moving!
Metric Conversion Guide
ote: The recipes in this book weren’t developed or tested using metric
measurements. There may be some variation in quality when converting to metric units.
Common Abbreviations
What It Stands For
C., c.
G, g
L, l
mL, ml
t., tsp.
T., Tb., Tbsp.
Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition For Dummies
U.S. Units
Canadian Metric
Australian Metric
⁄4 teaspoon
1 milliliter
1 milliliter
⁄2 teaspoon
2 milliliters
2 milliliters
1 teaspoon
5 milliliters
5 milliliters
1 tablespoon
15 milliliters
20 milliliters
⁄4 cup
50 milliliters
60 milliliters
⁄3 cup
75 milliliters
80 milliliters
⁄2 cup
125 milliliters
125 milliliters
⁄3 cup
150 milliliters
170 milliliters
⁄4 cup
175 milliliters
190 milliliters
1 cup
250 milliliters
250 milliliters
1 quart
1 liter
1 liter
1 ⁄2 quarts
1.5 liters
1.5 liters
2 quarts
2 liters
2 liters
21⁄2 quarts
2.5 liters
2.5 liters
3 quarts
3 liters
3 liters
4 quarts (1 gallon)
4 liters
4 liters
U.S. Units
Canadian Metric
Australian Metric
1 ounce
30 grams
30 grams
2 ounces
55 grams
60 grams
3 ounces
85 grams
90 grams
4 ounces ( ⁄4 pound)
115 grams
125 grams
8 ounces ( ⁄2 pound)
225 grams
225 grams
16 ounces (1 pound)
455 grams
500 grams (1⁄2 kilogram)
Appendix: Metric Conversion Guide
Temperature (Degrees)
Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition For Dummies
• Numerics •
7-Up, caffeine in, 25
10-minute cooking. See quick recipes
2,000-calorie meal plan, 151–153
2,300-calorie meal plan, 153–154
2,450-calorie meal plan, 155–156
Ace-k (acesulfame K) sweetener, 122
acupressure, treating nausea with, 77
ADI (acceptable daily intake), 122–125
aerobic exercise, 70–71, 326
agave nectar, avoiding, 50, 123
adding after delivery, 305
avoiding, 20, 50, 60–61
controversy, 24
coping strategies, 61–62
impact on fertility, 24
allergies. See food allergies
almonds, protein in, 36
anaphylactic shock, 300
anemia, 15, 293
animal protein, impact on ovulation, 23
anthocyanins, 265
in eggs, 166
in fruits, 265
in grains, 160
in red beans, 233
sources of, 176, 254
appetizer recipes. See also snack recipes
Asian-Style Chicken Wings, 187
Avocado Shrimp Martinis, 183
Chicken Lettuce Wraps, 189
Dill and Chive Veggie Dip, 274
Fig and Olive Bruschetta, 184
Minty Watermelon Salsa, 181
Sausage-Stuffed Baked Potato Skins, 188
Steamed Artichoke with Garlic-Herb Dipping
Sauce, 185
Sun-Dried Tomato and Ricotta Stuffed
Mushrooms, 186
White Chicken and Pineapple Flatbread, 190
appetizers, dealing with, 108–109
Apple Cinnamon Crêpes, 269
Apple Cinnamon Trail Mix, 177
fiber in, 45
pesticide residue, 120
Apricot Oatmeal Bake, 163
Artichoke Salad, Three-Bean, 277
Artichoke with Garlic-Herb Dipping
Sauce, 185
Asian Chicken Spinach salad, 198
Asian-Style Chicken Wings, 187
benefits, 331
pesticide residue, 120
sesame, 281
aspartame, 123
benefits, 332
pesticide residue, 120
Avocado Shrimp Martinis, 183
B vitamins, folic acid, 18
breast-feeding, 314–315
creating taste preferences in, 302
evaluating amount of nutrition in breast
milk versus formula, 314–316
introducing flavors to, 313
preventing food allergies in, 300–302
baby weight, gaining, 11. See also losing
pregnancy weight; weight
baby’s growth (illustration), 32
back tension, relieving, 73
bacon, substitution for, 144
Campylobacter, 54
Clostridium botulinum, 125
E. coli, 50, 54
foods with, 50–52
growth of, 142
Listeria, 50–52, 55
Salmonella, 50, 52, 55–56
Baked Ziti with Tofu, 240
Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition For Dummies
baking foods, 146
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, 161
Banana Mini Trifle, 257
fiber in, 45
grilled, 284
bean dishes
Beef and Bean Quesadillas, 205
Black Bean Chili, 232
Broccoli, Beans, and Feta Pasta, 250
Giant Beans with Spinach and Feta, 237
Quinoa Tabbouleh with Garbanzo
Beans, 235
Ratatouille with Cannellini Beans, 234
beans. See also specific recipes
benefits of, 233
fiber in, 45
snacking on, 99
bed rest, controlling weight gain, 296
beef. See also specific recipes
avoiding undercooked, 10, 50
benefits, 202, 332
cooking temperature, 141
safety guidelines, 202
storing, 136–137
beef recipes
Beef and Bean Quesadillas, 205
Beef Empanadas, 204
Cocoa-Rubbed Grilled Steaks, 209
Good to the Last Lick Casserole, 203
Indian Lentil Slow Cooker Beef Stew, 207
Italian Stuffed Steak Rolls, 208
Nana’s Moussaka, 206
Beet and Pistachio Salad, 196
bell peppers, pesticide residue, 120
berries, benefits, 332–333
Berries and Cream French Toast, 164
Berry Frozen Yogurt, 255
Bikram yoga, avoiding, 72
Black Bean Chili, 228, 232
black beans, protein in, 36
benefits of, 332
fiber in, 45
blood, water content in, 46
blood pressure, controlling with calcium, 40.
See also high blood pressure
blood sugar, 19. See also diabetes;
gestational diabetes
benefits, 332
pesticide residue, 120
BMI (body mass index), 26–27
bologna, being cautious of, 51
bones, protecting, 42
bottles, feeding babies with, 316
botulism (illness), 50
BPA (biphenol A), 58
brain development
choline and, 40
fat and, 37
iodine and, 43
braising foods, 146
fiber in, 45
storing in freezer, 137
substitution for, 145
breadcrumbs, substitution for, 144
grains, 160
importance of, 159
preparing in 5 minutes or less, 174
breakfast recipes
Apricot Oatmeal Bake, 163
Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, 161
Berries and Cream French Toast, 164
Broccoli Hash-Brown Quiche, 171
Cottage Cheese Pancakes, 165
Greek Omelet, 170
Maple Berry Crunch Granola, 162
Sausage Asparagus Frittata, 169
smoothies, 171–174
Southwest Avocado Breakfast Burrito, 167
Spinach, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich, 168
breast-feeding. See nursing
breasts, feeling pain in, 314
Broccoli, Beans, and Feta Pasta, 250
broccoli, fiber in, 45
Broccoli Cheese Soup, 230
Broccoli Hash-Brown Quiche, 171
Broccoli with Mustard Sauce and
Cashews, 243
broiling foods, 146
brownies, Fudgy Peppermint Black Bean, 260
buffets, dealing with, 109
burping, reducing, 82–83
burrito recipe for breakfast, 167
storing in refrigerator, 136
substitution for, 144
use in recipes, 2
cabbage, pesticide residue, 120
adding after delivery, 305
being cautious of, 51
in chocolate, 25
in coffee, 25, 112
controversy with, 24
coping strategies, 61–62
effects of, 61
in energy drinks, 25
impact on fertility, 24
limiting intake of, 20, 61
in soda, 25
in tea, 25
cake recipes, Chocolate Butterscotch Chip
Bundt Cake, 264
blood pressure control, 40
in eggs, 166
in grains, 160
in prenatal vitamins, 40
sources of, 40, 176, 254
in vegetarian lifestyle, 48
caloric intake
daily, 35, 37
first trimester, 30
for 40 weeks of pregnancy, 33
second trimester, 31–32
third trimester, 33–34
calorie deficit, creating after delivery,
calories. See also meal plans
balancing, 10
carbohydrates, 35–36
consuming, 13
fat, 37
protein, 36–37
sources of, 34–37
calorie-tracking websites, 321
Campylobacter bacteria, 54
cancer survivors, nutritional concerns, 295
cantaloupe, pesticide residue, 120
impact on ovulation, 23
simple versus complex, 36
as source of energy, 35–36
sources of, 36
casseroles, cooking temperature for, 141
celery, pesticide residue, 120
cell building and repair
antioxidants, 265
fatty acids, 41
protein, 36–37
vitamin A, 43
zinc, 43
Celsius, Fahrenheit equivalent, 345
centimeters, equivalent in inches, 345
fiber in, 45
snacking on, 99–100
cesarean (C-section) delivery
exercising after, 16
increased risk of, 21, 42
recovery period, 325
Champagne mocktail, 182
cheese, 2
avoiding soft, 51
reducing amounts of, 145
snacking on, 99
storing, 136–137
unpasteurized, 11
chemicals, limiting exposure to, 59
cherries, pesticide residue, 120
avoiding in salads, 50
avoiding undercooked, 10
cooking, 141, 216
storing in refrigerator, 137
chicken recipes
Asian Chicken Spinach Salad, 198
Asian-Style Chicken Wings, 187
Chicken Hummus Pita, 278
Chicken Kabobs, 224
Chicken Lettuce Wraps, 189
Crispy Lime Chicken Tenders, 223
Curry Chicken Salad, 222
Mixed Greens with Chicken, Cantaloupe,
& Red Grapes Salad, 192
Peachy Chicken Barley Pilaf, 225
Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition For Dummies
chicken recipes (continued)
Rosemary Chicken on Asparagus
Risotto, 221
Spinach, Date, and Blue Cheese Chicken
Panini, 226
White Chicken and Pineapple Flatbread, 190
Chili, Black Bean, 228
chips (whole grain), snacking on, 101
caffeine in, 25
dark, 259
nutrients in, 259
snacking on, 99
chocolate recipes. See also White Chocolate
Berry Oatmeal Cookies
Chocolate Banana Blast Smoothie, 173
Chocolate Butterscotch Chip Bundt Cake, 264
Chocolate Lover’s Sippable Sundae, 262
Dark Chocolate Cherry Pistachio Bark, 261
Fudgy Peppermint Black Bean
Brownies, 260
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pie, 263
good versus bad, 37
managing, 22
choline, sources of, 40
cider, avoiding unpasteurized, 51
clams, avoiding raw, 50
“Clean 15” foods, 119–120
cleaning supplies, choosing, 59
Clostridium botulinum bacteria, 125
Cocoa-Rubbed Grilled Steaks, 209
coffee. See caffeine
Coke, caffeine in, 25
cold cuts, being cautious of, 51
collard greens, pesticide residue, 120
colostrum, defined, 314
conception troubles. See fertility
constipation, overcoming, 11–12
convenience foods, 272–273
cookies, White Chocolate Berry Oatmeal, 270
healthy methods, 143–147
process, increasing comfort of, 147–148
techniques, 145–147
temperatures, 140–142
corn, sweet, 120
cottage cheese, snacking on, 99
Cottage Cheese Pancakes, 165
countertops, keeping clean, 139
crackers, snacking on, 101
Cranberry Gelatin Salad, 200
Cranberry Twist mocktail, 182
controlling, 13
managing, 103–104
pica condition, 103
reasons, 102
cream, substitution for, 144
cream cheese, storing in refrigerator, 136
cream soups, substitution for, 144
Creamy Grape Salad, 199
Crispy Lime Chicken Tenders, 223
crêpes, Apple Cinnamon, 269
Crunchy Garbanzo Beans, 179
C-section delivery (cesarean)
exercising after, 16, 21
increased risk of, 42
recovery period, 325
cupcakes, Lemon Raspberry, 268
Curry Chicken Salad, 222
cutting board, keeping clean, 139
dairy products
impact on ovulation, 23–24
shopping for, 133
substitution for, 144
Dark Chocolate Cherry Pistachio Bark, 261
Decaf Mocha Smoothie, 274
Deconstructed Greek Salad, 197
defrosting food, 142
dehydration from vomiting, 78–79
deli meats
being cautious of, 51, 129
storing in refrigerator, 136
dentist, prenatal visit to, 19
dessert recipes. See also chocolate recipes
Apple Cinnamon Crêpes, 269
Banana Mini Trifle, 257
Fruit Cookie Pizza, 266
Grilled Bananas, 284
Kiwi Custard Pie, 256
Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes, 268
Mango Coconut Rice Pudding, 258
Mixed Berry Frozen Yogurt, 255
Pineapple Spice Loaf with Cream Cheese
Frosting, 267
Ricotta Parfait, 283
Sautéed Summer Fruit over Ice Cream, 282
White Chocolate Berry Oatmeal
Cookies, 270
desserts, eating out, 113–114
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), 41–42, 125
source of, 336
in vegetarian lifestyle, 48
diabetes. See also; gestational diabetes
blood sugar, 19
managing, 21
predisposition to, 43
diet, impact on fertility, 22–25
diet and exercise. See also exercise
anemia, 293
gestational diabetes, 288–290
high blood pressure, 291–293
PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), 290–291
preeclampsia, 291–293
dietician, visiting, 22
digestive tract, 80–85
Dill and Chive Veggie Dip, 275
dining out
appetizers, 108–109
beverages, 112–113
buffets, 109
desserts, 113–114
food safety, 114–116
healthy choices, 107
high-fat foods, 106–107
high-sodium foods, 106
oversized portions, 109–111
placing orders, 107–108
reading menus, 105–106
travel tips, 111
“Dirty Dozen” foods, 119–120
E. coli bacteria, 50–51, 53
amounts of food, 12
feeling full, 96
for energy, 87–88
hunger cues, 31, 33
knowing when to stop, 97
small amounts, 93
eating for two, concept of, 29–30
eating out. See dining out
eating plan, pursuing, 22
edamame, 233, 241, 333
Eggplant, Olive, and Goat Cheese Pizza, 251
eggplant, pesticide residue, 120
eggs, 2
allergic reaction to, 298
avoiding raw, 11, 50
avoiding runny, 11
being cautious of, 52
benefits, 166, 333–334
choline in, 40
cooking, 142
protein in, 36
storing in refrigerator, 136
empanadas, beef, 204
energy, getting from carbohydrates, 35–36
energy drinks, caffeine in, 25
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), 41–42, 125
Equal sweetener, 123
espresso, caffeine in, 25
estrogen, impact on digestive tract, 80
EWG (Environmental Working Group),
57, 119–120
exercise. See also diet and exercise
aerobic, 70–71
avoiding, 74
benefits, 68
core temperature, 70
doing daily, 27
heart rate, 69
Kegel, 327
lifting light weights, 71–72
monitoring intensity, 69
Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 68
post-pregnancy, 324–327
prenatal, 18–19
safety guidelines, 68–69
strength training, 71–72
“talk test,” 69
weekly amount, 68
yoga, 72–73
Fahrenheit, Celsius equivalent, 345
farting, reducing, 82–83
FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome), 60
Fat Cal per serving, 37
fathers, fertility nutrition for, 28
Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition For Dummies
eating for energy, 87–88
overcoming, 11–12, 86–87
fats, 36–37. See also high-fat foods
daily consumption, 37
impact on ovulation, 23
monounsaturated, 37
nervous system development, 37
polyunsaturated, 37
saturated, 37
tracking grams of, 37
trans, 37
types of, 37
FDA (Food and Drug Administration), 122
fertility. See also ovulation
impact of diet on, 22–25
maintaining BMI for, 26
nutrition for fathers, 28
adding to daily diet, 45–46
benefit of, 44
daily requirement, 44
in eggs, 166
on food labels, 45
in fruit, 254
getting after delivery, 304
in grains, 160
sources of, 44–45, 176
Fig and Olive Bruschetta, 184
first trimester (weeks 1-13)
caloric intake, 30
meal plans for, 151–153
fish. See also seafood dishes
allergic reaction to, 298–299
avoiding mercury in, 18
avoiding undercooked, 10
being cautious of, 125–126
benefit of, 125
cooking, 141–142
food safety, 210
high-mercury, 50
recommendations, 126–127
smoked, being cautious of, 52
sources of omega-3s, 41
storing in freezer, 137
flatulence, reducing, 82–83
flavors, introducing babies to, 313
flaxseed, fiber in, 45
flour, 2, 145
fluids. See also hydration; water
daily requirement, 46
sources of, 46–47
folate, 39
depletion of, 328
in eggs, 166
in fruit, 254
in grains, 160
impact on ovulation, 24
source of, 176, 331
folic acid, 10, 18. See also folate
impact on ovulation, 24
prenatal amounts of, 20
sources of, 39
defrosting, 142
measuring, 343–345
refrigerating, 143
food allergens, introducing children to, 302
eggs, 298
fish, 298–299
milk, 298
peanuts, 298
shellfish, 299
soy, 299
tree nuts, 298
wheat, 299
food allergies, 15
getting tested for, 300
versus intolerances, 300
preventing in babies, 300–302
risk factors, 300
role of breast-feeding in, 301–302
supplements for, 301
suspecting, 299
symptoms, 298
Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 122
food labels, reading, 37, 45, 130–132
food safety, 14, 51–52, 130
foodborne illnesses, 53–56
to avoid, 10–11, 50–51
to be cautious of, 51–52
grab-and-go, 128–129
formula, feeding babies with, 313–316
freezer, storing food in, 137, 142
French toast recipe for breakfast, 164
Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato, and Pepper
Salad, 195
frittata recipe for breakfast, 169
frozen meals, choosing, 127–128
Frozen Strawberry Lemonade mocktail, 182
Frozen Yogurt, Berry, 255
fruit, snacking on, 99
Fruit Cookie Pizza, 266
fruit desserts. See dessert recipes
benefits, 254
blue and purple, 265
freezing and canning, 242
green, 265
orange and yellow, 265
precut, 272
red, 265
rinsing, 140
shopping for, 133
storing in freezer, 137
Fruity Poppy Seed Salad, 193
Fudgy Peppermint Black Bean Brownies, 260
garbanzo bean recipes, 179, 235
Garden Fresh Paella, 215
gas, reducing, 11–12, 82–83
GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), 80
germs, guarding against, 140
gestational diabetes. See also diabetes
blood sugar, 19
complications, 289–290
diagnosis, 15, 288
explained, 21, 288
glucose tolerance test, 288
risks of, 42, 288
treating, 290
Giant Beans with Spinach and Feta, 237
ginger, treating nausea with, 77
processing, 19
tolerance test, 288
Good to the Last Lick Casserole, 203
go-to pregnancy snack list, 99–101
Gnocchi with Pesto, 249
benefits of, 160, 176
protein in, 36
shopping for, 133
granola recipe for breakfast, 162
Grape Fizz mocktail, 182
Grape Salad, Creamy, 199
grapefruit, pesticide residue, 120
Grapefruit Salad, Honey Orange, 276
eating frozen, 323
pesticide residue, 120
Greek Omelet, 170
Greek salad, 197
Greek Spinach Pie (Spanakopita ), 245
Greek yogurt, 36, 100, 334
greens, kale and collard, 120
Grilled Bananas, 284
grilling foods, 146
grocery lists, using, 133–134
grocery shopping, 13–14
cutting costs, 129
following meal plans, 130
reading food labels, 130
using lists, 130
ground beef
cooking temperature, 141
storing, 136–137
substitution for, 144
gums, bleeding, 19
avoiding in salads, 50
being cautious of, 51
cooking temperature, 141
storing in freezer, 137
hands, washing, 140
Havarti Pear Grilled Cheese on
Pumpernickel, 280
HDL cholesterol, 37
health conditions
diabetes, 21
high blood pressure, 21
high cholesterol, 22
hypertension, 21
PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), 21
healthy choices, making, 13–14, 107
healthy cooking, 143–147
heart disease, predisposition to, 43
Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition For Dummies
avoiding, 80–82
causes of, 80
overcoming, 11–12
heart-healthy compounds, source of, 265
hemorrhoids, dealing with, 11–12, 84–85
herbal products, being cautious of, 52
herbs, 2, 279
HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup), 123
high blood pressure
controlling 21, 40, 292–293
diet adjustments for, 15, 292–293
risks of, 291
high-fat foods, spotting on menus, 106–107.
See also fats
high-sodium foods, spotting on menus, 106.
See also salt
honey, 2, 50, 124
Honey Orange Grapefruit Salad, 276
honeydew melon, pesticide residue, 120
hormone production, 43
ghrelin, 341
impact on digestive tract, 80
leptin, 341
hot dogs, being cautious of, 51
Chicken Hummus Pita, 278
fiber in, 45
prepared, 273
hunger, physical versus psychological, 103
hunger cues, 31, 33. See also eating
hunger gauge, using, 94–96
hydration. See also fluids; water
importance of, 46–47
while nursing, 310–311
hyperemesis gravidarum, 78–79
hypertension, managing. See high blood
ice cream
avoiding homemade, 52
choosing, 254
Sautéed Summer Fruit recipe, 282
immune system, protecting, 42–43, 265
inches, equivalent in centimeters, 345
Indian Lentil Slow Cooker Beef Stew, 207
ingredients, substituting, 144–145
insulin, using, 19
iodine, 43
absorption, 39
deficiency, 39–40
depletion of, 328
in eggs, 166
getting after delivery, 304
in grains, 160
impact on ovulation, 24
increased need for, 39–40
nausea caused by, 38
sources of, 39, 176
in vegetarian lifestyle, 48
Italian Stuffed Steak Rolls, 208
avoiding unpasteurized, 51
use in recipes, 2
kale, pesticide residue, 120
Kegel exercises, doing, 327
storing in refrigerator, 136
using, 247
kitchen, keeping clean, 139–140
kiwi, pesticide residue, 120
Kiwi Custard Pie, 256
labor, inducing, 148
lacto-ovo vegetarian, 48
Lasagna, Vegetable, 250
laxatives, avoiding, 84
LDL cholesterol, 37
convenience of, 150
cooking temperature, 141
keeping safe, 115–116
reheating, 142
legumes, benefits, 23, 233, 334–335
lemon juice, use in recipes, 2
Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes, 268
lemon scents, treating nausea with, 77
lemon water, 112
fiber in, 45
Indian Lentil Slow Cooker Beef Stew, 207
Sloppy Lentil Joes, 236
lime juice, use in recipes, 2
Listeria bacteria, 50–51, 55
liver, being cautious of, 52
losing pregnancy weight. See also weight
avoiding starvation, 338
for babies, 342
being active, 339–340
belly, 318
breast-feeding, 341
calorie deficit, 321–322
diet and exercise, 319–320
drinking water to aid digestion, 320
fat, 320
fiber, 320
frequency of eating, 338
getting full, 337–338
getting sleep, 341–342
increasing muscle mass, 340
meal plans for, 322–323
mindfulness of eating, 339
nutrient-dense foods, 320
portion sizes, 338
process of, 317
protein, 320
rate of, 319
setting expectations, 318
snacking, 339
strength training, 340
taking time for self, 342
uterus shrinking, 318
lycopene, 247
Mango Avocado Salmon, 212
Mango Coconut Rice Pudding, 258
mangos, pesticide residue, 120
Maple Berry Crunch Granola, 162
storing in refrigerator, 136
substitution for, 2, 144
mayonnaise, storing in refrigerator, 136
meal plans. See also calories
2,000 calories, 151–153
2,300 calories, 153–154
2,450 calories, 155–156
planning, 150–151
size of, 12
measurements, metric, 343–345
meat spreads, being cautious of, 52
meat temperatures, 141
meat thermometer, using, 10, 141–142
meatless dishes. See vegetarian lifestyle;
specific recipes
avoiding in salads, 50
avoiding undercooked, 50
being cautious of, 51
precooked, 273
preportioned, 273
presliced, 273
white, 216
medications, reviewing, 21
melon, honeydew, 120
memory, improving, 265
menus, reading, 105–106
mercury, avoiding in fish, 18, 50, 57–58,
metabolism, defined, 323
metric conversion table, 343–345
microwave, using, 273
allergic reaction to, 15, 298
avoiding unpasteurized, 51
benefits of, 335
protein in, 36
storing in refrigerator, 137
unpasteurized, 11
use in recipes, 2
milkshakes, 113
Minty Watermelon Salsa, 181
miscarriage, myth busters, 57
Mixed Berry Frozen Yogurt, 255
Mixed Greens with Chicken, Cantaloupe &
Red Grapes salad, 192
Champagne, 182
Cranberry Twist, 182
Frozen Strawberry Lemonade, 182
Grape Fizz, 182
Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition For Dummies
mocktails (continued)
Orange Pineapple Slush, 182
Shirley Temple, 182
Virgin Daiquiri, 182
monounsaturated fats, 37
morning sickness. See nausea
moussaka (recipe), 206
Mozzarella, Tomato, and Pepper Salad, 195
muffin recipe for breakfast, 161
carrying, 295–296
nursing, 307
multivitamins. See also specific vitamins
prenatal, 10
taking before and during pregnancy, 10, 38
taking after delivery, 304
mushroom recipe, 186
MyPlate guidelines, 34–35, 150
Nana’s Moussake, 206
causes of, 75–76, 78
dealing with, 76–78
iron as cause of, 38
medical intervention, 78–79
overcoming, 11–12
severe, 78–79
nectarines, pesticide residue, 120
nervous system, 37
neural tube, formation of, 18, 40
alcohol, 312–313
benefits for babies, 307
benefits for Mom, 305–306
caffeine, 312–313
caloric intake, 321
committment, 308
duration of, 306
exercising, 325
hydration, 310–311
losing weight while, 16, 308
meal plans, 311–312
multiples, 307
nutritional concerns, 16, 308–309
overcoming obstacles, 307–308
positions, 314–315
in public, 308
pumping, 308
role in allergy prevention, 301–302
spicy foods, 313
time per feeding, 314
nursing nutrients
carbohydrates, 309
choline, 310
chromium, 310
DHA and EPA, 310
fats, 309
potassium, 310
proteins, 309
vitamin A, 310
vitamin C, 310
vitamin D, 310
nut butters, snacking on, 100
nut mixes, snacking on, 100, 178
Nutrasweet, 123
calcium, 40
carbohydrates, 35–36
choline, 40
fats, 37
folate, 39
folic acid, 39
getting enough, 38
impact on fertility, 22–24
iodine, 43
iron, 39–40
omega-3 fatty acids, 41–42
protein, 36–37
vitamin A, 43
vitamin D, 42–43
zinc, 43
for dad-to-be, 28
link between mother and child, 43
prior to pregnancy, 10
nutrition bars, snacking on, 100
Nutrition Facts panel, reading, 131–132
nutrition shakes, snacking on, 100
nutritious options, picking, 13–14
nuts, 23
prechopped, 272
snacking on, 100
fiber in, 45
snacking on, 100
Oatmeal Cookies, White Chocolate Berry, 270
oatmeal recipe for breakfast, 163
obesity, predisposition to, 43
OB/GYN (obstetrician/gynecologist), 19
flavored, 279
substitution for, 144
olive oil, use in recipes, 2, 299
omega-3 fatty acids, 125
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), 41–42
fish-free supplements, EPA
(eicosapentaenoic acid), 41–42
restoring post-pregnancy nutrition
status, 328
source of, 336
omelet recipe for breakfast, 170
onions, 2, 120
Orange Pineapple Slush mocktail, 182
organic foods
animal foods, 118
considering, 119–121
Dirty Dozen, 119
labels, 118–119
pesticide residue, 120
produce, 118
pros and cons, 121
osteoporosis, reducing risk of, 40
ovulation. See also fertility
impact of diet on, 23–24
improving by losing weight, 26
oysters, avoiding raw, 50
paella recipe, 215
pancake recipe for breakfast, 165
pantry, storing foods in, 137–138
Parmesan-Herb-Crusted Pork Chops, 218
pasta, substitution for, 145
pasta recipes
Broccoli, Beans, and Feta, 250
Gnocchi with Pesto, 249
Vegetable Lasagna, 248
PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome),
21, 290–291
peaches, pesticide residue, 120
Peachy Chicken Barley Pilaf, 225
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pie, 263
peanut butter, protein in, 36
peanuts, allergic reaction to, 298
pears, fiber in, 45
Pecan-Crusted Tilapia with Pear and Fig
Chutney, 213
pepper (black), use in recipes, 2
peppers, coring and seeding, 172
Pepsi, caffeine in, 25
perishable foods, storing, 143
pesticide residue, 58, 119–120
phthalates, 58–59
Physical Activity Guidelines for
Americans, 68
phytonutrients, source of, 265
pica condition, 103
Kiwi Custard, 256
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, 263
pineapple, pesticide residue, 120
Pineapple Spice Loaf with Cream Cheese
Frosting, 267
Fruit Cookie Pizza, 266
making healthier, 247
Roasted Eggplant, Olive, and Goat
Cheese Pizza, 251
PKU (phenylketonuria), 123
plant proteins, 23. See also protein foods
plastics, 58–59
poaching foods, 146
polyunsaturated fats, 37
Pomegranate Power Smoothie, 174
fiber in, 45
recipe, 180
snacking on, 100
avoiding undercooked, 10, 50
cooking, 141, 216
storing, 136–137
pork recipes
Parmesan-Herb-Crusted Pork Chops, 218
Super Easy Pulled Pork, 217
portion sizes, 110–111
post-pregnancy, 15–16
adding alcohol, 305
adding caffeine, 305
exercise, 324–327
nutrients, 304
strength training, 326
stretching, 326
walking, 325
Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition For Dummies
in eggs, 166
in fruit, 254
in grains, 160
sources of, 176
fiber in, 45
pesticide residue, 120
sweet, 120
avoiding undercooked, 50
cooking temperature, 141
storing, 137
pounds. See weight
powdered sugar, use in recipes, 2
Powerhouse Hit The Deck workout cards, 326
preeclampsia, 15
explained, 291
increased risk of, 42
nutrition recommendation, 292
risk factors, 292
symptoms, 292
pregnancies, intervals between, 327–328
first trimester, 30
restoring nutritional status after, 328
second trimester, 31–32
third trimester, 33–34
“pregnancy 50,” avoiding, 66–67
prenatal care
avoiding alcohol, 20
dentist, 19
family doctor, 19
folic acid, 20
limiting caffeine, 20
OB/GYN (obstetrician/gynecologist), 19
prescriptions, 21
quitting smoking, 20
weight management, 20
prenatal vitamins, calcium in, 40
prepared foods, being cautious of, 129
prescriptions, reviewing, 21
benefits of, 84
in formula, 315
produce, fresh, 242
progesterone, impact on digestive tract, 80
complete, 233
depletion of, 328
digesting, 37
in eggs, 166
getting enough after delivery, 304
in grains, 160
sources of, 176, 254
in vegetarian lifestyle, 48
protein foods
almonds, 36
black beans, 36
eating post-pregnancy, 15
eggs, 36
grains, 36
impact on ovulation, 23
meat, 36
milk, 36
peanut butter, 36
shopping for, 134
tofu, 36
yogurt, 36
Pulled Pork, Super Easy, 217
Quesadillas, Beef and Bean, 205
quiche recipe for breakfast, 171
quick recipes, 272–273
Chicken Hummus Pita, 278
Decaf Mocha Smoothie, 274
Dill and Chive Veggie Dip, 275
enhancing flavor in, 279
Grilled Bananas, 284
Havarti Pear Grilled Cheese on
Pumpernickel, 280
Honey Orange Grapefruit Salad, 276
Ricotta Parfait, 283
Sautéed Summer Fruit over Ice Cream, 282
Sesame Asparagus, 281
Three-Bean Artichoke Salad, 277
quinoa, benefits of, 335–336
Quinoa Nut Mix, 178
Quinoa Tabbouleh with Garbanzo Beans, 235
raspberries, benefits of, 332
Ratatouille with Cannellini Beans, 234
RD (registered dietitian), visiting, 22
recipes. See also specific recipes
guidelines for, 2
making healthier, 144–145
recovery. See post-pregnancy
red beans, benefits of, 233
keeping clean, 140
storing food in, 136–137
resistance training, 71–72
rice (white), substitution for, 145
Rice Pudding, Mango Coconut, 258
Ricotta Parfait, 283
RLS (restless leg syndrome), 88
RMR (resting metabolic rate), increase in, 33
Roasted Beet and Pistachio Salad, 196
Roasted Eggplant, Olive, and Goat Cheese
Pizza, 251
roasting foods, 146
Rosemary Chicken on Asparagus Risotto, 221
saccharin, 52, 124
snacking on, 100
pairing with meals, 191
salad dressing
storing in refrigerator, 137
substitution for, 144
salad recipes
Asian Chicken Spinach, 198
Cranberry Gelatin, 200
Creamy Grape, 199
Deconstructed Greek, 197
Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato, and Pepper, 195
Fruity Poppy Seed, 193
Honey Orange Grapefruit, 276
Mixed Greens with Chicken, Cantaloupe &
Red Grapes, 192
Roasted Beet and Pistachio, 196
Three-Bean Artichoke, 277
White Bean and Portobello, 194
salmon, benefits of, 336
Salmon, Mango Avocado, 212
Salmonella bacteria, 50, 55–56
salsa, storing in refrigerator, 137
salt. See also high-sodium foods
reducing amounts of, 145
table, 2
sandwiches, snacking on, 100
saturated fats, 37
Sauerkraut and Turkey Sausage Pasta
Bake, 220
Sausage Asparagus Frittata, 169
Sausage-Stuffed Baked Potato Skins, 188
Sautéed Summer Fruit over Ice Cream, 282
sautéing foods, 146
Scallops with Noodles, Thai, 214
seafood. See fish
seafood dishes
Garden Fresh Paella, 215
Mango Avocado Salmon, 212
Pecan-Crusted Tilapia with Pear and Fig
Chutney, 213
Spaghetti with Clam Sauce, 211
Thai Scallops with Noodles, 214
seasoned salt, substitution for, 145
second trimester (weeks 14-27)
caloric intake, 31–32
meal plans, 153–154
Sesame Asparagus, 281
Sesame Noodle Salad, 239
allergic reaction to, 299
avoiding raw, 50
Shirley Temple mocktail, 182
shortening, substitution for, 144
side effects, avoiding, 11–12
Sierra Mist, caffeine in, 25
sleep, getting enough of, 88–89, 341
Sloppy Lentil Joes, 236
smoked seafood, being cautious of, 52
smoking, quitting, 20
boosting nutritional value, 172
Chocolate Banana Blast, 173
Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition For Dummies
smoothies (continued)
Decaf Mocha, 274
Pomegranate Power, 174
snacking on, 100, 113
snack recipes. See also appetizer recipes
Apple Cinnamon Trail Mix, 177
Crunchy Garbanzo Beans, 179
Quinoa Nut Mix, 178
Truffle-Flavored Popcorn, 180
beans, 99
cereal, 99–100
cheese, 99
chips (whole grain), 101
chocolate, 99
cottage cheese, 99
crackers, 101
determining number of, 101
eating, 27
fruit, 99
guidelines for smart snacking, 98
nut butters, 100
nut mixes, 100
nutrition bars and shakes, 100
nuts, 100
oatmeal, 100
planning, 150
popcorn, 100
salads, 100
sandwich (half), 100
scheduling, 101
smoothies, 100
veggies and hummus, 100
yogurt (Greek), 100
soda, caffeine in, 25
sodium. See high-sodium foods; salt
soft drinks, 112
Black Bean Chili, 228
Broccoli Cheese, 228, 230
Souped-Up Split Pea, 228
Tomato Bulgur, 228–229
Southwest Avocado Breakfast Burrito, 167
soy, allergic reaction to, 299
soy-based foods, 23
soybeans, benefits of, 233
Spaghetti with Clam Sauce, 211
Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie), 245
fiber in, 45
pesticide residue, 120
Spinach, Date, and Blue Cheese Chicken
Panini, 226
Spinach, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich, 168
spinal cord, formation of, 18
Splenda, 125
Split Pea Soup, Souped-Up, 231
Sprite, caffeine in, 25
sprouts, avoiding raw, 50
starches, 36
Steak Rolls, Italian-Stuffed, 208
Steamed Artichoke with Garlic-Herb Dipping
Sauce, 185
Steamed Broccoli with Mustard Sauce and
Cashews, 243
steaming foods, 147
stevia, 125
benefits of, 332
fiber in, 45
pesticide residue, 120
strength training, 71–72, 326
stretching, post-pregnancy, 326
Stroller Strides class, 325
stuffing and gravy, being cautious of, 52
sucralose, 124
sugar, 2, 145
Sun-Dried Tomato and Ricotta Stuffed
Mushrooms, 186
Sunett sweetener, 122
Super Easy Pulled Pork, 217
supplements, taking, 38
sushi, eating, 10
Sweet ‘N Low, 124
sweet peas, pesticide residue, 120
Sweet Potato Hash, 246
sweet potatoes, pesticide residue, 120
sweeteners, 122–125
swelling, dealing with, 89
swimming, 70
takeout food, reheating, 115
tapas-style meals
Artichoke with Garlic-Herb Dipping Sauce,
Asian-Style Chicken Wings, 187
Avocado Shrimp Martinis, 183
Chicken Lettuce Wraps, 189
Fig and Olive Bruschetta, 184
Sausage-Stuffed Baked Potato Skins, 188
Sun-Dried Tomato and Ricotta Stuffed
Mushrooms, 186
White Chicken and Pineapple Flatbread, 190
caffeine in, 25
unsweetened, 112
teenage mothers, nutritional concerns, 294
teeth, taking care of, 19
temperatures, 2
for cooking meat, 141
danger zone, 143
degrees, 345
safety of, 10
Thai Scallops with Noodles, 214
third trimester (weeks 28-40)
caloric intake, 33–34
meal plans, 155–156
Three-Bean Artichoke Salad, 277
Tilapia, Pecan-Crusted with Pear and Fig
Chutney, 213
tofu, 233
Baked Ziti with Tofu, 240
protein in, 36
Tofu Vegetable Stir-Fry, 238
Tomato Bulgur Soup, 228–229
tomatoes, lycopene in, 247
Total Fat listing, 37
mercury, 57–58
pesticides, 58
plastics, 58–59
Toxoplasma parasite, 56
trail mix recipe, 177
trans fats, 37
tree nuts, allergic reaction to, 298
first (weeks 1-13), 30, 151–153
second (weeks 14-27), 31–32, 153–154
third (weeks 28-40), 33–34, 155–156
triplets, carrying, 295–296
Truffle-Flavored Popcorn, 180
Truvia sweetener, 125
avoiding in salads, 50
being cautious of, 51
being cautious of, 51
cooking, 216
turkey recipes
Sauerkraut and Turkey Sausage Pasta
Bake, 220
Turkey Cheeseburger Chowder, 219
twins, carrying, 295–296
USDA (United States Department of
Agriculture), 118–119
utensils, keeping clean, 139
uterus, shrinking, 16, 318
UTIs (urinary tract infections), avoiding,
Vegetable Lasagna, 248
vegetable recipes. See specific recipes
benefits, 242
canned, 272
freezing and canning, 242
frozen, 272
precut, 272
preparing safely, 14
rinsing, 140
shopping for, 133
storing in freezer, 137
vegetarian lifestyle
calcium, 48
continuing, 18, 47–48
DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), 48
Pregnancy Cooking & Nutrition For Dummies
vegetarian lifestyle (continued)
iron, 48
lacto-ovo, 48
protein, 48
vegan, 48
vitamin B12, 48
vitamin D, 48
zinc, 48
Veggie Dip, Dill and Chive, 275
veggies and hummus, snacking on, 100
Vibrio bacteria, 50
vinegars, flavored, 279
Virgin Daiquiri mocktail, 182
developing in babies, 43
improving, 265
vitamin A, 43, 52
vitamin B12, 48
vitamin C, 304
vitamin D, 42–43, 48
vitamins, prenatal, 38. See also multivitamins
vomiting, risk of, 78–79
water. See also fluids; hydration
percentage in blood, 46
as source of hydration, 46–47
watermelon, pesticide residue, 120
watermelon salsa recipe, 181
American Dietetic Association, 22
food safety, 51–52
MyPlate guideline, 35, 150
nutrient data for snacks, 98
portion sizes, 110
Powerhouse Hit The Deck workout cards,
Stroller Strides class, 325
weeks 1-13 (first trimester)
caloric intake, 30
meal plan, 151–153
weeks 14-27 (second trimester)
caloric intake, 31–32
meal plans, 153–154
weeks 28-40 (third trimester)
caloric intake, 33–34
meal plans, 155–156
weight. See also losing pregnancy weight
avoiding “pregnancy 50,” 66–67
calorie tracking, 321
complications from excess, 66
gaining gradually, 11, 63–65
impact on fertility, 26
importance of, 26–27
losing, 26–27, 65
losing post-pregnancy, 16
losing to improve ovulation, 26
normal, 64
obese, 64
overweight, 64
prenatal management, 20
pre-pregnancy, 30, 64
preventing excess gain, 11, 65–67
range, 64, 319
underweight, 64
weights, lifting, 71–72
wheat, allergic reaction to, 15, 299
Wheat Berry Edamame with Dried Fruit, 241
wheat germ, fiber in, 45
White Bean and Portobello salad, 194
White Chicken and Pineapple Flatbread, 190
White Chocolate Berry Oatmeal Cookies, 270.
See also chocolate recipes
yoga, 72–73
yogurt (Greek), 36, 100, 334
zinc, 43, 48
Ziti with Tofu, Baked, 240
Zucchini Patties, 244
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