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Narrator: Eating wisely is a big responsibility when you're expecting.
Dietitian Johanna Ballard: There's no one perfect pregnancy food. It's about eating a variety of different foods to give you the vitamins and minerals you need to support a healthy pregnancy.
Narrator: Today Angie, a first-time expectant mom, will learn how to make three perfect pregnancy meals.
Guiding her through the process is Johanna Ballard, a maternal and pediatric dietitian at North Carolina Children's Hospital, and Tara Davis, a professional chef and cooking class instructor trained in New York.
Chef Tara Davis: Here is some spinach. Angie, do you want to grab a bunch for the omelet?
Narrator: Each meal on today's menu, designed by Johanna and Tara, is loaded with vitamins, minerals, lean protein, dairy, fiber, and healthy fat – everything a pregnant woman and her baby need.
Fruits and vegetables are always on the shopping list.
Dietitian: So here we've got some Red Delicious apples. These are organic and they're local. There are no pesticides used to grow them so you can eat the skin on these, which is a great source of fiber.
Narrator: If you go with conventional produce, wash it first to minimize the chemical residue. Peeling off the skin helps too.
Lean proteins are a key part of a healthy pregnancy diet, so be sure to eat a variety of them.
Angie and the food experts set up in Tara's kitchen.
Food safety is even more important when you're pregnant, since your immune system is dialed down.
Dietitian: It's really important that we wash our hands, that our countertops and utensils are cleaned and sanitized, and that we've washed all the produce that we're going to use.
Narrator: The first meal that we're cooking up is a nutrient-rich breakfast omelet.
Chef: What we are going to make today is an omelet with some spinach, tomatoes, and Swiss cheese. If you'd like to do the honors, Angie?
Dietitian: Eggs are a great source of protein. They've also got choline, which is helpful for brain development in babies.
Angie: And how many eggs do you recommend a day?
Dietitian: You can have one or two a day for a healthy adult.
Chef: Add a little bit of milk to keep the eggs fluffy.
Narrator: Add one diced tomato, which is rich in vitamin C. Next, toss in a cup of cleaned, cut spinach, which contains folic acid and iron. The folic acid helps prevent certain birth defects, and the iron protects against anemia, low birth weight, and premature delivery.
Season with a dash of salt and pepper, and if you like, sprinkle in some herbs like basil or dill for extra flavor.
Warm a tablespoon of olive oil in a nonstick skillet, over low heat. Raise the temperature, then pour in the beaten egg and brown it.
Chef: So you want to make sure when you're cooking eggs, that you cook it to a temperature that kills the salmonella bacteria.
Then I'm just also going to add a little bit of Swiss cheese, for flavor and protein.
Narrator: Eggs should be heated to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don't want to use a food thermometer, you can just eyeball it – make sure the yolks and whites are firm and not runny.
When you're pregnant, be extra careful to cook things thoroughly, since you're more susceptible to getting sick from food-borne bacteria.
One slice of whole wheat bread and you've added fiber and complex carbohydrates that round out your meal.
Angie: Mmm! Really good!
Narrator: On to lunch – a delicious and nutritious chicken salad.
Chef: Ready to get to work?
Angie: I am.
Chef: I like it to be really nice and chunky. It's a substantial salad.
Narrator: Chop up two stalks of celery and finely chop some thyme, rosemary, and basil leaves. If you don't have fresh herbs, dried ones are fine.
Chef: This is the hardest part of making this salad.
Add some mayonnaise, 2 good tablespoons. A little bit of Dijon mustard gives it some depth. A little bit of lime juice. That just gives a little bit of that acidic contrast and brightens up the flavor a bit. You can adjust it to your liking and your taste. And then let's add our chicken.
Will you put the red onions and red grapes in?
Chef: Give that a nice good toss. Walnuts…
Dietitian: Walnuts add a great crunch to the salad, and they are also high in omega-3s.
Chef: And a little bit of salt and pepper. Yeah, this salad is packed with protein with the chicken and the walnuts.
Chef: Instead of adding chips, I was thinking we could add some nice slices of kiwi.
Dietitian: Kiwi is packed full of vitamins and minerals. It's a good source of vitamin C, which helps your body to absorb iron, which we've got some iron in our chicken salad.
Chef: So now we can assemble our sandwich. A nice big spoonful of our salad. And a little bit of lettuce, and voilà.
Dietitian: We've got whole grain bread, we've got fruit, lots of proteins and vegetables. It's a great lunch.
To add calcium to your meal, consider topping it off with a glass of milk or some yogurt.
Chef: What do you think?
Angie: It's delicious – very crunchy and flavorful.
Chef: And this dish works really well in a wrap or even on top of a salad.
Dietitian: It's very good.
Narrator: Our third recipe, just right for expectant moms, is a simple and scrumptious pasta dish.
Chef: We've got our asparagus that we got at the market today, and then we have shrimp, artichoke, roasted red pepper, some fresh parsley, shallot, garlic, a little bit of lemon juice, some butter, and of course our spinach linguine.
This dish includes shrimp because seafood is good for you and your developing baby.
However, certain types of seafood are high in the contaminant mercury and should be avoided during pregnancy. Shrimp is low in mercury, so it's a great choice for Angie's meal.
Dietitian: We've got the pasta, which is fortified with iron. It's a carbohydrate so it is a good source of calories and it also has fiber. The asparagus, which is great in folic acid.
Add the pasta to a pot of boiling water.
Cut the fresh asparagus on an angle and sauté in a saucepan with about 2 tablespoons of heated olive oil.
Then add your finely chopped garlic and shallots.
Chef: You just want to cook the shrimp through. You'll see them start to pink up on you.
And we can put the artichokes in now…
Narrator: Artichokes offer fiber, vitamin K, B vitamins, and potassium, which plays a critical role in the function of nerves and muscles for both you and your baby.
Next, add the nutrient-rich roasted red pepper.
Dietitian: Adding color means adding variety, which adds more vitamins and minerals.
Chef: This is just fresh lemon juice. I don't want to add all of it because you can't take it out.
Narrator: About 5 to 7 minutes over a medium-high burner and the meal is almost complete.
Angie: The shrimp looks likes it's getting done.
Chef: Add some butter.
Dietitian: Just don't put a whole lot… A moderate amount of butter is probably fine.
Chef: This is about a tablespoon and half. Really it's just for flavor.
Dietitian: And some fat in your diet is healthy.
Angie: Okay. That is good to hear.
Ask your doctor how much fat – and what types – are right for you. The answer may depend on your weight during your pregnancy.
Chef: Toss it all together so the pasta gets some of that flavor. Then you get to try it!
Dietitian: And four or five shrimps are one serving of protein.
Chef: Dig in.
Angie: Oh, that is wonderful.
Chef: Is it good?
Angie: Mmm. Very good.
Dietitian: So, Angie, So did you learn anything about healthy nutrition today?
Angie: I did. I learned how much you can really pack into a meal.
Dietitian: Variety is really important because each fruit or vegetable or grain or meat has something nutritional to add.
Chef: It is really about just keeping your ingredients fresh and healthy and having a good plan but above all you want to keep it simple.
For a copy of these recipes and others, go to Our Site/pregnancy-recipes.
No matter how healthy your diet, experts recommend taking a prenatal vitamin throughout pregnancy to help your baby grow.
Chef: Have a great pregnancy and have fun.
Angie: Thank you. This has been great.