Unpacking Pregnancy Pounds
Although they may lack the equipment to give birth, there are a surprising number of fathers who experience a sympathetic weight gain comparable to their own wives’ pregnancy weight gain. In fact, this phenomenon can go much further. It’s called Couvade Syndrome, and it can include all the symptoms of a regular pregnancy: morning sickness, weight gain and even tender breasts.
But we’re not talking about full-blown Couvade Syndrome here. Just a little congruous weight gain… tandem tummies, if you will. The answer to how both dads and moms-to-be can get a nutritional handle on weight gain and not develop love handles is a sort of hand-to-mouth proposition, literally. What goes into your mouth could eventually show up on your backside and belly long after the pregnancy is over and junior’s in preschool. In other words, being on a first name basis with Sarah Lee is a big mistake.
Because of the heightened awareness of nutrition during the pregnancy adventure, both mom and dad are on full alert to make sure those extra servings of protein and calcium are showing up in the diet on a daily basis. And while this is perfectly acceptable, keep in mind that eating for two is one thing, eating too much for two is completely another! Here are five tips that will help keep food in perspective during both your pregnancies:
• The Great Exchange: For women, pregnancy is not an out of body experience. You’re there, all the way, start to finish. And after that baby is delivered, you get what’s known as a postpartum body in exchange for the formerly pregnant body. This is something you’ve never seen before, and something that may make you wish for an out of body experience! It is important to understand that your pregnancy thighs will be the same as your post-pregnancy thighs, you’ll just be able to see them better without having the bulging baby blocking your view. Remember that the next time you’re tempted to throw caution to the wind and belly up to another round at the bar. You know the bar I’m talking about: the Snickers bar, the Kit Kat bar, the Hershey bar…
• Calcium Considerations: Three servings of calcium a day does not mean chocolate, vanilla or strawberry. Nor is it, in simpler terms, Neapolitan ice cream.
• In the Dog House: Hubby’s midnight runs to 7-Eleven for hot dogs and slurpies still count for the day’s calories. However, you do get extra points if he does these covert missions in his jammies.
• Constant Craving: A quick word to the wise; cravings can get ugly if not attended to. Give a pregnant woman what she asks for and the appropriate utensil with which to eat it, and you’ve made a friend for life. Brush off her craving and that sweet little pregnant thing, bless her heart, will pull your eyeballs clean out of their sockets with one hand. Learn to obey the crave, if you know what’s good for you.
• Heavyweight Champ: The heaviest baby ever born weighed in at 24 pounds. Unless you’re overly competitive and trying to break the world record (and have contacted the Guiness Book of World Records to come down to the hospital when you beach this whale), it doesn’t explain the rest of the ponderous poundage picked up during pregnancy. Nope, the “big bones” excuse doesn’t cut it either.
The key to a healthy pregnancy and an acceptable weight gain (for both father and mom-to-be) is eating well. Here are some recipes that capitalize on the basics — good nutrition and delicious taste.
Chicken and Spinach Lasagne
This recipe makes a lot, but it will freeze well (think postpartum!) should you decide against grazing on leftovers for a few days, and it is certainly worth making extra if you’re going to go to all the trouble of making lasagne in the first place:
6 pieces lasagne noodles, uncooked
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken breast halves, chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups skim milk
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 15-ounce carton part-skim Ricotta cheese
1 beaten egg
1 8-ounce package shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a medium saucepan, cook onion in butter until tender. Stir in cornstarch, basil, garlic powder and nutmeg. Add milk all at once. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in spinach.
In a medium bowl, stir together Ricotta and egg. Add Mozzarella and half of the Parmesan; mix well.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange three of the uncooked lasagne pieces in the bottom of a greased 12×7 rectangular baking dish. Top with half of the spinach mixture, half the cooked chicken and half the Ricotta mixture. Repeat layers. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese. Now tent the baking dish with foil and seal well (you don’t want the foil touching the top of the lasagne). Bake for 60 minutes or until mixture is bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes (with this method, you will never need to precook lasagne noodles again).
Per serving: 213 Calories (kcal); 12g Total Fat (48% calories from fat); 14g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 2g Fiber; 52mg Cholesterol; 306mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 1/2 Grain (Starch); 1 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates
Mexican Flank Steak Stir Fry
Some pregnant women can’t even look at a hot pepper during pregnancy, and some aren’t bothered at all by a little spice. In any case, you can easily simmer down the heat on a jalapeno by de-ribbing and de-seeding the pepper. Just make SURE you don’t touch your eyes after handling the pepper. Better yet, use gloves when working with jalapenos.
1/2 pound beef flank steak
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 red bell pepper, cut in thin strips
1/2 medium onion, cut in thin wedges
1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced (optional)
1 cup brown rice, cooked
Cut beef steak into 1/8 inch thick strips. Combine oil, cumin, oregano and garlic; reserve half. Heat half the seasoned oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, onion and jalapeno pepper; stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove and reserve. In same skillet, stir-fry beef strips (1/2 at a time) in remaining oil 1 to 2 minutes. Return vegetables to skillet and heat through. Serve beef mixture over brown rice.
Per serving: 395 Calories (kcal); 20g Total Fat (45% calories from fat); 25g Protein; 3g Fiber; 28g Carbohydrate; 58mg Cholesterol; 83mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 1 1/2 Grain (Starch); 3 Lean Meat; 1 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates
Sweet Date Bran Muffins
Makes 1 dozen (freezes well)
Mornings should be a time to get a good dose of carbs — whole grains and fiber. A problem for a lot of pregnant women is staying regular during pregnancy. If you balance out a lot of fiber with a lot of water, you will be less likely to have these problems.
Buttermilk adds richness to these muffins, and the whole wheat pastry flour makes all the difference for attaining a softer texture than conventional whole wheat flour… worth the trip to the health food store! Store the flour in your freezer in a freezer-weight plastic bag for maximum freshness.
1/2 cup hot water
1/4 cup chopped dates
1 1/2 cups wheat bran
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (available in health food stores)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chopped dates
Pour water over 1/4 cup dates; set aside. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease bottoms only of a muffin tin or line with paper baking cups. Mix wheat bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Place date-water mixture, the oil and egg in blender or food processor. Cover and blend on medium speed about 1 minute or until smooth. Stir date mixture and buttermilk into flour mixture just until flour is moistened (batter will be lumpy). Gently stir in 1/2 cup dates. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool muffins in pan 5 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Serve warm, if desired.
Per serving: 148 Calories (kcal); 7g Total Fat (39% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 5g Fiber; 21g Carbohydrate; 16mg Cholesterol; 209mg Sodium
Food Exchanges: 1 Grain (Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 1/2 Fruit; 1 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates