A high-protein, low-carb diet may help women trying to conceive produce better quality eggs and embryos, boosting fertility, according to new research.
Here’s a menu, tips and recipes to get you started!
First, stock up on these high-protein, low/no-carb foods for meals:
- Meats and poultry (lean cuts), such as chicken breasts, turkey breast/burgers
- Fish and shellfish (cod, shrimp, tuna, and salmon)
- Soy products such as tofu, edamame
- Dairy, eggs: non-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt, low-fat cheeses such as cottage cheese, mozzarella
- Seeds, nuts, legumes: hemp seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds
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Keep these cooking tips in mind for high-protein, low-carb diets:
- Coat fish and lean chicken cuts with seeds and bake.
- Go with non-starch veggies including spinach, chard, kale, celery, cabbage, avocado, asparagus, fennel, green beans, tomatoes, eggplant, avocado
- Build salads with dark, leafy greens, chicken or turkey, avocado, eggs, nuts and seeds, lean cheeses.
- Add a few tablespoons of plain low/non-fat yogurt to your favorite vinaigrette and drizzle on salads.
- Mix plain yogurt with grated cucumber and a pinch of salt to sauce chicken and fish.
- Snack on guacamole—made with avocado and a little yogurt and sprinkled with seeds—with broccoli florets or cauliflowerets. for dipping.
- Add seeds to peanut butter sandwiches.
- Shy away from breads and white potatoes.
- Make every carb count: Mix cooked whole grains half-and-half with vegetables, nuts, and seeds to lighten up the carb load.
Here is a menu for two:
Toasted Sesame Salmon and Roasted Asparagus
1 (3/4- to 1 pound) salmon fillet
1/2 to 3/4 bunch asparagus spears, trimmed
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 teaspoons dark sesame oil, divided
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
3 tablespoons toasted same seeds, divided
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil.Place salmon fillet on one side of baking sheet; place asparagus on the other half.
Combine honey, soy sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil, and ginger in a small bowl; mix well.Spoon and spread over top of salmon.
Drizzle remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons dark sesame oil over asparagus and toss to coat.Spread asparagus in single layer.
Bake until asparagus is crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes, depending on thickness. Transfer asparagus to a plate; continue roasting fish until it is just opaque, about 6 minutes.Divide salmon and asparagus on serving plates; sprinkle sesame seeds evenly over both.Makes 2 servings.
Green Salad with Avocado, Walnuts, and Yogurt Balsamic Dressing
Arrange leafy salad greens on serving plates. Dice and avocado and toss with a teaspoon of lemon juice; sprinkle avocado and walnuts on salads. Drizzle with Yogurt Balsamic Dressing:
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Combine all ingredients in a bowl; whisk to blend. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator up to 1 week. Makes about 1 1/4 cups.
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Food writer Debby Maugans, who lives in Asheville, North Carolina, is the author of Small Batch Baking and Small Batch Baking for Chocolate Lovers, and is writing a new book, Farmer and Chef Asheville.