This is one of my go-to recipes when I don’t have the energy to cook or don’t feel like being creative, but I still need a good meal. This recipe is super simple—just sprinkle some lemon pepper on some chicken breasts and throw it on the grill. I then cook up a batch of quinoa and steam some carrots and end up with a pretty balanced meal with not much effort.
8oz chicken breast
Sprinkle of lemon pepper
½ tsp. cumin
¼ tsp. of salt
1 ½ cups of cooked quinoa
1 cup cooked carrots
1 tsp. butter
Directions: Sprinkle chicken breast with lemon pepper, and grill over medium heat until internal temperature reaches 165F, turning once.
For quinoa, mix cooked quinoa with salt and cumin.
The meat I eat the most is chicken breast. It is super lean with little fat but a lot of protein. In just a 4oz portion, there is 26gm of protein and only about 1.5gm of fat. Protein needs increase by about 25gm/d during pregnancy so it’s important to include a rich source of protein at every meal. Chicken is also a great source of niacin, vitamin B6, and selenium. Chicken is often overcooked making it dry and chewy, but it is also essential to make sure it is thoroughly cooked to avoid food born illnesses which you are more susceptible to when you are pregnant. If you don’t have a cooking thermometer, I highly recommend investing in one. Temp your chicken in the thickest area as you grill it and once it reaches 165F, it’s done.
Quinoa is a great plant protein source and contains all of the essential amino acids, which makes it a favorite for vegans and vegetarians. It is a good source of fiber, zinc, and iron, all of which are especially important during pregnancy. It is also rich in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. I recommend storing it in the refrigerator in an airtight container to help maintain freshness.
I recommend steaming carrots to preserve the most nutrients. You can either steam them on the stovetop for about 10 minutes or in the microwave for about 5 minutes depending on how thick you slice them. For the microwave, you will want to add about 2 tbsp of water for every pound of carrots you cook. Carrots are most well known for their high beta-carotene content which is responsible for their bright orange color. Beta-carotene is essential for proper lung development in fetuses and in newborns—making it important both in pregnancy and during lactation. I recommend adding a bit of butter or olive oil to your cooked carrots because it actually significantly increases beta-carotene absorption.
photo credit: Beka Price Photography http://www.bekapricephotography.com/