Lunch, for many people, can be the hardest meal of the day to get enough variety to be satisfying but also remain healthy. Here’s a recipe that takes a twist on the traditional chicken salad sandwich that is easy enough to make on your lunch break.
Parmesan Chicken Salad Sandwich
2 slices whole wheat, toasted
2.5oz canned chicken
1 tbsp. mayo
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. celery, finely chopped
1 tbsp. green onions, finely chopped.
Directions: Stir together mayo, lemon juice, and basil in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, mix chicken, parmesan cheese, green onions, and celery. Pour dressing over chicken mixture and toss to coat. Spoon onto toast.
Whole Wheat Bread
I always use whole wheat bread when making sandwiches—not only because it is more nutritious but because I think it tastes better too! One of the biggest nutritional benefits of choosing whole-wheat products is the increased fiber content, which is especially important during pregnancy to help prevent constipation. Constipation affects nearly 50% of pregnant women so it is important to get enough fiber (~30gm/d), drink plenty of fluids and continue regular exercise to prevent and treat constipation. Whole-wheat products also contain a significantly higher amount of minerals than refined grain products do including iron, magnesium, and zinc.
For this recipe, I most often use canned chicken breast, but you can also use rotisserie chicken if you have that on hand. Chicken breast is very 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.
Herbs, like fresh basil, add not only a lot of flavors but also a lot of nutrition. Basil, specifically, is rich in vitamin K, vitamin A, copper, iron, and manganese. Iron deficiency anemia is a common problem during pregnancy that can make you feel even more tired and weak than you already feel during pregnancy. It is important to include many iron rich foods to help prevent anemia, on top of a good prenatal vitamin. Vitamin A is also essential during pregnancy as it is needed for normal cell growth and differentiation and is especially important in the development of the heart, lungs, and kidneys. Also, studies have found that pregnant women with lower vitamin A intakes are more likely to give birth to children with low birth weight.