Written by FH Contributor, Tangela Kindell
Meetings. Doctor’s appointments. Brunch with friends. You’re a savvy, fabulous, and hard-working woman on a journey to fertility and overall wellness. But taking on the world while pursuing your career, education, and other dreams means little time for making healthy, nutritious meals…right? Lucky for you, that’s far from the truth! With a few easy tips and some superstar ingredients, you can prepare delicious, flavorful meals that not only give you the nourishment you need to conquer your goals but offer fertility-boosting benefits. The best news is these meals only take five minutes or less to prepare!
The Science Behind Fertility Supporting Foods
A healthy, balanced diet containing high-quality protein, unsaturated fats, complex carbohydrates, a variety of fruits and vegetables, and dairy has been shown in several studies to support ovulation, egg quality, healthy weight, and hormone balance – all of which are required for healthy fertility. These foods have different benefits for the body that may work together to support fertility.
Fruits and veggies contain antioxidants that may reduce fertility damaging free radicals in the body. They’re also a good source of fiber along with whole grains. Fiber slows the release of sugar into the blood, supporting proper blood sugar levels for hormone balance and healthy cycles. Studies show that protein, unsaturated fats, and full-fat dairy (in moderation amounts) may improve fertility by supporting hormone balance. Omega-3, an essential fatty acid found in seafood, olive oil, whole grains, nuts, fortified foods, and more may support fertility by promoting egg quality and reproductive success. Certain foods contain key minerals like iron and folate which may reduce a woman’s chance of ovulatory infertility (an inability to produce healthy baby-making eggs) and improve neural tube defects in infants. These and other foods contain vitamins like A and C that are very important for reproductive health on their own and combined with other vitamins and minerals. Vitamin C, for example, enhances the absorption of iron and helps the body use it properly.
Check out these five-minute meals that give a boost to your energy and your fertility.
Berries N’ Cream Granola Parfait
- Greek yogurt – fat, probiotics, protein
- Berries – antioxidants, fiber
- Granola – fiber, complex carbohydrates
Layer plain Greek yogurt, whole-grain granola, and berries of your choice into a glass or mason jar. Make it your own by topping your parfait with a pinch of cinnamon, a drizzle of nut butter, a sprinkle of unsalted nuts, or a drizzle of honey. Whatever you like – mix it up throughout the week.
Salmon & Avocado Omelet in a Mug
- Eggs – protein, fat, omega 3 fatty acids
- Salmon – omega 3 fatty acids
- Avocado – fat
- Bell Peppers – vitamin C (improves absorption of iron)
- Spinach – iron, folate, vitamin A
Add 2 eggs, half a bell pepper (diced), a ¼ cup of spinach (chopped), a splash of non-dairy or low-fat milk, a pinch of salt, and a sprinkle of your favorite salt-free seasonings into a large, microwave-safe mug. Mix thoroughly and microwave for 2-3 minutes. Let cook, then top with thinly sliced smoked salmon and diced avocado. Did we mention this is one of the easiest meals out there to clean up?
Whole-Grain Salad Wrap
- Whole Wheat Wrap – fiber, complex carbohydrates, plant-based protein
- Veggies – fiber, antioxidants, iron, folate, vitamin A
- Hummus – plant-based protein, fat, fiber, iron
Buy a packaged salad kit and mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Smear the hummus of your choice (roasted red pepper is my all-time fave) on to a whole wheat wrap. Spoon salad mix into the center of the wrap. If you’d like, top an additional source of quality protein (lean poultry, fish, beans, tofu). Wrap, slice in half, and chow down!
No-Cook Chicken Salad with Veggies
- Chicken – protein, fat
- Celery & Cucumber (optional) – fiber, antioxidants
- Red Onion – fiber, antioxidants
- Whole Wheat crackers – fiber, complex carbohydrates, plant-based protein
Shred pre-cooked chicken and mix with celery (diced) and red onion (diced) in a bowl. Fold in low-fat mayonnaise and mix well to combine. Season with your favorite salt-free herbs and seasonings. Serve with whole-grain crackers or cucumber slices to satisfy your crunch craving. Tip: no chicken on hand? Most grocery stores offer cooked rotisserie chicken that can be used for multiple meals throughout the week.
Tomato Basil Zoodles with Chicken
- Tomato – vitamin A, fiber, antioxidants
- Zucchini – fiber, antioxidants
- Chicken – protein, fat
- Olive Oil – omega 3 fatty acids
Sauté zucchini noodles in olive oil over medium heat. Add cherry tomatoes, basil, garlic, and pre-cooked chicken to the pan and toss. Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese (optional) and enjoy! Tip: for a double dose of omega 3s, swap out the chicken and eat with a portion of salmon on the side.