By Miranda Massie on May 2, 2019
Nutrition plays an important role in our overall health, so it’s no surprise that what we eat can affect our sexual and reproductive health, including our fertility. Read on for recipes that support your reproductive health.
Week 1: Foods for Reproductive Health
In general, everyone can benefit from a healthy, balanced and varied diet. But certain nutrients and food groups may offer extra benefits in terms of sexual health. Men can benefit from foods rich in carbohydrates, fibre, folate, lycopene and antioxidants as well as lots of fruits and vegetables. And women, particularly those concerned with infertility, could benefit from a diet with a high monounsaturated-to-trans fats ratio, more vegetable protein than animal protein, an increased intake of iron, and a lower glycemic load.1 The glycemic index can help you choose foods to monitor your glycemic load and manage your blood glucose levels.
Some of the key micronutrients for reproductive health include iron, folate, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B122, antioxidants, zinc, and selenium3.
Try the following tips and recipes that aim to support overall reproductive health.
Tips from Dietitians of Canada:
- General guidelines for female nutrition
- Find out which foods are rich in zinc and rich in selenium
- Discover the power of antioxidants
- Mixed bean and quinoa salad (Pulses)
- Fast fish and veggie packets (Cookspiration)
- Wild rice and pumpkin seed pilaf (Berkeley Wellness)
Week 2: Revving the Engine
For optimal sexual and reproductive function, we need to get enough energy from food and sleep. When it comes to food, maintaining energy is mostly about avoiding drastic fluctuations in blood sugar levels. It is best to fuel our bodies and sustain our energy levels with healthy meals and snacks and to limit caffeine consumption. Caffeine has been reported to have negative effects on female fertility and pregnancy-related complications. Because opinions differ on how much caffeine we should be consuming, it’s best to consult a medical professional for a recommendation. During pregnancy, it’s ideal to consume minimal amounts of caffeine. Learn more with some facts on caffeine.
Let’s look at ways to fuel your body with nutrients that sustain energy:
- Seven eating for energy tips (Workhealthlife*)
- Eating to boost energy (Harvard Health Publishing)
- Four ways to boost your energy with breakfast ideas (Harvard Health Publishing)
- Nuts, dates, raisins and maple syrup balls are a perfect snack for a burst of energy (Cookspiration)
* Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization.
Week 3: Celebrating Food and Lightening the Mood
Cooking doesn’t have to feel like another household chore. Try cooking with a partner or friend, and don’t worry too much about creating a perfect meal. Here are some ways you can infuse fun and flavor into your meal-making:
- Five tips for having fun in the kitchen (Huffington Post Life)
- 10 easy ways to make cooking more fun (HelloFresh)
- Recipes to lighten the mood in the kitchen (Thug Kitchen)
Week 4: Cooking and Togetherness
Spending time in the kitchen and cooking with loved ones incorporates fun and togetherness and can be a catalyst to bring us together. Add a little spice in your life with these recipes:
- Impress someone you love with these romantic recipes (Kitchn) and dinner-for-two recipes (EatingWell)
- Get cozy with these vegetarian dinner recipes (Gourmandelle)
- Dessert and chocolate are always a winning pair: try a blueberry and dark chocolate bread pudding (Cookspiration) or avocado chocolate mousse (Cook for your Life)
By Melissa Lafrance on February 5, 2019
This month, we’re focusing on recipes and tips that support your physical wellbeing. Let’s look at hydration, as well as healthy recipes that will fuel your body and are simple to make, leaving you time to be active.
Week 1: Hydration
To keep your body hydrated, adult women should aim for a daily fluid intake of about nine cups and adult men about 12 cups; your intake will vary depending on your body size and activity level. When you are more active or if the weather is hot, you will need to increase your intake. Foods that contain water contribute to this daily intake, but when drinking extra fluids, focus on tap water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). Water is one of the best fluid choices and you should also use your thirst as a guide to help you determine fluid requirements.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define SSBs as “any liquids that are sweetened with various forms of added sugars”. Examples include fruit, sports and energy drinks, sweetened waters, and coffee and tea beverages with added sugars. SSBs are the single-largest contributor of added sugar in the diet and provide no additional nutritional benefit.1 SSBs are okay once in a while, but water is a better choice.
Here are some tips and recipes to help you stay hydrated:
- Check out the Dietitians of Canada’s recommendations on sports hydration, including steps to stay hydrated during and after exercise.
- See Eating Well’s seven refreshing foods to help you stay hydrated.
- Try these 12 easy ways to drink more water from Self magazine.
- Find out what’s in your drink with this rethink your drink article from the CDC.
Week 2: One Pan/Pot Meals
Need some guidance on preparing a home-cooked meal so you have time to be active? One pot/pan meals are handy because they are straightforward to prepare and dirty less dishes. Remember, you can double recipes to have leftovers for lunch. Consider trying these recipes:
- One-pan roasted veggies four ways (Tasty)
- One-pot chickpea curry (Tasty)
- One-pot lentil bolognese (Tasty)
- Tomato and zucchini frittata (Love & Lemons)
- 12 plant-based one-pot meals and desserts (Minimalist Baker)
Week 3: Meal-prep
It’s worth investing some time and energy on a day off to make eating healthy meals a breeze every day! To build your weekly collection of recipes, check out these guides:
- A week of easy vegetarian meals (Kitchn)
- Chicken breast recipes made for meal prep (Greatist)
- 7-day meal plan (BuzzFeed)
- Weekday meal-prep pesto chicken and veggies (Tasty)
Week 4: To-go Snacks and Lunches
Have snacks on hand and prepare easy lunches to fuel your mid-day workouts! Check out these ideas:
- Lunch in a jar? Try a crunchy Thai salad or southwestern salad. (Tasty)
- 27 healthy and portable snacks (Greatist)
- Creamy garlic hummus for your veggies, sweet potato chips for your crunchy cravings, and sweet-n-spicy nuts. (Delish)