Small Changes for Better Fertility
By Melissa Gorley, FSI Coach and Staff Writer.
Lean Proteins and Healthy Fats First
One of the simplest changes we can make in our meal planning is to start with the harder but more important pieces. When we are hungry, we are naturally drawn to carbohydrates because of their easily accessible energy and often quick prep time. It can be tempting to boil pasta first as dinner time approaches but this is not the best mindset for me, even if I have veggie or whole-wheat pasta in stock. If I get interrupted, as often happens, it is too tempting to rely on the carb to be most of the meal. “Ok everyone … mac and cheese is now our dinner.” My kids’ bodies can handle that regularly, but not mine.
I find that I plan healthier and more satisfying meals if I tackle the What protein? and What healthy fat to cook it in? questions first. The What green? question is quickly solved with a freezer full of green beans and broccoli, especially during the seasons when fresh, local salad greens are harder to come by. Then, a healthier carb such as quinoa, sweet potatoes, or even good bread is easy to throw in on top. I also find that I shop better and prioritize keeping a variety of meat, fish, and beans in the house when protein is the primary go-to food for our meals and snacks.
Meals and snacks primarily composed of lean proteins and healthy fats keep blood sugar levels much more stable. This is a key to fertility health that Marilyn Shannon revisits throughout Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition. She notes that sugar cravings can be a sign of various hormone imbalances and, very importantly, that hypoglycemia has been shown to contribute to PMS and PCOS.i She also cites research that shows that unhealthy, trans fats contribute to endometriosis and infertility.ii Simply put, sugars and fats are tied to the most common cycle struggles.
For me, this type of meal planning- lean proteins and healthy fats first- is a common sense nutrition mindset that the science continues to reinforce, regardless of the current food fads.
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