Between multiple festivities among family and friends with a surplus of seasonal treats, it’s common to overindulge throughout the holiday season. At the same time, we know that eating well-balanced meals and limiting alcohol are best when it comes to supporting your fertility. Whether you’re trying to conceive, actively undergoing fertility treatments, or just looking to eat a little healthier this holiday season, these nutrient-rich recipes are festive, flavorful, and fertility-friendly.
1. Cinnamon Honey Roasted Walnuts
Benefits: This quick and easy recipe is a healthier alternative when you’re looking for a sweet snack. Walnuts contain omega-3s which can help support egg quality, as well as vitamin E, B-vitamins, magnesium and protein. Honey and cinnamon add flavor without relying on artificial ingredients and both are packed with antioxidants to help reduce inflammation. Reducing inflammation may improve egg and sperm quality and can mitigate certain fertility-related conditions such as PCOS and endometriosis.
- 1 cup raw walnut halves
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 tbsp honey
- A pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Combine the honey, cinnamon, and pinch of salt in a bowl before adding the walnuts
- Toss to combine, ensuring the walnuts are evenly coated
- Spread the walnuts in single layer on prepared baking sheet
- Bake, stir occasionally until toasted, for about 10-20 minutes
- Let cool completely before serving
2. Cranberry Cider Mocktail
Benefits: Drinking more alcohol than usual can be common during holiday celebrations, but for those trying to conceive it’s recommended to drink in moderation, no more than 1-2 drinks a couple of days a week. Mocktails can be a great way to reduce alcohol consumption while getting in the holiday spirit. This recipe contains 100% cranberry juice, as opposed to cranberry juice cocktail which can contain added sugars. Cranberry juice and apple cider are both great sources of Vitamin C, which can help to improve hormone levels to boost fertility. Plus, cranberry juice, apple cider, and ginger beer all possess inflammation-reducing antioxidants to support egg and sperm quality.
- ½ cup 100% Cranberry Juice
- ½ cup Apple Cider
- ½ cup Ginger Beer
- 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
- Fresh cranberries (optional for garnish)
- No cocktail shaker needed, simply add ice to a tall glass
- Pour equal parts cranberry juice, apple cider, and ginger beer into the glass
- Add 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- Stir until combined
- (Optional) Garnish with fresh cranberries
3. Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Broccoli Rabe
Benefits: This homemade sweet potato gnocchi recipe is packed with vitamins and fiber to support fertility and overall nutrition, while doubling as a warm, comforting holiday meal. Specifically, sweet potatoes and broccoli rabe both contain a healthy dose of Vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, which is known to help boost progesterone production.
- One 1-lb sweet potato
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/4 cup flour (more for dusting)
Sauce and Other Ingredients:
- 5 cups finely chopped broccoli rabe (stems, leaves, and florets) – optional
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- For the gnocchi: Poke a few holes in the sweet potato with a fork, wrap in a damp paper towel, and microwave for about 7 minutes or until soft
- Scoop the flesh of the sweet potato into a mixing bowl. Discard the skin. Combine the ricotta, parmesan, and salt until the mixture is almost completely smooth. Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time and knead the dough gently after each addition
- Once the dough becomes easier to handle, transfer it to a floured work surface and form it into a loaf, about 9×5 inches.
- Cut a slice off of the loaf on the short side, then roll and stretch the slice on a floured surface until it forms a long, thin rope. To form the gnocchi, cut the rope into 1-inch segments and set aside in a bowl
- Bring a large pot of water to boil, add the gnocchi, and boil until the gnocchi rise to the top of the water. Drain and toss gently with a little olive oil to prevent sticking.
- For the broccoli rabe, bring a large pot of water to boil and prepare a bowl with ice water. Add the broccoli rabe to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Drain, then transfer the broccoli rabe to the bowl of ice water which will prevent the broccoli rabe from becoming overcooked
- For the sauce, heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic to the pan and cook for 3 minutes or until lightly browned
- Add the broccoli rabe and gnocchi to the pan, stir and cook for 2 minutes
- Add salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese to taste before serving
Making positive dietary changes can open opportunities for trying new recipes and improving your overall wellness. While focusing on nutrition is an important part of trying to conceive, the holidays are often filled with food-centric traditions and celebrations. If you still find yourself craving your favorite holiday treats, know that it’s okay to do so in moderation. More importantly, no matter how you celebrate the holidays, or where you are along your family-building journey, take this time to enjoy being with your friends and family.