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How can I maintain a healthy diet when fruits and vegetables make me gag?

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Q: I am five months pregnant and am worried about the way I eat. I don't eat fruits or vegetables because they literally trigger my gag reflex. I am taking my prenatal vitamin and don't eat any sugar at all. But I just want to know if my baby will grow sickly or develop wrong because I don't eat fruits and vegetables. Help me!

A: Well, you didn't mention if you have eaten this way always, or if this is just a pregnancy-related problem. Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a nutritious diet. Are you sure that you cannot eat any fruits, or any vegetables? I have found that some women who say they hate vegetables can eat them when they are disguised in sauces or in butter. Here are some tactics that have worked for pregnant women I know:

* Eating frozen creamed spinach. It's easy to get down, and most people think it tastes good. Give it a try.
* Putting some cream sauce or some diluted cream of mushroom soup or cheese on your vegetables.
* Cooking the vegetables really well so they are not hard -- sometimes the hardness of vegetables can make a person gag.

You can also try to drink some vegetable juices like V8. Some people can drink what they cannot chew and swallow. Even if you find just one vegetable you like and keep eating that one you'll be better off than if you have no vegetables at all. Likewise the fruits. Have you ever tried baby food fruits? The peaches, the pears, and the bananas really taste good. They might get you through this period when other fruits make you gag. Or make a "smoothie" out of fruit yogurt with some fresh fruit and milk mixed in a blender. It tastes good, and can help you to eat fruits. Research shows that some growing fetuses can do well even in times of famine, so I don't think your baby is at special risk of being sick. Still, it's very important to make your diet more balanced. You can become weak or sick from an improperly balanced diet, and that would not be good for your baby, either. I hope you are eating protein and calcium; they are very important nutrients. I think you should contact a nutritionist (perhaps through your doctor or midwife) who can help you to plan out a nutritious menu that includes all the food groups.



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