Fertility Holiday

Educating Clients on Fertility-Fueling Foods This Holiday Season

Christmas is less than one week away, and the official countdown is on to 2018. Many of your clients may want to continue their weight loss journey to look fabulous for their New Years Eve party or simply get a head start on resolutions for 2018.

But you may have a handful of clients who fall into the 1 in 8 couples who struggle with infertility, who are just trying to make it through another holiday season without a baby bump to show.

That’s where you’re expertise as an RD comes into play. With a little planning, you can show clients how they can use this holiday season to fuel their fertility while setting them up for a diet conducive to conception in 2018.

First, they’ll need to begin with the basics. Suggest they read “Feeding Fertility: 5 Things RDs Need to Know,” an article I wrote last year on the foods that help promote fertility.

It’s important for clients to recognize how a plant-forward menu throughout the holiday season and beyond can help increase their odds of conception.

But please note that plant forward doesn’t mean vegan. Struggling with fertility is stressful enough, especially during the holidays, so the goal isn’t to prevent clients from eating their favorite dishes but demonstrate how to build their plate around plant-based items.

According to culinary dietitian Sara Haas, RDN, LDN, coauthor of The Fertility Foods Cookbook I collaborated with, dietitians can play a key role in helping clients create a plate filled with plant-based foods.

Haas suggests dietitians “educate clients on the benefits of increasing their intakes of more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and encourage them to try beans, peas, and lentils as protein sources. Show them how they can fill up on crudité platters with a healthful dip so they don’t overindulge at mealtime.”

If clients are concerned about the foods served at holiday parties, this is prime time to share some amazing recipes our RD community has to offer.

While cooking can be daunting for some people, I’ve found that through working with those struggling with fertility, creating a recipe can become a therapeutic exercise that helps relieve stress and promote understanding. Haas agrees.

Haas, a classically trained chef who uses cooking demonstrations as a means to educate others on the power of nutrition, recommends that RDs urge clients to “use the holidays as a time to experiment in the kitchen. Instead of thinking about all of the work they’ll have to do preparing a dish for the holiday party, help them to see it as an opportunity to channel anxiety and stress. Suggest cookbooks, blogs, and magazines for them to peruse for recipes. Remind them to give themselves enough time and space to play in their kitchen so it truly feels relaxing and fun.”

At the end of the session, your clients should feel empowered to take control of their fertility this season and inspired to get in the kitchen and give the gift of nourishing food to themselves, family members, and friends.

Here’s a great gluten-free recipe with a vegan variation that’s festive and easy to prepare to get clients started on the right track.

Broccoli Salad With Pomegranate Arils and Maple Walnuts

Serves 6

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes


1/2 cup chopped roasted walnuts
4 tsp maple syrup
1/8 tsp kosher salt
4 cups chopped broccoli florets
1/2 cup pomegranate arils

2 T 100% pomegranate juice
1 T water
3 T full-fat Greek yogurt, plain (or sub nondairy yogurt of your choice)
1/2 tsp cane sugar
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp kosher salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375° F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine walnuts with maple syrup and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  3. Place nuts on baking sheet and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. Remove and let cool. Once cooled, finely chop.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine broccoli florets, pomegranate arils, and chopped maple roasted walnuts.
  6. In a smaller bowl, combine pomegranate juice, water, yogurt, sugar, pepper, and salt.
  7. Pour over broccoli and combine to cover the salad. Serve immediately.

Nutrient Analysis per serving
Calories: 130; Total fat: 5 g; Sat fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 1 mg; Sodium: 100 mg; Total carbohydrate: 18 g; Fiber: 5 g; Sugars: 8 g; Protein: 6 g

— Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT, is a nutrition communications consultant and adjunct professor of nutrition in San Diego, California. She’s the recipe creator behind the popular blog ShawSimpleSwaps.com, freelance writer for Shape and Oxygen magazines, and coauthor of Fertility Foods.

2 Comment

  1. Author states that this recipe is vegan and gluten free, however, dressing contains Greek yogurt, which is not vegan. Perhaps add ,”sub soy or coconut yogurt for Greek yogurt” to make this salad vegan.

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