It was a “vintage nursery rhyme” baby shower, complete with Little Bo Peep and her sheep and Mary was quite contrary. My daughter, pregnant with my granddaughter-to-be, sat on Miss Muffet’s “tuffet” — with a spider that sat beside her — as she opened gifts.

I was curious about the food. For example, when Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet eating her curds and whey, what exactly was she eating?

Cottage cheese most likely, say those who think about such important matters. In the cheese making process, some proteins in milk clump together to form “curds.” Others remain in liquid called “whey.” Cottage cheese — supposedly named for people who lived in cottages and made this simple cheese — contains these curds and whey.

Curds and whey are “complete” proteins in that they contain all the amino acids — protein “building blocks” — to assemble every protein structure in the body. Complete proteins are therefore important for the business of building babies.

Whey protein in particular is a rich source of leucine — an amino acid that helps synthesize protein in muscles. And not just in grandbabies. Studies show that whey protein can benefit aging muscles in grandmommies as well.

Jack and Jill ran up the hill to fetch a pail of water. Jack fell down and broke his crown but Jill helped him with a cup of cool water...or something like that. Jill knew that water is very important, especially during pregnancy. It is the solvent and coolant for all the biochemical reactions in the baby-building process.

Water also delivers necessary nutrients from pregnant moms to growing babies and carries away wastes.

In addition to the water naturally present in the foods she eats, pregnant mommies require about 10 cups of fluid from water and other beverages each day, according to current recommendations. This increases to about 13 cups of fluids each day for breastfeeding moms.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall; Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again. So they cooked up some eggs.

Turns out eggs are a rich source of choline — a relatively unknown but essential nutrient for pregnancy. Choline is especially important for fetal brain development. It also helps to strengthen cell membranes and aids in memory development and cognition — the ability to think clearly. (Grandmothers can benefit from this nutrient as well.)

Other good sources of choline include lean beef, cauliflower and peanuts. Interestingly, human milk is also a rich source of choline.

Now about that old woman who lived in a shoe...

Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. Email her at bquinn@chomp.org.

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