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TummyStyle Maternity & Nursing Clothes

  • Nursing Clothes – The Smart Choice!

    When you’re pregnant it’s hard to even think ahead to having your baby or to imagine a day of not being pregnant. It seems that every day you roll out of bed (since rolling is the only way you can move at times), you are a bit bigger than the last time you checked in the mirror or tried to count your toes. Meanwhile you are quickly determining that your pre-pregnancy extra loose clothing will no longer adequately fit your expanding belly or simply looks ridiculous on your now very pregnant body. Welcome to the club!

    The idea of spending a lot of money on maternity clothes is not always highly appealing, although you do need new clothes to comfortably fit your shape (fast!) since losing weight is not an option, nor should it be. For most of us it’s the first time in our life that we have our Doctor’s permission to steadily gain weight and eat more to be healthy, this should be outstanding news, right? On the surface this task seems super fun in so many ways, but it can suddenly become a very inconvenient feat in that we quickly find out our wardrobe options are dwindling fast and our belly shows no sign of slowing its runaway expansion march!

    My advice to expecting women who would like to look stylish while not spending a fortune on a huge new wardrobe of maternity clothes is this:

    1. Invest smartly in a number of everyday items that you can mix and match in your maternity wardrobe. Definitely invest in a good pair of maternity jeans with a lot of stretch, crops and yoga pants and a few casual skirts that can go with everything in your casual wardrobe. Also get some great basic tops in a variety of colors with varying sleeve lengths depending on the season you are in or approaching. ¾ sleeves are a great option as they work year round and are comfortable inside and out unless it is truly hot outside. Also, pregnant women run a little hotter, so ¾ sleeves work well in cooler months too.
    2. If you need a business wardrobe for work, then also look to find some staple skirts and dress slacks that you can wear over and over. Blacks and taupe or khaki colors can work for any time of the year with a light stretchy rayon/spandex mix and plenty of room for an expanding belly. Dress pants and pencil skirts are not the thing that people remember, so you will need to buy less in terms of slacks and skirts than blouses and tops.
    3. For maternity tops, go light on patterns as they are easy to remember and opt for more solids as they can be interchanged more easily. However it’s important to find at least a few prints you do enjoy wearing – remember pregnancy is a time where you can dress up more because you’re pregnant.  After all, a pretty maternity dress can provide comfort with style with little effort. Maternity dresses will generally easily fit an expanding belly without troubling waistbands and give you a beautiful polished look in just a minute! You can sport a print wrap maternity dress to the office, PTA meeting, out to Saturday lunch with friends or date night with your husband. Just make sure you like it!
    4. Invest in a number of really good nursing bras and maternity underwear. Now trust me this is not an area where you want to skimp. There is nothing more uncomfortable than a too tight bra when you are pregnant or restrictive underwear. Your rib cage is expanding fast while you are pregnant in addition to your bra cup size. Your pre-pregnancy bras, even the sports bras will only take you so far and as your bust will grow before your belly. A great way to economize with your new bra collection is to invest in nursing bras (instead of just bigger bras or maternity bras) that fits you while you are pregnant. This way you can wear it both before and after and even nurse in it. Which brings us to the next point….
    5. Buy maternity clothes that double as nursing clothes and transition wear. You will find that once you have your baby, unless you are truly a super freak (and there are a few out there that literally walk out of the delivery room minus the basketball and practically into their pre-pregnancy wardrobe), you will most likely not fit back into your pre-pregnancy wardrobe for some time. If you choose to nurse, and we sincerely hope you do, then you will be grateful for clothing in your wardrobe that is specifically made for nursing, no fuss involved. This is particularly useful in the early stages of nursing when both you and your baby are on a steep learning curve and generally anything that makes nursing easier makes life a thousand times easier. Also, transition wear clothing that is made to stretch where you need it and look good on you after you have your baby will help camouflage a postpartum belly. All of these factors add to your quality of life before and after you have your baby and can help stretch your dollar with your maternity clothes investment.

    Remember pregnancy does not last a lifetime, although it may seem like it at times. Why not enjoy this time in your life and dress in a way that is both comfortable and versatile for both during and after your pregnancy. It’s easy to look good and stylish with a few good staples and fun prints in your wardrobe. Enjoy the journey and shopping!




  • Changing Habits and Homemade Energy Bars

    Everyone seems to have a favorite energy bar, whether it be a Luna bar, Cliff bar, or Nature Valley crumbs-everywhere bar. They are a quick, easy and healthy choice...right?

    Store-bought granola and energy bars are often packed with excess amounts of sugar and unnecessary oil. The second ingredient in many bars is cane syrup or dried cane syrup--which just means processed, refined sugar.

    If you are not suffering the bouts of morning sickness, then pregnancy is the perfect time to consider healthy food options. There is always a way to make a healthier version of your favorite junk foods, comfort foods, or convenience foods. Oftentimes even morning sickness can be kept at bay by eating an opportune healthy snack between meals instead of going too long between meals.

    Yummy pregnancy oat and date barWhen it comes to convenience foods, like granola bars, packaged salad kits, chips or anything you would grab at a grocery store in the middle of a hectic day or busy schedule, there is that element of convenience and sometimes it is okay to purchase those not-the-healthiest-but-not-the-unhealthiest foods. But going for the pure junk food option is a slippery slope when craving those extra carbs when you are pregnant and can quickly become a habit if we indulge every last craving with an unhealthy food choice.

    Whenever you can, grab a banana, apple, some almonds, or veggies and hummus instead of the less nourishing choices that our brains and hands are self-trained to reach for. It’s all about changing habits. As you make changes in your diet and health, it will get easier and more satisfying the longer you work at it.

    eat oat and date bars whien pregnantYou might have heard the claim that “It takes 21 days to form a habit,” (originally introduced by Maxwell Maltz in the 1960s). It is a nice, neat number that is inspiring and believable. However, Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, conducted a study and found that it actually took anywhere from 18 to 254 days (about the time of your pregnancy!) for the study participants to develop a habit.

    It might be discouraging to find that it could take over 8 months to form a habit -- but try not to get disheartened! Instead acknowledge this fact and use it to reassure yourself when you do slip up that it is perfectly normal for a new habit to not get set overnight. However, if you are 18-21 days down the path of healthier living and better food choices, then you are well on your way to a better habit for life. Lally also found that "missing one opportunity to perform the behavior did not materially affect the habit formation process." So don’t worry if you slip up now and then, because you are still making progress and reinforcing those neural pathways in your brain! Forming healthy habits is not an all-or-nothing endeavor, so be patient with yourself and don’t give up.

    what to eat when pregnantThe Oat Date n’ Nut Bars (recipe below) are an easy to make healthy snack bar that you can whip up for yourself ahead of time for the week. These bars are a much healthier choice than your standard granola or energy bar, and are also a fun, dessert-y option as well -- so you won’t even miss those sugary store-bought versions. These oat and nut bars are sweetened with dates which are a great source of fiber, energy, and potassium. There is no baking involved, which certainly adds a convenience factor. Whip up a batch and start to strengthen healthy habits as you enjoy the great flavor in these bars! Your body (especially your taste buds!) will thank you.



    Oat Date 'n Nut Bars (makes 16 bars)

    ⅓ cup peanut butter

    ½ cup roasted salted sunflower seeds (shelled)

    1 cup tightly packed chopped dates

    2 cups rolled oats

    1 tsp cinnamon

    ½ tsp ground cardamom

    2 tablespoons ground flax

    Lightly grease an 8x8 pan with your preferred oil.

    Process the sunflower seeds with the spices in a food processor. Add the dates, peanut butter, flax and 1 ½ cups of the oats. Keep processing until you achieve a soft dough. Pulse in the remaining ½ cup of oats.

    Squish the dough into the pan, using the bottom of a large measuring cup to flatten if needed. Once you have shaped and flattened it, loosen the edges with a knife or fork and gently flip onto a cutting board lined with a sheet of parchment. Cut into 16 bars (or whatever size you like!) and wrap in foil or plastic wrap. Store in the fridge and grab whenever you need a convenient snack.

    Nutrition Facts: (per bar)

    Calories: 190

    Carbs: 35 grams

    Fat: 6 grams

    Protein: 4 grams

    Fiber: 4 grams

    All Original Content. Copyright Athena Byers 2015, All Rights Reserved.

  • Feature Product - Maternal America's Convertible Maternity Dress/Skirt

    TummyStyle’s product of the week is Maternal America Convertible Maternity Dress / Skirt . This beautiful strapless maternity dress is super flattering and super versatile! It features layered ruffle crocheted detailing that hugs your curves while not being clingy and providing some mystique. It can be worn as a skirt of varying lengths depending on how high over the belly you would like to wear it.


    This super stylish maternity dress can also be casual chic and worn as a swimsuit coverup. It is breezy and easy to wear, and you may find yourself grabbing it months or years after you have your baby. It also comes in a variety colors including turquoise, olive and black. Grab this one while you can!


    Bella Bank Ruched Maternity Tank


    The Bella Band Ruched Tank is a great maternity tank to pair with this item when it is worn as a ruffle maternity skirt. The Bella Band Ruched Tank is a seamless maternity tank made from an ultra-soft two layer knit blend that will easily stretch over your belly throughout your pregnancy and can be worn postpartum as well. The pleats in this tank are perfect for camouflaging a recovering post maternity belly without being too loose or too tight!


    This tank provides subtle pleating around your belly in early pregnancy and it provides a smooth, supportive silhouette on a full term belly which you will love. It is also cut extra-long to allow plenty of room for you to grow and recover with a seamless look. This tank is available in both white and black which make for perfect year-round staples in your maternity clothes wardrobe!

    It's worth it to invest in some good maternity pieces that you truly love, especially if they are versatile. You can't beat a dress that can be a skirt that can also be a maternity swimsuit coverup. You also can't beat a perfect ruched white or black maternity tank that can also be worn after pregnancy. So choose wisely and choose well to make the most of your maternity clothes wardrobe!



  • Is Seafood Safe to Eat During Pregnancy?

    Once you’re pregnant, everything you do in your life that affects your health needs to be examined closer to ensure the healthy development of your baby. Nutritional needs top the charts with increased attention to your diet which may be further complicated by morning sickness which, for some women, can last the entire nine months of pregnancy.

    It comes as no surprise that lean protein is an optimal source of nutrition for anyone’s diet, but especially an expecting mom. In terms of calories per portion, seafood such as fish, particularly of the salmon variety which packs in those important fatty acids with low calories per portion can be a great choice. However, many pregnant women steer clear from seafood altogether with all the news we hear about mercury levels being dangerously high and a risk for the health of a developing fetus.

    While some seafood may be best to avoid during pregnancy, it is not a great idea to cut out seafood altogether as they contain many nutrients that are vital to our baby’s health and development. As the saying goes don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. In the same notion don’t throw all the fish out of your diet with the worries of mercury and contamination, but do choose wisely. There are plenty of great seafood choices that are very beneficial to your developing fetus' health as well as our own.

    For starters, omega-3 fatty acids aid in brain development and provide high levels of lean protein. Fish can serve as a powerful weapon against birth defects when choosing the low mercury varieties such as salmon, sardines, haddock and cod. Seafood which is high in mercury that you should avoid during pregnancy include shark, king mackerel, swordfish and tilefish. In moderation, tuna is not a problem as long as you steer clear of the albacore and blufin varieties. It is also a good idea to abstain from fish caught in contaminated lakes or rivers that can carry high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs which could travel to the placenta and affect the development of the fetus. So do be cautious when eating fish from local lakes and rivers.

    Raw shellfish and uncooked sushi are also seafood choices you should postpone during pregnancy.  Also, make sure that cooked mussels, clams and oysters are actually cooked all the way through so that salmonella is not a threat. Pathogens such as salmonella are destroyed through cooking, otherwise they can cause severe food poisoning in pregnancy and may cross the placenta to the fetus as well.

    It is easy to be overwhelmed with all the mercury and food poisoning cautions and simply avoid seafood altogether during pregnancy, but this would be a disservice to your developing baby and yourself as there are so many benefits to safe seafood choices, such as wild salmon for dinner. Seafood during pregnancy can be a very healthy choice, just choose wisely and space out your seafood meals and portion sizes for moderation in your diet.

  • Spring Maternity Trend -- Floral Prints

    As the weather heats up and Spring approaches it is time for a maternity wardrobe shift into lighter fabrics, lighter colors and spring themed prints. One print that never goes out of style for the Spring Season is florals. The floral design is a perfect addition to your ensemble whether worn as an addition or accessory to your outfit such as a shoe, purse or light scarf or as the main statement as in a gorgeous floor length maxi dress, florals are designed to bring a light hearted positive mood to all you represent.

    Maternal America Asymetric Ruffle Dress

    Pregnancy is the perfect time to experiment with fashion and prints that you might not normally wear in your everyday life. Florals patterns also happen to be in style and in full bloom this spring, just as you are in your pregnancy! Now is a great time to try out a fluttery floral blouse or Babydoll dress. Check out the beautiful maternity swimwear floral patterns that are a great way to add some flowers to your wardrobe.


    Here are a few tips to keep in mind when selecting a floral print:

    1) Choosing the right size is most important when it comes to maternity clothes, especially when dealing with floral prints. A simple rule to remember is to keep the size of the print in proportion with the size of your body, allowing a little room to bloom when you are expecting. If you are petite, look for smaller flower sizes so that you will not look overpowered. If you are taller or have a larger build you can go larger on your floral prints and look great.

    Prego Maternity Betsy Swimwear

    2) When choosing to wear a floral print dress, top, or skirt, keep the accessories simple to keep the look balanced. A floral maternity maxi dress looks stunning when paired with simple sandals or espadrille and non flashy jewelry. You can pull your favorite color from the dress and find a great necklace, bracelet, or shoe in that color. If you choose to wear a colorful floral maternity top, pair it with a neutral bottom or vice versa. By keeping the pattern only on the clothing and accessorizing with complimentary colors, a polished sleek look is created.


    3) If you are really concerted about looking frumpy in florals or can't get Kim Kardashian's infamous Met Gala maternity dress out of your mind, then go for the more abstract paisley patterns. This also gives a fresh look for spring while sure to be modern and a far cry from your mother's curtains or your grandmother's wardrobe.

    Japanese Weekend Red Sun Maternity Dress4) Break it up with the flowers. You can make florals edgy by your shoe and jewelry choice and simply by pairing a floral top with a pair of solid leggings. A great pair of flats, a large ring in the shape of a flower, or a floral print scarf all make great additions to your maternity outfit if you want to go light with the flowers while giving a nod to the flowers.

    Most important is to follow your personal style. Choose a floral print that is truly you and that represents your personality. It can be a dainty abstract pastel floral pattern to a large statement floral maxi skirt with strong fuchsia colors and black contrast.

    Find and wear what makes you happy and have some fun with your maternity fashion this Spring!

  • Fewer Hospitals Giving Away Formula Gift Bags To Breastfeeding Women


    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that nearly half of 2,600 hospitals that were surveyed no longer provide formula samples to breastfeeding women. This is up 25% from 2007. The survey did not state if women who were not breastfeeding were given formula samples.

    Formula samples come in gift bags that pregnant women receive when they start their new baby visits with their OB-GYN and typically continue to receive after they enter the hospital.

    These goody bags usually consist of an array of powered premix samples and coupons. These incentives to the new mom usually result in the formula company gaining an extra $700 a year in sales. Unfortunately this lower to this competition is the new baby and mom.

    These formula companies have also marketed the hospital staff with gifts and incentives which has further encouraged their stronghold in the maternity ward. As a result, many of the staff is not eager to bid adieu to their own goody bags as part of this marketing deal.

    In any case, the significant drop in formula perks and advertising to pregnant and postpartum women is good news for breastfeeding and newborn health. Although formula may be a necessary option for some new moms with health issues, for the majority of moms and babies breast milk really is best and breastfeeding is doable with the right support system in place.

    We at TummyStyle understand that breastfeeding isn't always easy for new mothers. 100 years ago there was a community of women who had previously nursed (there was no formula then) and these friends and female family members could provide support to the new mom and tips for breastfeeding. Now a days with many families not living near other relatives, and formula easily available and even encouraged, breastfeeding can be a more challenging task.

    We encourage all pregnant women who want to try breastfeeding to find out about breastfeeding education through your local prenatal classes at the hospital and to get the support you need soon after birth with a certified lactation consultant. Many hospitals provide this service during your hospital stay but sometimes you may have to actively request the service from a lactation consultant or nurse on call. Oftentimes you may need more help after you return home in which case you may need to find a local lactation consultant.  It may cost around $500-$60 per session but that expense will be more than made up in a few month of not spending on formula as well as the priceless increased health benefits to both your baby and yourself.

    Once you and your baby are in the groove of breastfeeding, it just becomes more natural. Although it may seem easier to get a good night sleep up front and give the baby formula, you will soon be glad you went through the effort when you baby is happily nursing and thriving on your natural organic personal breast milk.

  • Guilt-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Chip 1

    Some healthy recipes can taste, well, too healthy. Dessert should taste like dessert, but it shouldn’t leave you feeling sick, particularly at time when you are sensitive to morning sickness! Your meals shouldn’t hurt your body, they should help it, especially during pregnancy when you are literally eating for both you and your baby! Food can either be the slowest form of poison or the most powerful medicine to fuel your body and improve your health. When you supply your body with the right nutrition you will see feel the difference with more energy for your day. Healthy food can definitely be delicious, and here is one recipe where you the taste is as good as the nutrition it provides.

    These cookies are the reward for lots of experimentation in the kitchen. They have the classic taste of chocolate chip cookies but are a far healthier version than the classic store bought cookies or grocery store cookie mix we all know and love, but also know is not the healthiest choice for our bodies. This chocolate chip cookies recipe supports your pregnancy health while still satisfying your sweet tooth pregnancy cravings. They are chewy, soft, and slightly crispy on the edges. The sweetness of the agave is perfectly complimented by the nuttiness of the hazelnut oil and balanced with a bit of sea salt. No one will ever know these are free of white flour, butter, or white sugar!

    Chip 3

    These cookies are a bit high in fat, but it is from high quality sources (avocado and hazelnut oil), aka guilt-free fat! According to a study published in the March 2005 issue of the "Journal of Nutrition”, avocado oil increases the absorption of carotenoids (organic pigments that act like antioxidants within the body) from your food. Fat-soluble carotenoids rely on dietary fats to be properly used, but most foods that are high in carotenoids (think red, orange, and dark green veggies) are low in fat. Avocado is unusual because it contains high quantities of unsaturated fatty acids as well as generous amounts of carotenoids. In the study, “both high and low doses of avocado oil enhanced alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lutein absorption from a salad by as much as 15 times compared to a salad without avocado oil.”

    Hazelnut oil has a similar composition to olive oil, but it contains less saturated fat per tablespoon. It is a bit on the expensive side, but it only takes a little bit to add complexity and flavor to baked goods.

    Chocolate ChipIf you don’t have avocado or hazelnut oil, try mixing whatever oil you have on hand (like grape seed, coconut, sunflower--maybe even try olive oil and add some orange zest!). You can also experiment with adding shredded coconut, nuts, extracts, and different spices to customize. Have fun and make healthy cooking something you look forward to!




    Chocolate Chip Cookies

    2 ½ cups almond flour

    ¼ cup sorghum flour

    ½ tsp baking soda

    ½ tsp fine grain sea salt

    ½ cup agave syrup

    ¼ cup hazelnut oil

    ¼ cup avocado oil

    1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F on convection. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

    Whisk the almond flour, sorghum flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.

    In a separate medium bowl, combine the agave, hazelnut oil, avocado oil, and vanilla.

    Fold the wet and dry mix together. Bake for 10-15 minutes, rotating the pan about 6 minutes in.

    Nutrition Facts: (per cookie)

    Calories: 223

    Fat: 17

    Carbs: 16

    Protein: 5

    Sugar: 8

    All Original Content. Copyright Athena Byers 2015, All Rights Reserved.

  • Make-ahead Healthy Muffins

    made ahead muffinWe all have those times when we find ourselves opening and reopening the fridge trying to find that little something to snack on. We get busy and want something that’s quick and delicious. But sometimes we don’t make the best choice. It’s common to make unhealthy choices when we haven’t planned out meals or prepared snacks for the day. You can make these healthy muffins on a Sunday and have a healthy choice waiting for you every day of the week. They are a quick on-the-go snack that is also a fun treat. These muffins are sweetened only with fruit and have just 5 grams of sugar each. The addition of walnuts also gives a fun crunch and a great energy boost.

    Almost everybody has noticed the boom in “Gluten Free” products. As you might know, this does not automatically make the product healthy. Most gluten free items are based off of white rice flour and potato starch--both of which do not do much for your health. These muffins are gluten free, but instead of using the standard blend of white rice and potato starch, they contain  amaranth, oat and brown rice flour.

    Amaranth has the most protein, iron, magnesium, and fiber of all the gluten free grains. It is also a good source of calcium, Vitamin E, Vitamin B-6 and lower in carbs than most grains. It seems like the number one flour to use--so why even bother with oats and brown rice, right? Well, for gluten free baking, if you only use one flour, the flavor can sometimes be overpowering and the texture too dense.  You also miss out on the benefits of other grains. Quinoa is a grain similar to amaranth that also packs quite a nutritional punch, but it is about twice the price of amaranth.

    With all of these wonderful health benefits, you are sure to feel good about eating this treat.  If you want more of a dessert, you can reheat one and drizzle honey on top and enjoy with a cup of herbal tea.


    Banana Nut Strawberry Muffins (makes approximately 11 medium muffins)

    3 small overripe bananas

    Juice of half a lemon

    1 tsp vanilla

    1 tsp cinnamon

    1 tsp baking soda

    ½ cup amaranth flour

    ½ cup brown rice flour

    ½ cup oat flour

    ¼ tsp salt

    ¾ cup chopped walnuts

    2 egg whites

    1 cup chopped fresh or frozen strawberries

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F on convection. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

    Peel the bananas and mash them in a medium bowl. I recommend using the head of a  whisk to mash quickly. Add in the lemon juice, vanilla, and egg whites. You can also put all these ingredients in a blender to speed up the process.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, salt, baking soda, amaranth or quinoa flour, and brown rice flour.

    Fold the dry ingredients into the wet. Add the chopped strawberries and walnuts. Fill the paper liners with batter almost to the top. You can also gently push in more strawberry slices if you see any bald spots. Bake for 25-30 minutes, depending on how big the muffins are.

    Let them cool completely before removing paper liner, and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

    Nutrition Information: (per muffin)

    Calories: 154

    Carbs: 23 grams

    Fat: 6 grams

    Protein: 4 grams

    Sugar: 5 grams

    All Original Content. Copyright Athena Byers 2015, All Rights Reserved.

  • Try a Splash of Marsala, Color of the Year, for Your Maternity Wardrobe

    The official color of 2015 is Marsala, according to the Pantone Color Institute. In case you are wondering, Marsala is a rich red-brown burgundy color much like the fortified wine that its name is derived from. This hearty warm earth color is flattering against many skin tones which make it a great choice for fashion. Its rich and sophisticated shade also complement a palette of other hues such as camel, pumpkin, shades of blue, brown and black which allows it to coordinate well with many other colors in your wardrobe.

    Marsala also makes a great nail color, makeup blush for the cheeks, lipstick and clothing. Its stylish tone works well for home furnishings and interiors and even industrial design. Yet our favorite use of the Marsala color is its beauty in maternity fashion. This color works for all seasons. In winter pair marsala with jewel tones for a statement color. When springtime comes, try marsala with cool pastels for a fresh look.

    A number of maternity clothes at TummyStyle incorporate this yummy earth hue in both prints and solids. Here are a couple favorites:

    Maternal America’s Wine Scoop Neck Dress.

    Maternity America Wine Scoop Neck Dress

    This chic maternity dress is fitted on the top with the black lycra scoop neck design and elbow length sleeves. The sash and skirt of this pretty empire waist style is wine colored shade of Marsala. The mid-thigh dress length is youthful and fresh.

    Another take on the Marsala shade is Maternal America’s Nursing and Maternity Cami-Cardigan.

    Maternal America Cami-Cardigan

    This very versatile two piece cardigan sweater is made for both nursing and maternity. Its rich color, in the Marsala family hue, is sure to be a hit this season. Pair it with jeans, black slacks or a skirt for a dressier look. Ultra comfy and pretty with all skin tones and hair colors, you are sure to love this nursing cardigan for days to come.

    So add some variety to your maternity wardrobe and add a splash of Marsala (the color not the wine that is!) to enjoy this year’s special color and you are sure to be on-trend.

  • Snack on these Valentines-Themed Beans!

    Brownie pic

    As Valentines Day fast approaches chocolate is on the brain. Pregnancy is no time to lose all your vices, or at least not the healthy ones. Who knew that a yummy brownie desert, that looks and tastes truly decadent, could be so healthy? Well there are a few secret ingredients involved, but no one will ever know the difference (not even you when you taste them!)

    The main super healthy ingredient hidden in this brownie mix is black beans. Just a half cup of cooked black beans is packed with essential vitamins for your healthy pregnancy diet. Here's the break down in vitamins and minerals for the half cup of cooked black beans:

    30% recommended daily amount of folate (aka folic acid, very important!)

    15% recommended daily amount of magnesium

    16% recommended daily amount of manganese

    10% recommended daily amount of iron

    8 grams protein

    8 grams fiber

    Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart! The combination of protein and fiber helps to steady the digestion processes and regulate blood sugar. This is very important as pregnancy is often a time when blood sugar spikes and expectant mothers are often prone to gestational diabetes. Healthy snacks like these actually help you maintain a steady and lower blood sugar.

    It is always important to include lean protein in your diet, but even more so when you’re pregnant.  The amino acids in protein are the building blocks of our bodies.  During pregnancy, these amino acids are providing the same cell-building tasks for your growing baby. The magnesium in black beans also helps with this synthesis of protein.

    Protein is also responsible for red blood cells--which as you probably know transport nutrients and oxygen to and from cells.  Red blood cells also control blood clotting, particularly those in and around the uterus and placenta.

    They hold a variety of phytonutrients (both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory) which help fight cancer, decrease risk of heart disease, and reduce effects of aging.  In fact, black beans have more antioxidant activity, gram for gram, than any other bean. The flavonoids found in this “magic fruit” prevent the adhesion of platelets in the blood, which can help lower risk for heart attack and strokes.

    They also provide a great base for healthy brownies!  You can’t even tell these have a whole can of beans in them.  They are moist, fudgy and loaded with antioxidants and minerals from the cacao.  Notice that is cacao, not cocoa.  Cacao is the less processed powder and is much higher in nutrients.  Cocoa is more processed, but less expensive and still contains valuable nutrients.  Whichever one you choose (cacao or cocoa) you will be sure to enjoy this very yummy desert!

    black bean brownies

    Almond Bean Brownies (16 servings)

    1 15 oz. can rinsed and drained black beans

    about 13 pitted Medjool dates

    ½ cup of unsweetened almond milk

    ½ cup almond butter

    ¼ cup maple syrup

    ¼ cup coconut oil

    1 tsp vanilla

    1 egg

    ¾ tsp baking soda

    ½ cup cacao or cocoa powder

    ½ tsp salt

    1 3.4-4 oz bar of dark chocolate

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F on convection.  Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.  Put the beans, dates, almond milk, almond butter, and vanilla in food processor or blender.  Blend until super smooth (approximately 3-5 minutes).

    While this is blending, whisk together the cacao/cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  Set aside.  Melt the coconut oil and maple syrup.  Add the maple syrup and coconut oil mixture to the food processor and blend to combine.  Add the egg and blend until combined.  Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Chop the chocolate bar in small pieces and add to the batter.  Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 50-60 minutes.

    Nutrition Facts (Per serving)

    Calories: 198

    Protein: 5 grams

    Carbs: 24 grams

    Fat: 11 grams

    All Original Content. Copyright Athena Byers 2015, All Rights Reserved.

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