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!
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
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)
Protein: 5 grams
Carbs: 24 grams
Fat: 11 grams
All Original Content. Copyright Athena Byers 2015, All Rights Reserved.