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Healthy pregnancy snack

  • Healthy Pregnancy Drink --Delicious Island Smoothie!

    Healthy Island Smoothie

    This is the best smoothie you will ever taste, hands down. It doesn’t taste like any smoothie you have ever had before. The fresh vanilla bean and young coconut make you feel like you’re in Tahiti or Hawaii and are absolutely healthy and satisfying.

    Coconut water is known as a very healthy drink - and rightly so. Just a cup has 17% of your recommended amount of potassium, 15% magnesium, and 17% manganese. When feeling bogged down, fatigued, or icky, a glass of cold, fresh coconut water can leave you more energized and rejuvenated. It’s important to stay hydrated, especially in pregnancy, and coconut water can help you keep your fluids up. Water is essential for lots of our body processes. It contributes to the following when you’re expecting:

    • Delivers nutrients to fetus through the placenta.

    • Keeps fatigue at bay - one of the first signs of dehydration is fatigue.

    • Water is used in the amniotic sac.

    • Prevents over-heating.

    smoothie 5

    It is recommended to drink 12 to 13 8-ounce glasses each day. Some ways to keep this up is to:

    • Flavor water with stevia drops and squeezed citrus, or cucumber, mint or berries.

    • Have a bottle you like and bring it with you everywhere.

    • Have a couple glasses right when you wake up while getting ready in the morning.

    • Eat fruit! One cup has about 4-5 ounces.

    • Keep a bottle on your desk when working and have a sip right away. After you take one sip and it’s just sitting there, you feel thirsty and can’t stop reaching for it!

    Pretty soon it will be a habit and you will naturally want to keep drinking water throughout the day.

    smoothie 4

    If you don’t like the taste of coconut water, this smoothie is a good way to sneak it in. It doesn’t have the strong taste of coconut water - but still has the benefits! This is a great drink to make on the weekends when relaxing with your spouse. It is quick enough to throw together for a weeknight dessert, too! If you don’t have access to fresh young coconuts, use coconut water and either dried cooconut or a bit of coconut cream or butter.

    Ingredients (makes 2 small servings)

    ¼ cup coconut meat

    Water from 1 young coconut (about 1 cup)

    1-2 tablespoons almond butter

    ¾ - 1 inch piece of fresh vanilla bean

    ¼ cup of dates

    Optional: pinch of salt

    smoothie 1

    Directions:

    Open the young coconut by shaving the white fiber from cone top. After the white is gone and you have creates a “bald head” on the coconut, tap around the top in a circle. Use the back corner of a large knife. Watch a video on this technique here.

    After the coconut is open, pour the water over a strainer into a large measuring cup. Scrape out the flesh inside and clean off any leftover husk/fibers.

    Measure out ¼ cup of the flesh and pour the water and flesh into a blender. Add in the other ingredients: 1-2 tablespoons almond butter, ¾ - 1 inch piece of fresh vanilla bean, ¼ cup of dates and pinch of salt if you would like. Blend until very smooth.

    smoothie 2

    All Original Content. Copyright Athena Byers 2016, All Rights Reserved.
     
  • Mint Chocolate Truffles - ease your pregnancy carvings!

     
    mint c Mint Chocolate Truffles
    Just the smell of mint can refresh and re-energize you when you are feeling that pregnancy fatigue. These truffles are packed with fresh mint leaves and cacao - two superfoods that are beneficial to pregnancy.
    Sometimes you just feel like relaxing, eating truffles, doing a face mask and watching a movie. These truffles are perfect for that occasion - super simple, quick and no waiting around for anything to chill or bake. The cacao adds a deep, rich chocolate flavor that is decadent, yet healthy!
    mint chocolate truffles 1Eating, drinking and smelling mint is very effective for treating nausea. For this reason, it is especially helpful to have some mint tea, grow some in a windowsill or buy some to add to smoothies and salads during pregnancy. Morning sickness can be a very unpleasant experience for many women during their first months, and mint can help relieve those icky feelings. Mint is also very helpful for digestion, headaches, and fatigue.

     

    It is not recommended for pregnant women to consume large amounts of caffeine during pregnancy. Chocolate and cacao do contain small amounts of caffeine, but not enough to pose any risk when eaten in moderation. Cacao is also very high in antioxidants, magnesium, iron, fiber, and other minerals. It also contains theobromine, which dilates blood vessels and relaxes smooth muscle, which helps to lower blood pressure.
    If you don’t like the flavor of mint, you can try fresh ginger, which has similar benefits to mint. Start with a ½ inch piece and add in more to taste.
    These can also be packaged up in a jar with some festive ribbon and a cute gift tag to give to friends and family for the holidays or as winter gifts. You can even print out the recipe and attach it so that they can re-create the bliss.
    mint chocolate truffles 2
    Ingredients:
    1 cup of nuts
    1 ½ cup dates
    ⅔ cup packed fresh mint leaves
    5 tablespoons cacao powder
    3 tablespoons dried unsweetened shredded coconut
    Process the nuts and mint until you get a rough sand texture. Add in the other ingredients and pulse until combined. Test the mixture by trying to pinch together a small ball. If it falls apart, pulse a bit longer. Try not to overmix -- the processing will separate the oil from the nuts if it is blended too long.  When the dough stays together, form into small balls and roll in cacao powder, chopped nuts, shredded coconut or cacao nibs. These keep well in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for a couple weeks.
    You can use any blend of nuts you want: walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, brazil nuts, or seeds such as sunflower seeds or pepitas (pumpkin seeds).
    Lastly, enjoy your guilt-free desert!
    mint chocolate truffles 4

    All Original Content. Copyright Athena Byers 2016, All Rights Reserved.



  • Easiest Cinnamon Rolls Ever!

    Easiest Cinnamon Rolls Ever - only 5 ingredients!

    If you are looking for a yummy pregnancy snack that is as good as it is healthy, then check out this super easy Cinnamon Rolls Vegan recipe! There is no dough-making involved - which means less waiting, less work and more fun! For this recipe, pre-made whole-wheat pizza dough is used, so all you have to do is make the filling, roll, cut and bake. Traditionally, cinnamon rolls use butter and refined sugar for the filling. For these super healthy vegan rolls, it is recommended to use vegan butter, coconut oil, any specialty oils (hazelnut, walnut, pistachio), or a blend with olive oil. Or, experiment with nut butters!

    cinnamon rolls 4

     

    There is some debate about whether vegan butter is actually a better choice than butter.

    Here is a comparison of the two:

    Vegan Butter Dairy Butter
    Most brands contain ingredients that are sustainably sourced (cruelty free). Most brands use generic milk from cows in factory farms (bad living conditions).
    Plant foods take less resources (space and water) than animal products. Animal products (namely dairy and meats), take huge amounts of resources.
    Plant foods contain no cholesterol. Dairy contains cholesterol.
    Less saturated fats. More saturated fats.

     

    The price is comparable and the taste is almost exactly the same. So make the switch to support a healthier you and care for the planet and animals.

    Coconut sugar is used instead of regular refined sugar. Coconut sugar has a great caramel-y taste and is more sustainable than cane sugar. It also has minerals, amino acids, and a lower glycemic index.

    cinnamon rolls2

     

    Ingredients

    1 package of pre-made whole-wheat pizza dough (Trader Joe’s brand was used)

    ¼ cup coconut sugar

    2 teaspoons cinnamon

    ¼ teaspoon ground cloves

    5 tablespoons vegan butter (Earth Balance was used for this recipe) or about 4 tablespoons of your choice of oil/s

    Optional:

    ¼ cup chopped dates

    ⅓ cup chopped pecans

    cinnamon rolls

    Glaze:

    4 oz. vegan cream cheese or coconut butter

    Maple syrup to taste (a couple tablespoons should do it)

    1-2 teaspoons lemon juice

    water to thin out to desired consistency

    Directions

    Follow the directions for dough prep on the package. This may include setting the dough on a lightly floured surface and letting it rise for 25-30 minutes.

    While you are waiting, mix together the coconut sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and optional add-ins in a small bowl and set aside. After any dough prep is done, roll out into a rectangle about ½ to ¼ inch thick. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F and line a cake pan or 8x8 dish with parchment paper. They will spread out and touch as they bake.

    Spread 2-3 tablespoons of oil or vegan butter onto dough. Sprinkle the sugar mixture. Roll into a log and cut into 8 pieces.

    Put rolls into pan. They should all have a bit of room around them (about ½ an inch). Drizzle the remaining 1-2 tablespoons of vegan butter or oil on the outsides of the rolls.

    Bake for 25-45 minutes. There is variation in the cooking time depending on what oil/butter and dough you use. Mix together glaze ingredients, smear on, and enjoy!

    Cinnamon rolls 3

    All Original Content. Copyright Athena Byers 2016, All Rights Reserved.

  • Healthy Pregnancy Eggnog!! A Holiday Treat :)

    Healthy Vegan Eggnog Healthy Vegan Eggnog

    It’s getting colder and colder as the holiday season approaches! Warm yourself up and nourish your body and baby with this delicious and easy recipe for eggnog minus the eggs! Yes, you read that correctly! This clever vegan recipe is perfect for pregnancy and beyond and perfectly safe for your body and growing baby in your belly since there are no raw eggs to worry about!  This drink takes under 20 minutes so you can whip it up for a quick dessert or as a midday pick-me-up.

    Recipes with raw eggs can be a little risky, or at least leave you weary -- especially if you are pregnant. Babycenter.com advises pregnant women to steer clear of home or restaurant-made items with raw eggs -- which means no eggnog. However, they also say that it’s probably okay to drink store-bought versions, because they contain pasteurized eggs. But why drink store-bought versions when making it yourself is that much more fun, healthy, and safe? This recipe contains no eggs or animal products at all, making it much safer and much healthier. Afterall, who needs added stress for the holiday season?

    eggnog3

    The base is made from pecans and dates with a bit of spice and molasses for flavor. An optional addition is cashew cream, which is made of just soaked cashews and water. This versatile ingredient is a must for classic holiday meals. You can add it to pumpkin pie filling, make dressings, add it to soups, and of course, make creamy hot drinks! It’s almost impossible to mess up this recipe -- so experiment with different amounts of cashew cream, molasses, and all the other ingredients! You can even add some orange oil or add less sweetener and use it as an alternative milk.

    However you make it, this drink will warm you up and put a smile on your face. So go make some and drink it while you cuddle up with a good book or movie. It makes over 5 cups, so there’s plenty to share -- or not!

    eggnog4Eggnog Ingredients: makes 5 to 7 servings

    1 cup pecans

    ¾ cup medjool dates

    4 cups water

    1 tablespoon molasses

    1 teaspoon cinnamon

    ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

    Add everything to a blender and blend until smooth!

    eggnog5

    Optional: If you want the eggnog more thick and creamy, add ¼ to ⅓ cup cashew cream:

    -Soak about 1 cup of cashews overnight or for 6-8 hours.

    -Rinse thoroughly.

    -Blend in a high speed blender, adding just enough water to make a thick cream (think Greek yogurt consistency).

    -Refrigerate extra in an air-tight container. Keeps for about 5 days. You can also freeze it and thaw as needed.

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

  • Chewy Vegan Granola Bars

    Vegan Granola Bars 3

    You know that pregnancy craving you get sometimes after lunch, when you want a little something? Something sweet and satisfying, but not too heavy or super-filling? One of these bars is the perfect little something to satisfy cravings until dinner time.

    This recipe makes a huge batch (about 20-24 bars) so keep them in your refrigerator as a grab-n-go snack. No artificial flavors, sweeteners, preservatives.

    It’s important during your to make sure you are sufficiently fueled throughout the day to prevent overeating later. If you find that you consistently overeat during dinner or get the munchies at night, you may need to bump up your caloric intake earlier in the day. This means having a more hearty breakfast and lunch and adding in healthy snacks between meals so that you don’t come to a meal feeling ravenous.

    Vegan Granola Bars 1Choose snacks that sustain energy and digest slower, like whole grains and food with naturally occurring sugar. This is particularly important during pregnancy as many expecting moms are prone to gestational diabetes and are more sensitive to sugar in their diets.

    If you find that you are feeling starved when you sit down for a meal, try to eat slowly and mindfully. Eating slowly is not easy when you are super hungry and super pregnant! Some ways to make this easier is to take smaller bites - smaller than you might think. Also try putting down your fork or spoon in between bites.

    These bars certainly meet the criteria for an A+ snack. Here’s a rundown of the main elements:

    Dates: Filled with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and natural sugars (glucose and fructose) to give quick energy. One date alone has almost 2 grams of fiber, which promotes healthy digestion.

    Oats: Rich in minerals, B-complex vitamins, and amino acids to help your baby develop and stay healthy. This grain is slow-digesting, meaning it will keep you satisfied longer.

    Figs: Lots of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients. One serving of figs contain about 50 times more polyphenol (a micronutrient used to fight cancer and other degenerative diseases).

    Bananas: We all know about the potassium, but bananas also contain good amounts of vitamin B-6, fiber, vitamin C, and magnesium. Bananas also contain high amounts of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin and helps to improve mood.

    Ingredients: (makes about 20 bars)

    3 cups oatmeal

    2 cup puffed cereal (I used puffed kamut)

    ½  cup chopped almonds

    ½ teaspoon cinnamon

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1 tablespoon sesame seeds

    1 tablespoons poppy seeds

    1 cup medjool dates

    1 cup dried figs

    1/2 cup almond butter

    3 overripe bananas

    1 tablespoon vanilla extract

    Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside.

    Put all wet ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.

    Fold the wet and dry mixes together until there are no dry spots.

    Press dough into 9 x 13 inch pan lined with parchment. Bake at 250 F for 50 minutes. Carefully flip bars onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 F until edges are golden (about 20-30 minutes). You can experiment with a higher temperature from the beginning, but this is just what I used. Cut into desired size and wrap in foil or parchment paper and store in the refrigerator.

    Vegan Granola Bars 4Enjoy mindfully with tea or almond milk, or just by itself.

    Note: Experiment with different ratios and varieties of dried fruit, nuts, nut butter, and seeds. Customize it to what YOU like. Eating healthy is all about nourishing your body with foods that make YOU feel good.

     

     

     

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

     

     

     

  • Vegan Mac & Cheeze - Good and Good for you!

    Just because you're pregnant doesn't mean you can't indulge in some yummy comfort food! In fact carbs might be the only thing your body likes or craves in those early months of pregnancy! This Mac 'n Cheeze recipe is one you can enjoy guilt free as it's healthy, vegan and delicious! Make it ahead and have go to meals for days to come!mac and cheese 2

     

    Vegan Mac ‘n Cheeze (serves 4-6)

    10 ounces pasta

    1 cup peeled and diced potatoes

    ¼ cup peeled/diced carrots

    ⅓ cup chopped onion

    ¾ cup water (use liquid from pot of boiled veggies)

    ½ cup raw cashews soaked for at least 3 hours, or overnight

    ¼ cup almond milk

    3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes

    1 tablespoon lemon juice

    Salt to taste

    1 teaspoon miso

    ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

    ¼ teaspoon turmeric

    ¼-½  teaspoon smoked paprika

    Bring a pot of water to boil and add in the onions, potatoes, carrots. Boil for 10-15 minutes, or until soft.

    Rinse the soaked cashews with cold water. Set aside.

    Add all ingredients, including the boiled vegetables, to a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth.

    Nutrition Facts (per ½ cup scoop)

    calories: 192

    fat: 4 grams

    protein: 5 grams

    mac and cheese 3

    During pregnancy, comforting food can be especially comforting. Many women crave comfort foods - dishes that can be overloaded lots of salt and fat. This classic, comforting macaroni and “cheeze” satisfies cravings and nourishes you and your baby. Made with cashews, veggies, and almond milk instead of cream or milk, it is definitely a smart and healthy choice. Instead of feeling heavy or sick, you will know that you have done your body (and your baby’s!) good.

    Miso is traditionally made from fermented soybeans, making it a better choice than regular salt. This is because fermented foods provide good bacteria to your gut flora. This strengthens our immune and digestive systems and introduce healthy bacteria to your baby a young age. Fermented foods also contain amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.

    Not only is nutritional yeast used to get a great cheesy flavor, it is fortified with Vitamin B12, a nutrient essential for proper brain growth and function. It also helps with the formation of blood. Smoked paprika is another ingredient that helps give this sauce a deep umami flavor. Turmeric acts as a natural food coloring to create a golden color that everyone (especially kids) will love.

    Cashews are another superfood in this delish dish! One ounce of these contains:

    23% of your daily recommended amount of manganese

    31% of your daily recommended amount of copper

    20% of your daily recommended amount of magnesium

    One ounce of milk only contains:

    0% of your daily recommended amount of manganese

    1% of your daily recommended amount of copper

    7% of your daily recommended amount of magnesium

    Making this dish with cashews and almond milk eliminates the need for using dairy milk. Dairy products have been advertised as healthy and essential for decades. Walter Willett, MD, PhD, professor of epidemiology and head of the nutrition department at the Harvard School of Public Health reported that, “One of the main arguments for USDA recommendations is that drinking milk or equivalent dairy products will reduce the risk of fractures. But in fact there’s very little evidence that milk consumption is associated with reduced fractures.” The pros of dairy are that it contains calcium, potassium, and Vitamin D. However, these nutrients are abundant in plant sources like leafy greens, fruit, vegetables, and nuts.

    mac and cheese

  • Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin Snacks

    Lemon Poppy Seed 1Breakfast? Snack? Desert? It’s all three! These delightful muffins will satisfy pregnancy cravings and support your prenatal health (and make your house smell heavenly!). Summer is leaving, but lemons are available year-round to make treats that remind you of those warm, sunny, laid-back summer days. The poppy seeds add texture and a little crunch while the quadruple citrus hit (extract, oil, zest, and juice) makes these muffins truly lemonicious!

    These are best right out of the oven (not pun intended!), but can also be stored in the refrigerator and saved to…

    -a crumble on top of vanilla ice cream

    -take as a small snack when on-the-go

    -re-heat and enjoy with coffee in the morning

    -add icing and serve as cupcakes (birthday parties, baby/bridal showers, thank-you gifts)

    These muffins are wholesome, delicate, perfectly sweet, a bit tart, and irresistible!

    Now for the pregnancy and postpartum health benefits:

    Poppy seeds are high in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that lowers LDL (the "bad cholesterol") and increases HDL (good cholesterol). The outer husk is a good source of fiber, which helps with healthy digestion and further reduces bad cholesterol.

    Poppy seeds are also high in pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamine, pyridoxine, folic acid, and niacin. These seeds also have good amounts of minerals such as iron, copper, calcium, potassium, zinc and magnesium. Copper is used in the production of red blood cells. Zinc is a “co-factor” in many enzymes that regulate growth, development, and digestion. Potassium is a vital element of cell and body fluids that helps to control heart rate and blood pressure which is also a vital health check for expecting women, particularly in the latter stages of pregnancy.

    Lemon Poppy Seed 2Oat flour is the primary source of flour, along with some amaranth and corn meal. WebMD considers whole grains a pregnancy superfood and recommends including them as a staple in your diet. WebMD stated that, “Whole grains contain more fiber and trace nutrients than processed grains, such as white bread, white rice, and white flour.” The combination of whole grains and only 5 grams total of sugar guarantees you won’t be crashing after you eat these.

    Ingredients: (makes 9 medium muffins)

    ½ cup applesauce

    ¼ cup coconut oil

    ½ teaspoon lemon extract

    4 drops orange oil

    Juice and zest of 1 meyer lemon

    ¾ cup almond milk

    1 flax egg (1 tablespoons ground flax and 3 tablespoons warm water)

    ¼ cup maple syrup

    1 cup oat flour

    1-3 tablespoons poppy seeds (however many you like)

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    ¼ teaspoon salt

    ⅓ cup amaranth flour

    ½ cup cornmeal

    ¼ teaspoon vanilla

    Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with muffin cups.

    Mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax with 3 tablespoons of warm water. Let soak while you prepare the other ingredients.

    Whisk the baking soda, amaranth flour, oat flour, cornmeal, poppy seeds and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

    In a small bowl, mix the applesauce, maple syrup, almond milk, lemon extract, lemon juice, lemon zest and orange oil. Melt the coconut oil and stir into the wet mix.

    Fold the wet and dry mixes together. Pour into muffin cups. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until golden and set.

    Lemon Poppy Seed 3

    Nutritional Facts: (per muffin)

    calories: 212

    protein: 4

    fat: 9

    sugar: 5

    carbs: 30

  • Banana Blueberry Breakfast Loaf

    Banana Blueberry 1Spring is upon us and summer is fast approaching! Get into the mood with this Banana Blueberry Breakfast Loaf. This bread is a perfect choice for a healthy breakfast treat during pregnancy or nursing. There is no added sugar or oil -- just healthy goodness. Top it with greek or soy yogurt, fresh fruit, and nut butter to jump-start your day.

    Use fresh blueberries if they are available locally and are a good price. If not, frozen works just fine. Frozen blueberries are sometimes cheaper and don’t turn all the batter purple. Also, frozen fruit, unlike some fresh fruit, is picked when it is fully ripe. This can maximize the nutritional benefit, instead of possibly stunting the development and natural ripening process (which is a common practice for large-scale farms). By buying frozen, it is possible to get more nutrients out of your fruit than buying under-ripe fresh fruit.

    Banna Blueberry 2

    This bread has a base of ripe bananas, oat flour, and sorghum flour -- all sources of quality carbohydrates that keep you going through your day. EatingWell.com informed that:

    Researchers suspect that carbs promote the production of serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical. In a study from the Archives of Internal Medicine, people who followed a very low carbohydrate diet for a year—which allowed only 20 to 40 grams of carbs daily, about the amount in just 1⁄2 cup of rice plus one piece of bread—experienced more depression, anxiety and anger than those assigned to a low-fat, high-carb diet that focused on low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruit and beans.

    So don’t be fooled by the low-carb diet fads. Glucose (sugar) is the source of fuel for humans. Carbohydrates are converted into usable fuel faster and easier than fat or protein is. Without proper fuel, we have no energy. Having a stable, constant source of energy is essential for us to feel our best.

    Banana Blueberry 3

    According to The China Study, “a high-carbohydrate diet has been shown to reverse heart disease, reverse diabetes, and prevent a plethora of diseases.” This detailed and comprehensive book was written by T. Colin Campbell, an expert of human nutrition with over 40 years of research and a PhD.

    During pregnancy, your metabolism increases and but your energy can decrease with added weight and hormones. Blood pressure and blood sugar can also go up or down. This can lead to experiencing more fatigue. Whole fruits, vegetables, tubers, and grains (all edible plants, really) are the most nutrient dense and highest fiber foods we can eat. These are all good sources of carbohydrates and help keep blood sugar stable. Snacking on these high-carb foods will help fight fatigue throughout the day.

    Listen to your body when you are tired. Sometimes a nap helps, sometimes a bit of exercise rejuvenates you, and sometimes eating healthy snacks more often does the trick. As always, there is no magic formula or secret solution that works for everyone and the only way to feel improvement is through experimentation.

    Banana Blueberry 4

    Ingredients: (makes 8 pieces)

    3 overripe bananas

    1 tbs ground flax

    1 tsp vanilla

    1 cup sorghum

    ⅔ cup oat flour

    ½ tsp baking soda

    ½ tsp baking powder

    ½ tsp ginger

    ½ tsp cardamom

    ½ tsp allspice

    ¼ tsp cloves

    1 tsp cinnamon

    1 ⅓ cup fresh or frozen blueberries

    1 ⅓ cup almond milk

    Lightly grease an 8 inch by 8 inch pan with coconut, olive, or avocado oil. Pre heat your oven to 350 F on convection.

    Mash the bananas in a large bowl. It can be faster and easier to use a whisk.

    Add in the vanilla, ground flax and almond milk. Try to get all the chunks smooth. Set aside.

    In a medium bowl, whisk the sorghum flour, oat flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cardamom, allspice, cloves, and cinnamon.

    Fold the dry mixture into the wet and add the blueberries.

    Pour batter into pan. Bake for approximately one hour, or until edges are golden.

    Nutrition Facts: (per serving)

    calories: 180

    protein: 4 grams

    carbs: 37 grams

    fat: 3 grams

    sugar: 8 grams

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

  • 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.

    muffins

    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.

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