Welcome, Guest!

You have no items in your shopping cart.

Tag Archives: Pregnancy Nuitrition

  • Pregnancy Quiche - Vegan Tofu Quiche

    vegan quiche 1

    During pregnancy food aversions, such as eggs, can be a turn off foods such as quiche. However, this yummy vegan version can give you a great alternative that's also super healthy!

    Spring brunches get an upgrade with this healthy dish! Make this for family get-togethers, potlucks, or just a weekend in. Quiches, packed with cheese, cream, and meat, are loved by many and are a comfort food indeed, but are usually not so healthy. Don’t worry though - this quiche will satisfy your comfort food cravings and provide good nutrition for you and your baby.

    This yummy quiche is packed with veggies and has a hashbrown crust -- which is way easier to make and healthier. Instead of having to use multiple ingredients, roll, refrigerate and shape the crust, you can just shred potatoes and toss them in a pan with vegan butter! This quiche uses mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, and green onions. However, you can use the same amounts of any veggies you have in your fridge! It’s a great way to use leftovers and make a delicious dish.

    Instead of using the traditional method of eggs, tofu is used. The texture and flavor is very similar, so vegans and non-vegans will love it!

    vegan quiche 2

    Here is a comparison between tofu and eggs per 100 grams:

     

    Tofu Eggs (generic scrambled)
    Calories 62 212
    Fat 2.70 grams 16.18 grams
    Protein 6.90 grams 13.84 grams
    Carbs 2.40 grams 2.08 grams

     

    Tofu has a third of the calories and a fifth of the fat of eggs. Eggs also take more resources (water, feed, and space) and excrete more waste than producing tofu. Many eggs are also from factory farms where animals are subjected to terrible conditions (cramped, dirty areas).  Sometimes soy is seen as questionable, but Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D. says “During pregnancy, one to two servings of soy daily is fine” (fitPregancy). She adds that, “Besides high-quality protein, soy is a great source of folate, iron, calcium, zinc and trace minerals.”

     

    This quiche is good for you, your baby and the earth (and it tastes amazing!).

     

    Vegan Tofu Quiche Recipe:

    Hashbrown Crust:

    4 ½ cups grated, shredded golden potatoes (about 4 medium)

    2 tablespoons vegan butter or oil of choice

    Salt and pepper to taste

     

    Filling:

    Egg:

    2 cups tofu

    3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

    4 tablespoons hummus

     

    Roasted veggies:

    2 green onions, chopped

    2 cups chopped broccoli

    Olive oil spray

    salt and pepper

     

    Sautee:

    2 cups chopped mushrooms

    1 big handful spinach, chopped

    3 garlic cloves, chopped

    1 teaspoon olive oil

    Vegan quiche

    Directions:

    1. Roasted veggies: Combine chopped broccoli and green onions in a medium bowl. Spray lightly with olive oil and toss with salt and pepper. Roast at 450 F until golden brown (about 20-25 minutes).
    2. Hashbrown Crust: While the veggies are roasting, wash and grate the potatoes. Put the grated potatoes into a 9x13 inch glass dish and drizzle with the melted vegan butter or oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss everything by hand. Press into the pan to form a crust. Bake at 450 F until slightly golden (about 20 minutes). Remove from oven and set aside until the filling is ready.
    3. Sauteed Veggies: Heat up a medium pan and add the olive oil and garlic and sautee until fragrant and starting to golden. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are soft (on medium heat). Add the spinach, put heat on low, and cook covered until the spinach is lightly wilted. After everything is cooked, drain the cooking juice and save for the filling.
    4. Egg Filling: Blend the tofu, hummus, and nutritional yeast in a food processor. Add in the reserved cooking juice from the mushrooms.
    5. Fold all the veggies into the egg mixture in a large bowl. Spread over hashbrown crust and bake at 375 F for 25-35 minutes.

     

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

  • 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.



  • Pregnancy Pancakes!

    pancakes2We nicknamed these healthy pancakes "Pregnancy Pancakes" because not only will they satisfy your pancakes cravings (anytime of the day), but they are actually good for you! As you know pregnancy is a time when we want to take better care of ourselves and eat responsibly but we also crave those emotional comfort foods with greater intensity then ever. These pancakes give you the most bang-for-your-buck of any pancake recipe out there! With about 5 ingredients, anybody can master these flapjacks and be fueled through their morning.

    Pancakes1If you make a batch over the weekend, you can reheat leftovers (if there any!) and have them on weekday mornings -- definitely motivation to get out of your cozy bed and start your day! They’re also special and delicious enough to treat friends or family, and fast enough to surprise someone with a breakfast in bed.

    Buckwheat or teff flour is listed in the recipe, but you could also experiment with using amaranth flour, spelt, whole wheat or just about any other whole grain flour! Keep in mind that you may have to adjust the amount of almond milk you add.

    The strawberry jam is a healthier version than your typical sugar spread. It’s made of fresh or frozen strawberries, chia and maple syrup or coconut sugar. The chia thickens it and adds serious nutritional punch. Chia has been gaining popularity in the health food world. What’s all the hype?

     

    A one ounce serving of chia contains:

    • 11 grams of fiber
    • 4 grams of protein
    • 5 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids
    • 18% RDA calcium
    • 27% RDA phosphorus
    • 30% magnesium
    • 30% magnesium
    • also small amounts of zinc, vitamin B3, potassium, vitamin B1, and vitamin B2
    • high in antioxidants

    Because of its thickening and absorption qualities, chia can be used to replace eggs in baked goods and helps keep you fuller longer.

    Whole Grain Vegan Pancakes:

    ½ cup oat flour

    ½ cup buckwheat or teff flour

    1 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)

    2 teaspoons baking powder

    2 tablespoons apple sauce

    1 tbs coconut sugar

    pancakes5

    Directions: Whisk the oat flour, buckwheat or teff flour, and baking powder in a medium bowl.

    Mix wet ingredients in a measuring cup and fold the two mixtures together.

    Heat a flat pan on medium-low heat.

    To test if the pan is the right temperature, sprinkle water on the pan. If nothing happens for a few seconds, it’s not hot enough. If it immediately sizzles and spits violently, it might be too hot.

    Try to get a temperature where water droplets sizzle mildly upon hitting the pan.

    Spray or rub with your choice of oil.

    Use a ⅓ cup measure to pour the batter, or make mini pancakes, big pancakes, hearts, mickey mouse or anything else fun!

    Blueberries and chocolate chips are also a fun addition.

    pancakes3Strawberry Chia Jam:

    2 cups whole fresh (make sure they’re properly ripe) or frozen strawberries.

    1 tbs chia seeds Sweetener to taste (coconut sugar or maple syrup).

    Defrost berries on low in a microwave or pot. If using fresh, you don’t need to do this step.

    Put in a blender until big chunks are gone (you may want to leave a few medium-size globs!).

    Transfer to bowl and mix in chia and sweetener.

    It will thicken in 25-20 minutes, and even more after it is refrigerated.

    pancakes4 Recommended Toppings: -coconut, almond or soy yogurt -nut butter (almond, peanut butter, pecan, walnut, or a blend!).

    If you have a food processor, the possibilities are endless. -fresh fruit - banana is highly recommended!

    Great paired with a more tart fruit like kiwi or raspberries. -maple syrup -and of course, the Strawberry Chia Jam!

    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.

     

     

     

  • 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

  • Roasted Chickpeas - A Pregnancy Superfood!

    chick peas 1

    Over the years, there has been much research on the benefits of consuming chickpeas during pregnancy. This is what has been concluded thus far: It is common to gain weight during pregnancy. Chickpeas help to maintain a healthy weight by containing fiber, which helps keep you fuller longer.

    1. More importantly, they are good for your heart. Chickpeas have been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack, along with other legumes.
    2. These beans offer a steady boost of energy that doesn’t plummet later and leave you fatigued.
    3. During pregnancy, you are eating for two! This means you need more quality nourishment and junk food won’t cut it. Your body requires higher amounts of protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber. A cup of chickpeas contains 12 grams of dietary fiber and 15 grams of protein.
    4. Chickpeas are a great source of iron and vitamin B6 which are essential for the growing fetus.
    5. Lots of people haven’t even heard of choline - but it’s found in chickpeas and is crucial for brain and nerve developments.
    6. One cup of chickpeas packs 65% of your daily manganese requirement during pregnancy. Manganese is also an essential nutrient for your unborn baby, aiding in skeletal development.
    7. Protein, antioxidants, vitamins - these are all widely talked about when nutrition comes up. Copper, zinc and selenium aren’t as well known, but these natural antioxidants protect babies from the damage caused by free radicals and help prevent many diseases.

    Found at: “8 Serious Effects of Chickpeas During Pregnancy.” MomJunction. http://www.momjunction.com/articles/serious-effects-of-chickpeas-during-pregnancy_0083594/

    chick peas 3

    What You Need: (makes approximately 7 servings per 2 cans of garbanzos used)

    1-2 cans chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)

    Oil

    1-2 large cookie sheets

    Parchment paper

    Medium mixing bowl/s

    1 clean dish towel

    Any desired spices, sugar, salt, and fun add-ins*

    Directions:

    Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F on convection. Rinse the garbanzo beans in a strainer. Pour them on to the dish towel and gently pat dry. Leave them on the towel to air-dry for 5-10 minutes. They should feel matte when you touch them.

    Once the beans have dried, pour them into a bowl. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil per 2 cans of beans and toss. Do not add the spices yet.

    Put the beans on a cookie sheet lined with one piece of parchment paper. Bake for 20-30 minutes, rotating the pan at about 10 minutes. They are done when they are golden and crispy.

    Transfer to the bowl used for mixing and combine with spices/sugar/add-ins. Enjoy!

    chick peas 2

    Note:

    These are best right out of the oven when they are warm and crispy. As they cool, they get deliciously chewy.

    *SPICE IDEAS:

    Herbs de Provence - a classic herbal taste (buy a blend or make your own - rosemary, fennel, thyme, basil, marjoram, lavender, parsley, oregano, tarragon, bay powder). Olive oil recommended.

    Sweet Smokey Barbeque - perfect for summer picnics and backyard barbeques. Use garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, pepper, and a bit of coconut sugar. Avocado oil recommended.

    Cinnamon Sugar - a kid (and parent!) favorite. A much healthier alternative than store-bought sugar cookies or cereal. Coconut oil and coconut sugar recommended.

    Salt ‘n Pepper - the quickest, easiest pick and still delicious and satisfying! Experiment with different salts (smoked, black, himalayan) and different colored peppercorns.

    Nutritional Facts (per ½ cup)

    calories: 142

    fat: 4 grams

    protein: 6 grams

    chick peas 4

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Items 1 to 10 of 13 total

per page
Page:
  1. 1
  2. 2