All this cold weather has us thinking about smoothies…ironically enough! While many of us benefit from favoring warm, comforting foods in colder months, a smoothie this packed with goodness is worth the possible brain freeze. It it best to consume colder foods like these in the midday if possible, though you can enjoy them anytime.
This smoothie is packed with crucial nutrients and protein from superfood all-stars like kale, chia, flaxseed, and spirulina. Really, everything in this smoothie is great for your body and your baby. Not only is this great for pregnancy, but would also make for a fabulous early labor snack to give you lots of fuel and nutrients for the journey ahead. The bonus is that this smoothie is beautiful and gives a splash of color to these otherwise white winter days! Enjoy mamas.
In a blender or with an immersion blender, blend and enjoy:
– 1 ripe banana
– 1 cup frozen organic blueberries
– 1 cup organic spinach
– 1 cup organic kale
– 1/3 of a cup of coconut water (can substitute almond milk or plain water), add more liquid if you like your smoothies drinkable rather than spoonable
– 1 T ground flax seeds
– 1 T chia seeds
– 1 t hemp protein powder (optional)
– 1 t spirulina
– 2 medjool dates (optional– adds sweetness)
Soup season is upon us…and soup can be an excellent nutrient-dense and nourishing meal or snack for busy new mamas. The beauty of soup is that is can be made ahead of time, even frozen, one batch can last several meals, and its fairly easy to reheat and consume (we just have to circumvent baby’s head as we heap spoons of hot soup into our mouths!).
Here are three great soups recommended by master herbalist, midwife, and medical doctor Aviva Jill Romm for the postpartum. Dr. Romm has other great postpartum meal recipes and many other rich resources for new mamas in her book Natural Health after Birth. (She also has a fantastic pregnancy book called The Natural Pregnancy Book.)
Okay, technically a stew and not a soup, this stew is great for encouraging good milk production.
- 2 carrots*
- 2 celery stocks*
- 1 parsnip*
- 1 yellow onion, sliced
- shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups of dried pearl barley
- 2 T olive oil
- 8 cups water
- salt, to taste
Sauté all of the vegetables in the olive oil for 3-5 minutes. Move to a large pot, add the barley and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for an hour or until barley is tender. Season as you wish and enjoy warm. This stew will keep for three days in the frig.
Sesame and Shiitake Mushroom Soup
- 1 t toasted sesame oil
- ½ inch fresh ginger root, peeled and diced small
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 4 oz. shiitake
- 6 cups of broth
- 4 oz. of soba or somen noodles
- 1 T tamari
- 4 oz. of tofu (optional, good for milk production)
- 1 T cilantro
- salt to taste
In a soup pot, sauté all the vegetables (not the cilantro) for 4 minutes. Add broth, noodles, and tamari (and tofu if using). Turn off the heat after 10 minutes. Add the cilantro and serve.
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 yellow onion*
- 1 carrot*
- 1 red bell pepper*
- 1 cup of dried green lentils
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 16-oz can or jar of tomatoes
- 6 cups water
- 1 T fresh mint, chopped
- 1.5 t salt
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- black pepper to taste
Sauté in oil, the onion, carrot and pepper. Add lentils, tomatoes, bay leaf and water. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for 1 hour (until lentils are soft). Add mint during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Add pepper as desired.
This is a great season for all things pumpkin! Try this recipe, which contains almond flour and eggs, for a low sugar, high protein comfort food this fall.
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/2 t baking soda
- 1/4 t of sea salt
- 1 T cinnamon
- 1 t nutmeg
- 1/2 t cloves
- 1/4 t cardamom
- 1/2 c roasted pumpkin
- 2 T honey
- 1/4 t stevia
- 3 eggs
- In a food processor, mix almond flour, salt, baking soda and spices
- Add pumpkin, honey, stevia and eggs and pulse (2 minutes)
- Scoop batter into a mini loaf pan***
- Bake at 350° for 35-45 minutes
- Cool for 1 hour
***If you use a larger loaf pan, your bread may not “rise,” but it will still be tasty.
During pregnancy and labor it is important to remain hydrated and, particularly in labor, to consume beverages that will provide sustained energy for the demanding work of birthing a baby. Hydration is essential to a well functioning uterus (the largest muscle in mom’s body at the time of birth) and to preventing maternal exhaustion, which is one reason some women need extra assistance in a hospital setting during labor. A December 2010 study from the American Journal of Obstetrics found that hydration during labor is correlated to more effective and shorter labors, along with less risk of induction and/or cesarean. So hydration is key.
Due to successful marketing, sports drinks– the -ade drinks– are often what we first think of when we want a beverage that will give us electrolytes and energy for physical exertion. Unfortunately, these beverages are often wrought with unhealthy ingredients such as (GMO) high fructose corn syrup, artificial dyes, and brominated vegetable oil. Brominated vegetable oil, a flame retardant, is banned from foods in Europe, Japan and numerous other countries due to serious health concerns associated with it. Yet the FDA still permits it in our foods.
Political issues aside, there are natural and healthy alternatives to these mass-produced beverages that work well for offering hydration and sustained healthy energy during pregnancy and birth.
Coconut water is a natural and healthy source of hydration and nutrients needed in pregnancy and labor. Coconut water naturally contains sodium and potassium, which are important in helping to balance fluids in the body. Potassium also regulates blood pressure and other body systems. According to Naked Juice’s website, each serving of coconut water contains 650 mg of potassium, 65 mg of calcuim, and 23 mg of magnesium, all important electrolytes needed by the body. Coconut water is also free of additives and artificial ingredients, making it a good alternative to commercial electrolyte drinks.
Emergen-C, packed with vitamins and minerals, is another excellent hydration option for labor and is also great to take at the early onset of a cold.
Homemade “Sports Drink” Recipe
In a large (quart-sized) mason jar, combine:
- 2 teaspoons of Natural VItality’s “CALM” calcium magnesium supplement
- 1/4 teaspoon of unrefined or Himalayan sea salt
- 8-10 drops of stevia extract (available at Trader Joe’s, co-ops, and Whole Foods)
- 2-4 Tablespoon of juice (lemon, orange, lime or pineapple grapefruit juice)
- 32 ounces of purified water, green tea, raspberry leaf tea, or nettle tea
Mix well and refrigerate or enjoy right away.
Sharing this fantastic recipe for Easy Chicken Enchiladas – easy to make, tastes great, and makes a great freezer meal for post-baby! Enjoy & be sure to share your favorite freezer recipes in the comments!
EASY CHICKEN ENCHILADAS
- 1 can Rotel tomatoes and green chilies, drained
- 1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese, cut up and softened
- 3 chicken breast (fresh or thawed….frozen might make it too runny)
- 8 (8″) flour tortillas (depends on how much filling you put in each)
- 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I used some Cheddar/Colby with it!)
- Spinach (optional)
- 1 pint whipping cream
Put chicken breasts, cream cheese, rotel and green chilies in slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-6 hours until chicken is tender.
Shred the chicken in the slow cooker (it should shred up pretty easily with just a fork).
Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of chicken mixture down center of each tortilla. Add some spinach if you like. Roll up tortillas and place seam side down in a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish. (This is where you’d stop and package for freezing – I’ve found a combo of saran wrap & foil works nicely. Be sure to thaw before you cook.)
Sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese, and drizzle with whipping cream.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 min. Take off foil and cook for another 15 mins, or until top is golden brown.
Serve with your favorite taco topping: black beans, lettuce, tomato, sour cream, onion, guacamole…whatever you desire!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FREEZER RECIPE?
With fall beginning to show its splendor, we naturally begin to seek out warmth and comfort foods. This vegetarian/vegan recipe is great for pregnant mamas due to its high protein and nutrient content. This is a perfect meal or side dish for lunch or dinner (heck, or even breakfast!)
- Walnuts are one of the richest sources of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial to fetal brain development, and contain protein.
- Spinach is loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, and folic acid.
- Quinoa is an excellent source of protein, complex carbohydrates, B vitamins and manganese (essential for the production of white and red blood cell).
- Butternut squash contains protein, Vitamins A, C, E and B6, and folate, as well as potassium.
Each serving of this dish has 14 grams of protein, 7 mg of iron, 239 mg of calcium, and 9 grams of fiber.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin Italian olive oil
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned and sliced thin
- 2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 2 cups baby spinach or kale
- 2 tablespoons toasted chopped walnuts
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (5 minutes).
- Add the broth, squash, quinoa and raisins and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the liquid is absorbed and the squash and quinoa are tender (15 to 20 minutes).
- Gently stir in the spinach and cook until it just begins to wilt (2 to 3 minutes).
- Remove from the heat. Sprinkle with walnuts. Serve and enjoy!
While certain types of fish are not recommended in pregnancy, having “safe” fish regularly is actually quite beneficial. Salmon, for example, is an excellent source of DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acid essential to the development of baby’s brain, eyes, and heart. Sufficient intake of DHA has also shown to help labor progress smoother, increase skin integrity, and decrease the risk of tearing in childbirth.
The following recipe is a high protein, nutrient-rich, quick and easy dinner recipe.
- 1 pound wild salmon, no skin
- 1 tablespoon ume plum vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- ¼ cup scallions (white and green parts), chopped
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
- ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon flour (coconut flour if gluten-free)
- coconut oil or other oil, for frying
- Rinse the salmon, pat dry and cut into ¼-inch cubes
- In a large bowl, combine the salmon, sesame oil, vinegar, garlic, ginger, scallions, sesame seeds and eggs
- Stir flour into this mix
- Use a ¼ cup measuring cup to form mixture into patties
- Heat the frying oil in a 9 inch skillet over medium-high heat
- Cook the patties for 4 to 6 minutes per side, until golden brown
- Transfer patties to a paper towel-line plate and serve hot
Note: You may want to make the patties ahead of time (the night before) to intensify the flavors. You can grill on BBQ or stovetop for dinner the next day.
Makes about 12 small patties