protein

Raw cacao truffles

raw cacao truffles

These raw cacao truffles are naturally sweet and fudge-like, making them a perfect sweet treat or mid-afternoon pick me up.

The best thing about them is that they’re made from Omega-3-rich walnuts and fiber-packed dates and chia seeds. Walnuts are a pregnancy superfood because they’re packed with plant-based protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for your baby’s developing brain.

The fiber in the dates and chia seeds are also a pregnant mama’s best friend. Fiber promotes digestive health and helps keep you “regular” during pregnancy.

You can easily make a batch and store the rest in your fridge for up to a week. This recipe makes about 12 small truffles – but you can make more or less, depending on the size you prefer.

What you need

1 1/2 cups raw walnut halves or pieces

1 cup pitted Medjool dates

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp coconut oil 

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp sea salt

What to do

1.     Soak 1 cup of Medjool dates in a bowl of warm water for 1 hour. This will soften the dates and make them easier to blend.

2.     Place the walnuts in a food processor, and grind so you have fine walnut flour.

3.     Add the dates, cacao powder, chia seeds, coconut oil, vanilla extract and sea salt to the foodprocessor. Process again so you have an even, sticky mixture.

4.     Scoop 1 tablespoon of the mixture at a time into your hand and roll into a ball.

5.     Roll each cacao truffle onto a plate of cacao power to “dust” it. Feel free to skip this step if you think the extra cacao powder is too bitter.

6.     Place the cacao truffles into a container lined with parchment paper. Store them in the fridge for up to a week or enjoy straight away!

Eggs on avocado toast

eggs and avocado toast

Eggs and avocado are one of the most nutrient-dense duos you can find, making avocado and toast with eggs a great go-to for pregnancy and pre-pregnancy meal inspiration.

Eggs are rich in protein and choline, while avocados are a great source of fiber and folate. Paired together with some whole-wheat toast, a sprinkle of sea salt and chili flakes and you have a quick and delicious meal or snack right there.

What makes this so good?

For baby

Folate and choline are two essential nutrients for healthy brain development.

A deficiency in folate can lead to brain and spinal cord malformations so make sure you’re eating lots of greens before and during your pregnancy – and take a good quality prenatal supplement with folate in it, just to be sure.

Choline is a lesser-known nutrient that’s recently stepped into the spotlight for healthy brain development. Research has shown that choline boosts brain cell structure and improves brain function in babies and children. Egg yolks are the best-known source of choline.

For you

Protein and fiber are two of mama’s best friends before and during pregnancy. Both protein and fiber help balance blood sugar levels to prevent insulin spikes (too many insulin spikes over a long period of time contributes towards weight gain).  Balanced blood sugar levels may also help prevent nausea in those first few weeks of pregnancy.

What you need

whole-wheat (or sprouted whole-wheat) bread

2 eggs

½ avocado

sea salt + pepper

chili flakes (optional)

What to do

1.     Fill a saucepan with 16oz of water and bring it to boil.  

2.     Gently place 2 eggs into the saucepan and set a timer for 7-minutes for hard-boiled eggs (unless you’re not pregnant and you can have soft-boiled).

3.     While you’re waiting for the eggs, toast your bread and slice your avocado.  

4.     Remove the eggs from the pot when they’re ready. Run them under cool water and let them sit for a minute.

5.     Smash your avocado onto your slice of toast.

6.     Peel your eggs and place them on top of your toast. Sprinkle with sea salt, pepper and chili flakes. Enjoy! 

Green goddess salad dressing

green goddess dressing

You can make any salad even tastier with this delicious dressing. I wish I could claim it as my own, but this is a Hemsley & Hemsley recipe that I’ve used for soooo many salads, it’s so yummy - and good for you too.

The garlic and parsley in the dressing are huge immune boosters, while the tahini is a great source of protein and DHA Omega 3s, making it sooo much healthier than any of the store-bought dressings full of sugar and preservatives.

I love making a batch of this dressing over the weekend and having it ready to go in the fridge during the week. I find that I'm way more excited to throw together a salad if I know I have a delicious dressing, ready to use.

Plus, it’s super versatile. You can throw it over a bowl of mixed greens with avocado, beans, roast chicken, fish, quinoa or farro… anything really. Eating more leafy greens is a fantastic way to boost your folate intake. So, why not make a batch and see what salads or veggies you can eat it with?  

This recipe should make about 10 oz of dressing.

What you need

4 tbsp tahini

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 scallions, roughly chopped

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 garlic clove

1 large handful of fresh parsley

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

sea salt + pepper

What to do

1.     Put everything in a food processor or blender and blend together with 3 oz of water until smooth. Scrape down the sides as you go.

2.     Pour over your salad or store it in a glass jar in the fridge for up to a week (if you do this, pour a layer of olive oil over it to keep it fresh).  Enjoy!

Pregnancy superfood trail mix

healthysuperfoodtrailmix

Each ingredient in this trail mix is a pregnancy superfood because they're packed with vitamins and minerals beneficial for both you and your baby.

And you get to avoid the added sugars in the store-bought mixes with chocolate chips or yoghurt-covered raisins in them. The added sugars in the chocolate and yoghurt don't make those trail mixes a healthier option at all.

If you want to make this mix sweeter, add more dried fruit. You can add bits of chopped up dates, apples, figs or mangoes (just make sure they're unsweetened). If you want to make this mix saltier, add some roasted almonds or walnuts instead.

Make this mix with more of what you like and keep out the unnecessary sugars by avoiding chocolate and candy pieces. And, when you buy these ingredients in bulk off Amazon or at Whole Foods, it works out to be a lot cheaper too.

Pregnancy superfoods

Almonds

Almonds are higher in fiber, calcium, vitamin E, vitamin B2 and vitamin B6, than any other nut. That's great news for pregnant mamas because fiber helps keep you regular. Hormones during pregnancy slow down your digestion so a lot of pregnant women battle with constipation. If you're one of those mamas, look for ways to up your fiber intake by eating more fruit, veggies, beans, nuts and seeds. 

Walnuts

Walnuts are a rich source of DHA Omega 3 fatty acids so they help improve your baby’s brain development and your cognitive function too. Plus, they’re rich in calcium, fiber, potassium and magnesium – the last two minerals being especially helpful during pregnancy to help reduce muscle cramps.

Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc, a mineral needed for immune function – for both you and your baby. They’re also rich in protein, magnesium and potassium – another win for pregnant mamas battling muscle cramps in the second and third trimester.

Coconut flakes

Coconut flakes are a great source of protein, fiber and iron – three things all pregnant need more of. Iron is necessary to prevent anemia during pregnancy while protein will keep you full for longer, which makes this a great addition to a snack that will tie you over to your next meal. 

Raisins

Raisins, like other dried fruit, are a healthier, whole food alternative when you feel like something sweet. However, like most dried fruit, I wouldn’t go crazy and eat multiple servings in one sitting because of its high-sugar content. However, paired with the protein found in the nuts and seeds, they’re great for a bit of a sweet kick.

What you need

1/2 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup raw walnut pieces

1/2 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup golden raisins

What to do

1. In a mixing bowl, add the almonds, walnuts, coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds and raisins together.

2. Mix ingredients around with your hands.

3. Put the mix in a glass jar or small zip lock bags for you to snack on during the week. Enjoy!

Banana, chia + nut butter toast

bananachianutbuttertoast

Especially, in the first few weeks of pregnancy when you feel like carbs and comfort food, this is a healthier snack or breakfast alternative to a white-flour bagel or muffin.

The protein in the nut butter will help balance blood sugar levels, to help prevent nausea. Even if you're not battling with morning sickness, the protein will also keep you full for longer.

Meanwhile, the chia seeds are a great source of fiber to keep you regular 😉  and DHA Omega 3 fatty acids are a great way to boost your baby's brain development. 

The key step to making this a healthier choice, is to choose whole-wheat bread rather than white bread. Unlike white bread, whole-wheat bread has fiber and some nutritional value because the grain hasn’t been stripped of its outer bran layer where all the nutrients are. It's the fiber in the grain that will prevent insulin spikes. This is key to avoiding accelerated weight gain, even if you’re not pregnant. 

Oh, and beware of bread or bread products that have “wheat flour” instead of "whole wheat flour". Wheat flour is just another name for white flour… so sneaky!

What you need

Whole-wheat bread (an even better option is sprouted whole-wheat bread like Ezekiel)

Peanut or almond butter

1 banana, sliced

1 teaspoon of chia seeds

What to do

1.     Toast your bread. While you’re waiting, slice that banana.

2.     Spread your nut butter of choice on your bread.

3.     Arrange the banana coins on your toast, sprinkle chia seeds and enjoy!