Great Green Smoothie

In my classes I talk a lot about nutrition during pregnancy.  I really feel like nutrition is very important at all times in our lives, however, pregnancy is often a turning point for many women.  It’s a point when they first begin to look at what they are putting into their bodies for the first time.

I encourage all moms (pregnant or not) to eat a balanced diet, consisting mainly of whole foods.  I have my students track what they eat over the course of their childbirth education, and try to help them come up with ideas to fill in the gap where their nutrition may be lacking.

One area that I’ve notice many moms struggling with is eating enough leafy greens.  At this time of year, greens are just coming into season again, but one can only eat so many salads before they grow tiresome.  I wanted to share my favorite recipe for a simple green smoothie, so yummy,  even kids (at least mine) will be begging for you to make more.

This recipe was given to me by local midwife, Jen Anderson-Tarver, but I’ve played with it a bit to suit personal tastes and moods.

To a blender add:

1/2 pound kale, tough stems removed
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup sliced frozen peaches, or approx. 1 frozen peach, unsweetened
And 1 of the following of your choice:  either 1 whole carrot, 1/2 a banana, OR 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Blend until smooth, pour into glasses and enjoy!

The original recipe calls for the half a banana, but I don’t really care for bananas in smoothies.  They are a bit too sweet for me.  So I substitute the carrot, which is a little sweet, but not too much.  The blueberries are a good choice if you don’t want your smoothie to actually be green… great for those with an aversion to green foods.

This is the smoothie my four year old and two year old ask for over and over.  My husband usually makes it with a carrot for me, and they like it just fine.  They’ve even bragged to the neighborhood kids about how good it is.  So if you’re having trouble getting enough greens in your diet, try a green smoothie – yum!

Advertisements

Vitamin D, Protein and Pregnancy

During pregnancy, one of the challenges many women face is the constant barrage of “eat this” and “don’t eat that.”  A lot of women have a hard time taking that prenatal vitamin, whether due to morning sickness, or the size of some of the vitamins out there.

A great way to be sure you are getting all the nutrients you and your baby need is by eating the foods that contain them.  Study after study has shown that we absorb far more nutrients from our food then from a supplement.

So here’s a little info that might help pregnant mamas tackle two of the hot topics for pregnancy nutrition right now:  vitamin D and protein.

For many people, especially those who don’t eat a lot of meat, it can be challenging to also meet the recommended daily levels of protein for pregnancy.  A friend recently shared an article on spelt, a wonderful whole grain, that is packed with protein.  A single serving contains 10.7 grams!  The bread recipe linked to the article also calls for flax seeds – another great, natural source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids.  Essential fatty acids, the “good fats,” provide a host of health benefits, like better memory and brain function, a real dietary bonus.

An article recently published stated that “a new study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology says seven out of 10 pregnant women in the U.S. are not getting enough of this crucial vitamin.  Prenatal vitamins do raise vitamin D levels during pregnancy but this study shows that higher doses may be needed.”

We can easily absorb vitamin D from just fifteen minutes of bare skin exposure to the sun per day.  But cold climates, or sunscreen use often blocks those health rays.  The great news is that there really are quite a few choices when it comes to foods that contain vitamin D.  And, happily, many of these foods are protein packed!  While vitamin D is added to fortified foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt and cereal, it occurs naturally in eggs, mushrooms and many types of fish.

Shiitake and button mushrooms that have been dried in the sun are great at absorbing vitamin D.  And all that sunshine vitamin gets passed on to those who consume the mushrooms, along with high amounts of B vitamins, which have been shown to help with nausea.

In climates with higher latitudes, like Alaska, people tend to get less vitamin D from the sun, but also tend to eat more fatty fish.   These fish, while high in vitamin D also contain high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids.  Some examples of these vitamin D packed fish are salmon, catfish, tuna, and sardines.  A small 3 1/2 ounce serving of one of these fish contains 50-90% of the recommended daily value of vitamin D.  When choosing these fish, however, make sure you are getting fish that are low in mercury and sustainably raised.

Mothering Magazine Offer

I got this offer in my email today from Mothering Magazine.  Since I already have a subscription, I can’t take advantage, but the Abeego Flats look very interesting and I thought I’d pass the offer on!  You’ll save $2.00 off the normal subscription rate and get to try the Abeego Flats for free. 

Click the image below to go to the Mothering.com site.  And let me know if you try those Abeego Flats – and if you like them!?!?

The Birth Quiche

I had to share this recipe for the best quiche ever!  My good friend made two for our family after the birth of our second kiddo, and she got the recipe from someone who made the quiche for her birth a few months before that.  Since then I’ve passed it on to several other mamas.

It’s the perfect postpartum quiche, either immediate postpartum after birth, or after getting settled in those first few weeks.  It’s even great during birth if you need a little extra energy.  It’s high in protein and easily made from frozen (just reheat in the oven)!

Green Chile & Zucchini Quiche

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen whole wheat pie crust, prepared according to package directions
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 medium zucchini (about 6 ounces)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 pound freshly grated Monterey jack or pepper jack cheese (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup whole-milk cottage cheese
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained (I substituted chiles from our freezer)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.   Grate the zucchini (using the grating attachment of a food processor can make this quick). Toss the zucchini with 1/2 teaspoon salt and let drain in a colander for 10 minutes.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over high heat until hot. Reduce the heat to medium; add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Squeeze the zucchini well with your hands to remove excess moisture. Add the zucchini to the onion and cook over high heat for 3 minutes.

Stir together the flour, the baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl until combined. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the eggs until thick and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the pepper jack and cottage cheeses, the flour mixture, and remaining melted butter to the eggs and beat well. Stir in the zucchini mixture and chiles and pour the mixture into the crust.

Bake the quiche in the center of the oven until the top is puffed and golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Set aside at room temperature 5 minutes, cut into wedges, and serve. 

Can be frozen.  To reheat, either bring to room temperature or put in the oven frozen and bake at 350 for about an hour.