With Mother’s Day peeping up in just a few short days, I thought I’d take my first little prelude into the land of mama bird nutrition – lightly delving into the topic of nourishing for two in the form of one of my new smoothie favorites, my Mama Bird Blend. A very simple, indulgent yet healthful smoothie, utilizing early springtime berries, ripe banana and avocado, and a handful of super-powered superfoods, this sip is not only ideal for invigorating your and your little babe’s health throughout pregnancy’s nine months, but is a perfect and portable, complete and balanced meal. I keep my plant based pregnancy smoothie on the thinner side, so I can sip on-the-go, but feel free to add a bit less almond milk when blending, serving yours in a bowl topped with an extra handful of fresh or frozen berries, nutty granola, and coconut flakes.
HERE’S WHY YOU SHOULD BE SIPPING
Almond Milk: calcium is essential during pregnancy, not only assisting in longterm maternal bone health, but in your little babe’s skeletal mineralization, with intake needs peaking during the third trimester. Being sure to reach for a calcium fortified and unsweetened option, almond milk is high in calcium (providing nearly your daily calcium requirement in one glass!) as well as zinc, and vitamins A, B12 and D. Not to mention all the creamy dreaminess of milk, sans cow.
Avocado: during pregnancy, 33% of a mama’s total calories should be comprised of healthful fats, used as an energy source for baby’s growth and development as well as for enhancing the bioavailability of fat soluble vitamins. Rich in ‘good’ fats (think mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids) and numerous other vitamins and minerals, avocados are considered a nutritional powerhouse.
Bananas: during pregnancy, 45-65% of total calories should be comprised of unrefined and unprocessed carbohydrates- vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain options also rich in (‘regularity’ enhancing) fiber, phytochemical, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients. Bananas are an excellent and natural source of carbohydrates and potassium and have also been shown to help reduce nausea symptoms (see yah morning sickness).
Berries: antioxidant consumption is especially important during pregnancy, helping protect fetal DNA from damage and also reducing maternal tissue damage associated with inflammation and oxidization. Strawberries and goji berries are both amazing sources, also rich in immune boosting vitamin C. Dried goji berries are available year round, but be sure to select either fresh or frozen strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries based on seasonal accessibility for peak nutritional value.
Chia Seeds: chia seeds are a plant based source of omega-3 fatty acids, essential for your little babe’s neural growth and development. Often found in fish, fish oils, and seafood, chia is not only mercury free, but once soaked, assists in making your smoothie thicker and creamier without contributing too much of its own taste.
Spinach: cooked or raw, spinach is an excellent source of folate, preventative against maternal anemia, reduced fetal growth, and congenital abnormalities such as neural-tube and brain and heart defects. Because folate is not always the most bioavailable in everyday foods, its also worth looking into fortified options as well as supplementing with a prenatal vitamin.
Mama Bird Blend [makes 1 smoothie, 16 ounces]
1 ¼ cups unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 large ripe banana, peeled and frozen
1 cup baby spinach
½ cup strawberries, frozen
¼ ripe avocado, peel and pit removed
1 tablespoon dried goji berries
In a small bowl, stir together chia seeds and ¼ cup almond milk until well combined. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes, or until chia forms a thicker gel.
Transfer now gelled chia to a high speed blender and add in the remainder of the ingredients, beginning with 1 cup almond milk. Whiz until smoothie is very creamy and smooth, adding additional almond milk if you’d like your smoothie thinner and more drinkable (as apposed to thicker for a smoothie bowl). Pour into your favorite glass or bowl, sip or spoon away, and enjoy!
Nutritional Information [per recipe]
350 Calories, 13.5g Fat, 56.5g Carbohydrates, 15g Fiber, 22g Sugar, 9.5g Protein
FOR MY MEMORY AND YOUR BACK POCKET (Weeks 20- 22)
• Though he took his very sweet time, my little sunshine babe finally made his bump debut at just about 20 ½ weeks – and now he can’t be stopped.
• At our 20 week checkup, little babe was measuring in at 21 weeks – leave it to 5’2″ me to grow a baby on the ‘larger side’. My very sweet friend proclaimed: ‘he must be advanced!’ (thank you Mary Kate for the encouragement).
• The uncomfortable-dad-joke raconteur under any semblance of stress, this afternoon I registered Andrew and I for a ‘yogic breathing through birth’ workshop – I think he’ll find it immensely helpful.
• Little babe’s butterfly flutteries have slowly matured into more discernible wiggles (and a kick, just this week!). Andrew and mine, he’s already inherited our distinct inability to remain still.
• Nursery: Anthropologie’s Santina Lace Curtains, in blue
All ingredients for this recipe generously provided by Whole Foods Market, Friendship Heights