Getting your protein can be delicious!

UPY graduate Ashley Detrick tells us how getting in all of that protein can be delicious too!

There are so many overwhelming aspects of being pregnant, including diet.

I can remember sitting in the doctor’s office and hearing the number 75grams of protein for the first time. That was just the beginning of stress (I tell the mothers in my prenatal yoga classes that a mother’s job is to worry).

Every day I would count out all my protein grams and if I didn’t get enough I would stress out, worried that I was hurting the baby. As the pregnancy went on, I didn’t worry quite as much, I still aimed for 75 grams (by the way, this is nearly double what you need when you aren’t pregnant, which is 45 grams) but I figured out that a high protein yogurt in the morning got me about one-third of the way to my goal each day. With a balance diet through out the day and a cup of steamed milk on top of that right before bed, it wasn’t worth all the worry in the first place.

Without a doubt, a nutritious, well-balanced eating plan can be one of the best things you give to your developing baby.

The food we eat on a daily basis affects how our bodies work, how we heal and grow, and how we maintain energy and strength for years to come. It also determines the basic nutritional health that our children are born with, and provides a model for their eating habits during childhood and beyond.

(Did you know that what our children palates are actually created in the womb? Seriously, so cool. Did you eat a lot of pickles and ice cream? Your child might grow into a pickle and ice cream fiend. More on that, here: http://www.npr.org/2011/08/08/139033757/babys-palate-and-food-memories-shaped-before-birth)

So, why is protein so important? It’s a vital building block your body uses to create skin, muscle, hair and bones. That’s why it’s crucial when pregnant, for both your baby (to ensure normal growth and prevent low birth weight) and for you (helps your breast and uterine tissue to grow during pregnancy, and it plays a role in your increasing blood supply).

It’s really important in the final trimester when your baby’s brain, in particular, needs these amino acids to build this vital organ that will help your baby breathe, walk and talk.

Protein can come from:
Grass-fed lean meat (1 serving of = meat approximately 3 ounces/size of a deck of cards)
Poultry
Fish (fatty fish, like wild salmon, anchovies, and sardines contain the most brain-boosting fatty acids, but all fish have some. Before you buy fish, please check with the list of safe fish to eat during pregnancy.)
Eggs
Milk and other dairy products
Beans (1 serving = approximately ½ cup)
Tofu and other soy products (such as edamame)
Peanuts, peanut butter, other nuts and seeds
Quinoa

Pregnancy is the one time in your life when your eating habits directly affect another person. (Please remember that weight-loss diets can be dangerous for expectant moms and their babies)

If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth during your pregnancy, you can even make cookies with beans in them to pack a little extra protein in. Don’t worry, you can’t taste the beans. Although you might be a little gassy. But don’t worry about that either, people fart. (Even in prenatal yoga classes. It happens all the time!)

Your decision to incorporate delicious vegetables, whole grains and legumes, lean protein, and other wise food choices into your eating plan before and during pregnancy will give your baby a strong start in life.

And no matter how many weeks are left on your countdown calendar, it’s never too late to start!

White bean chocolate chip cookies
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup cooked or canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, put the beans in a food processor; add the maple syrup and puree until very smooth.
Add the bean mixture to the creamed butter in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat on medium speed until completely smooth, stopping and scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula several times, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between additions; add the vanilla and mix until combined. Scrape down the bowl. Dont worry if the mixture looks curdled; it will smooth out when you add the dry ingredients.
Meanwhile, sift the flour, baking soda and salt together into a bowl. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the chocolate chips. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough onto the prepared pans, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Bake until the cookies begin to turn golden around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes; do not overbake. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes on the pan before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days on counter or in the refrigerator.

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