This sweet and creamy smoothie is so satisfying and packed with nutrition, you may forget all about your morning coffee!
I still remember the scorn on the face of my OB-GYN when I told him I was plant-based. From his reaction you could tell he was disapproving of my diet, however as I’m now in the homestretch of my second healthy pregnancy with him as my healthcare practitioner, he has come to accept my lifestyle. And I’m sure all the healthy or ‘normal’ results of blood tests and scans have worked in my favour!
But it’s not only my OB-GYN who has given me these disapproving looks. Acquaintances will often try to have their say over my lifestyle choices. But I know my body better than anyone else, and the way I eat has positively influenced my health and wellbeing. I also believe it is one of the main reasons why it’s been so easy for me to get pregnant, but that is another story! Also, because the way I eat is considered ‘unconventional’, I make it a point to ensure I am getting the right nutrition on a daily basis to ensure both myself and the little soul growing inside my womb are healthy.
Except for the extreme morning sickness I experienced in the first trimester (which is down to hormones and out of any mother’s control), I have not been sick a day during either of my pregnancies – touch wood! I also managed to safely conquer Africa’s highest peak of Kilimanjaro in the fourth week of pregnancy with my first child, unaware of the baby I was carrying, of course.
I also don’t tend to gain a lot of weight during pregnancy. During my first, I gained 8kg in total, and I am now in week 31 of my second pregnancy and have gained 7 kg. I feel like this is a healthy weight gain for a woman of my size, and means that I can get back into my usual clothes, exercise regime and weight within a relatively short period of time postpartum. I am by no means starving myself; I just eat healthy whole foods, while allowing myself to splurge on the occasional sweet craving from time to time.
So, what’s for breakfast?
During my third trimester, I find that I crave something sweet in the mornings. I also find that I’m not able to eat large meals, so I opt to eat small portions often throughout the day. Therefore my go-to to start the day is a banana, date and nuts and seeds smoothie. This starts me on the right foot, with a healthy dose of energy, dietary fibres, potassium, protein, iron, magnesium, copper, and healthy fatty acids omega-6 and omega-3. On days that we have it available, I throw in a large handful of leafy greens such as kale or baby spinach to add vitamins A, K, C, B6, folic acid, iron and calcium.
About half an hour after drinking this smoothie, I tend to eat a bowl of whole rolled oatmeal porridge, or unsweetened muesli, or wholegrain toast with nut butter and a splash of strawberry jam. This will keep me satisfied until lunchtime – well, most of the time!
I love dates and eat them often during pregnancy. They’re rich sources of several nutrients and vitamins that are essential for pregnant women. Dates are also an excellent source of carbohydrates and fibre and are low in fat. Filled with vitamins, including niacin, folate, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, thiamine, riboflavin, and vitamins A and K, dates are also proven to help with labour in the later stages of pregnancy.
Recipe (makes 2 glasses)
- 2 ripe frozen bananas (if not frozen, add a handful of ice cubes)
- 3 Medjool dates, pitted
- 1/4 cup almonds, raw or baked
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 heaped tablespoon ground flax seeds
- 1 cup unsweetened almond, rice, oat or soy milk
- 1 cup filtered water
If you love peanuts as much as I do and are not allergic, throw in a tablespoon of unsweetened peanut butter.
Put all ingredients in a high-speed blender (I use a Vitamix) and blend on medium until smooth. If the result is too thick, add more water. Enjoy straight away. You can refrigerate leftovers for a couple of days.