NB: This blog post was originally authored and published on www.guardian.ng, Nigeria’s foremost newspaper.
If there is any time a woman should pay major attention to her diet, it is when she is pregnant. Because she is not just providing nourishment to her own body, but also to the foetus growing within her. As a pregnant woman, fruits and vegetables should be a daily part of your diet because they are rich in minerals, vitamins and anti-oxidants the body needs to thrive while pregnant.
Antioxidants are important as the body immunity naturally slightly lowers in pregnancy, making you a little more susceptible to a few sicknesses, especially flu. It is important to nourish the body with foods that boost immunity. Here are three simple smoothie recipes that are highly nutritious, delicious and filling enough to function as meal replacements, or a good addition to a light meal.
Oats is a super food and a favourite for the pregnant body. Oatmeal smoothies are a great way to combine your favourite fruits with this super food. The best fruits to add are pineapples and bananas to provide some sweetness and a nice creamy texture. To prepare this smoothie, measure and boil ½ a cup of plain oats for about 2mins, and then allow to cool. Transfer to a blender and add the fruits of choice, and milk or yoghurt then blend at high speed till you get a smooth consistency.
Another twist to bring to this smoothie is by using overnight oats, so you can soak your oats in water or yoghurt overnight and then use it without having to cook when ready to make the smoothie. It is important to note that oatmeal smoothie has a tendency to thicken very fast so be sure to add water/any liquid of choice generously. This can be taken as breakfast alone as its high fibre and natural sugar content will provide energy and keep you feeling full for long.
Avocados and nuts are rich source of healthy fats. This smoothie is best prepped with another fruit high in liquid content to provide a good base for the blending, as an alternative to water or yoghurt such as watermelon. Dice a cup of watermelon into the blender and blend so the liquid provides a base, then add the avocado and nuts of choice. A cup of cashew nuts or almond nuts or half a cup of groundnuts would work. This smoothie is bursting with nutrients and antioxidant while the nuts provides satiety, that is fullness. This can be taken at lunch time with something light, or as a nice mid-day snack. Although, while this smoothie is highly nutritious, it is also very fattening one. Therefore, portion and frequency must be controlled especially if you are serious about managing weight gain in pregnancy. If, however, you are looking to gain the weight that may have been lost as a result of morning sickness for example, you can make this smoothie a regular part of your meals.
This smoothie remains a favourite classic recipe in pregnancy, comprising of Apples, Beetroot and Carrots. This fibre rich recipe will not just fill you up but will also help fight constipation which can be an issue in the second half of pregnancy. It has a rich beautiful red color that makes it appealing, thanks to the beet root. Beets are a super fruit in pregnancy and for those dealing with high blood pressure, consistently taking beets can help lower the blood pressure. Apples are a rich source of Vitamin C and anti-oxidants which will help provide even more immunity to the body, while carrots are packed with beta-carotenes which are converted to Vitamin A which is necessary for the development of some vital baby organs like the eyes and skin. With all three fruits high in fiber and low in calories, it is a perfect dinner replacement for pregnant women looking to control weight gain, while still feeling satisfied. You need a blender or smoothie maker with strong blades to enable you form a fine paste as all 3 fruits are relatively hard. Water provides a good base for the blending process.
These smoothie options can be consumed either in the morning, afternoon or at night, and don’t be afraid to explore other fruits and combinations you desire. In pregnancy, one can hardly go wrong with fruits.