24 Hours of Delicious, Gut-Healthy Pregnancy Recipes to Make Your Tastebuds Sing

A wise woman once said that pregnancy is the only time of life when it’s absolutely impossible not to be doing something really important. And it’s true! When you’re expecting, even if you’re just lounging in front of the TV or taking a delicious nap, you’re actively creating a wondrous new little life!

This amazing process initiates big changes throughout a woman’s body, including her microbiome—which undergoes a dramatic shift (particularly during her third trimester) in order to encourage baby’s rapid growth and make sure he’s getting optimal nourishment from mom. During this time, a pregnant woman’s gut actually comes to resemble that of someone in poor health, but it’s actually perfectly orchestrated as a part of Mother Nature’s wisdom and mom’s health doesn’t suffer at all.1 And after delivery, her microbial community reverts back to a pre-pregnancy composition.

Since so much of your immune system is located in your digestive tract, giving your gut some extra love while you’re expecting helps support the glowing wellness and strong immune function you need to bring your precious baby into this world—and as an incredibly added bonus, getting your microbiome in top shape gives your child a healthy start as he’s introduced to your friendly flora during natural delivery, through kisses and cuddles, and while breastfeeding.2,3,4,5

One of the best (and tastiest!) things you can do for mental, emotional, and microbial health is to enjoy gut-healthy foods throughout the day. After all, your gut is connected to every facet of the way you feel! This kicked-up, 24-hour pregnancy menu provides moms-to-be with a full day of vital nutrition to encourage microbial health during this very special time. Disclaimer: if the following menu sounds like an impossible feat during the first trimester, save it for later, as you’re bound to be feeling better soon!

Rise and shine with Chia Pudding Parfait and Soothing Ginger Tea

Who isn’t starving when they wake up? Curb the morning ails and invest just a few minutes of prep time before bed to wake to a sweet, creamy pudding treat that’s rich in omega 3s, calcium, vitamins, minerals, protein—and if you choose to make it with kefir, live probiotics as well!

Ingredients:

• 1 cup organic dairy or plant-based milk (almond, coconut, cashew, hemp, etc.). Or for a probiotic boost, try kefir
• 3 tablespoons chia seeds
• ½ teaspoon organic vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon pure organic maple syrup
• 1 scoop organic prebiotic powder
• ½ cup fresh, organic berries

Instructions:

1. Combine milk (or kefir), chia seeds, vanilla, prebiotic powder, and maple syrup in a mixing bowl.
2. Allow pudding to sit for five minutes, stir again, and then refrigerate (covered) for at least an hour or overnight.
3. Spoon half the chia pudding into a parfait glass.
4. Pour half the berries on top.
5. Spoon in the rest of the chia pudding.
6. Top with the remainder of the berries.

This recipe can be doubled to make a second parfait to share with a loved one—or for you to enjoy within the next day or two. Serve with hot or iced ginger tea to sooth your stomach and support your digestion.

What’s for lunch? Dilled Oven-Baked Salmon (or Vegan Tofu “Steak” Alternative), Roasted Cruciferous Veggie Medley, Brown Basmati Rice, and Sauerkraut

Just preheat your oven to 375°, and this satisfying lunch is as good as ready, since the main dishes and the vegetable medley bake together at the same temperature, for almost the same amount of time! Wild caught salmon is considered one of the safest fish for moms-to-be, offering essential protein, calcium, and omega 3s. Opting for the vegan tofu “steaks” provides these same nutrients—even the omega 3s, which are plentiful in the hemp heart topping. Just make sure it’s non-GMO, and hopefully organic.

Enter the savory side dishes. Besides tasting great, onions, cruciferous vegetables, mushrooms and even basmati brown rice are all effective prebiotics—and the dish is rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Adding a bit of authentic sauerkraut that contains live cultures to your plate rounds out the meal with a probiotic boost. To help settle any digestive discomforts, sip a cool glass of lemon water.

This dish is amazing because you make it once and you can save it for a late night snack, too!

Dilled Salmon Ingredients:

• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 teaspoon dried basil
• Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• ½ tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
• 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
• 2 6-oz wild-caught salmon fillets

Instructions:

1. Whisk together garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and seasonings in a baking dish.
2. Place the salmon in the dish, and marinate in the fridge for about an hour, turning every now and then to make sure both sides are saturated.
3. Preheat oven to 375°.
4. Lay salmon fillets on a piece of aluminum foil, pour remaining marinade over them, and wrap foil around them to seal.
5. Return wrapped fillets to baking dish, place in oven, and bake for about 40 minutes (until fish flakes easily with a fork).

Vegan Alternative Tofu “Steaks” Ingredients:

• 1 14-oz package extra firm organic tofu
• 2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
• 2 tablespoons Bragg’s Aminos or organic soy sauce
• 2 tablespoons hemp hearts
• Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
• 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Slice tofu into small rectangles (about ½ inch thick), and arrange on the parchment paper.
4. In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients except the hemp hearts and parsley to create a baste.
5. Brush baste over the tofu “steaks.”
6. Sprinkle on hemp hearts and parsley.
7. Bake for about 30 minutes.

Roasted Cruciferous Veggie Medley Ingredients:

• 2 cups raw broccoli, chopped
• 2 cups raw cauliflower, chopped
• 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
• 1 package shiitake mushrooms, sliced with stems removed
• 1 zucchini, cut in small chunks
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 tablespoons organic soy sauce
• 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
• Fresh ground black pepper to taste
• ½ teaspoon oregano
• ¼ teaspoon sage

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Arrange raw vegetables on lined baking sheet.
4. Stir together remaining ingredients and brush over vegetables.
5. Bake for about 30 minutes, until tender.
6. Serve over brown basmati rice, or your favorite sprouted grain.

Need an afternoon pick-me-up? Try a Chill Green Mama Smoothie

Despite the best of health practices, lots of folks still experience a mid-afternoon energy slump, and expectant moms are no exception. In fact, a midday nap may often be calling your name! Take a load off and after you get your zzzs, whip up a smoothie to revitalize you! This sweet, cold smoothie provides essential folate for your developing baby—along with vitamin C, calcium, prebiotic fiber, and other important nutrients to revitalize you and your baby until dinnertime.

Chill Green Mommy Smoothie Ingredients:

• 1 organic navel orange, peeled and cut into chunks
• 1 ripe organic nectarine, cut into chunks
• 1 small piece of organic lemon, peeled with seeds removed
• ½ cup lightly steamed organic baby kale*
• ½ cup lightly steamed organic spinach*
• ½ cup lightly steamed cauliflower*
• ½ cup filtered water or nut milk (try homemade almond milk if you are feeling adventurous!)
• 1 scoop organic prebiotic powder
• 2 ice cubes
• Optional: 1 tablespoon organic protein powder and/or collagen protein powder. We love Vega Vanilla Clean Protein, but it can add some sweetness so add at your own discretion.

Instructions:

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and process until smooth. Add additional liquid if necessary, to thin to desired consistency. This recipe makes two servings so you can share it with a friend or save some for later.

*Vegetables can be lightly steamed for improved nutrient absorption. Freeze after steaming so they are cold and ready for smoothies the moment you crave them!

Dinner for (at least) two: Curried Peas and Root Veggies With Cucumber-Mint Raita and a Fresh Green Salad

Pregnancy is often a particularly lovely time for shared intimacy with a significant other, and according to the The Perfumed Garden (an ancient Middle Eastern text dating back to the early 1400s), a dish of green peas with onions, cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger is a very potent aphrodisiac.

While we may never be able to prove the validity of this claim, feasting on this mild curried pea dish for dinner might just add a playful romantic spark to your evening. And green peas are a good source of protein, fiber, B vitamins, folate, and magnesium. Adding yams and purple sweet potatoes to the mix brings even more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants on board for a dish packed with great taste and nutrition.

To complete this meal, add your own unique salad combination featuring dark leafy greens for calcium, vitamins, minerals, and folate—and serve the curry with homemade raita for additional protein, calcium and of course, live probiotics. As an added bonus, the fresh mint leaves in the raita and the ginger in the curry will help keep your digestion settled and happy.

Curried Peas With Root Veggies Ingredients:

• 1 medium sized organic yam, cooked and cubed in bite sized pieces
• 1 medium sized organic purple sweet potato, cooked and cubed in bite sized pieces
• 4 cups organic frozen green peas, thawed
• 1 large sweet Vidalia onion, chopped finely
• 1 14-oz can organic plum tomatoes with liquid
• 2 tablespoons healthy cooking oil (coconut, olive, or avocado)
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• 1 teaspoon turmeric
• 3/4 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
• Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. In a large frying pan, heat oil and saute onions until translucent.
2. Add remaining ingredients and stir them together over medium heat.
3. Reduce heat to very low, cover the pan, and simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Spoon curry into plates or bowls, and serve hot.

Gentle Cucumber-Mint Raita Ingredients:

• 2 cups organic plain, unsweetened yogurt (either from dairy milk or cultured almond or coconut milk)
• 1 large organic seedless cucumber, grated
• 8 large mint leaves, chopped finely
• ½ teaspoon cumin powder
• Pinch sea salt
• Fresh ground black pepper to taste
• Pinch of cayenne

Instructions:

1. Extract moisture from grated cucumber, either by pressing it against a strainer with a spoon or squeezing it through a cheesecloth.
2. In a large bowl, stir grated, drained cucumber into yogurt, and mix in remaining ingredients.
3. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Craving chocolatey sweets before bed? Indulge in Guilt-Free, Vegan Peanut Butter Cup “Ice Cream”

To satisfy an intense chocolate urge, polish off the evening with this sinfully good (but healthy!) dessert that won’t leave you feeling dragged out the way sugary ice creams can. Made with only whole, plant-based ingredients—and no added sugar or sweeteners of any kind—this surprisingly sweet, silky frozen treat is full of protein, prebiotics, calcium, and antioxidants. And since chocolate also has a reputation as a strong aphrodisiac, this recipe makes enough for two!

Ingredients:

• 2 frozen bananas*
• 2 tablespoons raw organic cacao powder
• ¼ cup unsweetened organic nut milk
• 2 heaping tablespoons organic natural peanut butter

Instructions:

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and process until smooth. Serve immediately, as this dessert doesn’t refreeze well—but it’s highly unlikely you’ll have any leftovers!

*To make frozen bananas: peel ripe fruit, seal in freezer bags, and freeze for at least 12 hours.

Gut-healthy eating during pregnancy is not only super-easy and scrumptious—it’s an irreplaceable gift of wellness you give to yourself and pass on to your baby. Once feeding your gut becomes a habit, you’ll have set the stage for your whole family to gain a lifetime of the vibrant energy and exuberant health that lets you make the most of all the fun adventures ahead of you.

To further support your microbial environment, and prepare to jumpstart your baby’s gut, you may also want to supplement with a high quality, time-released probiotic like PRO-Moms, along with an oral probiotic to protect your beautiful smile. After all, you’ve got lots to smile about! Many congratulations—and happy eating!

For more gut-healthy recipes, check out The Hyperbiotics Cookbook.

References:

1. Nuriel-Ohayon, M., Neuman, H., & Koren, O. (2016). Microbial Changes during Pregnancy, Birth, and Infancy. Frontiers in Microbiology, 7. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2016.01031

2. Panda, S., Guarner, F., & Manichanh, C. (2014). Structure and functions of the gut microbiome. Endocrine, Metabolic & Immune Disorders Drug Targets, 4, 290–299.

3. Aagaard, K., Ma, J., Antony, K. M., Ganu, R., Petrosino, J., & Versalovic, J. (2014). The Placenta Harbors a Unique Microbiome. Science Translational Medicine, 6(237).

4. Blustein, J., & Liu, J. (2015). Time to consider the risks of caesarean delivery for long term child health. BMJ, 350(Jun09 3).

5. Christensen, G., & Brüggemann, H. (2014). Bacterial skin commensals and their role as host guardians. Beneficial Microbes, 5(2), 201-215.

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Roberta Pescow is a writer at Hyperbiotics and proud mom of two amazing and unique young men. Natural wellness is a subject she’s passionate about, so she loves sharing information that helps others discover all the ways probiotics support glowing health and well-being. To learn more about how a healthy microbiome can enrich your life, subscribe to our newsletter.

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Posted in Mom + Child, Pregnancy & Breastfeeding, Recipes


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