3 Wholesome Foods for Pregnancy, Labor, and Postpartum

Healthy eating isn't always easy when it comes to all the new trendy diet plans.  It seems like the only options are elimination, pre-mixed shakes and caffeine, or counting calories.  None of these options are very practical to get someone started for a life-long habit of wholesome selections that don't deplete the body in some other way.  Let's look at the Esali Birth Simple Portions perspective for some insight.

What are Wholesome Foods?

Wholesome foods should nourish your mind and body for short and long term.  They should not deplete the systems and they should leave you feeling satisfied and emotionally content.  They may not be a quick solution, but they are the only reasonable long-term solution.

Simple Portions is a quick way to look at your plate and balance your foods.  Once you start selecting balanced snacks and meals, it is a lot easier to start making those balanced selections come from a more nutritious food market.  For many, adding in healthy choices is easier than taking away healthy choices - so rather than start eliminating, let's just start replacing the foods you love with better homemade options and start adding in things you may not be getting enough of, like dark leafy greens.

Simple Portions will have hydration, healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates and approximately:

  • 1/4 dark leafy Greens
  • 1/4 Other colorful vegetables and fruit
  • 1/4 whole proteins, bone stocks, broths, sprouted legumes...etc.
  • 1/4 sprouted grains and legumes

If you look outside, you will see sources for each of these in every season.  Let's take our cue from nature.  Thinking of this, we see seasonal choices for every type of food from meat and grains to vegetables and fruits.  We never see mass amounts of food in abundance that would allow the high levels of processed foods of the same kind in our diet.  Many allergens are caused from excessive use.  Work toward a seasonal varied diet.

Crunchy Granola

It wouldn't be a wholesome blog without a granola recipe, right?!  This is my family's favorite lightly sweetened (no sugar) granola.

  • 2 Cups Rolled Oats
  • 2-4 Tablespoons Honey
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds
  • 1/2 Cup Pepitas (unsalted)
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Fruit

Melt the honey and butter together.  Pour over the oats and toss until coated.  Layer the oat mixture on a stone pan and bake at 350 deg. for about an hour - stirring every 10 minutes until oats become a golden brown color.  Cool and then mix in remaining ingredients.  Store in an airtight container.

Makes: ~15 Servings

Simple Portions: Healthy fats, whole proteins, colorful fruit.  Pair this with a cup of red raspberry and nettle leaf tea for hydration and balance.

This granola is great on its own.  Lovely in a fruit-sweetened parfait.  It also makes a hearty cereal, especially when blended with single-ingredient puffed millet or kamut.  Add any other seeds or nuts you prefer - its the oats, honey, and butter base that makes this crunchy granola wonderful as an alternative to sugar-loaded store packaged items.  Keep this granola as a staple item, and stick it in your nursing bag for easy snacking.  Be sure to grab sprouted ingredients whenever possible for better digestion, increased nutrient profile, and better bio-availability. Also remember seasonal options and rotate some of the ingredients around each time you make it.

 

Lentil Soup

This is another hearty soup to make for the birth team during labor and one for the postpartum doula all your families are sure to love.  I do think you have to appreciate soup to be able to eat something that has a reddish green tone to it when its served, but the flavor is so worth it.  It will feed a crowd, or you'll have leftovers for days.  Lentils are some of the most nutrient-dense and high-protein plant-based foods.

  • 1/2 lb Spicy Italian Sausage OR Mushroom-based Sausage or Burger
  • 2 Cups dried lentils (soak and sprout)
  • Olive Oil
  • 6 Cups Bone Stock
  • 1 Med. Yellow Onion, diced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Carrots, diced
  • 2 Ribs Celery, diced
  • 1 Cup Chopped Spinach, kale or other dark leafy green
  • 5 peeled & pureed large tomatoes (or 15 oz tomato sauce)
  • 1+ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Black Pepper, Basil, Parsley
  • Salt to taste

If you're using Italian sausage, cook this first.  (If your sausage isn't spicy, add an additional 1/2 tsp. to the sausage while you cook it).  On medium heat, add some olive oil to a cast iron dutch oven (or other large pot) and add your cooked sausage, onions, garlic, carrots, and celery.  Cook until the onions are clear, stirring often.  Add the remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer over high heat then reduce heat and cover.  Let simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are soft.

Makes: ~12-15 Servings

Simple Portions: Hydration, Healthy Fats, Whole Proteins, Sprouted Legumes, Dark Leafy Greens, Other Colorful Veggies

This soup will get the blood flowing.  It is so warming, and you really only need a small bowl to go a long way.  Lentils are very filling and have such a fun texture.  You can puree the soup for a smoother feel, but the texture and spice of this soup is really what makes it so wonderful.

 

Avocado Chicken Spread

This spread is a quick addition for leftover chicken that is creamy and garlicky.  Avocados are an amazing healthy fat.

  • 4 pieces grilled chicken tenders, diced or shredded
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, ricotta cheese, or olive oil mayonnaise
  • 1 Garlic clove, riced
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Lemon or lime juice

Mix all ingredients together with a spritz of lime or lemon juice to help maintain the color a little longer, until avocados are well blended.

Makes: ~4-6 Servings

Simple Portions: Hydration, Healthy Fats, Whole Proteins, Other colorful veggie.  Add with a green salad or cup of iced red raspberry leaf and nettle tea for balance.

This spread is great as a dip for snacking or an appetizer, and wonderful in arepas.  It makes a great flavorful addition to any sandwich or on its own in a grilled panini with extra melted cheese.  You'll want to plan to eat this within 1-2 days, even with the citrus juice it won't last long - but a fresh meal is so much better than the preservative-rich alternatives.

 

Looking for more guidance on nutrition?  Register {FREE} on the Esali Birth site and download the nutrition & wellness tracker from the My Journey section along with many other freebie goodies, or contact for a perinatal mentoring and wellness session.