I'm not typically a huge snacker. I tend to like to have something between lunch and dinner to tide me over, but other than that, I don't do a lot of grazing and I prefer bigger meals to lots of small meals. That is, when I'm not pregnant! Pregnancy throws a whole new set of challenges into our eating routines, as food aversions, cravings and shrinking stomachs come into play. Especially in the third trimester, when baby takes up the majority of the room in our bellies (I mean seriously-- look at the diagram below. Peanut stomach!). Smaller meals have become my best friend, and snacks have been a necessary part of my diet to supplement my smaller meals, and make sure I'm getting enough to nourish myself and baby.
When it comes to snacking, I like to make my snacks work for me. I like to ask, what can I pack into my snacks to boost my nutrition, not just my energy intake? Of course, it needs to taste good, as well! So I created these chocolate almond pregnancy power balls as a quick grab-and-go snack, packed with nutrients for a healthy mama and healthy baby- with a deliciously sweet flavor to satisfy those sweets cravings, to boot. The nice thing about these balls? They take no time at all to make, and they're easily interchangeable with whatever nut or nut butter you have on hand. Enjoy!
Chocolate Almond Pregnancy Power Balls
Makes about 16-18 balls (depending on size)
1/2 cup almonds (raw, unsalted)
3/4 cup (about 8) pitted medjool dates 1 scoop chocolate protein powder of choice (no artificial sweeteners- I prefer Garden of Life or SFH- both sweetened with stevia!).*
2 tbsp hemp seeds 1/4 cup almond butter (or preferred nut butter) 2 tbsp coconut oil pinch sea salt
*You may prefer to use collagen power and a tbsp of cacao, instead-- they will be slightly less sweet!
1. Add almonds to bowl of food processor and pulse until they are mostly chopped.
2. Add all remaining ingredients to bowl and blend to combine. Once they form a large ball, use hands to form into smaller 1-2 tbsp size balls (you might want to grease your hands with coconut oil, first).
3. Place on a parchment-lined or nonstick baking sheet. Let chill in freezer for 10 minutes or fridge for 30 minutes to set.
Almonds/Almond butter: High in heart healthy fats, protein and iron. Dates: High in iron and other minerals; natural sweetener and thought to help shorten labor when eaten daily towards the end of pregnancy
Protein Powder: Protein essential during pregnancy- it's the building block of our bodies; protective against pre-eclampsia and it keeps you full! Hemp Seeds: High in omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. Plant-based protein source.
Coconut oil: High in brain-boosting MCT oils; antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal for immune support.