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Hitting your protein goals as a female can be one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish. Whether you are running around taking care of a toddler, juggling a busy work life out of the home, or just cannot keep down any form of meat during pregnancy, you might need a little extra help fitting in your protein goals.
During a recent Instagram live I did with registered dietitian, Alli from Nourished Routes, we discussed protein goals for those who are pregnant, non-pregnant, and breastfeeding. She recommends consuming anywhere from 0.75 to 1.2 grams of protein per 1lb of ideal body weight with nursing requirements tipping towards the higher end of that range.
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Anyone else out there experience some serious meat aversions during their pregnancy?? I used to eat meat with almost every meal, but I could not even look at a piece of chicken without getting nauseous. I wanted absolutely nothing to do with chicken throughout my entire pregnancy and there were also times that any sort of red meat was off limits as well.
With such strong aversions I was hardly getting enough protein, so I knew I really had to be mindful of getting my protein elsewhere. This is where my smoothie comes into play.
Whether it was after a workout or for breakfast, I made this exact smoothie almost daily throughout my entire pregnancy, and to be honest, I am still drinking it now postpartum! Turns out even though my aversions are gone, it is still difficult to get enough nutrient dense food while breastfeeding. Plus, the more one handed meal options you have postpartum the better because the opportunity to sit down for a real meal in those early months is quite rare.
If you’re unsure exactly how much protein you should be consuming per day, my good friend and registered dietitian, Alli, from Nourished Routes has provided some great guidelines below.
Protein Intake Guidelines
Non-pregnant women (non-active): 0.8 g/kg of body weight
Non-pregnant women (somewhat active): 1.0 g/kg of body weight
Non-pregnant women (active): 1.2 g/kg of body weight
Pregnant women: 1.2 g/kg + of body weight
Lactating women: 1.5 g/kg + of body weight
Anytime I mention this smoothie I am always asked this question of what protein powder is safe? Unfortunately this can be a difficult question to answer because there are not a ton of studies performed on pregnant women and there are no FDA regulations around protein powders.
But, lucky for you, I have compiled a list of protein powders by brands that I use and trust because they engage in third-party testing which helps to ensure their high-quality.
Ritual Daily Shake Pregnancy & Postpartum – I did not come across this protein powder until I was postpartum and breastfeeding Ava. It is plant-based and blends super smooth.
Needed Collagen Protein – This is the protein I used during pregnancy as it was easy to order my prenatals and protein powder all at once from Needed.
Thorne Whey Protein – This is what I am currently using and it has by far the best taste. The chocolate flavor is my favorite!
During my pregnant I also started adding 3 Medjool dates to my smoothie starting around the 36th week of pregnancy. Why you ask? Because there is a growing body of research supporting the consumption of dates to increase cervical dilation (cervix opening), reduce gestation duration and reduce duration of the first stage of labor (Nassiri et al., 2019). The research shows that consuming 6 smaller dates or 3 larger dates (70-100 grams) per day starting by at least week 36 or 37 will produce the above mentioned benefits. It is important to note that the research looked at low-risk pregnancies and did not include women with diabetes or gestational diabetes due to the large glucose levels of dates.
I found it best to chop up the 3 dates prior to putting them in the blender with the rest of the smoothie ingredients to help them blend smoother otherwise they can remain chunky.
As always, if you have more specific questions or concerns regarding this more natural method of labor induction please consult with your birth provider!
I am still drinking this same smoothie at 5 weeks postpartum (just without the dates) and I’m pretty sure I’ll be hooked for life!
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