Updated: Jan 21
During pregnancy, fruits and vegetables seem to be mentioned every time as they contain almost all the nutrients pregnant women need to take through all the trimesters but they are not readily available making most pregnant women to skip on their fruits and vegetable intake.
Smoothies lend a great helping hand to expectant mothers apart from increasing their nutrients intake. With smoothies, you don’t have to chew endlessly on a carrot stick, just blend them with other fruits or vegetables, and enjoy the refreshing taste. They can also cure some of the common pregnancy ailments women suffer from. Drinking smoothies during pregnancy offer the same benefits as chewing fruits and vegetables.
Benefits of consuming homemade smoothies during pregnancy
The reason for adding homemade is because it is not advisable for pregnant women to buy commercially made smoothies. Commercially made smoothies cannot be trusted as some of them contain a lot of sugar which is bad for a pregnant woman. They also contain some hidden ingredients which might be among the foods pregnant women should avoid while pregnant, and lastly, the environment might be unhygienic and cause diseases and infections to the pregnant woman.
So it is advised that pregnant women make their smoothies and the benefits are:
Increased fruit and vegetable intake: You can add up to two cups of vegetables and a half cup of fruits in one smoothie which covers your daily recommended serving. It is so easy to meet your recommended fruit and vegetable intake when you make a smoothie out of them.
You can easily incorporate other ingredients in them such as coconut oil, nuts, and whole grain which increase your nutrient supply.
Smoothies can serve as a cure for constipation which is one of the major discomforts pregnant women have to deal with during pregnancy. When the smoothie is full of fiber-packed ingredients such as fruits and vegetables, and water, constipation would have nothing to do with pregnant women.
Smoothies are less stressful to prepare. It doesn’t take much to prepare a smoothie. Just wash your ingredients, dice them and throw them into the blender. Even if you decide to steam your vegetables before grinding, it doesn’t take much. You are getting all the recommended nutrients with less stress.
Smoothies are portable. You can make them and take them anywhere you want to- gym, office, library, antenatal sessions, etc. Rather than a protein shake, you could opt for a smoothie after working out in the gym. You could drink from your bottle of smoothie at the office whenever you felt like drinking it.
It keeps you hydrated. It is very important for pregnant women to stay hydrated and smoothies will help you achieve that. You can use water, coconut water or any other preferred hydrant to make your smoothies.
Smoothies are a better alternative to junk foods. Are you craving for something sweet, make a fruit smoothie with your favorite fruit and nut combination. You can leave the vegetable out if you need something sweet.
Smoothies help in making a pregnant woman glow. The fruits and vegetable contents which contains all the necessary vitamins will work together to make her skin glow.
Smoothies can last for at least one week when refrigerated which means you can make them in bulk quantity and not bother about buying fruits again till the following week.
For those watching their weight, drinking green smoothies will help you to either maintain your weight or lose weight. The number of calories found in greens is quite small, but the amount of nutrients are enormous which makes them a good option for those aiming to lose weight during pregnancy.
Consuming fruits and vegetable smoothies helps to strengthen your immune system thereby making it hard for infections or diseases to come your way during pregnancy.
Smoothie ingredients for pregnant women
Here are some of the best ingredients you can add to your smoothies that will improve its nutritional benefits as well as the taste.
Vegetables could be in the form of dark leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, yellow veggies, etc. Having at least a serving of vegetable every day during pregnancy period will help the body create a healthy haven for the fetus in your womb.
So adding it to the blender makes the task easier because you can sneak it into your smoothies in such a way you won’t even get to taste it. Nutrients found in vegetables are folate, irons, omega 3, vitamin A, E, B complex, phosphorus, magnesium, fiber, zinc, vitamin B6, riboflavin, fiber, and iron. That’s quite a lot!
Fruits could be yellow or green fruits. Berries, oranges, lemons are quite reasonable at this time. You can add limited amounts of pineapple and banana. You could get nutrients such as vitamin C (ascorbic acid), A, E, B complex, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and, fiber.
Nuts and seeds give your smoothie a rich and unique flavor that is sure to make you get accustomed to drinking it. It also provides the body with omega-3 fatty acid, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. Examples of nuts to add to your mix are peanuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, while the seeds that should be present are flaxseeds, chia seeds or hemp seeds. You can soak the seed overnight before adding it to the smoothie the next morning, or you can grind them and add the powdered form to the smoothie.
Coconut oil and avocado are sources of healthy fats which also allow the ingredients to mix up smoothly.
Ginger is a great addition to your smoothies. Gingers give that stabilizing taste to your smoothie and that way; you do not feel like you have added one ingredient more than the other. Ginger also contains a lot of healing properties which are beneficial to the pregnant woman. It helps in managing nausea and vomiting; it also helps reduce the incidence of heartburn because if its’ anti-inflammatory properties.
Blend the ginger first before adding it to the smoothie. Fresh gingers are better than powdered ones. Except you are making the powdered ginger yourself, buying powdered ginger is not advisable as they might not be fresh.
Risk of drinking smoothies during pregnancy
One of the risks of drinking smoothies is the fact that it can cause you to take more than the daily recommendation of fruits and vegetables. When you chew your fruits and vegetables, it takes more time thereby limiting the amount you eat. But when it’s blended to make a smoothie, it becomes easy to gulp down and excess consumption of fruits can lead to blood spike.
So you need to monitor the number of fruits you plan on using for the smoothie so you don’t go overboard. Adding vegetables will help add to its nutrients and reduce the sugar content.
Another risk is that of food contamination caused by bacteria such as listeria or Toxoplasma. When you do not wash the fruits or vegetables properly, you are exposed to the risk of contamination. Ensure that you wash the fruits properly, scrape the outer skin if there is a need. Also, wash your hands and the surface you use in dicing the fruits and vegetables as well as your smoothie machine.
You can also add legumes to your smoothie, depending on your level of tolerance. Be careful not to add too many fruits in a smoothie. Adding too much can spike up your sugar level and also add a large number of calories to your diet.