Simple Provisions

The Four Food Groups of Early Pregnancy (and Some Healthy Snacks)

White food. It’s all I’ve been eating for the last seven or eight weeks, thanks to a robust dose of morning sickness! I had the type that feels like the worst hangover you’ve ever had, lasts all day and can only be cured by second and third breakfasts, a constant supply of carbs, and TV marathons.

Writing about my kitchen activity over the last couple of months would have resulted in rather short posts. They would have focussed on four main food groups; meat wrapped in pastry, chips, bread and potatoes. Let’s not quibble that chips and potatoes are technically the same thing. Any variation, no matter how small, was important considering vegemite was my main source of vitamins.

The first trimester is now behind me and green food has made a welcome comeback to my plate. My latest challenge is feeding the voracious hunger this kid seems to be fuelling. I regularly find myself in front of an open fridge, willing interesting yet healthy snacks to appear. This week, with a second-trimester kick of energy, I’ve stocked up with high-protein snacks to keep this baby growing.

Cheese on Rye

When rye crackers appear in the pantry, I know I’m “being good”. I think eating cardboard is my penance for over-indulgence. However, topping a Ryvita with a generous slice of mild goat cheddar and a few rounds of cucumber is tasty and also vaguely northern European, which makes me feel sophisticated.

Blueberry Smoothie

A bag of organic blueberries in the freezer is a good start to a smoothie. A handful whizzed up with a banana, rice milk, greek yoghurt and some almonds brings a little bit of Summer into my grey morning as well as sneaking in a couple of fruit servings.

Salmon and Whitebean Crostini

Tinned things are excellent to have in the pantry for impromptu snacks. Beans and fish combine in this quick recipe for a snack that can turn into lunch, or even an appetiser.

Combine a drained can of cannellini beans, a drained, large can of salmon, some minced garlic, some finely chopped rosemary, a tablespoon or two of olive oil, a couple of tablespoons of capers, a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper. Use a fork to slightly mash the beans, combine well. Serve on toast.

(Adapted from Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express)

Bliss Balls

The snack that tastes and feels indulgent but is actually good for you. I’ve never followed a recipe for bliss balls, I just keep throwing ingredients together until it a) tastes nice and b) has the right texture to form balls. Here’s a rough guide.

Place a few handfuls of nuts, seeds and dried fruit (I used almonds, cashews, dates, sunflower seeds and sultanas) in a food processor and blitz. Add a couple of tablespoons of cocoa or cacao powder. Add enough (liquid) coconut oil, tahini and honey to turn the mixture into a texture that can be shaped into balls. Roll balls in desiccated coconut and store in the fridge for a week, or the freezer for up to three months.

More precise recipes can be found here: One Equals Two’s Amazeballs, Jill Dupleix’s Protein Balls, or these Hazelnut and Orange ones.

I’ll return to non-pregnancy related, normal Simple Provisions posts next week (don’t worry, this isn’t turning into a baby blog). If you’ve got any other suggestions for high-protein snacks, particularly for smoothie variations, I’d love to hear them.

It’s good to be back!