Making a Filling Smoothie for Pregnancy and Postpartum
By Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT
It’s hard to find someone who hasn’t experienced increased hunger throughout pregnancy (and beyond). That’s why when developing Lēto Foods, we were committed to providing a healthy smoothie for pregnancy that was filling and did not leave you feeling hungry shortly after.
One of our secrets? We looked at nutrients (not calories). Specifically, we opted for a combination of fiber, protein, healthy fat, and carbohydrates for our healthy smoothies for pregnancy. This combination may help you feel full, longer. And, it can be integrated into any meal or snack if you learn a few basics.
Why Fiber, Healthy Fat, Carbohydrates, and Protein for Pregnancy
Finding balance is key. For example, while some carbohydrates are important to fuel your body, consuming too many carbs without balancing them with healthy fats and proteins can result in hunger shortly after consumption. And let’s not forget fiber’s important role in keeping your bowel movements regular! See below for a few interesting findings related to these nutrients, satiety, and pregnancy:
- Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate that helps you have healthy bowel movements and help you feel fuller longer. Since fiber tends to take a longer time to digest, it can help keep your stomach from rumbling by having some staying power. Fun fact – Lēto’s Berry smoothie contains 7g of Fiber!
- Healthy Fats can not only help you feel satisfied, but it can also help you meet your nutrition needs of certain nutrients that are fat-soluble, like vitamin E. And because fats take a longer time to digest, they can help slow the digestion of your food and thus help keep you feeling satisfied for a longer period of time.
- Carbohydrates give your body energy and increase your blood sugar concentrations so your body can have fuel. While you don’t want your blood sugars to go too high, having a steady stream of glucose that is combined with fats, proteins, and fiber can help you have sustained energy. Choosing carbs from natural sources like fruit (fresh or frozen!) is a smart choice for a few reasons, including limiting the need for added sugars to provide a sweet flavor and including a natural source of fiber in many cases.
- Protein has been shown to be one of the most important nutrients to support satiety. Without adding a protein source, you won’t have as much staying power to help you feel satisfied Why? Protein has been shown to stimulate hormones that signal a “fullness” cue to your brain. Bonus – protein is key during pregnancy and postpartum healing, as your body relies on protein for skin repair. Research suggests 60g/day of protein for pregnant people – an increase from non-pregnant recommendations. Fun fact – Lēto’s Ginger smoothie contains 12g of Protein!
Snack and meal suggestions from the nutrition experts at Lēto Foods
Making sure that you are enjoying balanced nutrition with a healthy dose of carb, fiber, protein, and fat when you are enjoying a meal or a snack will help you stay satisfied for a longer period of time and help prevent those annoying hunger pangs or blood sugar dips shortly after consumption. You may want to have some other snack or meal ideas on-hand:
- Whole grain crackers topped with nut butter
- A fruit and Greek yogurt parfait
- Salmon accompanied by quinoa and sautéed broccoli
These are great pregnancy-fueling choices that are balanced and nutritious, and bump-friendly! Bon appetit!l
Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is for educational purposes only, and does not substitute for medical advice. Always consult a medical professional or healthcare provider related to medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.
Lauren Manaker is the Leto Foods Nutrition Advisor. She is an award-winning registered dietitian nutritionist, certified lactation educator-counselor, and book author. She specializes in women's health and holds a position on the executive committee of the Women's Health DPG of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Lauren earned nutrition degrees from the University of Florida, Rush University, and University of California, San Diego. Follow her at @LaurenLovesNutrition on Instagram.