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Grilled Carrots & Couscous Salad with a Summer Herb Green Goddess Dressing
Carrots are a heartier vegetable than what we often gravitate to in the summer, so it's not uncommon to think they are harvested in the fall. They are a summer veggie, however, and one of my favorites to get on the grill and round out a few handfuls of fresh greens paired with a summer herb green goddess dressing when it is hot. They're a great choice for recovery, and if they make it to the fridge that evening, the flavors from the grill are even better the following day. Pair it with your preference of protein, avocado, or a couple of hard-boiled eggs you have in the fridge!
Eggplant Parmesan Salad
The final nutritionally focused food suggestion I received from my doula to consume near the end of my pregnancy is eggplant parmesan. Why? Like spicy foods, eggplant parm has a variety of spices and flavors that can cause slight distress on digestion, which can result in contractions for those women beginning to dilate.
My little one is making it extremely difficult for me to eat large, heavy meals, so I modified this recommendation to make it a lighter alternative. There are many things I'm looking forward to post-pregnancy. The first is having a family of four. My birthday which was yesterday falls under the cancer sun, and cancers my friends are very maternal creatures - we just can't help but take care of those around us - to a fault sometimes. Getting to become a mom has been a dream of mine since I was a young girl playing with her barbies and American Girl Dolls.
The second thing I'm looking forward to is getting my appetite back. Between aversions, fatigue, and a reduction in mileage on the roads, I've enjoyed food less over the past nine months than I ever have in my entire life. A girl still has to eat, and since it's still July, I figured everyone may want a lighter alternative to the favorite labor-inducing dish, called eggplant parmesan.
A Better Butter: A MINTspired Chimichurri Butter
When my new friend and personal chef shared some fresh mint with me last week, I felt inspired to utilize my creative muscles and put this green ingredient to good use. We had already purchased two ribeyes for dinner which we typically complete with a dollop of butter and sea salt. But with fresh mint in my hand, I was energized to add some more springtime spirit to our Friday night dinner. Find the recipe for my MINTspired Chimichurri Butter in my Nutrition Toolbox.
15 Minutes, Plus Chilling Time
Simple Sugar Snap Pea Salad
This salad may be green, but it's so much more than your typical green salad. If you're one of those people that "just can't eat salad everyday," I hear you! My Sugar Snap Pea Salad is a great way to switch it up, be anything but bored and still get a healthy serving of greens.
No Bake Date Blondies
Out of all the foods that are known to stimulate labor, dates seem to be the most popular. This is likely because they are easy to hide in smoothies and a quick substitute for sugar in many recipes.
Again, it is near impossible to guarantee a quicker progression into labor than nature already has in mind. Studies have however shown that women who eat dates are more likely to dilate with a higher onset of spontaneous labor than those who were not date consumers.
These date blondies are light, flaky, and decadent. They are prepared with oats and almond flour, so the added fiber allows you to feel sweetly satisfied with a consistent flow of energy without a blood sugar crash while hopefully getting you closer to your little one's arrival. They are gluten-free and can easily be modified to be dairy-free. Share with friends and family, or selfishly enjoy on your own.
Your Next Summer Side: Pineapple with Olive Oil, Mint & Sea Salt
I can easily consume a whole pineapple in one sitting. Because of this tropical fruit's high glycemic index, I personally must be careful with how I prepare this sweet delight, or I'll be napping by my last bite. This is why I prefer pineapple as a side or topping. Here the pineapple is cut into pinwheels, drizzled with olive oil and sea salt, and sprinkled with mint to compliment any summer meal. The need to cut the pineapple allows you to savor its sweetness, and the olive oil helps balance out the amount of sugar that is entering your bloodstream. It's an easy fix when you may not have much inventory on hand for a full meal and can be refrigerated to enjoy a few slices of paradise for days to come.
Lemony Tuscan Kale Pasta Salad
This pasta salad tastes like a meal you would enjoy off the Mediterranean coast, but it has the accessibility of creating it in the comfort of your kitchen. Prepared with both fresh and jarred vegetables, nuts, and cheeses, it is manageable to keep most of its ingredients on hand for a quick dinner everyone will look forward to when you're unsure what else to make. The lemony, buttery, and peppery dressing brings it all together, energizing you with summertime flavors and satisfying you with a fullness that feels just right.
Springtime Cucumber-Lime Avocado Corn Salad
Ah, spring. We've all been waiting for everything this special season brings to us! Warm weather, fresh vegetables, and longer days make us each feel a little more like ourselves. This spring-forward salad has texture, flavor, and a punch of spice - informing us that there are many outdoor meals in front of us.
Sweet Potato Greek Salad
When my husband and I visited Greece on the way to the Maldives in 2018, I fell in love with the Horiatiki (Greek Salad). I loved the way the name rolled off my tongue, and the ingredients were so simple, fresh, and full of flavor. Ever since, I make a Greek Salad a few times a month, personalizing it with new seasonal ingredients like watermelon, jalapeno, or potatoes. So, when I saw sweet potatoes listed under foods to ramp up in my diet (recommended by my doula) to assist with my baby's way into the world without medical intervention, a Sweet Potato Greek Salad came quickly to mind.
Why sweet potatoes? Sweet potatoes have been linked to support the labor process, because they can stimulate an increased production of our body's own estrogens, oxytocin, and prostaglandins similar how synthetic drugs medically induce women today.
The One that Has it All
In honor of a Friend’s Reunion, I’m Featuring a fan-fave salad I call “The One that Has it All.”
It has greens, fruit, herbs, color, fruit, and crunch! Inspired by Southeast Asian flavors, this is the perfect partner to any porch or patio day. As with so many of my recipes, I encourage you to make it your own - add avocado, tomato, and any other veggie or fruit that may be on its last few days.
Crispy Golden Parsnips
This recipe is comforting and doubles up as a hearty salad topping for lunch the next day. Parsnips are nutty, sweet, and refreshingly floral - providing a small preview into the warmer months to come. The sage and pepper add mild spice and an earthy experience for additional grounding. Substitute the parsnips in this recipe with other favorite fall and winter veggies like potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, or acorn squash.