Now THIS is a shake you can dig your teeth into. What’s that, you say? You don’t want to have to chew your smoothie? Can’t say that I blame you. But when you taste this thick, hearty meal in a glass, you might change your mind.
Since becoming pregnant, I’ve been on a mission to find new ways to consume the requisite 70-80 grams of protein recommended for all mothers-to-be. It’s tough! That’s like eating 13 eggs a day!
So, my goal is to diversify. I don’t want to do too much of one kind of food (my theory is that this leads to food allergies), so I’m all over the board. Meats, dairy, whole grains, beans, lentils, some eggs (these were my go-to during my first pregnancy, but for some reason, this time around, make me feel nauseous), and soy, nuts, seeds, and fish in moderation.
Between you and me, I’m getting kind of bored worrying about protein, so I’m trying to make it as fun as possible. My creation: cashew banana pregnancy protein shakes.
Raw Cashew Banana Shake Recipe
(makes approximately 12 oz.)
1/2 cup RAW (not roasted) organic unsalted cashews, soaked in water 2-3 hours (no more than 6) and rinsed well before blending
1 ripe banana
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp. agave nectar (or to taste)
1/4 to 1/2 cup water (or coconut milk…oh, wow, talk about rich and delicious!)
2-3 ice cubes (Important! Not only do the ice cubes help break down the cashews, but they make the drink nice and COLD.)
Blend all ingredients until smooth.
Why soak raw nuts?
I’m new to the raw food world, so bear with me. From what I understand, raw nuts and seeds have enzyme inhibitors that our bodies find hard to digest. By soaking them, we are essentially preparing them to sprout, and sprouted foods are much easier on the digestive system, contain more beneficial nutrients, such as B vitamins, and boast nutrients that are more easily absorbed, such as proteins. Intrigued? Read more of the benefits of soaking nuts and seeds.
Don’t be afraid to try different nuts with this recipe: almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts (skinless), macadamias…the possibilities are endless. The general rule of thumb is that harder nuts require longer soak times.
A note about sweeteners: The riper your banana, the more sweet the shake, and the less sweetener you’ll need to add. Dates (pitted/soaked/peeled/chopped) can also add sweetness as well as texture. And if you’re looking for your sweetener to add zero calories and have a zero glycemic index, stevia is a great option. Need more protein? Add a dollop or two of plain yogurt.
Health Benefits of Cashews
According to the World’s Healthiest Foods website, a quarter cup of cashews contains 5 grams of protein, and this recipe has 1/2 cup, so you’re getting 10 grams of protein in one drink. Not bad. Plus, you’re reaping all the health benefits of cashews, to boot―low fat content, copper (antioxidant properties), and magnesium (good for bones, muscles, and lowering blood pressure).
But be advised: This is not a low-calorie shake. With a half cup of nuts and a banana, it’s already a 500 calorie drink. And if you add coconut milk, you’re talking about 600+ calories! But for a pregnant mom, calories (as long as they are healthy ones) are not necessarily a bad thing.
If you give this one a go, let me know what you think!
Sophia savors all the joys (and challenges!) of motherhood with her husband C, son T, and soon-to-be baby girl in San Diego. Read more of her (mis)adventures in mothering at MamaSayMamaSo.