On Monday I had an appointment with my midwife… one of those appointments where you go in like a child who is misbehaving because she knows she hasn’t been doing her chores. Ahem. The last few weeks had not gone well for me. I was probably eating about the same amount of calories a day as my seven year old. Not. Ok. But when you are exhausted with four little ones, and another baking in the oven, and you have no appetite… the very last thing in the world you want to do is go make yourself food that you have no desire to eat.
I knew I hadn’t been doing well, so two weeks before the appointment I had cut out a lot of sugar, no desserts or sweets. I thought that if I cut those things out it would force me to eat something with substance. But no, I just had zero appetite and nothing sounded good. Welcome to the third trimester. The vicious cycle of not eating. The less you eat, the less your body wants to eat… and on down the rabbit hole we go.
I guiltily confessed all of this to my midwife, but secretly I was glad to be there. I knew she’d be able to set me straight. I needed someone to stand up to my despondency and who better to do that than the lady in charge of my health and the health of our baby? She listened very empathetically, and then gave me a piece of paper with several instructions scribbled on it. The first? 100 grams of protein a day. Fun fact, apparently swelling in pregnancy is always due to not getting enough protein. I knew how much protein I needed to be getting, but I just couldn’t make myself eat that much. I was getting maybe 40 grams on a good day.
So what’s a pregnant lady to do? Food aversions and lack of appetite hit me on both ends of pregnancy – first and last trimester. Not to mention, finding the time to cook extra food for myself with all these little ones to feed and clothe and love on is less than easy. I knew I needed to get creative, and this morning was the perfect opportunity. I woke up late and had a meeting with the special needs director at our local school first thing. I ate a little breakfast, but it wasn’t near enough, and I knew I needed food as soon as I got home. But I had been gone all morning,
I had things to catch up on, I was even hungry, but the only thing that sounded good was a cup of coffee. So that’s what I had. And it was amazing.
This was so much easier to get down than a protein smoothie or protein bar! Those things can be quick, easy substitutes too, but sometimes that’s even more than my fickle appetite is willing to do. But this? I would be up for this any day. How has this never happened before?
Protein latte… you are my new best friend.
(Protein listed in grams next to each ingredient to make the math simpler as you consider substitutions. With pregnancy brain, there’s nothing I appreciate more than making math easier on people!)
1 ½ Cups Milk (12g)
2 TBS Instant Coffee
2 TBS Cocoa Powder (2g)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
¼ Cup Pumpkin Seeds (19g)
Sweetener of Choice
Gently heat milk to not-quite-boiling. Stir in instant coffee and cocoa powder. Pour into a high-powered blender and add vanilla, pumpkin seeds and a sweetener if desired. (I used just a couple teaspoons of sugar and it was plenty sweet enough.) Blend on high until seeds are pulverized. Pour into your favorite coffee mug and enjoy!
I suggest raw milk for the highest amount of quality protein. But it can easily be substituted for whatever milk you like, dairy or non-dairy. Just be sure to adjust the amount of protein. If I had maple syrup on hand I would have used that instead of regular sugar and omitted the vanilla. Another fun twist might be adding peppermint extract for holiday flair!
If you do not have, or don’t like the taste of pumpkin seeds you can substitute for ½ cup of almonds instead. It will probably give it an even milder flavor, and you only lose 7 grams of protein – so you’re still getting about as much protein as you would in a protein bar, which is pretty great for a cup of coffee I’d say!
It is really so flexible and adaptable. Simply use milk instead of water, and blend in some high protein seeds or nuts and you’ve got a great, energy boosting comfort drink for your morning! You might also want to be sure to use decaf if you are pregnant or nursing like me. Go ahead and try a cup and let me know what you think! I’d love to hear your recipe variations in the comments too.
Warm (and Delicious) Wishes!