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Plant-based Proteins for Pregnancy

Four "low-steaks" ways to up your protein intake.

Plant-based Proteins for Pregnancy

We all know that eating adequate protein is important--not only for us but also for the growing baby. In recent years, there has been a shift towards incorporating dietary plant protein consumption versus animal protein due to the nature of our food supply and food quality.

Interestingly enough, many of us develop aversions to the more common sources of animal protein such as chicken, eggs, red meat or even low-fat dairy options such as yogurt and cheese. Also, only recently has the AAP officially advised to include 2 servings per week of (low mercury) fatty fish.

One of the biggest reasons health professionals are advocating plant protein during pregnancy and also why concepts such as #meatlessmonday are gaining popularity is due to the fact that animal protein has to be cooked and thus denatured (food safety protocol) before consumption--therefore you're not getting the total protein from the original piece of meat. Because food safety is especially important during pregnancy, it is important to cook thoroughly before consumption. In addition, it's harder on the body to digest animal protein, which could cause discomfort during pregnancy since our GI system slows down as the pregnancy progresses. Therefore, increasing plant protein during pregnancy is encouraged!

Believe it or not, plant protein sources are abundant. The most common ones are legumes, nuts and seeds. So If you've been following a vegetarian or vegan diet, have no fear! You could continue the dietary pattern healthfully during your pregnancy and here's how:

  1. Incorporate legumes into your soups or baked dishes. Consider chickpeas instead of lean ground beef or turkey for a burger patty. Use black beans as a base for your brownies. Add kidney beans or white cannelloni beans to your soups and stews. Whip up some hummus for a snack. Incorporating legumes into a variety of dishes will keep you full and provide adequate dietary protein.
  2. Consider soy based meat alternatives. This is especially beneficial when making vegetable stir-fry or substituting for chicken, pork or salmon. Adding tofu - either grilled or baked - is a healthy way to increase your protein. Snacking on edamame or adding it to an Asian-style salad will also enhance intake.
  3. Go nuts! Adding nuts to your repertoire is an excellent way to obtain protein as well as other vitamins (almonds contain Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant!). Drink nut milk instead of dairy milk on occasion. You can crush 1/4 cup nuts and sprinkle on your morning oats or yogurt bowl. Add a serving of cashews or sliced almonds to a stir-fry or salad. Whip up some nut butters to pair with a fruit, whole grain toast or celery. Brands like Justins or Nuttzo also offer protein packed combinations that include a combination of nuts and seeds.
  4. Get seedy. Toss some chia or hemp seeds to your salad, yogurt bowl, or even smoothie drink or bowl and you'll certainly feel satiated from the wholesome protein. Not only are they a good source of dietary protein but chia seeds are also a good source of healthy fat.

Photo by Eat2Shred.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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