This week on social media, I made a big announcement. I’m expecting! We’re having a baby girl this April! I am beyond excited for this big change and have been trying my best to be healthy and active during this pregnancy. Sadly for me, this pregnancy has been brutal. Morning sickness made me so sick the first 18 months and food became my enemy. Where were these crazy cravings I was supposed to have?? Where was this “eating for two” appetite? I desperately wanted to continue blogging but just the THOUGHT of food would make me sick.
Now that I am in my third trimester, I am eating more normally. In order to be healthy, I discovered that the basics are more important than ever – staying hydrated, taking vitamins and eating enough protein. For optimal health, it’s often recommended that adults eat between 40-60 grams of protein a day. During pregnancy, many doctors and midwives will tell you to aim for 70-80 grams of protein a day! For plant-based eaters, this can be difficult if we’re not vigilant with our diets. Healthy snacks (and even desserts!) can help us reach our protein goals.
As a way of trying to sneak in extra protein, I created these protein blondie bars. They are totally delicious for anytime but especially helpful for pregnancy or nursing. Flax seeds benefit brain development and nutritional yeast gives a boost of B vitamins. Best yet, these vegan bars are a whole food protein treat. Tucked away in these delectable bars are garbanzo beans or chickpeas, peanut butter, almond milk and oats! In this recipe, I tried to limit processed ingredients (like protein powders) and focus on whole, protein-rich foods. The bean trick in baked goods is by no means new, but it helps create a really delicious texture and totally pumps the protein content to 6 grams per bar! But honestly, you’ll have no idea you’re eating beans. Next time you get a peanut butter and chocolate craving – these are your bars!
Pregnancy Peanut Butter Protein Blondies
3/4 cup Natural Peanut Butter
1 can 15-ounce Garbanzo Beans or Chickpeas, rinsed VERY WELL and drained
2/3 cup Coconut Sugar
1 Tablespoon Flax Seeds
1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup Almond Milk
1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda and Baking Powder
heaping 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips or Chunks
3 Tablespoons Oats
Line a 9 x 9 baking dish with parchment paper and lightly spray with oil. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Before beginning, make sure to rinse the beans well in a large bowl until water runs clear and all foam/bubbles are gone.
In a high powdered blender, add all ingredients except for the chocolate chips and oats. Blend until smooth and creamy. The batter will be thick but if it’s too thick to work with, add a little extra drizzle of almond milk. Mix in the chocolate chips and oats. Using a good spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes for a 9 x 9 inch pan. The centers of the bars will look underdone when fully baked but the tops and edges should be golden and crisp. Cut into slices and enjoy! Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days.