Female athletes who continue their athletic training throughout their pregnancy have a great opportunity to feel strong and fit. Getting the right nutrition and eating meals that support this is important to maintain the health of mom and baby. Pregnant athletes need extra protein to sustain athletic activities in tandem with growing a baby.

 

A diet rich in lean proteins such as chicken, beans, and pasture-raised dairy combine with fiber rich vegetables for a winning combination throughout all three trimesters. Black eyed peas are a legume that provides a bit of protein and much needed fiber to help combat the constipation that typically occurs with pregnancy. Fibrous vegetables like asparagus also support proper digestion which tends to slow down during pregnancy.

 

 

Another critical prenatal nutrient is folate, which is critical for proper cell grown, DNA repair, and establishing nerve pathways in developing babies. Folate is the naturally occurring form of folic acid and is present in a number of foods. Asparagus, spinach, and black eyed peas are all an abundant source of folate. This meal combination is a powerhouse of pregnancy nutrition that’s sure to please your palate.   

 

Asparagus and Spinach Baked Chicken with Black Eyed Peas

Asparagus Baked Chicken

Calories 419, Protein 42g, Carbs 17g, Fat 21g [Photo credit: Kari Lund]

 

Prep time:10 min   

Cook time: 30 min

Serves: 4

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (preferably pasture raised)
  • 8 slices provolone cheese (preferably from pasture raised dairy)
  • 1 bunch asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed off
  • ½ cup baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • Poultry seasoning
  • Black ground pepper
  • Olive oil for cooking

 

For the black eyed peas:

  • 1 can black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 2-3 tablespoons sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons chicken broth or water
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • Black ground pepper to taste

 

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut a large slit into each chicken breast to make a pocket.
  3. Fold two slices of cheese around a small amount of spinach and 4-5 spears of the asparagus.
  4. Stuff the cheese, spinach and asparagus inside the pocket of the chicken breast and repeat for the remaining breasts.
  5. Secure the pocket of the chicken breast closed with a toothpick if needed.
  6. Sprinkle each side of the chicken breast with poultry seasoning and black pepper.
  7. In an oven proof pan (like cast iron), heat the oil until hot and sear both sides of the chicken.
  8. Then place the pan in the oven and back for about 25-30 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
  9. While chicken is baking, combine all ingredients for the black eyed peas in a small saucepan.
  10. Heat black eyed peas until warmed. Keep on low heat if needed until chicken is done.
  11. Serve with cucumber water for a refreshing beverage by adding a couple slices of fresh cucumber to ice water.
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