Healthy Pumpkin Pancakes — FMF

Who else is excited that yesterday marked the official first day of fall? 🙂 I LOVE FALL. I love the changing leaves. I love football. I love dressing up for Halloween (and will never get too old for it!). I love baking both healthy and not-so-healthy pumpkin goodies.

So in that spirit, this week I have a less conventional Freezer Meal Friday: this is a recipe for some easy-to-freeze healthy pumpkin pancakes. They’d be great for dinner (if you’re like me, I LOVE breakfast food at night!) but are also an awesome option for a quick, healthy breakfast.

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Dressing up is my FAVORITE. Back in 2008 I dressed up as Sarah Palin for Halloween. I don’t think I’ll reprise the political theme and go as The Donald this year though. I’m only willing to go so far . . .

 

Ingredients

healthy pumpkin pancake ingredients

4 cups almond milk (regular is fine too)

1 small can of pumpkin puree

3 eggs

3/4 cup brown sugar

4 cups whole wheat flour

1 TBS cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp cloves

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

honey or syrup

cinnamon

chopped pecans

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except for the last three.

    Pancakes are one of my kids' favorite things for us to make together.
    Pancakes are one of my kids’ favorite things for us to make together.
  2. Pour onto a hot griddle that’s been sprayed with cooking spray. I like to make mine into fairly small mini pancakes, but you can make them whatever size you like.
  3. Cook until firm and slightly browned on both sides.img_4283
  4. To freeze, let cool completely. Then wrap each pancake individually in plastic wrap and pop into the freezer.
  5. On the day I eat these, I microwave them on half power until mostly warmed through and then put them in the toaster. This helps them regain that nice, slightly-crispy-on-the-outside texture you get with freshly cooked up pancakes.
  6. Drizzle pancakes with honey or syrup plus chopped pecans and extra cinnamon.healthy pumpkin pancakes

On the Side

When I eat these for breakfast, I don’t usually make a side dish. I figure I’m covered on the produce front by the pumpkin that’s in the pancakes,  plus these are very filling. But they’d be great with any other breakfast standby like eggs. If you haven’t tried turkey sausage or turkey bacon, those are also tasty ways to add a punch of protein without adding too much fat to the meal.

Nutritional Info

This recipe yields 25 mini pancakes with the following calories and macros per pancake:

Calories: 98 | Fat: 1g | Carbs: 17g | Protein: 4g

I usually eat 3 of these in a sitting and add in a few extra calories for the drizzled honey (about 1 TBS) and the chopped pecans (also about 1 TBS) for a tasty, filling breakfast that tastes way more indulgent than it actually is. 🙂

Happy Fall!

The Truth About Pregnancy Weight Gain

I think every expecting mama worries a bit about pregnancy weight gain. That’s healthy and normal. It’s GOOD to be concerned about taking care of yourself and your growing baby during pregnancy! But I know a lot of women—me included—can get TOO worried and preoccupied with the number on the scale during pregnancy.

This pregnancy I vowed I’d make things different from my previous two. Those times I gained about 55 pounds apiece over my pregnancy. I did that by heinous binge eating with #1, attempting but not succeeding at Intuitive Eating with #2, and not consistently exercising either time. So with this baby, I found a ton of prenatal workout DVDs I loved and knew I’d be able to stick with all 9 months. I started logging my food, at first on MyFitnessPal and later on in a simple handwritten journal. I weighed in weekly with a specific goal to gain 30 lbs total in mind.

And overall, I’ve done a REALLY good job! But I’m not perfect, believe you me. Today I want to be real about pregnancy, eating, and weight gain. This pregnancy has been far and away the healthiest of my three pregnancies, but it’s still had its share of less-than-perfect moments. Guess who has eaten ice cream the past three days in a row? Yep. Yours truly.

I tell myself the fat in ice cream is good for my baby's brain development. It's ALL for the baby, right? I'm so noble to sacrifice like this.
I tell myself the fat in ice cream is good for my baby’s brain development. It’s ALL for the baby, right? I’m so noble to sacrifice like this.

I try hard to stick to healthy meals and snacks daily with dessert 2x a week. But let me tell you, hormones and discomfort and raging hunger can make that hard to stick with. I’m quite disciplined when it comes to exercise because I genuinely LOVE to move. I’d exercise daily even if it burned zero calories just because I like it. But the healthy eating side of the coin is much harder for me. And, obviously, healthy eating is critical to healthy pregnancy weight gain.

Much of what you read tells you to shoot for steady gain of 25–35 pounds over your 9 months of pregnancy (note that the total gain amount may be more or less for you depending on your pre-pregnancy BMI and if you’re carrying twins). And I’m proud to say that I’ve done that. But the biggest thing I want to convey today is this: looking at any single data point when it comes to weighing yourself can get you really upset for no good reason.

I weigh myself weekly. I think weight is one of many good indicators of overall health, and I like knowing what that number is doing. But I don’t base my entire happiness on it. And I don’t pay too much attention to what it does from one week to the next. I try to zoom out and see the big picture:

pregnancy weight gain week by week

 

This is the chart generated from MyFitnessPal that shows my weight gain over this pregnancy. Notice how it’s a nice, pretty much gradual upward line?

Yet down below I’ve listed my week-to-week amount gained. Was it a nice and tidy +1 each week? NO. Yes, I had indulgences I probably shouldn’t have here and there, but my eating and fluid intake was pretty steady from weeks 15 onward (once my morning sickness abated). The amount I gained each week didn’t seem like a direct result of my eating: some weeks I felt like I’d really overdone sweets and gained like .2, whereas others my eating had been very disciplined and I gained nearly 2 pounds.

Looking at the overall picture—a gain of 29 pounds at 36 weeks, meaning I’ll likely end up within that healthy 25–35 pounds gained zone—makes it clear that I should be pretty proud of myself. Flipping out over the gain between Weeks 14 and 15 or 33 and 34, though, would not have been helpful. The big picture is key when it comes to weight. What you should care about is the overall trend, not individual chart points. I think this is especially true during pregnancy. Things like fluid retention, constipation, and hormonal shifts can make the number on the scale even more erratic than it is for the average person. So if you’re like me and like to weigh in, great. But please: remember that even healthy gain may look kind of crazy from week to week!

Week 7: 0

Week 8: 0

Week 9: 0

Week 10: +1.4

Week 11: +.6

Week 12: +1.8

Week 13: +.2

Week 14: +.4

Week 15: +3.0

Week 16: +1.6

Week 17: +.8

Week 18: +.8

Week 19: +1.6

Week 20: +.2

Week 21: +.8

Week 22: +.8

Week 23: +1.6

Week 24: +1.4

Week 25: +1.8

Week 26: +.4

Week 27: +.4

Week 28: +2.6

Week 29: 0

Week 30: +1.6

Week 31: 0

Week 32: +.4

Week 33: +1.8

Week 34: +3.2

Week 35: -.8

Week 36: +1.8


Last of all: suppose you know your eating and exercise has been consistently awesome over your pregnancy, but you gain 40 or 50 pounds total anyway? Well, provided that what you’re doing day to day really is healthy, then don’t worry about it! That’s easier said than done, but really. Every woman’s body and pregnancy is different. When I gained 55 pounds in my first two pregnancies, I knew exactly why: consistent overeating. But I also know women who run marathons, do CrossFit, and live otherwise awesomely healthy lifestyles that gain more than 35 pounds. It’s just how their bodies do pregnancy, and there’s no reason for them to be upset.

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I think that numbers from doctors—like gaining 25–35 pounds in pregnancy—are helpful and appropriate for most of us. But there are always genuine exceptions. Those suggestions aren’t absolute, hard-and-fast rules. Some of us are just going to gain a lot in pregnancy because that’s how our bodies respond to carrying a baby. Others may gain less than recommended no matter how much junk they eat (sigh—marrying into a genetically thin family is rough that way. My sisters-in-law are TINY pregnant people!). So take anything the scale tells you with a grain of salt.

Anyway. I wish you the best in your own quest to gain healthily over pregnancy. Remember that OVERALL PATTERNS matter more than individual weigh ins, and that healthy habits matter more than anything the scale might say. If you know you are taking good care of yourself and your baby, then the number on the scale should be totally irrelevant. And be a pirate in your attitude towards general “shoulds” from your doctor or anyone else when it comes to how much you should gain, too. They’re more like guidelines anyway.

Wish me luck as well as I try to finish out these last 4ish weeks of pregnancy without letting my sugar cravings run my eating off the rails. We can do hard things!