4 THINGS EVERY EXPECTING MUMMA NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT EXERCISE & PREGNANCY

So you’re pregnant? Firstly congratulations! What an exciting yet daunting phase of your life! I hope you have been feeling well so far.

No doubt if you’ve been active leading up to your pregnancy you may be feeling a little lost and confused about how to continue moving both safely and effectively. What you see your favourite #insta Mum doing vs what the internet says vs what a GP would recommend - confusing huh? Well you have come to the right place! Here are 4 things that all expecting Mamas NEED to know about exercising in their first trimester (and apply to the entirety of pregnancy).

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  1. Core Body Temperature - Don’t overheat – This is a BIG one ladies! The first trimester carries the highest risk of miscarriage with it. One risk factor for miscarriage is your core body temperature and its affects on your growing babes organ development. If you normally exercise at very high intensity levels (i.e. aerobics classes, CrossFit, HIIT style training) or live in a warmer climate this may be more of a consideration for you. During this time it is important to ensure you remain adequately hydrated, train in an air-conditioned environment, increase your rest periods and dial down your intensity (which leads me to my next point!)

  2. Exercise intensity – When pregnant you CAN still train with intensity however it will differ to your pre-pregnancy levels. You will find yourself out of breath and fatiguing a lot quicker than you normally would. I recommend using a combination of heart rate (HR) and the rate of perceived exertion (RPE) to monitor the intensity of your sessions. Pregnancy is NOT the time to be setting personal bests.The intensity of your sessions should range from mild-moderate, working at an RPE between 4-7 where you can hold a conversation whilst exercising. Use the scale below to help gauge your workouts and ensure you don’t hit above a 7 too often or for extended periods of time. It may jump up from time to time, but you don’t want to be reaching 8+. When training, use a combination of the RPE scale – think to yourself: ‘what is my number?’. When it comes to heart rate monitoring this factor really depends on your pre-pregnancy fitness levels. Generally speaking if you use a heart rate monitor you want to keep your heart rate under 150bpm. If you’ve been very active and have a good level of fitness pre pregnancy your max heart rate may be more like 160bpm. A general safe range to exercise at is between 120-160bpm. Monitoring your intensity is so important, particularly in these first few months. Why? - Refer back to point #1.

  3. Are you keeping it a secret? Many women wait from anywhere between 8-16 weeks before announcing their exciting news. If you are wanting to keep your news on the down low yet want to (and should) continue attending your regular group fitness session, CrossFit class, PT or gym, you may not be disclosing this exciting bit of information to your coach/trainer/instructor. I would encourage you to do so if you are comfortable to, but even if you do, so many Trainers, Coaches and Fitness Instructors are not adequately trained to safely modify workouts to suit the pre natal population. This is why it is so important for YOU to be equipped with some info and suitable options up your sleeve. In the first trimester I always recommend clients: Reduce the load (weight), Adjust the intensity and Increase their rest (basically apply points 1 & 2 above – for more detail on each check out my Exercise During Pregnancy eGuide).

  4. Hormonal changes - As your body adapts to pregnancy your hormones start adjusting accordingly. The hormone relaxin is at its highest in the first trimester and has significant implications on exercise selection because of its effects on joint stability; it softens ligaments and fibrous tissues meaning more consideration must be given to exercise types due to the increased levels of this hormone. Progesterone & oestrogen are other hormones at play during pregnancy and can affect a range of things, including lead to constipation, all of which covered in more detail in my Exercise and Nutrition eGuides.

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AND lastly my KEY piece of advice for every expecting Mama… my number ones is the ultimate piece of advice you can get when it comes to exercise during pregnancy and that is: You are better off walking away from a workout thinking ‘I could’ve done more’, as opposed to thinking ‘I may have overdone it’. Embrace this time in your life when you have a fantastic excuse (*reason*) to take it a little easier, yet still continue moving.

Exercise during pregnancy is so beneficial to both you & your developing babe both physically and psychologically. Including an improved mental state, maintenance of fitness, strength & health, prevention of potential pregnancy related problems: such as uncontrolled hypertension, gestational diabetes, maintenance of healthy body weight, reduce excess weight gain, assist in labour preparation, promote post natal recovery & so much more!

If you want to know more about exercise during pregnancy my Exercise During Pregnancy eGuide is your ultimate pre-natal exercise bible! It covers EVERYTHING you need to know about keeping active during pregnancy, over 95 pages, including:

  • 30 pregnancy safe workouts that you can complete at home or the gym

  • Exercise intensity, type, duration and frequency & what to avoid

  • Over 60 pregnancy appropriate exercises with a comprehensive exercise glossary complete with images, coaching cues, considerations and suitable modifications

  • Exercises sessions ranging from three different levels to suit your pregnancy progression

  • Easy reference tables for suitable modifications to to help empower women to train safely

  • Considerations, physiological changes for each trimester & contraindications to exercise

  • The all important pelvic floor & abdominal health

  • and SO SO much more!

Brooke x

ALCOHOL & YOUR FITNESS GOALS

As each working week draws to a close and in rolls the weekend a large percentage of us will head home to unwind, head out for dinner, or simply enjoy an alcoholic beverage of choice. Alternatively, as you hit your alarm button on a Monday morning you may be feeling a little sorry for yourself from having one too many wines with the girls on Friday night - because let’s face it, hangovers last more than 24 hours the older you get, right?

Not only are we more likely to consume alcohol on the weekend, but it is always a large part of almost any celebration or special event – be it a birthday, end of exams, new job promotion, or just going to dinner. It is something that should be enjoyed in moderation, as there are some serious health effects associated with the consumption of alcohol. But how much does alcohol consumption really impact our health and fitness?

Alcohol consumption can play a large role in stopping us from reaching our health and fitness goals. Those looking to compete and elite athletes generally limit alcohol throughout competition prep and sporting seasons. Not only can it lead to weight gain, muscle soreness and decreased performance, alcohol is the second most calorie dense compound, after fat. Fat contains 9 calories per one gram, with alcohol containing 7 calories per one gram. (Fat and carbs carry 4 calories per 1 gram).

Ever wonder why you have pulled up so sore following a sporting game or grand final that was followed by a night of celebrating? Sure you might've played a ripper game, but chances are your post match celebratory drinks didn't help in your recovery efforts. 

Alcohol can affect soft tissue and increase the likelihood of muscle soreness and can potentially delay injury repair. It also acts as a diuretic, leading to dehydration. Alcohol increases the amount of urine we produce and removes a greater amount of water from the body. I am sure we have all experienced the after effects of alcohol – the dreaded hangover; headache, nausea, upset stomach, shakiness, thirst and body aches and pains.

Here are my top tips that I give to clients and for those of you that do enjoy a beverage, but still want to keep on track with achieving your goals;

  1. Limit your intake

  2. Consume light alcoholic drinks – the lower the alcohol content, the fewer the calories

  3. Avoid sugary drinks – sugars are a form of carbohydrate, the sweeter the drink, the more calories it generally contains – so sugary, full strength alcoholic drinks are not the best choice.

  4. Stick to white drinks/spirits – vodka, gin. Sometimes the darker the drink, the worse the hangover – due to a presence that can lead to a hangover effect 

  5. Mix your drinks with soda water – be it wine, or spirits. This will help to better maintain your hydration status

  6. Factor the calories of alcohol into your daily meal plan to try and ensure you don’t go over your daily energy intake goals – My Fitness Pal is great

  7. The following morning kick start the day with a HIIT session. Yep, probably the last think you feel like doing if you have had a few drinks – but how badly do you want to reach your goals? Completing a HIIT session will help to begin metabolising the alcohol you have consumed, and can also lose some of this through sweating

  8. Avoid the greasy, processed food! Fuel your body with foods with a high water content that will help rehydrate you, and high in vitamins and minerals – think fruit salad, or a large serving of veggies 

  9. Drink plenty of water

If you are serious about reaching your goals, you may just have to cut back on or ditch the alcohol completely. Trust me – you can have a good night out without it, and you will wake feeling refreshed and ready to go the following morning. Get your friends in on the action too, make some exciting mocktails or get involved with Dry July when the time rolls around - a good excuse to stay on track! Everything in moderation.

Keep your goals in check this weekend – consistency is key x

NUT FREE BLISS BALLS / RAW CHOC SLICE

I didn’t realize how much I rely on nuts as a food source for my family until I had to start packing ‘nut free’ lunches for my little man.

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So often I chuck in a handful of nuts, a scoop of peanut butter to go with some raw veg or use nuts in homemade treats, it’s almost always the first food I reach for when looking to bump up Byron’s fats for the day.

 

With packing lunchboxes you’re faced with finding the balance between wanting to fuel your kid with nourishing foods whilst also wanting them to each what you pack! I knew I had to do a take on our staple bliss ball / raw choc slice which is ALWAYS in our freezer. So I got experimenting, and here’s the end result. Hassle free, mess free, NUT FREE, bliss balls or raw choc slice.

 

All you need is 5-6 ingredients and a high powered blender:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 pitted dates.

  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil.

  • 1/2 cup flax meal or flaxseed (will need to blitz).

  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds.

  • 2 tbsp True Protein cacao powder

  • 1 scoop True vegan vanilla protein powder.

 

METHOD:

  • Pit dates.

  • Blitz sunflower seeds (and flaxseeds) until finely ground.

  • Add all ingredients your food processor and blitz on a high speed until well combined and the mixture holds together when compressed.

  • Be sure to melt your coconut oil before adding to the mix. If your mix doesn’t hold together simply add small amounts of coconut oil until it does. Similarly add more flax meal to dry it out if you over do the oil.

  • Press the mixture into a lined tray and then into the freezer to set. Slice into desired serving sizes and keep in the fridge or freezer until your ready to enjoy. 

 

My little man hasn’t even noticed the difference and it’s not safe from me either! I hope it’s a hit in your household too!

I’d love to see your family trying this recipe, be sure to tag me or send me your photos of you and your little ones enjoying this!

To get 10% off of all TRUE PROTEIN products, use code BROOKE10 at checkout. They have a great range of health food products! https://www.trueprotein.com.au/

Brooke x


JUICES AND SMOOTHIES - WHAT IS HIDING IN YOURS?

Are you a lover of fresh smoothies and juices ? I sure am!

Juices and smoothies are a fantastic and convenient way to help get your daily dose of fruit and veg in. However they can also help you go over your daily recommended intake of sugar and can be very high in energy, both of which are not very helpful in  assisting you to reach your health or weight loss goals. 

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JUICE

When making or selecting a juice you want to go for one that has more vegetables than it does fruit. The higher dose of veggies helps to reduce the amount of sugar you'd get if you were selecting one containing only fruit. It also helps to add some extra fibre.

When you are whipping up your next juice at home or out for breaky, try to go for more veggies (2-3) than fruit (1-2). My favourite fruit choices in juice would have to be berries or lemon. Both are lower in sugar than many other fruits and the lemon adds a refreshing hit. 

SMOOTHIES

Sometimes nothing beats a post workout smoothie. You've worked hard and they can be such a refreshing, thirst cleansing and nourishing way to refuel your body. They are also perfect for those that are on the go as are easy 'meals'. 

Just as with juices, they can also pack a big energy hit which is not always ideal. I try to make sure my smoothies contain a good protein source such as Protein powder or Greek yoghurt to help with muscle recovery and satiety. Again I use the veggie rule & try to make sure I have more or equal parts veggies to fruit.

Some great additions to your smoothie or juice are:

VEGGIES

  • Spinach

  • Avocado

  • Silverbeet

  • Kale

  • Celery

  • Cucumber

  • Beetroot

  • Carrot

  • Tomato

  • Avocado

  • Cucumber

 

FRUIT

Lower sugar options:

  • Lemon

  • Lime

  • Strawberries

  • Raspberries

  • Blueberries

  • Pear

Moderate - higher sugar options:

  • Mango

  • Watermelon

  • Banana

  • Apple

  • Orange

  • Dates

  • Watermelon

 SMOOTHIES:

  • Don't forget a protein source - protein powder, greek yoghurt

  • Your choice of liquid I.e: Water / almond milk / coconut milk / coconut water / milk

Other ingredients to add a little extra:

  • Ginger

  • Mint

  • Nutmeg

  • Cinnamon

  • Chai seeds

  • Flaxseed

  • Psyllium husk

  • Cinnamon

  • Nutmeg

  • Nut butter

Juices and smoothies can be perceived as being super healthy because they've got fruit/veg in them. The thought of adding veggies to your smoothie may not appeal to you but you may be pleasantly surprised.  Cucumber, zucchini, celery etc all contain a lot of water and won't ruin the flavor of your favorite smoothie. 

There are so many ways to mix a juice or smoothie, you ultimately need to be making or selecting one to suit your specific goals. 

Keep in mind next time you've got your juicer going or adding one to your breakfast order the hidden sugar and energy content and try to get some veg in there. If you don't know what to do with any left over pulp, try adding it to a muffin mixture. 

Be mindful when making your next juice/smoothie & don't be scared of the veggies!

Brooke x

 

8 TIPS TO GET YOU OUT OF THAT INSPO RUT

Inspiration: A sudden, brilliant or timely idea. The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.

Disheartened, discouraged, lacking clarity: the opposite of Inspired, goal fog or an inspo rut.

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Why is it that it seems to be lacking when we want or need it the most? Or that it comes to you at the most inconvenient of timing; the baby wakes up, it hits while you are talking to someone but don’t have a notebook or can’t write it down, when you are in the middle of a meeting or in the middle of the night when you should be getting some much needed sleep.

To be honest with you, lately I have been feeling a bit stuck in a good ol’ inspo rut. Generally feeling a little more flat and lacking the drive and clarity that I normally have. After losing a loved one recently combined with sleep debt are probably both contributing factors, but the good thing is that these phases come and go and I know that I’ll climb out of it soon. Are you in a bit of a rut? The excitement of a new year may have worn off or you may have thoughts of ‘Who am I? or What am I doing with my life?

So if you’re feeling the same; a little flat, stuck or lacking motivation, fear not! Here are my top tips for helping you get re-inspired, clear the fog and connect to what you really want to achieve:

  • Get outdoors: This is one of THE best inspo triggers. Getting down to your favourite beach, nature walk, local park or even hanging out in your backyard can work wonders. Sometimes all you need is a little bit of fresh air and nature to put things in perspective and provide some goal fuel.

  • Move: Exercise and daily movement have so many benefits to our physical and psychological health that the list could go on for days. My best ideas have often come to me whilst I’ve been out for a walk or run. This can also be inconvenient if you don’t have anything to write these down with. I often voice record on my iPhone to help prompt these thoughts at a later time.

  • Prioritise sleep: When you are not have poor quantity and/or quality of sleep so many areas of your life can be affected be it mood, relationships, and your own personal health. Those that slept less than 6 hours per night have been shown to be 50% more likely to suffer from anxiety, stress, depression and suffer decreased mental health. Get to bed earlier, nap during the day, reduce your intake of stimulants and avoiding screen time before bed are just some of the ways that you can improve both your quality and quantity of sleep.

  • Switch off: ‘Put down yo phone!’ Have you ever seen the Kid President’s YouTube video on ‘Mom’s’? If you have you’ll know what I’m on about here. But seriously, switch off. Yes it can be hard to take some time away from scrolling your Insta or Facebook feed or online shopping purchases that you ‘add to cart’ but never actually ‘checkout’. Switching off stems into so many of these other top tips and helps take away all that extra distraction and/or procrastination.

  • Change up your office: Do you normally work from home or an office? Grab your weapon of choice, be it a notebook, journal or laptop and head to your favourite café. Enjoy a coffee, the hustle and bustle of café goers and the external distraction associated with your ‘normal’ place of work.

  • Stop comparing: Comparison really is the thief of joy. We each experience our own ups and downs at different times and under various circumstances. It can be so easy to compare yourself to others and then feel disheartened or even more confused about what it is you want to achieve.  Try not to worry about what anyone else is doing except for you.

  • Getaway: A road or plane ride is often where most of my goals become clearer and inspiration hits. I believe this has something to do with the ‘switching off’ point. No phone signal – no social distractions. Just be sure you have a notebook or laptop ready to record and save all of your goals, dreams, inspo for later actioning. Take a break: getaway, take a staycation or get out of town. You will be surprised at what a change of scenery can do for your soul.

  • Spend time with loved ones: Catching up with family or close friends that understand your passion and drive can be excellent sources to bounce ideas off and for that ‘sense check’ or pep talk. You might think it is easier to bottle things up or that no one wants to listen to what you have to say, but when you start saying your goals or plans out aloud it can actually assist in concreting your thoughts.

  • Read a book or your fave magazine: You might not think you have time to read a book because you need to do actual ‘work’, run a household, or a million other things. It doesn’t even need to be on self-help, love or growth, entrepreneurship, or any of those topics. It can simply be one of your favourite genres and taking some time out for yourself that is what you need to get your mojo back.

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TOP 4 PRODUCTS FOR THE ADVENTUROUS & ACTIVE MAMA

When you become a Mum, be it for the very first or third time it can be so daunting trying to figure out what you do and don't need. I’ve always been a ‘less is more’ kind of gal and I wanted to share with you some of my must-have products, tried and tested by yours truly, that help your little babe fit into your active lifestyle.

Our family is forever spending time in the great outdoors be it boating, hiking trails, by the beach or just out for a leisurely stroll. We also travel a lot and our little caravan getaways are some of my most favourite memories. Here are just a few products that I have used throughout my pregnancies and motherhood journey. If you love keeping active and outdoors, then I’m sure you will love them too!


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BABY CARRIER:

I could not be without this, especially the second time around because boy do I need my hands free with a toddler! If you are sitting on the fence about getting one or not, let this be your firm shove to do it! I have the Mountain Buggy Juno carrier in charcoal and love it! Not only is Bronte super supported, it also serves as an adult size bib when I’m eating. This carrier is so comfortable and without the bulk of many carriers. Babes can be carried facing forward, backward, on your hip and on your back. It also comes with the infant insert which means you can use the carrier with your babe right from the get go. I’ve always used the more structured carriers and have a personal preference for these over the wraps. So ladies, add this to your list!

https://mountainbuggy.com/

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PRAM:

You might be thinking, ‘where do I start?’ when it comes to prams. Let this help guide your decision.

If you need your pram to check the following boxes, then I have just the recommendation for you!

  • Be usable from newborn to toddler

  • Capsule adaptable

  • Suitable for running

  • Lightweight, can be folded and lifted with one hand

  • And of course be comfortable, stylish and durable.

Look no further than the Mountain Buggy Terrain Pram. This pram comes with both 12” and 16” wheels, which basically means there is the on road and then the next level off-road tyres - perfect for those bush and beach walks. This pram is comfortable and large enough for my not-so-little toddler, yet also perfect for my little babe.

One of the best features of this pram - the attachable Freerider! I actually had a double pram prior to having Bronte, but when she came along it just wasn't practical. It also felt like I was pushing a small car so it had to go and I needed something more suitable and lifestyle friendly. The Terrain pram with the Freerider is perfect. Byron can cruise on the back of the pram with the scooter attachment yet unhook and cruise on his own when he wants to, whilst Bronte can ride up front in the pram. It even has light-up wheels, which are a big hit on those early morning and evening walks. And hey, if you don't have the MB pram but want the Freerider, the attachment is compatible with a wide range of other brand prams. The amount of comments I get when we use these together, I swear everyone wishes they were the toddler on the back on his scooter. I highly recommend!

https://mountainbuggy.com/

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BACKPACK:

Nappy bags are such a statement piece these days. First time around I wanted the fancy handbag, but soon realised that it just wasn't practical for my lifestyle. Second time around I am loving a backpack from Puggle Baby that is perfect for our pool, park and beach dates. The best thing about this bag is that A) it doesn’t look like a nappy bag, but B) it’s not just for Mum’s (and let’s face it, we do enough heavy lifting anyway), but Dad’s can totally rock these unisex back packs. Tiff and Nath - the masterminds behind this small family owned & operated business have hit the mark with their back packs.

https://pugglebabyau.com/

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ACTIVE WEAR:

If you know me then you know that if I’m not rocking a tee and my One Teaspoons then you will find me in my active wear! Why? Well, not only if you wear it does it mean you might be more likely to fit that workout in, it is also ridiculously comfy and is so accommodating for your growing bump or post natal bod.

Two brands that I wore throughout both of my pregnancies and beyond are Cadenshae and Active Truth.

Cadenshae - make THE BEST feeding bras that are a maternity and sport bra in one. Nikki, the founder has four gorgeous kids of her own and is the face behind the brand who truly understands what the new/expecting Mama needs! Supportive, stylish and built to fit almost every sized bust. I also love the tanks and wear these whether I’m pregnant, breastfeeding or none of the above. My favourite, most-worn items are the Fit2Feed bra, the Everyday bra and the nursing tanks (but they also have tights, hoodies & tees!). LOVE! You can get 10% off the complete range by using the code BFNCS10 at checkout.

https://cadenshae.com.au/

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Active Truth - I lived in these tights right throughout my second pregnancy and post natal journey. There are a lot of maternity tights on the market and it pays to invest in a decent pair - these ones are well worth every dollar and made from premium compression fabric. The best thing about this brand is that it is size inclusive, Nadia and Stevie have designed stunning activewear to suit all shapes and sizes - maternity or not. My top picks are the grey leopard and full length pregnancy tights.

Get $20 off your order by using the code BROOKEVIP at checkout. https://www.activetruth.com.au/

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HOMEMADE BOOBIE MILK BICCIES

And before you (or more likely, your partner, brother or Dad freaks out), no these are not made from boobie milk. They simply contain ingredients which can support and promote milk supply.

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When you have a newborn in the house, it’s high likely that you’re in some form of pain or discomfort, a little (or a lot) sleep deprived, not 100% sure of what day it is, and probably haven’t had a chance to brush your hair yet (and it may stay that way until tonight’s shower).

Breast feeding and raising babies can take ALOT out of any new parent, but when a woman is breastfeeding there is an increase in her daily energy requirements. It is hard to define set energy requirements as there are so many individual factors; how often are you feeding your baby, what are your activity levels, any pre-existing medical conditions, height, age, diet and so on, but generally speaking, when breast feeding there is an increased need of approximately 2000-3000kj/ day (about 500 – 700 calories per day) - no wonder you’re starving in the middle of the night (or all the time).

No doubt you’ve heard of lactation cookies. These are a form of food that contain lactogenic properties, meaning they can help to boost and support your breast milk supply. Brewers yeast and oats are the common ‘go-to’, but foods like carrots, hummus, salmon and brown rice also get a gold star in this area.

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Here is a simple and yummy boobie milk biscuit recipe to help support your breastfeeding journey, ease those late night/early morning hunger pains, and can actually be enjoyed by the WHOLE family. You can reassure your main man that he won’t start leaking if he dabbles in a cookie or two, nor will your children.

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 cup coconut oil

  • ½ cup coconut sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • Splash of vanilla essence

  • 3 tbsp flaxmeal

  • 3 tbsp brewers yeast (less if your sensitive to the taste)

  • 2.5 cups oats

  • 1 scoop vanilla vegan protein powder (optional)

METHOD

  • Pre heat over to 180 degrees Celsius

  • Combine the wet ingredients together in a bowl to dissolve the sugar.

  • Combine all dry ingredients into a separate bowl, then add in wet ingredients

  • Stir until the mixture is combined and the texture can be molded into balls. If your mixture is too runny add a small amount of oats or flaxmeal until it holds together. If it is too dry and a little crumbly, slowly add more coconut oil until the mixture holds together.

  • Using a tablespoon scoop small amounts from the bowl and mold into balls using your hands

  • Place these onto a lined baking tray

  • Once you have all the mixture on the baking tray, using your fingers, spoon or fork, gently press down on each cookie ball to flatten them

  • Place in the over for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown

  • Store in the fridge (up to one week), or place in the freezer and grab small batches out to increase their shelf life.

Stress and getting enough sleep play just as an important role as nutrition does in the post natal journey, so be sure to outsource things to family or friends, and if you can - sleep when that beautiful babe does.

If you’re keen to know more about nutrition to support lactation and postnatal recovery and safe return to exercise be sure to check out my Happy, Healthy Pregnancy guides - coming VERY soon!

I’d love to see you enjoying this recipe - tag me on your socials and hashtag #balancefitnessnutrition #striveforbalance.

Enjoy!

Brooke x