When you think of a healthy pregnancy diet, sweets may not be the first thing to come to your mind. But it is fine to have desserts as part of a healthy pregnancy diet, so there's no need to deny yourself. Treat yourself to a some of your favorites from time to time -- enjoy a piece of good chocolate, a small slice of rich cake, some homemade cookies, or a scoop of your favorite ice cream.
Hope Ricciotti, MD

Chocolate cravings are very common in pregnancy. Imagine, a healthy chocolate chip cookie that tastes good and that will help you have a smarter baby! These are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help in your baby's brain and neural development, because they are made with walnuts and ground flax seed, both good sources of this nutrient. Flax seed also adds a chewy texture and a dose of fiber. Eat the cookies throughout pregnancy, since your baby's brain develops rapidly in all three trimesters.

To tailor your cravings to your body's needs, try dark chocolate chips for the cookies instead of milk chocolate, since dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, which are heart healthy and can prevent certain cancers. Some scientific data suggests that heart disease and cancer prevention can start as early as the diet your baby is exposed to in utero. Studies also suggest that moms who consume chocolate during pregnancy have babies with more smiling behavior at 6 months of age. That will bring a smile to both of your faces.

Walnut-chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe by: Vincent Connelly
Preparation 10 minutes
Cooking 10 minutes
Makes 2 dozen cookies

8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup flax seed, ground to a flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2/3 cup walnuts, measured and then chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Set the bowl aside for a moment.

3. In another bowl, whisk together the flax seed, flour, baking soda, and salt. Add this mixture of dry ingredients to the bowl containing the butter mixture and combine thoroughly. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

4. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet, arranging them about 2 inches apart. If necessary, use 2 cookie sheets.

5. Bake for 7-9 minutes, until golden and cooked through.

6. Remove the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to cool and set for 5 minutes. Then with a spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe notes:
The best way to grind flax seed is in a clean coffee grinder.

If you don't want to bake all of the cookies at one time, wrap the extra dough in plastic wrap and freeze. Thaw the dough before shaping and baking.


Tags: sweets

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