Pregnancy brings with it a cascade of hormonal changes, some of which cause things to slow down in the digestive tract. But the body never does something without reason. Digestion slows during pregnancy to allow our food to be in contact with the surface area of our intestines longer, allowing us to extract more nutrition. Smart right? Unfortunately, this coupled with an increased need for water and more sedentary lifestyle, pregnancy is also a recipe for constipation.
As a dietitian, I knew this. With constipation being a common occurrence in young children as well, I was pretty determined to create a simple recipe to alleviate symptoms should things “slow down”. Healthy bowel movements = happy family.
Fast-forward one year and this simple five-ingredient compote, now dubbed my Jam to go-go, is a staple in our home and in our baby girl’s diet too. So whether or not you need help moving things or not, this delicious fiber-rich recipe deserves a spot on your menu plan.
- 1 cup prunes, finely chopped
- 1 apple with skin, diced
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons whole white chia seeds
- Pinch cinnamon
- Place the prunes, apple and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil.
- Add the chia seeds and let boil for 5 minutes.
- Reduce heat to a simmer, add a pinch of cinnamon and using a potato masher or fork, mash until form jam consistency. *
- Store in an airtight jelly jar in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Serve over yogurt, oatmeal or enjoy on its own.
- *If serving to a baby, let cool slightly, add to blender and blend to a puree. You may add more water until you reach a consistency that works for your baby.
How it helps you go-go
Fiber is key when it comes to alleviating constipation and creating healthy bowel movements. It does this by decreasing intestinal transit time (i.e. gets things moving along faster) and by adding bulk to your stool to help it pass. My jam to go-go combines three high-fiber foods, that happen to be pretty synonymous with healthy stools:
- Stewed prunes
- Apples (with skin)
- Chia seeds
In addition to the high fiber content this combination provides, prunes have high amounts of sorbitol and phenolic compounds that add a laxative effect.
Tips to enjoy this jam:
- Pair with a tall glass of water, because fibre needs fluids to do its thing.
- Enjoy on its own, over oatmeal or over yogurt.
- Yogurt has the added benefit of being a fermented food, which can help populate your gut with friendly bacteria, another key to good GI function.
- Eat this jam in the morning or evening. Whatever time you choose, try sticking with it consistently. This helps the body get into a routine of sorts.
- Remember rule number one for constipation: When nature calls, you must go-go!