Here’s a recipe to help turn your typical quesadilla from kid food to something a little more satiating as well as more nutritious. It is important to eat filling foods while you are pregnant to avoid empty snacking—but you also need to make sure the food you eat is nutritious and not just filling!
Black Bean Quesadilla
2 whole wheat tortillas
½ cup black beans
2 tbsp. sour cream
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
¼ cup salsa
Directions: Top 1 tortilla with black beans and cheese and cover with second tortilla. Cook together on stove top or in the microwave until cheese is melted. Cut into slices. Top with salsa and sour cream.
The major addition is to add black beans. Black beans provide a wide range of health benefits. They are rich in complex carbs as well as protein, which help stabilize blood sugars and keep you satisfied longer. This is especially important if you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. The high protein content of beans also make them a great option for vegetarians and vegans as ½ cup of beans provides the same amount of protein as an ounce of meat. They are also surprisingly rich in antioxidants and a great source of fiber, iron, zinc, copper, magnesium, folate and potassium. Beans are also inexpensive and take no prep time if you buy them canned.
Adding salsa to your quesadilla is another way to add some nutrition as well as flavor. Tomatoes are most well known for their high lycopene content. Lycopene is a carotenoid with high antioxidant activity. Their anti-inflammatory properties are even more important during pregnancy as inflammation is linked to many health problems during pregnancy including preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.
Tomatoes are one of those foods that actually get most nutritious when they are cooked. Cooked tomatoes have significantly higher lycopene levels because it is more bioavailable. So cooked tomato products, like most salsas, are actually the highest in lycopene content. Tomatoes are also rich in potassium, a mineral that most Americans don’t get enough of. Potassium is important for heart health as it is an essential contributor to normal blood pressure.
Whole Wheat Tortillas
The last change is to make your quesadilla using whole wheat tortillas. When you choose whole grains over refined grains you are significantly increasing your intake of fiber, vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients. The general recommendation is to make at least half of all of your grain products whole, but in my opinion, the more the better!