Preg Snack: Anchovy Mash

The experiences of being pregnant and breastfeeding changed my relationship with food in an amazing way. When I first began my weight loss journey quite a few years ago, I approached nutrition the same way I approach anything I want to learn more about: I researched as much as possible. I wanted to lose weight and then later maintain my weight in a healthy way, and along with time and the books I’ve read, my eating has changed quite a bit. Looking back on some of the things I used to do that at the time I thought was healthy, isn’t the same way I’d do things now. An example is when I used to make every single dessert with Splenda. Now, if I want dessert, I want DESSERT, not some fake wannabe dessert. It was challenging for me to go from weight loss mode to maintenance mode and often, the two were a tricky balance as I transitioned from “diet foods” to real foods. From my dieting days, foods that I cut out just ended up staying off my radar because I lived without them for so long.

Since I’ve always been active, it’s been a priority for me to make sure to get in enough calories for my lifestyle. While my eating has changed, and it’s been a process to figure out what works best for my body, I’m grateful for all of the knowledge I’ve gained through the blog world.

And then, when I became pregnant, foods that I hadn’t had for so long started to scream my name in the grocery store aisles. I was happy to listen.


From the day I got pregnant until now, I’ve had another life depending on me and have expanded my food horizons.

Here are just a few of the things I started eating again during pregnancy and aren’t going anywhere:

-Mayonnaise- I used to hate it, and now sandwiches and wraps seems so naked without a smear of mayo

-Two eggs almost every day (I will never live without the yolk again)

-Anchovies. I used to fear the little fishy, and now I embrace it. Atop a cracker.

crackers and anchovies2

*Please keep in mind that I’m not an RD, but if you have any questions about pregnancy nutrition, talk to an RD, your doc or a midwife

In many of the pregnancy books I read, anchovies and sardines were hailed as an awesome snack for preggos. They’re a great source of calcium, protein and are low on the mercury scale since they’re so tiny. You do eat the bones, even though I admit that I had visions of myself picking out each tiny bone with a pair of tweezers until I Googled.

I always stayed far away from sardines and anchovies  –fish in a tin? No, thank you- but since Tom loves them, I decided to give it a whirl. Sardines were pretty good, a little too fishy for me, but I became obsessed with anchovies. The only bummer is that they’re extremely high in sodium, so I tried not to go overboard and drink extra water on those days. Here is one of my favorite anchovy snacks that I enjoyed while I was pregnant:

crackers and anchovies

(I tried not to take too much of a close-up because it looks like cat food)

-1 tin anchovies in olive oil, drained and minced

-1/2 T mayonnaise

-juice of 1/2 lemon

-hefty splash of hot sauce

-garlic powder

Mix well and scoop up with a cracker.

I’m definitely still learning about becoming a mom and how to do things to the best of my ability, and have a feeling like that will be the case until I’m no longer here.  I’m far from perfect and there will be many more times where I feel like I could have done something better, or where I’ll be disappointed in myself. I do know that I want my daughter to grow up with a healthy relationship with food. I don’t want her to see anything as off-limits, ever feel like she has to “diet” or make desserts only with Splenda (or another faux sweetener). I want to take her out for ice cream sundaes, expand her palette with amazing and nourishing food options, and teach her that eating whole foods has a positive effect on your body. Most of all, I want her to be 100% in love with the perfect little being that she is.

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  1. Phil on May 3, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    That’s one of my favorite snacks too! My family’s traditional version involves:

    Can of sardines
    Tbsp Mayo
    Tbsp Ketchup
    Liberal dash of Tobasco

    Mix that all up, and then smear it thickly over a slice of bread. Layer a slice of cheese over it, and then pop it in the oven to broil for 3 minutes. The result? Pure heaven.

    • Fitnessista on May 3, 2012 at 11:42 pm

      whoaaaaaaaa. that sounds AWESOME

    • Elle on May 4, 2012 at 8:23 am

      OMG I love Canned Sardines…like my grams used to make it for breakfast all the time, over grits, on toast, in a cold olive oil based salad. LOVE LOVE LOVE! I think i may try this. I’m not a fan of Anchovies, but I’d go to war for Sards.

  2. Laura @ She Eats Well on May 3, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    I just can’t get into the anchovy. But I am hopeful since they are nutritious! I find that my taste buds have evolved over time…I used to hate fish and now I love *almost* all fish…we shall see! And yea…I totally agree with you about the egg and yolk thing. Never go back! 🙂

  3. Rachel on May 3, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    Aaaaaand now I’m hungry. Also, a sammich isn’t a sammich without Mayo! Mmmmmmmm Mayo.

  4. Kerry @ Totes My Oats on May 3, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Love anchovies.. especially in some yummy Caesar dressing!

  5. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on May 3, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    That last sentence melted my heart. Livi is a very lucky little girl to have you and Tom as parents! <3

  6. Shaina Anderson on May 3, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Okay okay I’m trying again tomorrow haha. I’ll make the mash. That looks more appetizing than straight fishy on a cracker. 🙂

    • Fitnessista on May 4, 2012 at 12:08 am

      you know i wrote this post for you. haha 🙂

      • Shaina Anderson on May 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm

        Ooh much better! I’ve been craving salt like crazy. Thank you 🙂

  7. Averie @ Averie Cooks on May 4, 2012 at 1:43 am

    “Now, if I want dessert, I want DESSERT, not some fake wannabe dessert.” — amen sista. That is why I have never gotten into many of the crazes I read about that substitute beans in brownies and the like. I’m sure they taste great, but for me personally, I just stick with cocoa powder and butter and sugar in my brownies 🙂 To each her own, of course.

    And in many of the pregnancy books I read, too, anchovies and sardines were hailed as superfoods. I never got into that craze, either 🙂 Your mash is creative and I bet my hubs would love it with smoked salmon.

    • mountain girl heidi on May 4, 2012 at 7:10 am

      I TOTALLY agree about her dessert concept. I tried black beans and spinach in brownies once, and I could barely force it down. Let’s hear it for butter and chocolate and sugar! 😉

  8. Hillary on May 4, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Your message at the end is an important one. I grew up in a family that praised low-fat, fake foods and, as a result, I had a pretty screwy relationship with ALL foods while I was growing up. It wasn’t until I was on my own and learning more about nutrition/fitness that I started to realize how backwards my parents’ food philosophy was at times. I never want my children to have those same fears and insecurities I had when it comes to their bodies or the foods they put in their mouths.

  9. mi-an d. on May 4, 2012 at 7:31 am

    i love me some little fishes in a tin!! love sardines too!! i saute garlic onions… then add a can of sardines, break it up, then add 2 scrambled egg, add lil bit s&p…and mix…so effen good!!! eat it some brown rice and some ketchup… or even between two pieces of toast!! try it!!

  10. Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed on May 4, 2012 at 7:37 am

    Little fishies in a can doesn’t really sound appetizing to me, but that little snack that you whipped up actually sounds good. Hmmm, maybe I’ll need to reconsider!

    Love your message at the end <3

  11. Shelly on May 4, 2012 at 8:04 am

    I used to eat sardines on a cracker spread with mayo as a kid at my grandma’s house, but now I just can’t do it. I do love anchovy paste in salad dressing- I usually do a little anchovy paste, some dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, olive oil, and maybe a little crushed garlic. So good!

  12. Katy Widrick on May 4, 2012 at 9:09 am

    YES to the HELL YES! Now that I’m pregnant, I have re-embraced full-fat food, and have never been happier. 🙂

  13. Kristina on May 4, 2012 at 9:16 am

    I love this post, but especially your last paragraph. It speaks volumes to my heart as someone who struggled forever with weight/self esteem issues. My husband and I aren’t trying yet, but when we decide to have a little one, one of my top prioritiies is to ensure my struggles with food and body image are not passed down to our kids. Life is too beautiful and wonderful to spend so much time hating on yourself!

  14. Kath on May 4, 2012 at 9:30 am

    Yay for fishies!

    You should try the smoked trout I just had from Tj’s – amazing!

  15. Nicole on May 4, 2012 at 9:31 am

    I’ve been eyeing the sardines at Trader Joes for some time. I know their really nutritious, but I can’t yet get the guts up to try them. Maybe I’ll pick up a tin of sardines and anchovies the next time I’m there and give them a whirl!

  16. updog on May 4, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Hi Gina.
    I really liked this post for a couple reasons.
    #1: Anchovies. I never met a tinned fish I didn’t like. The bonus super-shot of calcium is really great, too.
    #2: I appreciate your reflections on dieting vs. nourishing yourself, and your desire to pass a healthy relationship with eating along to your daughter. It sounds like you’re doing a great job on this front. Thanks for the post!

    • updog on May 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      Just to add to that, at the gym a little bit ago I was thinking about what you wrote and how it’s true that a lot of women and girls learn a lot about food and how to relate to it from their mothers. It reminded me that when my sisters and I were kids, mom always used to order anchovy pizza for us, because that’s the kind of pizza HER mom loved best. I bet that I wouldn’t find anchovies nearly as palatable if it weren’t for that early influence, passed down through three generations of ladies I love!

  17. Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic on May 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I love anchovies (and sardines). Have you tried the Spanish sardines in jars? Way better than the ones in tins. This anchovy mash sounds delicious, I’ll try it out this weekend!

  18. Steph @ funnygirltales on May 4, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Such beautiful words for your daughter to hear from a Mom. Having struggled in the past with disordered eating myself, I think all the time about how important it will be for my daughter (if I’m lucky enough to have a little girl one day) to know from Day 1 about having a healthy relationship with food, enjoying eating, balance and that food is fuel. You get out what you put in.

    You’ve intrigued me, I’m going to pick up some anchovies next time I’m out. And high five on the mayo bit. So necessary.

  19. Jay on May 5, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    While I see your pint and I definitely agree about how important it is for a daughter not to get food issues from her mother, I can only hope you’ll really keep that in mind, regarding ”gluten intolerance” and such a strict attitude to foods.

    • Fitnessista on May 5, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      If you read the post, then you can see that’s exactly what I was saying. I never said I was intolerant to gluten- I’m sensitive to it and don’t see the point in eating something that doesn’t make me feel well.

  20. aw on May 6, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Love love sardines, anchovies, seafood.
    My favorite way to eat sardines is :
    Mash a bit of cream cheese in them.
    Add sriracha hot chili sauce (everything tastes better with sriracha).

    OR with cilantro, scallions and lime juice if I have them on hand.

  21. Meg on May 7, 2012 at 11:10 am

    I love this post Gina 🙂 I haven’t been pregnant before, but this post still comforts me and inspires me. You are a true inspiration and I love the way you eat. I really look up to you!

    I have started eating whole eggs every day now too and I am lost without them!

  22. on May 8, 2012 at 2:55 pm 22 weeks preggo right now and that sounds insanely good. ive wanted tuna sandwiches so bad but have tried to limit my tuna intake. sardines sound great!

  23. Soniathe Mexigarian on May 8, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    i have never had anchovies or sardines :\ i think it stems from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie Michaelangelo: “And NO Anchovies!! If you put anchovies on that thing I’ll–” hehehe. one could imagine.

    tho i bought a couple cans and they are sitting on my shelf waiting to be opened. i’ll give this a try.

  24. meaghan on January 5, 2013 at 11:35 am

    i’ve been saving this post for a while now, having not had all the necessary ingredients. interestingly enough when i DID finally have them all – i’m also 16.5 weeks pregnant. and you are right. DELISH preg snack! my hot sauce smelled funny so i tossed it and used sriracha instead. mmmmmmm. thank you for this yummy snack!!

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