Snacks help bridge the gap between meals, keeping you full, satisfied, and energized as you go about your day. When you’re pregnant, snacks become particularly important to make sure you get the calories and nutrients you need to support a healthy pregnancy.
Learn all about snacks in this edition of pregnancy do’s and don’ts.
Do: Eat Balanced Snacks
How do you make a balanced snack? It’s actually pretty easy with this formula:
Plant + Protein
You need both components to craft the perfect pregnancy snack – here’s why.
Plant foods are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients (plant nutrients) that help support a healthy pregnancy. Think whole grain crackers, vegetable sticks or slices, fruit, or popcorn.
Protein helps your baby grow and develop, supports immune health, and helps you feel fuller for longer. Great options include cheese, Greek yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, nut butter, nuts, and seeds.
The combinations are endless, so let your taste buds run wild. If you’re in a snack rut, check out this blog to give you some pregnancy snack inspiration: “Healthy Pregnancy Snack Ideas.”
Don’t: Completely Ignore Your Cravings
Nobody knows exactly why pregnancy cravings occur, but they’re a common experience for many pregnant women. Chances are, the foods you crave during pregnancy aren’t the healthiest, most nutrient-dense foods – that’s okay. You can still indulge in your cravings mindfully and incorporate them into balanced snacks.
Craving jalapeno kettle chips? Pair a serving with protein-packed cottage cheese.
Nothing sounds better than fresh-baked, gooey chocolate chip cookies? Pour yourself a glass of milk to dunk them in. Milk is not only a great source of protein, but it’s also rich in calcium to keep your bones strong throughout pregnancy.
Absolutely need fries from your favorite drive-thru? Mix up a high-protein dip with Greek yogurt and a ranch seasoning packet and save the leftover dip to enjoy with some sliced veggies later.
As long as the food you crave is safe to eat during pregnancy, there’s always a balanced way to enjoy the foods that you love. Pregnancy isn’t a time for restriction – it’s about nourishing your body and your baby in a way that works for you.
Do: Follow Your Hunger Cues
While you usually don’t require extra calories during the first trimester, you need about 340 more calories during the second trimester and 450 more calories during the third trimester. Two to three balanced snacks per day are usually enough to cover your extra calorie needs, keep you energized, and nourish your little one.
But sometimes, two or three snacks don’t cut it. There may be days where you feel hungrier than usual – that’s pretty common. Your body is going through a lot of changes, and your little one is growing rapidly. So, listen to your body – it’s a good communicator. Stomach growling, low energy, irritability, shakiness, and headaches are all ways your body tells you that it needs food. If you feel any of these hunger cues, honor them and grab a snack.
Don’t: Let Your Hunger Cues Lie
Most of the time, listening to your hunger cues is the best way to make sure you’re nourishing your body (and your baby) well. But, if you’re struggling with upset stomach during pregnancy, your hunger cues may tell you that you don’t need to eat. That’s just not true. Your body still needs calories, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals to keep your baby on track.
Small, bland snacks throughout the day can help you stay nourished while combating upset stomach. Keep easy-to-digest options on hand, like saltine crackers and mild cheese, applesauce and a small handful of nuts, or pretzels and a spoonful of peanut butter.
Ginger may help alleviate tummy discomfort, so try adding ginger tea or ginger candies to your snack routine. If upset stomach continues and makes it difficult for you to get the nutrients you need, be sure to consult with your OB-GYN.
Do: Keep Grab-and-Go Snacks Handy
You’re out and about running errands and hunger suddenly hits. You dig through your bag and find nothing but spare change and a breath mint. Or you’re resting on the couch at home and your body starts sending you signals that you’re hungry, but you can’t seem to muster enough energy to prepare yourself a snack.
It’s important to keep grab-and-go snacks handy in these scenarios so you can fuel your body each time you’re hungry. Keep protein bars or trail mix in your car or bag, pre-portion your favorite snacks into zipper bags to make snack time a breeze at home, or prep a batch of energy bites (recipe below!) to pop when hunger strikes.
If you’re behind in the “Pregnancy Do’s and Don’ts” series, it’s not too late to catch up. Check out these blogs to help you feel more comfortable, confident, and safe as you navigate pregnancy: “Pregnancy Do’s and Don’ts: An Overview” and “Pregnancy Do’s and Don’ts: All About Fish.”
Lemon Blueberry Energy Bites
Yield: 10 – 1 inch energy bites
Prep Time: 5 minutes
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup cashew butter or peanut butter
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup dried blueberries, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix together. If you find the mixture is too dry, add 1 tablespoon of water.
- Let mixture chill for 10 minutes in the freezer, then roll into 10 bites.
- Store in the fridge for up to week 1 or the freezer for up to 3 months.
Serving Size: 1 energy bite, Calories: 145, Total Fat: 8 g, Saturated Fat: 2 g, Total Carbohydrate: 16 g, Dietary Fiber: 2 g, Added Sugars: 2 g, Protein: 4 g