Having snacks or mini-meals throughout the day can be healthy, and it is an easy way to get essential nutrients, especially when you are pregnant. Eating snacks or noshing on small bites is a lot easier when you are fighting stomach issues such as nausea, food aversions, and food cravings in the early weeks of pregnancy. In addition to that, eating healthy snacks is also a great way to get nourishment in pregnancy when you feel like you can’t eat another bite after a few forkfuls.
Pregnancy is a great excuse to eat extra calories. However, it is more crucial than ever to utilize those extra calories to fill your body with essential nutrients that support the development of your baby. Some of these essential nutrients include folate, protein, vitamin D, calcium. DHA, iron, and iodine. Therefore, you should not use snack time as an excuse to eat a pint of ice cream or a large bag of chips. Keep in mind that your baby eats everything that you eat.
To keep your energy full in between meals and provide your baby an extra dose of nutrition, you need snacks that are delicious, healthy, and filling. If you are looking for ideas, you’re in the right place. Read on as we’re giving you healthy snacks for expectant mothers.
Nutrition is Important
Eating a balanced diet throughout pregnancy has been related to healthy cognitive growth and birth mass, as well as lowering the chance of several birth abnormalities.
A healthy diet will also lower your chances of developing anemia and other uncomfortable pregnancy signs like exhaustion and morning nausea.
Healthy Dry Snacks
Dry snacks are convenient, and they are perfect for getting more fiber in your diet to prevent constipation during pregnancy. These snacks can also help you increase your intake of B vitamins and protein. You can also take them with you anywhere, and they are easy to eat when you are nauseous. Here are some healthy dry snacks that are perfect for expectant mothers:
1. Granola Bars
Eating granola bars is an easy and convenient way to combat hunger. Aside from that, it can also provide you with hearty, fiber-rich oats. There are many different kinds of granola bars out there that you can buy. They can be sweet as desserts, too. But it is important to pick those that have less than 10 grams of sugar for healthy snacking.
2. Air-popped Popcorn
Popcorn is also a healthy snack for expectant mothers as it is rich in fiber. It is better that you look for air-popped options and add your own seasonings, such as a sprinkle of cinnamon, some roasted sunflower seeds, or Parmesan cheese.
3. Trail Mix
Trail mixes usually contain nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. This combo is rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats, which can keep you energized for hours. It is better to choose trail mixes that have only one fun mix-in, such as dark chocolates. Also, you need to limit your portion to just ½ cup.
4. Fresh Fruit with Nut Butter
You can choose fruits that can sit at room temperatures, such as bananas, apples, and oranges. You can also eat them with nut butter as it adds protein and healthy fats, which can keep you full and satisfied longer. If you are going somewhere, you can bring some single-serving nut butter packets that you can store in your bag.
5. Whole Grain Pretzels
Pretzels are also delicious snacks. Make sure that you are getting whole-grain pretzels by checking the label. If the first ingredient listed on the label contains the word “whole,” like whole oats or whole wheat, then that is a good choice.
Healthy Sweet Snacks
When you are pregnant, it is fine to treat yourself to some sweets occasionally. However, if your sweet tooth tends to rear its head regularly, then here are some healthy and satisfying options for you:
1. Dark Chocolate
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Try to find chocolates that contain 70 to 85 percent cocoa. It’s because the higher the cocoa content, the more nutrients the chocolate will have, including magnesium and iron. It also has less added sugar. However, you should also limit yourself to a one-ounce square of dark chocolate.
2. Frozen Grapes
If you are not hungry, but craving something sweet, then frozen grapes are great for you. These are refreshing treats that are also packed with vitamins. However, they are not filling on their own as they do not contain any fat or protein.
3. Medjool Dates and Almond Butter
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Dates are like natural candies due to their sweet and sticky characteristics. You can add an extra layer of deliciousness and make them more filling by dipping them into protein-packed almond butter.
4. Nutty Banana Ice Cream
If you are craving ice cream, you can make your own healthy version at home. You can process a chopped and frozen banana in the food processor until it is smooth to make some creamy and naturally sweet ice cream. You can also top it with chopped walnuts and a cherry for a delicious treat.
5. Toast with Nut Butter and Chocolate Chips
Get a slice of whole-grain toast and slather a tablespoon of almond or peanut butter on it. You can then top it off with some mini dark chocolate chips to make it a sweeter snack.
Healthy Protein Snacks
Protein is essential for the growth and development of your baby. In addition to that, it can also help in keeping your blood sugar levels stable, keeping you fueled for a longer period. This can also prevent low blood sugar symptoms, such as nausea, irritability, and headaches. Here are some healthy protein snacks for expectant mothers:
1. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Eggs are great snacks for expectant mothers as they are full of protein and also a good source of vitamin D, which is essential for your baby’s teeth and bones.
2. Roasted Chickpeas
These are crunchy and savory snacks like chips but healthier. Roasted chickpeas are rich in protein, fiber, and iron. You can make your own by baking canned chickpeas in olive oil and your favorite seasoning. You can also create a snack plate of roasted chickpeas with cherry tomatoes and some feta cheese.
3. Whole Wheat Crackers and Hummus Dip
You can get protein and healthy fats from hummus and wholesome carbs from the crackers. You also have the option to add some sliced raw veggies and some olives for a bigger appetite.
Why Do You Need Protein During Pregnancy?
Protein is essential for the healthy development of a baby’s organs as well as cells, along with the brain. It also aids in the formation of breast and uterine tissue during pregnancy.
It even helps to increase your blood flow, enabling more plasma to be transferred to your kid.
Throughout each stage of pregnancy, the protein requirements grow. According to studies, protein consumption throughout pregnancy should be greater than the existing guidelines. It’s time to boost the ante on your shrimp fajitas, hog stews, jerk poultry, and fish teriyaki.
Protein is essential throughout pregnancy since it enables your baby to thrive properly while also helping to other critical developmental areas, such as:
- Tissue growth and healing, both new and damaged.
- They are creating antibodies for innate immunity.
- Producing hormones and enzymes
- Assisting muscles in functioning appropriately.
- They are carrying oxygen in their bloodstream.
Protein’s Benefits During Pregnancy
Additional vitamins and minerals:
Protein-rich meals are organically abundant in a number of nutrients that are required in greater quantities throughout pregnancy. Achieving the protein requirements implies you’re also able to achieve your vitamin and mineral requirements through eating.
Swelling/fluid absorption is reduced:
Decreased protein (or antigen) concentrations in your blood might result in decreased plasma osmolality (a measurement of the viscosity of your blood). This reduced osmolality causes liquids to “leak” out of the vascular system and into surrounding tissues, a condition known as edema.
Promotes collagen output:
Collagen, essentially the “adhesive” that keeps your connective tissue intact, is an essential component of your developing uterus as well as other organs.
Encourages optimal weight gain:
Protein is perhaps the most nutritious nutrient, which indicates it fills you up and keeps urges and overeating at bay. It also promotes a balanced glycemic reflex, which is essential for controlling blood sugar as well as weight gain throughout pregnancy.
It is essential to get 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily for you and your baby to have strong bones and teeth. Most of the time, you won’t meet these needs at mealtime. Therefore, eating snacks that are rich in calcium is also essential. Here are some options:
1. Fruit Smoothie with Milk
You can make smoothies using simple ingredients like banana, almond butter, and milk. If you are looking for more flavors, you can also try mango and pineapple, berries and peanut butter, or frozen cherries and cocoa powder.
2. String Cheese
String cheese is a great on-the-go snack. One string cheese can provide you with around 200 milligrams of calcium. If you want a more filling option, you can also pair string cheese with whole-grain crackers and a whole wheat tortilla.
3. Whole Grain Cereal and Low-Fat Milk
In one cup of low-fat milk, you can get 300 milligrams of calcium and 8 grams of protein. When
you pair it with whole-grain cereals, you can turn it into a filling snack. When choosing cereal, pick one that has less than 10 grams of sugar and around 3 grams of fiber for each serving.
4. Yogurt with Fruit
Yogurt is rich in calcium and protein. It also contains probiotics that could protect against pregnancy-related constipation. To avoid added sugar, go for plain yogurt. To add some sweetness, you can include some fresh fruit like berries, diced apples, and chopped mangoes.
Why Is Calcium Necessary During Pregnancy?
Calcium aids in the formation of your baby’s bones and controls the fluid balance in your body. Isn’t it helpful for the body?
Pregnant women require 1,000 mg of calcium per day, ideally in two 500 mg doses. You will most likely want more calcium to enhance your normal prenatal supplements.
Calcium is an essential vitamin for the human body. You require extra calcium during pregnancy for your own health as well as the wellness and growth of the baby developing within you.
Teenage mothers necessitate a bit more. They require enough to preserve their bones and calcium deposits in their own bodies while also aiding their baby’s development. As a result, authorities advise pregnant teenagers aged 18 and younger to consume at least 300mg of calcium every day.
The Advantages of Calcium in Pregnancy
- Strengthen your teeth and bones.
- Develop a strong heart, neurons, as well as muscles.
- Create a regular cardiac beat.
- Enhance blood clotting ability
These are some of the healthy snacks for expectant mothers that we can recommend. Always remember that the best pregnancy snacks are nutrient-dense that will keep you energized and give you strength while providing you and your baby with much-needed vitamins and minerals. Always stick to wholesome options and healthy meals instead of processed snack foods. We hope that this helped you get some ideas on what snacks are best for pregnant women.