Prenatal nutrition experts generally advise eating two food groups at each snack, aiming for a balanced amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. While it is OK to indulge once in a while, think of a snacking as chances for healthy eating.
For a nutritionally balanced snack, try one of these vitamin- and mineral-packed ideas:
- 8 ounces low-fat plain yogurt mixed with 1/2 cup raspberries and 1 tablespoon honey (205 cals, 42 g carbs)
- 1/2 cup ice cream with 1/2 cup mixed berries (175 cals, 26 g carbs) Tip: Warm berries in a pan until they are bursting with juices and then pour over ice cream.
- Sliced oranges and strawberries (1/2 cup each) dipped in 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt (145 cals, 27 g carbs)
- 1 cup fruit salad topped with 1 ounce chopped nuts or seeds (235 cals, 27 g carbs)
- 1 tablespoon cashew butter pureed with 1 ounce crystallized ginger; spread on five whole grain crackers (280 cals, 41 g carbs) Tip: This is great for morning sickness; most women can keep down crackers and ginger helps ease nausea.
- 1/2 cup dried apricots (very sweet!) paired with 1.5 ounces cheese (275 calories, 28 g carbs) or 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt (250 calories, 45 g carbs)
Drink your way to snack satisfaction with a yummy fruit smoothie recipe from Cathe Olson, author of the The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook. Perfect for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon pick-me-up, this creamy shake supplies energy-boosting carbohydrates along with protein, calcium, fiber, and folate. Click here for the recipe.
In the mood for a heartier snack? Filling mini-meals, packed with protein and slow-burning whole grain carbohydrates, are the perfect choice for when you need to go long stretches between meals.
- Half sandwich: 1 slice whole grain bread, 2 ounces cooked chicken or turkey, and 1 slice Swiss cheese (210 calories, 15 g carbs). Tip: Add lots of vegetables or top with mustard.
- 1/2 whole grain English muffin, toasted; 2 tablespoons pizza sauce, 2 ounces low-fat mozzarella (190 cals, 17 g carbs)
- 1/2 can of tuna mixed with 2 teaspoons light mayo, spread on six whole grain crackers (205 cals, 15 g carbs)
- 4 tablespoons of hummus with 1/2 cup baby carrots, three small whole-grain bread sticks (190 cals, 25 g carbs)
- 1 slice whole-grain toast, 1 teaspoon butter/margarine; one hard boiled egg (180 cals, 13 g carbs)
- 1 slice whole-grain toast, 2 tablespoons tahini or cream cheese; one small banana (250 cals, 39 g carbs)
- 2 ounces turkey burger, 1/4 cup chopped or mashed avocado, 1/4 cup grilled onions on one slice whole-grain bread (240 cals, 32 g carbs)
Snack suggestions courtesy of Melinda Johnson, RD, and Ashlie Koff, RD.
Can snacking on cookies ever be healthy? Yes, says Olson, if you are willing to tweak a few ingredients. Her sunflower-sesame molasses cookies, made with blackstrap molasses, are a wholesome treat and provide your diet with iron and plenty of fiber. This recipe makes a big batch, so store some in the freezer for later. Get the recipe!
Need ideas for no fuss fill-me-ups that match your busy lifestyle? Try these anywhere, anytime healthy snack ideas. Bonus for working moms-to-be: most of these ingredients are easy to keep on hand in your desk or the office fridge.
Try these no-fuss snack creations that'll fit in perfectly with your busy lifestyle:
- Nutty Apples: 1 medium apple, sliced, with 1 1/2 tablespoons nut butter (190 cals, 20 g carbs)
- Cereal Break: 1 ounce chopped almonds mixed with 1/3 cup Honey Nut Cheerios; 1/2 cup milk (195 cals, 20 g carbs)
- Easy, Cheesy: 1 individual string cheese and a piece of fruit (150 cals, 20 g carbs)
- Crunchy Treats: 6 whole grain crackers with 1 tablespoon nut/seed butter (205 calories, 21 g carbs) or cream cheese (160 calories, 18 g carbs) or 1 cup cut raw vegetables with 1 tablespoon nut/seed butter (145 cals, 8 g carbs) or cream cheese (100 cals, 5 g carbs)
- Eggstra Special: 1 hard-boiled egg with 6 whole grain crackers (160 cals, 18 g carbs) or 1 slice whole grain toast (130 cals, 15 g carbs)
- Mediterranean Escape: 1/4 cup hummus, 1 cup raw vegetables, and 1/2 whole grain pita (240 cals, 32 g carbs) or 6 whole grain crackers (265 cals, 32 g carbs)
Muffins offer a filling taste of homemade goodness. This easy-to-make muffin recipe from Cathe Olson is subtly spicy in flavor and includes such pregnancy-friendly ingredients as iron-rich blackstrap molasses and calcium-filled yogurt. Bananas, almonds, and oats add potassium, heart healthy fats, fiber, and protein. Get the recipe!
Why buy expensive energy bars when it is so easy (and economical) to make your own? These chewy bars are all natural and filled with fiber and heart healthy fats. Make bars ahead of time and take one along when snacking on the run is a must! Click here to find out how!
Got a case of the munchies, Mama? Filled with fiber, our two pop-in-your mouth snacks are a nutritious alternative to potato chips and butter-drenched popcorn and still go great with at-home movie night.
Sprinkle 3 cups of air popped popcorn with 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese and salt to taste. Bonus for hungry moms-to-be: all this popcorn is only one serving! (137 cals, 19 g carbs)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Take 2 cups of caned garbonzo beans, well drained and mix with 1 tablespoon olive oil; spread on baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and paprika or chili powder to taste. Bake 30 minutes or until golden. Eat warm or at room temperature. Serves two. (286 cals, 55 g carbs per serving)
*Recipe courtesy of Cathe Olson
The perfect alternative for when you crave fried foods, our flavorful baked potato wedges are still crispy, but come without the trans fats or overabundance of sodium. Another reason why the spud makes for a sound snack: potatoes are a good source for potassium and fiber, and even contain vitamin C. Get the recipe!
"If a mom is at home and just beginning or even coming to the hospital for an induction, it is generally recommended she eat a light snack such as toast, tea, eggs, banana, or clear fluids," says Beth Iovinelli, RN, and BabyZone prenatal health expert.
As labor progresses, many women do not feel like eating and may even become nauseous as contractions grow more intense. If you do want to nibble on something, you don't need to stick to just ice chips. Some of Iovinelli's labor-ready snack solutions include broth, popsicles, lollipops, Jell-O, and beverages such as sports drinks, water or tea, and juice. Iovinelli advises against pulpy drinks and recommends diluting juices with water to cut down on stomach-irritating acids.