When hunger strikes between meals and you’re out on the go, it’s really tempting to grab a bag of chips or a candy bar. Most pregnant moms know that taking care of themselves is one of the best gifts you can give your baby, but let’s be honest: the pregnancy cravings struggle is real. If you’re not careful, lots of pregnancy snacking lead to packing on some serious poundage. And even when you are being careful and do plan ahead, the same old, same old snacks get to be . . . well . . . old.
Solution: Get creative with healthy pregnancy snacks!
The healthy pregnancy snacks below are just as quick and easy as those prepackaged options. And as a bonus, these healthy pregnancy snacks are nutrient-dense to leave you satisfied, energized, and nausea-free without overloading you on fat or calories. Plus, these easy-to-make snacks deliver the good stuff your baby-to-be needs to grow.
Apple with Greek Yogurt
An apple a day is good for everyone, including pregnant women. Apples are a great source of both insoluble fiber, which fights constipation, and soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol. All that fiber also keeps you full. Add in a protein-rich Greek yogurt for an even more satisfying snack. When buying apples, you might want to consider organic apples since the regular ones tend to have lots of pesticide residue on the skin.
- 1/2 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
- 2 tbsps Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
- 2 tbsps Hemp Seeds
- 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 Apple (sliced)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place yogurt, coconut, and hemp seeds into small separate bowls. Stir cinnamon into the hemp seeds.
- Dip each apple slice in the yogurt (coating about 3/4 of the slice) and then coat with either the coconut or cinnamon-hemp seed mixture on all sides. Transfer to the baking sheet.
- Freeze for about 10 minutes or until the yogurt has hardened (ensure the apple doesn’t freeze). Serve immediately and enjoy!
When you just need something to munch on without a lot of calories, try a cup of grape tomatoes. You can snack on an entire cup for less than 50 calories — a lot less than a handful of potato chips. Packed with vitamin C, tomatoes also deliver a big dose of lycopene, an antioxidant associated with lower rates of cancer and heart disease. Plus, tomatoes contain a fair amount of fiber, some vitamin A, and even a little folate.
Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries
When you crave something crunchy with a hint of sweetness, these homemade fries will do the trick. They’re coated in a little cinnamon and sugar instead of salt and then baked, which makes them much lower in sodium and fat than regular potato chips. Plus, you’ll reap the many health benefits of sweet potatoes, including fiber, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and B6. Here’s how I make mine . . .
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Lightly spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray.
- Spread sweet potato slices on the baking sheet and lightly sprinkle with sea salt and optional cinnamon/stevia if desired.
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes until cooked through, stirring once halfway through.
Smoothies you buy at your local store are often high in sugar and low in fruit. Whip up your own at home using nonfat Greek yogurt and your choice of fruit, and you’ll get a healthy serving of protein, calcium, and other essential nutrients. Frozen fruit will give your smoothie a thicker texture, so use fresh fruit if you like a thinner consistency. And don’t go overboard on the juice. The calories and sugar in juice — even 100 percent fruit juice — can add up quickly.
You don’t have to save oatmeal for breakfast. It’s excellent at any time of the day. Full of heart-healthy soluble fiber, both oat bran and steel-cut oatmeal, is portable and easy to make. Just add water or unsweetened almond/coconut milk and microwave. Avoid flavored instant oatmeal, which is high in sugar and may have artificial flavors and/or colors. Instead, flavor your oats with berries, which have fiber and potassium, a mineral that regulates fluid balance in the body and helps nerves and muscles work correctly. (Told you I’m a berry lover!)
Portable and high in protein, hard-cooked eggs are a great snack when you’re on the go. If you’re an egg white-only type of gal, now’s the time to eat that yolk. While the white is high in protein, the yolk is full of valuable nutrients, including choline, which plays a role in fetal brain and nervous system development, and folate, which helps prevent neural tube defects. Cook up a batch of eggs once a week so you can quickly grab one when time is short.
Dark Chocolate & Almonds
Almonds are nutritional powerhouses filled with fiber, protein, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. They’re rich in disease-fighting phytochemicals and have proper amounts of nutrients such as fiber, iron, and calcium that are especially important for pregnant women. You can eat almonds raw, but I find you can’t go wrong by adding some chocolate . . . just grab a handful when hunger/sweet tooth cravings strike.
Speaking of Greek Yogurt, it’s a GREAT healthy pregnancy snack! Rich in calcium and protein, yogurt is a nearly perfect pregnancy food. Some yogurts contain live active cultures, which are beneficial bacteria that are believed to enhance digestion, improve nutrient absorption, and boost the immune system. Choose low-fat or fat-free plain yogurt since flavored yogurts tend to be high in sugar. Stir in a little cinnamon, stevia, or even some berries for flavor.