It can be difficult to find the motivation to cook when you are pregnant — the smells, colors, and textures too overwhelming for the weary and nauseous.
Yet providing your unborn baby with adequate, healthy nutrition is essential to fetal development during this critical time. Plus, let’s be honest — you’re probably always just a little hungry.
Every pregnant woman has different needs, but, in general, you should aim to eat three meals a day plus a snack or two, consuming foods that contain optimal amounts of energy as well as macro and micronutrients. Some women may choose to consume smaller, more frequent meals.
Encouraging the proper growth and development of your bun in the oven and supporting the physiological changes occurring within you will require a healthy, balanced diet.
But it can be difficult to balance cravings and aversions and also gain the proper amount of weight recommended by healthcare practitioners, not to mention avoid the adverse pregnancy outcomes from inadequate nutrition, like low birth weight and pre-term birth.
Cater to your pregnant cravings and respect your food aversions while keeping your energy levels up by snacking on foods high in nutrients your body needs including protein, calcium, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, B12, iron, and iodine. Here are the best nutritious, yummy snack ideas for all your pregnancy munchie needs.
Between pregnancy fatigue and life in general, sometimes you just want something that requires little to no prep. Try these snacks that require no actual cooking.
Peanut butter pears
- 1 pear
- 2 tsp. peanut butter
- 1 tsp. chia seeds
- Cut pear in half and core each half.
- Spoon peanut butter into each half and sprinkle chia seeds to finish.
Note: Keep the pears refrigerated for a cooler, more refreshing taste.
Fun fact: Chia seeds are a great source of fiber, which helps with constipation, and magnesium, a mineral that essential for healthy blood pressure and nerve function.
Cheese and crackers
Any kind of crackers will do, such as Triscuts, Saltines, whole grain, whole wheat, or flax crackers. Saltines are great for nausea, but they won’t keep you feeling full for long.
Cheese is a great source of calcium, phosphorus, and zinc, and its high protein and fat content will help keep you satiated between meals.
Sliced vegetables and hummus
Sliced vegetables like peppers, cucumbers, radishes, carrots, and celery are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help promote health during pregnancy.
Both veggies and hummus are high in fiber, which helps promote digestive health and feeding your gut good bacteria.
Frozen grapes and berries
Grapes and berries are full of nutrients, like vitamin C and vitamin K. They’re also high in antioxidants too! Pair these sweet treats with a source of protein and healthy fat like a handful of almonds to make it a more filling snack.
Calcium, protein, and probiotics make yogurt a winning choice. Go for unsweetened, higher-protein Greek yogurt, and consider mixing in fruit, nuts, seeds, unsweetened coconut, or granola for flavor options.
This protein- and calcium-packed option can go sweet or savory, depending on your mood. Serve cottage cheese with everything bagel seasoning, sliced tomatoes, and a few crackers. Or top whole wheat toast with a spread of cottage cheese, banana slices, and a drizzle of honey.
Feeling ready to whip up some yum in the kitchen? Try these snacks to stock your fridge for whenever hunger strikes.
Fruit & yogurt parfaits
- 6 oz. Greek yogurt
- 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats (raw)
- 1 tsp. chia seeds
- 2 tbsp. milk, any kind
- 1 cup frozen mixed fruit and berries
- Stir together yogurt, oats, chia seeds, and milk in a bowl.
- Put half inside a wide-mouth mason jar or container and then add half of the frozen fruit and berries.
- Put in remaining yogurt and berries.
- Refrigerate at least overnight and up to 3 days.
Hard boiled eggs
Eggs are rich sources of protein, healthy fats, selenium, vitamins D, B-6, and B-12, and minerals such as zinc, iron, and selenium.
Chicken breast cubes
Cook up some chicken to provide a few days’ worth of snack possibilities. Pair with tomatoes, lettuce, and tzatziki in a bowl, combine with black beans and cheese or a tortilla for a quesadilla, or just pair with some nuts and fruit for a quick bite.
Veggies and dip
Chop up some veggies of your choice and eat with a healthy dip. A few things to try:
- sliced peppers
- snow peas
- blanched asparagus
- cherry tomatoes
Pair up the veggies with a sweet or savory blend of beans, yogurt, avocado or more. Find some yummy dip inspiration here.
Whether you’re running errands or running after a toddler, it’s good to have simple options on hand.
Apple slices and cheese
Apples are a great source of vitamin C, fiber, and polyphenols. They provide many other health benefits as well. Balance the sweet with a slice of cheese.
Pumpkin seeds are a protein-packed snacking choice that can be enjoyed on-the-go. Pumpkin seeds are packed with minerals like magnesium, potassium, zinc, and manganese.
Carrot are a good source of beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. Pair baby carrots with hummus, guacamole, or Greek yogurt dip for a filling snack option.
Trail mix is a perfect on-the-go snack that is versatile and filling. Try combining your favorite nuts and seeds with unsweetened coconut and dried fruit.
Nutrient dense and high in protein, this snack is already portioned and ready to enjoy.
If you’re among those dealing with morning sickness, you may struggle with finding things that sound appetizing. Eating smaller amounts more frequently and staying hydrated may help relieve nausea. You can try the following snacks for additional benefits.
Ginger has long been used for the treatment of nausea, as well as arthritis, migraines, and hypertension. So if you’re feeling nauseous, try having some ginger chews, ginger snaps, ginger dressing over some lettuce, ginger tea … you get the idea.
Saltines, whole grain breads, and pretzels
These options are crunchy, have no strong odor and may help settle your queasy tummy in no time. Eat these slowly, because you don’t want to overwork your already exhausted and upset stomach.
Heartburn can strike at any time, but tends to increase as you get farther along in your pregnancy. If you have prior experience with heartburn you may know what makes it worse — acidic, spicy, fried, and fatty foods — but the following snacks might offer some relief.
- 1 (12-oz.) package frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
- Rinse the edamame in a colander under cold water to thaw. Drain.
- Spread the edamame beans across a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil.
- Sprinkle cheese over the top and season with salt and pepper.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is crispy and golden (about 15 minutes).
Note: Edamame is a source of soy protein and is rich in healthy fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin K.
Sunflower seeds are high in vitamin E, an antioxidant that may help soothe the burn. Some
A high-protein oatmeal and berry smoothie like this one can offer a solid nutritional boost while also delivering soothing bananas and oats.
Pregnant people with gestational diabetes need to be extra mindful of choosing foods that optimize blood sugar control. Foods that can help regulate blood sugar include snacks that are high in protein and fiber.
Foods and beverages high in added sugars like candy and soda should be avoided whenever possible to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Crunchy roasted chickpeas
- 1 15-oz. can of chickpeas
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 to 1 tbsp. olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C) and lightly spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- Rinse and thoroughly dry the chickpeas.
- In a small bowl, mix together cumin, paprika, garlic powder, sea salt, onion powder, and pepper. Set aside.
- Bake dried chickpeas in the preheated oven on prepared baking sheet for 15 minutes.
- Remove the chickpeas from the oven and drizzle 1/2 tbsp. olive oil over the chickpeas, stirring until evenly coated.
- Add spices to chickpeas and stir until evenly coated.
- Bake for 10 more minutes, then stir.
- Return stirred chickpeas to the oven and bake them for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until desired crispiness is achieved.
- Turn off oven and crack the door to let chickpeas cool until they’ve achieved maximum crispiness.
Enjoy chickpeas on their own or toss them over a salad of mixed greens and grilled shrimp for a light, protein-rich meal.
Fresh fruit (plus protein!)
Satisfy your sweet cravings with fresh fruits paired with a protein to optimize blood sugar control. Try a few banana slices topped with peanut butter or berries atop Greek yogurt.
Avocados are high in fiber and magnesium, both of which can help promote blood sugar control. Stuff a half of an avocado with protein-packed tuna for a super satisfying snack.
Although nuts are high in calories, they’re loaded with healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. However, they’re easy to overeat, so it’s best to limit your nighttime snack to a small handful of nuts or about 1/4 cup.
Soup or oatmeal
A warm midnight snack will help you get to sleep in no time. Heat up a bowl of low-sodium soup, or make a bowl of oatmeal topped with fresh fruit for a snack rich in fiber and protein that will keep you full until morning.
If you’re craving something sweet, skip the ice cream and indulge in some melon. Watermelon contains powerful antioxidants like lycopene and beta-carotene, as well as vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and potassium.
If you want to get creative, blend some watermelon with a splash of lime and freeze in a mold for a healthy pop.
The quality of your diet during pregnancy has a profound influence on the outcome of your little one’s health, as well as your own health.
Snacks provide a nutritional insurance plan to keep your body stocked with the key nutrients necessary in your baby’s development, keep your mind and body fueled longer, prevent preterm birth, and stave off nausea, headaches, and irritability.
Just remember that no matter what you are craving, that your little one eats what you eat. Snack smart and enjoy every delicious moment of your pregnancy journey.