Looking for some healthy pregnancy snacks? Or just healthy snacks in general? You've come to the right place! I think that any person who has ever been pregnant can agree that pregnancy hunger is not something to mess with!
Increased hunger is something that I've encountered for most of my pregnancy, especially during the third trimester. There are so many days that I eat a decent sized meal, and am still starving after. I eat snacks daily, sometimes 3-4 times a day in addition to my normal meals.
One of my priorities during this pregnancy is to eat as healthy as possible to provide my baby with as many nutrients and vitamins that I can while in the womb. I'll admit I'm definitely not perfect (I've enjoyed some extra sweet treats here & there). But, I still like to try to eat healthy foods and healthy snacks.
Tips to Make It Easier to Eat Healthy When Pregnant
Eating healthy when you are pregnant is hard! There are often so many obstacles: you don't feel well, it's hard to move in the third trimester, hormones are causing specific cravings. If you are even taking time to research a healthy pregnancy snack, I applaud you for taking the first step!
Don't be too hard on yourself if every day is not perfect. Trust me, you've got plenty of opportunities to eat healthy, just focus on the next day and how you can improve.
Here's A Few Tips To Make it Easier to Eat Healthy When Pregnant
- Purchase healthy snacks ahead of time and keep them in the cabinet/fridge where you can see them. I've found it's a lot easier to eat healthy when I open my fridge or pantry and see the healthy options sitting right there in front of me. If I open the cabinet and all I see are cookies and chips, you can guess what I'm probably going to eat first. ( I probably will not go digging for an apple at that point!)
- Have a game plan: this has been huge for me. I think about what healthy snack I'm going to eat before going into the kitchen and mindlessly grabbing the first thing I see.
- Allow yourself some treats. Craving some chips or a cookie? Eat it! Just keep in mind the portion control and try to pair it with something healthy. It's better to eat 1-2 cookies than later eat an entire pan of cookies.
What I Look For When Choosing Healthy Pregnancy Snacks
There are many things I look for when trying to decide on healthy pregnancy snacks, here's a few key points.
Please note: this is not intended as medical or nutritional advice, as everyone's pregnancy is different and everyone has different nutritional needs. This is just what has worked for me. Always consult your doctor and registered dietitian for individualized information.
- Protein: I look for options that include some form of protein. The protein helps me feel full for a longer period of time. Also, when I pair protein with a food that has carbohydrates or sugar in it, as it can have positive effects on your blood sugar.
- Fiber is your friend: since constipation is very common in pregnancy, I like to get as much fiber as possible in my diet. Not all of my snacks have fiber, but if they do, it's an extra bonus!
- Limit Empty Calories: I try to find something that does not have a lot of empty calories. Basically, I try to get the best bang for my buck. Empty calories are foods that don't have a whole lot of vitamins/minerals. For example, M&M's (which are delicious) don't provide a lot of nutritious ingredients for the amount of calories they contain.
Healthy and Easy Pregnancy Snacks
Here are 20 of my favorite healthy pregnancy snacks that I've been eating, especially during third trimester. Some of these are healthier than others, but I try to eat a variety of foods to help get in as many different vitamins and nutritional components as possible.
- Apple Slices & Peanut Butter
I love this combination because the apples are a good source of carbohydrate and they also provide fiber (eat the peel!). The peanut butter provides healthy fat and a small amount of protein (7 grams of protein per 2 tablespoon of peanut butter).
- Greek Yogurt topped with Cinnamon and Granola
Greek yogurt is a great source of protein. Choose a low fat, low sugar option (I love the Chobani plain Greek yogurt). The granola provides fiber and healthy carbs from the oatmeal. I usually eat 1 cup of Greek yogurt with ¼ cup of Granola and some cinnamon sprinkled on top for extra flavor.
- Cheese Stick & A Handful of Whole Grain Crackers
String cheese contains 7 grams of protein per serving and 20% of your daily calcium needs. Pair this with a handful of whole grain crackers, such as Triscuits.
- Loaded Quesadilla
Fill a whole wheat tortilla with diced veggies ( I love using peppers, onions & mushrooms). Add in some leftover cooked chicken and cheese. Cook & dip in salsa or guacamole.
- Apple Slices with Healthy Apple Dip
This is a good source of fiber, protein and carbs.
- Hard Boiled Eggs & Whole Wheat Crackers
Egg yolks contain a nutrient called Choline, which can be beneficial to pregnant women. I like to eat 2 eggs with yolks, and 2 egg whites, plus some whole wheat crackers. This provides a good source of protein and carbs.
- Smashed Avocado on Whole Wheat Bread with a Cheese Stick
The avocado provides a healthy fat source, the cheese stick is a good source of calcium/protein and the whole wheat bread provides fiber & complex carbohydrates.
- Greek Yogurt Cheesecake with Fresh Strawberries
Combine ½ cup of low fat Greek yogurt with 2 tablespoon of cheesecake pudding mix. Top it with a ½ cup of strawberries for a "mock healthy cheesecake". This option is high in protein. It does have some sugars, so watch portions!
- Whole Grain Cereal & Skim Milk
Look for a whole grain cereal that is low in added sugar. Eat it with a cup of milk which provides an additional 9 grams of protein.
- Hummus with Carrots, Celery or Peppers. Cheese Sick on the Side.
This is an easy way to eat some extra veggies! Pair with a cheese stick for extra protein.
- Healthy Smoothie or Smoothie Bowl
Combine milk, spinach, frozen fruit and peanut butter. This is a great way to get some extra calcium. Check out this delicious smoothie bowl recipe!
- Peanut Butter with Carrots or Celery
Another excellent way to eat your veggies! The peanut butter provides healthy fats and protein.
- Cottage Cheese and Fruit
Cottage cheese is an good protein source. Sometimes cottage cheese can be high in sodium, so look for a low-sodium option if that is of concern.
- Homemade Trail Mix
Combine almonds, walnuts, dried craisins, pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips. This is a great way to sneak in some healthy fats and also a good way to satisfy a chocolate craving.
- Microwaved Sweet Potato topped with Peanut Butter and Cinnamon
The sweet potato is a good source of vitamin A and fiber (eat the skin!)
- Overnight Oatmeal
Look for an overnight oatmeal recipe that has Greek yogurt to help add extra protein. Here's a recipe for protein overnight oatmeal.
- Dates Stuffed with Peanut Butter
This is a sweet treat that can be eaten to satisfy your sweet tooth.
- Protein Pudding
Chia seeds combined with almond milk and protein powder (make sure your protein powder is approved by your doctor). This combination provides and excellent source of protein and fiber.
- ½ of a Sandwich:
Who says you can't eat a sandwich for snack? Combine chicken breast (reheat to 165F if leftover) whole wheat bread, lettuce and mustard.
- Mock Apple Pie & Cheese stick
Slice an apple, top with cinnamon and cook in the microwave until soft. Pair with a cheese stick or handful of almonds.
- Quinoa Pizza Bites
Craving pizza? Try these quinoa bites instead. This recipe is a "healthy" way to eat pizza! The quinoa is a whole grain and a healthy source of fiber.
Do you have a favorite pregnancy snack? Let me know in the comments--I'd love to hear from you!