Eating well during pregnancy can be SO daunting for so many reasons, but this list of healthy pregnancy snacks will help you nourish your body… even when you don’t feel your best. With homemade and store-bought options!
Healthy Pregnancy Snacks
One of the hardest things for so many women to handle during pregnancy is figuring out how to feel their best with the increased demands on their body. For me, this was particularly true in my most recent third pregnancy when nausea stayed with me for nearly the entire duration of growing the baby. Food wasn’t always appealing, but not eating made me feel worse. These healthy pregnancy snacks were the foods that I turned to again and again.
TIP: It can help to eat smaller meals and snacks throughout the day to avoid a completely empty stomach, which can make nausea worse.
What foods are good for pregnancy?
The answer to this may depend on which trimester that you’re in and which symptoms in particular are causing you trouble, if any! Just like when you’re not expecting, we want to eat a range of healthy foods during pregnancy including:
- Whole Grains: for long lasting energy and fiber.
- Healthy Fats: to help stabilize blood sugar and provide energy.
- Protein: to ensure your body has the fuel it needs to grow another person.
- Produce: for vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and hydration.
- Fiber: to help keep things moving along the digestive tract (which has a tendency to slow down during pregnancy).
- Water: to help you feel your best, stay hydrated, and avoid constipation.
- Iron: to help avoid iron deficiency known as anemia, which can cause fatigue and complications for the baby.
TIP: It’s important to eat all of these foods throughout the day, especially protein and fat, to help keep energy levels balanced.
Healthy Snacks for the First Trimester
During the first trimester of pregnancy, eating well can seem like climbing a mountain, what with all of the morning sickness! Here are some of my favorite bland snacks for the first trimester that still provide some nutrition. And while I know that carbs are often the only thing that’s appealing, adding in a little protein and/or fat can help you feel a little better between meals.
- Whole grain cereal with nondairy milk (banana optional!)
- Whole grain toast with scrambled eggs
- Whole grain toast with nut butter
- Whole grain toast with butter
- Whole grain crackers with nut butter and jam
- Pretzels with nut butter or cheese
- Plainer flavors of Larabar like Cashew Cookie or Apple Pie
- Dry whole grain cereal (like Kashi Heart to Heart)
- Bean and cheese burritos
- Bagel and cream cheese
- Pasta with butter and Parmesan
- Chia pudding with granola
- Avocado toast
- Simple granola bars
- Healthy Breakfast Bar
TIP: It can help to consider snacks more like mini meals and eat every 2-3 hours.
How to Choose Healthy Snacks for Pregnancy Cravings
I know that often times when a pregnancy craving strikes, you really just need to eat that food or no food at all! So I’m not going to tell you to ignore your cravings (ha! Like you could anyway!), but here are some suggestions on how to make sure that it’s not all French fries, all the time.
- Add a side salad or side of fruit to fried foods.
- Choose a whole grain version of a food for more fiber.
- Indulge in the food you really want, but pay attention while eating it so you can stop when you’re full and eat as much as you really need.
- Think about why you might want that food. I know that I often wanted Pad Thai just because it sounded better than anything else, but it’s also possible that you’re seeking comfort because you’re tired or anxious. Just pay attention to potential underlying feelings so you can deal with them too.
- When possible, try to add in a healthy fat (such as avocado, nut butter, dairy, or eggs) to help give you more energy than just carbs.
- Be sure to drink a lot of water!
TIP: It can help to try to remember that you won’t feel awful forever, and that you won’t be eating in such a potentially odd way forever either!
Pregnancy Snacks to Buy
I highly recommend keeping some healthy store-bought pregnancy snacks on hand to help you through each day and night—and to fuel you when you get starving and are out and about. These are some of my favorites (that are also great to help cope with breastfeeding hunger too!).
- Kind Protein Bars (I love the Dark Chocolate flavor)
- RX Bar Vanilla Almond Butter packets
- PB&J Larabars
- Kashi Heart to Heart cereal (pair with salted almonds or milk for more protein)
- Mesa Sunrise cereal
- Peanut Butter Pretzels
- Beanitos Nacho Cheese Chips
- Whole grain bagels with butter or cream cheese
- Pita bread with nut butter or hummus
- Pretzels and nut butter
- Cheese sticks
- Drinkable yogurt or kefir
- Whole milk yogurt (the fat will help you stay fuller a little longer) with some granola
- Roasted chickpeas
- Low Salt Triscuits
- Whole Grain Cheese Crackers
- Coconut Date Rolls
- Van’s Ancient Grain Waffles
- Dried fruit such as apricots
TIP: Don’t feel badly if your craving shift from week to week—that is normal as you progress through pregnancy!
Heartburn-Inducing Foods to Avoid in Pregnancy
If you’re like me and experience heartburn during pregnancy, know that I feel your pain! I’d never had it in my life and I was so unprepared for how unappealing it made so many foods. I learned that not only are foods I expected to be acidic, there are many I didn’t realize would be. Here’s what I tried to avoid to help keep heartburn at bay:
TIP: Talk to your doctor about heartburn relief for medication options that are safe for pregnancy.
Healthy Pregnancy Snacks with Lower Heartburn Risk
Here are some snacks I turned to during the second and third trimesters to help me avoid too much heartburn. Each person is unique, so you may need to have some trial and error as you figure out what works best for you to keep it at bay.
- Dried apples
- Apple Chips
- Freeze-Dried Blueberries
- Simple Blueberry Smoothies
- Whole grain crackers and nut butter
- PB&J Bites
- Spoonfuls of cashew butter or almond butter
- Pesto pasta
- Hard-cooked eggs
- Bland hummus with carrot sticks or cucumber slices
TIP: Carbonated water can exacerbate heartburn too, so avoid it if it seems to be making things works.