Is Eating Biscuits During Pregnancy Safe?
- Are There Any Health Benefits of Eating Biscuits in Pregnancy
- Side Effects of Eating Biscuits During Pregnancy
- Types of Biscuits You Can Eat When Pregnant
- Types of Biscuits to Avoid While Pregnant
- Recommended Biscuit Intake During Pregnancy
- Things to Check Before Buying Biscuits During Pregnancy
- Healthy Biscuit Recipe for Pregnant Women
Craving for snacks and tasty treats is not uncommon during pregnancy, and biscuits too often make their way into your grocery list. Generally speaking, biscuits are a favourite when it comes to satisfying hunger pangs. However, not every biscuit type may be safe to snack on while you are pregnant, as your baby’s health may be at risk due to its consumption. Since the health of your unborn baby is at stake, it is best to verify facts before snacking on biscuits during pregnancy. You can prepare a mental checklist of which pregnancy biscuits are good or bad for you.
Are There Any Health Benefits of Eating Biscuits in Pregnancy
Let’s see if there are any side effects of consuming biscuits when pregnant:
1. Satisfy Cravings
Pregnancy induces cravings. The carbs and different flavours of biscuits help keep the craving of having something crunchy and sweet satisfied without going overboard on too much sweet and less nutritious choices.
2. Quick Energy Source
The calories and carbohydrates give instant energy, which may help tackle pregnancy fatigue when energy levels fluctuate.
3. Portable Snack
High-fibre and low-sugar biscuits are one of the best snacks for pregnancy when you are on the go. Whether it is office or business travel, having healthy biscuits can provide relief to busy moms to grab a bite in between meals and recharge themselves.
4. Easy on Stomach
Biscuits made with whole wheat flour and less sugar are gentle on the digestive system.
5. Nutrient Boost
Homemade biscuits or fortified biscuits come fortified with essential minerals and vitamins, like calcium and iron, making them an all-rounder in the snack option.
6. Good Fibre Source
Pregnancy often comes with issues like constipation and irregular bowel movements. Whole grain biscuits, being full of dietary fibre, help maintain bowel movements and reduce the chances of constipation.
7. Relief From Morning Sickness
Although not factual for all, it is commonly known that nibbling on whole-grain biscuits helps women with troubles like morning sickness.
Side Effects of Eating Biscuits During Pregnancy
Before consuming anything, many expecting mothers tend to scrutinise the efficacy and safety of particular products. Biscuits is one of them. Let’s discuss some side effects of consuming biscuits during pregnancy.
1. Trans Fats
Many biscuit brands come with trans fats, which are basically saturated fats (1). According to UNICEF, limiting the consumption of trans fats found in chips, pastries, and biscuits is necessary for optimal health (2).
2. Calories and Fat
3. Replace Healthy Items
Too much snacking on biscuits may replace other healthy snacking options like fruits and nuts.
4. Not Good for Diabetics
Gestational diabetes can happen during pregnancy. For those with glucose intolerance or gestational diabetes, biscuits may not be the ideal snacking option, as uncontrolled carbs can be harmful.
5. Spikes Blood Sugar
High sugar in processed biscuits may give an immediate boost to the blood sugar level in the body as the carbs get absorbed quickly.
Types of Biscuits You Can Eat When Pregnant
In order to confirm if the quality of biscuits and their ingredients are safe for you to eat, you will have to check and double-check every time you buy them. To make things simpler for you, here are a few types that can be trusted with your baby’s health and yours, too:
1. Flavoured Biscuits
Pregnant women love to pop in biscuits with lemon or ginger extracts in them. These flavours help in fighting pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness and nausea. When consumed in moderation, these flavoured biscuits prove to be quite helpful.
2. Digestive Biscuits
Biscuits that are made from whole wheat or whole grain are one of the most healthy biscuits for pregnancy due to their high dietary fibre content (4). Most pregnant women suffer from constipation. Digestive biscuits can help in addressing issues related to constipation and bowel movement. Once again, they should also be consumed in moderation. You should opt for homemade digestive biscuits made using ghee or white butter.
3. Ragi Biscuits
Ragi is packed with essential nutrients such as iron, calcium, iron, and fibre, perfect for combating iron, calcium, and mineral deficiencies in pregnant women. Ragi also has a low glycemic index (GI), making it one of the best biscuits for pregnant ladies, as it does not cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. Moreover, ragi biscuits can provide a safe and nutritious snack alternative for individuals with gluten sensitivity.
4. Oatmeal Biscuits
Oatmeal biscuits for a pregnant woman are a good option as they supplement women with fibre, iron, and folate. The complex carbohydrates in oatmeal offer sustained energy, regulating blood sugar levels and preventing sugar spikes and energy crashes throughout the day.
Types of Biscuits to Avoid While Pregnant
There are a few types of biscuits that should be completely avoided during pregnancy as they could give rise to health issues. Read on to learn more about them.
1. Sugar and Cream Biscuits
Although sugar and cream biscuits are extremely delicious, they have high quantities of cream or sugar, which should be avoided during pregnancy. These biscuits will not only cause quick and unwanted weight gain, but you will also find it difficult to lose all that weight after delivering your baby. Gestational diabetes is also a possibility if you consume too much sugar during this period. Check the labels for gluten-free biscuits if you are suffering from a gluten allergy. Commercially made biscuits often contain a high amount of gluten, which can cause an allergic reaction in your body and affect the baby too.
2. Gram Flour Biscuits
One of the most common causes of gas or flatulence during pregnancy is the consumption of chana (gram flour). So, even if they come in the form of biscuits, you should avoid them completely. Gram flour is also known to lead to heartburn in pregnant women, and therefore, you are better off away from these biscuits.
Recommended Biscuit Intake During Pregnancy
Like all other food and snacks, you should ensure that biscuits too are consumed in moderation. Check with your doctor about the number of biscuits that are safe to be eaten during the day. However, under normal circumstances, and if you do not have health complications, you may eat 2 to 3 biscuits (or less) a day if you have a sweet tooth.
Things to Check Before Buying Biscuits During Pregnancy
The first and foremost thing you must do before buying a packet of biscuits is to check the cover for the list of ingredients. If you already are in the habit of checking labels on everything you buy at the grocer, then this should help you in good stead during pregnancy. The quantity-wise list of ingredients mentioned at the back of every packet of biscuits states the percentage of ingredients used to make the biscuits. If items like wheat flour, artificial sugars or hydrogenated oils are mentioned at the top of this list, it should ring alarm bells instantly.
Hydrogenated oils are artificially produced, and coupled with trans fats, are known to cause cardiovascular diseases. Reading labels is a good habit and gives us a clear idea of all the ingredients that have gone in the making of the biscuits.
In case you still crave biscuits, you may want to try this recipe and make a batch just for yourself. Baking your own biscuits is a great way to control which ingredients enter your system and also ensure you use them in the right quantity.
Healthy Biscuit Recipe for Pregnant Women
Here are some healthy biscuit recipes during pregnancy
- 5 cups of muesli (untoasted)
- 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour
- 1/3rdcup of honey
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1 tsp vanilla essence/ extract
- 1 egg
- 5 to 7 tbsp melted unsalted butter
- A pinch of salt
- Whisk the melted butter and honey together.
- Add the whole wheat flour, muesli, spices and vanilla essence. Mix well.
- Add the egg and mix well.
- Make round balls of the biscuit mixture and flatten them before placing them on a baking tray lined with butter paper.
- Bake the biscuits in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celcius for 15 minutes.
Remember that pregnancy is a delicate phase and choosing your food wisely is the key to safe and healthy pregnancy. Biscuits can satisfy your hunger pangs if consumed sensibly and also help meet your dietary needs in certain cases.
1. Healthy Eating During Your Pregnancy; Australian Dietary Guidelines; https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/the_guidelines/n55h_healthy_eating_during_pregnancy.pdf
2. What to eat before, during and after pregnancy; UNICEF; https://www.unicef.org/rosa/stories/what-eat-during-and-after-pregnancy
3. Have a healthy diet in pregnancy; NHS; https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/have-a-healthy-diet/
4. Safe and healthy eating in pregnancy – HE1805; HealthEd; https://healthed.govt.nz/products/safe-and-healthy-eating-in-pregnancy