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A good diet for a pregnant woman consists of the right amount of nutrients and vitamins, which are extremely important for a healthy and sound pregnancy. Therefore, knowing and understanding the right food to eat is imperative through your pregnancy journey.
What Makes a Good Pregnancy Snack
In addition to your main meals in a day, snacking in between with the right food will help you meet your required calories and nutrients and keep the empty calories away. Junk food is a no-no, especially during pregnancy. They may please your taste buds but will not help your growing baby in any way. Healthy snacks in pregnancy should be nutrition dense and provide you with all the vitamins and minerals needed for your growing baby.
Healthy Snacks During Pregnancy – First Trimester
Apples are one of the best healthy pregnancy snacks. Apples can be eaten as they are and can be carried along with you when you are out and about. Snacking on apples is one of the healthiest options not just for pregnant women but for everyone in general. Apples are an extremely good source of fibre, which is an important requirement for a pregnant woman. Apples also provide you with a good dose of vitamins and the much-needed antioxidants.
Yoghurt is a good pregnancy snack as it contains good bacteria, which is specifically important if you are going through spells of morning sickness. The probiotics from the yoghurt help maintain a robust immune system. Being an excellent source of calcium, it aids in strengthening the bones. It also contains iodine which is especially important throughout your pregnancy to support the growth of your baby.
Bananas are gentle on an uncomfortable stomach and are therefore considered one of the ideal snacks for the first trimester, especially for those who suffer from morning sickness. Besides, they do not need any preparation as they can be just peeled and eaten. Packed with carbohydrates, fibre, and antioxidants, they are also a great source of potassium. Bananas are popular among pregnant women as a snacking choice as they help reduce leg cramp and swelling as well as help prevent anaemia.
4. Dry Wholegrain Toast With Choice Topping
Wholegrain toasts are easily available and can be eaten as they are or paired with choice toppings. Their vitamin B content is known to help with queasiness caused by pregnancy. Dry toast can be eaten with a wide variety of toppings like strawberries, avocados, tomatoes, or eggs, making it a great way to meet your requirements of other nutrients and minerals.
5. Scrambled or Boiled Eggs
Eggs are another great source of iodine, protein, and iron and are a good substitute for meat. Consuming a sufficient amount of iron is extremely important during pregnancy as it not only fights anaemia but ensures that the foetus gets the required oxygen. Eggs also provide vitamin A and vitamin D besides a whole load of protein. Eggs, however, need to be cooked or boiled thoroughly to kill all bacteria before consumption.
Healthy Snacks to Eat During the Second Trimester
1. Whole Wheat Bread Cheese Sandwich
As you approach the second trimester, proper management of blood sugar becomes mandatory as the body becomes more insulin resistant. Whole grains such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, beans, and lentils aid in keeping your sugar level in check. Snacking on a whole wheat bread cheese sandwich will give you a good dose of calcium besides the high nutrition and fibre. However, opt for safe cheeses and dairy products to prevent any kind of infection. Hard cheeses, as opposed to soft and blue-veined cheeses, are generally considered safe and good for consumption during pregnancy.
2. Watermelon Juice
Since the water content in watermelon is extremely high, snacking on it not only keeps your body hydrated but provides you with a good amount of potassium. Consuming potassium-rich food is important as a lack of potassium may hamper foetal development. Watermelon also helps reduce heartburn as well as swelling that is common during the second trimester. You may also add a dash of lime to your watermelon juice for a more flavourful taste.
3. Dried Fruits and Nuts
Dried fruits as well as portable fresh fruits and nuts are some of the healthiest pregnancy snacks and should be your main snacking choices as they can be easily carried along as you go about your work. Add raisins, cherries, walnut, almond, cranberries, and peaches to your choices of dried fruits and nuts. Raisins may not look quite appealing but are a great source of magnesium, iron, and vitamins. Walnuts are also a good source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids and are quite high in fibre.
4. Fruit Salad with Yoghurt
Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants and other vital vitamins, and therefore, having them as one of your snacking choices is essential during pregnancy. Have a bowl of mixed fruits like mango, pear, apple, banana, pomegranate, and avocado along with yoghurt. This combination is not only healthy but extremely good to taste. Avocados are rich in magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and fibre. Vitamin C found in fresh fruits is important for the development of the placenta. Yoghurt is easy on the stomach and is a terrific source of calcium.
5. Vegetable Salad with Coconut or Olive Oil Dressing
An assortment of vegetables including cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, and sweet corn, along with a dash of coconut or olive oil dressing, is an excellent inclusion in your snacking choices during the second and third trimesters. Green vegetables are a good source of fibre as well as iron. Regularly snacking on green salads will help combat constipation, which often becomes a problem during pregnancy. The fat from the oil not only provides energy but also aids in the development and growth of your baby’s brain.
Pregnancy Healthy Snacks for the Third Trimester
1. Protein-Packed Chicken Salad
A protein-packed chicken salad tossed with a bunch of vegetables is an ideal snack for your third trimester. Protein is essential for the growth and development of your baby’s body throughout your pregnancy journey, so it is particularly important to have a protein-rich diet during the second and third trimesters when your baby is growing relatively fast.
2. Sugar-Free Muesli with Fruits Toppings
Muesli, which is an extremely good source of fibre, vitamins, and protein, is a great snacking choice during pregnancy. You can top it with fresh fruits like kiwis, bananas, or mangoes according to your taste. Mangoes are not just tasty but contain beneficial nutrients like vitamin c and folate and are a good addition to your snacking choice.
3. Salmon Sandwich
It is during the third trimester that your baby’s brain actively develops. Salmon is a good source of omega-3 fatty acid, which helps in the growth and development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. Indulge in a well-grilled salmon sandwich at least once a week to meet your omega 3 fatty acid requirements. You may include your choice of vegetables to add fibre to your snack. Note that salmons should be thoroughly cooked to kill parasites and bacteria and consumed in limited amounts to rule out intake of excess mercury which may hamper the growth of the baby.
4. Ripe Papaya
Ripe papayas are a great source of vitamin C, fibre, potassium, and folic acid. They also help in preventing constipation and heartburn that are common during the third trimester. Unripe papayas, however, should not be eaten as they contain pepsin, an enzyme that can induce contraction of the uterus and early labour. Papayas should be consumed in moderate amounts.
5. Green Smoothies
Green smoothies are a terrific source of fibre, calcium, vitamins, magnesium, and potassium. Blend a bunch of spinach with water or, if you prefer, coconut water and add other ingredients like mint and ginger to enhance the taste. You can also add a variety of fruits like pineapple, mango, orange or banana to give a different twist to the smoothie.
Eating the right snacks in the right quantity can satisfy those pregnancy cravings while proving beneficial for both the mother and the baby. However, before you stack up on these healthy snacks, don’t forget to consult your doctor.