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A proper diet for a pregnant woman includes foods which contain just the right amount of nutrients and vitamins, which are necessary for a healthy and sound pregnancy. Therefore, knowing and understanding the right foods to eat is imperative through your pregnancy journey. Many expectant mothers somehow manage to consume healthy meals, but when it comes to snacking, they might end up being confused with what they should or should not snack on. In this article, we shall share some healthy pregnancy snacks you can have in measured quantities each time you crave for a little something in between meals.
What Makes a Good Pregnancy Snack?
In addition to your main meals in a day, snacking on the right food in between will help you meet your required calories and nutrients and keep hunger 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 nutrient-dense and provide you with all the vitamins and minerals needed for your growing baby.
Healthy Snacks to Eat During the First Trimester
An apple is one of the best healthy pregnancy snacks you can have. Apples can be carried along with you when you are out and about and can be a quick snack when you are super busy. Remember to wash and peel the skin though before eating them as they may have pesticides and wax coating that could cause health issues to you or your baby. Snacking on apples is one of the healthiest options not just for pregnant women but for everyone in general. Apples are good sources 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 upset stomach, and therefore, are considered ideal for snacking in between meals during the first trimester. Bananas are highly recommended to those suffering from morning sickness. Besides, they do not need any preparation as they can be just peeled and eaten. Packed with carbohydrates, fibre and antioxidants, the fruit is also a great source of potassium. Bananas can also help reduce leg cramping and swelling, and also help prevent anaemia.
4. Dry Wholegrain Toast With Choice Topping
Wholegrain toasts are easily available and can be eaten as they are, or can be paired with a choice of 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 snack 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. Foods, such as whole-wheat bread, brown rice, beans, and lentils aid in controlling the sugar level. 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. Jowar Methi Roti
Some recipes can be combined with the meals or had as snacks, too. Jowar methi roti is one of them. It can be enjoyed with some curd, ketchup or mint-coriander chutney. One medium-sized jowar methi roti can provide a good dose of protein, carbs fibre, and essential vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B3, Vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, etc. It is best for an instant boost of energy in between meals.
3. Dried Fruits and Nuts
Dried 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. Therefore appropriate portions of raisins, dried cherries, walnuts, almonds, dried cranberries, and dried peaches can be kept handy to much on when you get a little hungry. They provide nutrients, such as magnesium, iron, fibre, protein, vitamins, etc. Do not forget walnuts as they are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Having said that, always avoid the nuts you are allergic to; consult a nutritionist who can advise a nutritious alternative to those foods.
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. Stir-Fried Vegetables
An assortment of vegetables including cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, and sweet corn, stir-fried in some coconut or olive oil with some mild spices, such as turmeric and salt, 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.
Healthy Snacks to Eat During 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, making it a nutritious addition to your snacks.
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 salmon 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. Roasted Makhana
A small bowl of roasted makhana or fox nuts is a great snack for pregnant women as it is a good way to provide your body with calcium, iron, manganese, potassium, amino acids, phosphorous, etc. It can help control blood pressure, excessive weight gain, blood sugar, and also helps prevent insomnia. It is great for foetal development, too, and provides just the right amount of energy you will need during pregnancy.
5. Grilled Paneer Sandwich
A grilled paneer sandwich is another good snacking option for pregnant women. It ensures you get the protein along with other nutrients you need in this trimester. Ensure you grill it properly. You may also add mild spices including, turmeric and salt, to make it tastier. When paired with whole-wheat bread and some vegetables, it can provide you with a decent dose of fibre, carbs, vitamins and minerals.
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 include these healthy snacks, don’t forget to consult your doctor.