Healthy Snack Ideas for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Moms
When you're pregnant or nursing, you're eating nutrients for two. Your baby relies on what you eat for proper growth and development, so you need to consume more of certain nutrients. A healthy diet is essential. Snacks can be a great way to get needed nutrition and extra calories. Here are some nutritious snack options that are good for both you and your baby:
1. Mini Nicoise
Place a serving of white (albacore) tuna on a bed of leafy greens surrounded by cherry tomatoes and black olives. Enjoy it plain, or drizzle a tiny amount of olive oil on the tuna. This hearty snack serves up a dose of omega-3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). DHA is important for a baby’s growth and development. Canned tuna is also a good source of iron, a mineral which is essential for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Although this tasty snack is nutritious, you should only eat 6 ounces of tuna per week to reduce your exposure to mercury in fish.
2. Cheese and Crackers
Slice up 3 ounces of Parmesan, cheddar or another hard cheese. Arrange it on 100-percent whole-wheat crackers with a handful of berries. Fruit and whole grains are a great source of fiber, which can help provide long-lasting energy (a hot commodity for new and expectant moms). Plus, the cheese provides calcium, a mineral that is used to build your baby’s bones and teeth.
3. Trail Mix
New moms are always running around. Prepare your own healthy trail mix that you can eat on the go. Start with a whole-grain cereal. Add a handful of unsweetened dried fruit. Finish with a tablespoon of nuts or seeds for protein, fiber and heart-healthy fats, including plant-based omega-3s. If you're always on the run, make a large batch of this tasty trail mix ahead of time. Then divide it into bags, so you're stocked for the week.
4. Stuffed Cantaloupe
Use one-half of a cantaloupe as a bowl for reduced-fat, plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese, and eat it with a serrated spoon, taking a chunk of cantaloupe with each bite. This member of the melon family is a good source of vitamin C, which your body needs slightly more of while you're pregnant and nursing. Greek yogurt and cottage cheese supply protein and calcium.
5. Hardboiled Egg with Carrot Sticks
A hardboiled egg is a great protein-packed snack. Be sure to eat the yolk, as it’s rich in choline, a nutrient that plays a role in early brain development. Hard-boiled eggs covered in the fridge can last for up to one week, so you can make a bunch to have on stand-by. Enjoy with carrot sticks for vitamin A, which helps develop a baby's heart, eyes and immune system.
6. Yogurt Parfait
Layer a 6-ounce cup of plain Greek yogurt with ½ cup of fresh fruit. Top it off with a sprinkle of low-fat granola. This scrumptious snack is rich in protein and calcium.
7. Hummus Dippers
Place 3 ounces of hummus in a small bowl. Surround with raw bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, carrots and other veggies to dip. Try to mix as many colors on the plate as you can. Not only will this make the plate look appetizing, but it will also provide a variety of nutrients. The garbanzo beans (chickpeas) in hummus are a great plant-based protein and also contain iron and folate, which are important for baby’s development.
8. Nut Butter and Banana
Peel a banana and slather it with nut butter. This snack is portable, filling and nutritious. Bananas contain folate, while nut butters provide protein, fiber and healthy fats.
As a final note—try to pair your snack with a glass of water. Pregnant and breastfeeding women need additional fluids to stay hydrated. A good rule of thumb for nursing mothers is to drink a large glass of water during each nursing session.
Although it is intended to be accurate, neither Walgreen Co., its subsidiaries or affiliates, nor any other party assumes for loss or damage due to reliance on this material. Walgreens does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned in the article. Reliance on any information provided by this article is solely at your own risk.
Amy Magill, MA, RD, LDN is Manager of Clinical Programs at Walgreens, where you can find dietary supplements, such as prenatal vitamins and omega-3 rich krill oil. Amy is passionate about teaching moms to incorporate nutritious food into their diet, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
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This writer is a part of the FamilyEducation editorial team. Our team is comprised of parents, experts, and content professionals dedicated to bringing you the most accurate and relevant information in the parenting space.