Healthy Snacking for Pregnant Women

Good nutrition is important during pregnancy. Healthy snacks are an important part of overall nutrition. In early pregnancy, you may feel too sick to eat full meals and rely on snacking to meet your nutritional needs. In later pregnancy, you may not be able to eat full meals, due to the baby pressing upward on your stomach. During mid pregnancy, you may feel hungry all the time. Healthy snacks can help fill in the gaps in all these situations.

Choose a variety of snacks from all four food groups. Include fruits, vegetables, milk, dairy products, whole grains, meat and fish. If you are a vegetarian, substitute beans and lentils for meat and fish. Fresh fruit is the best choice, but single serving canned fruits can meet your needs, if fresh fruit isn’t in season. Be sure to choose varieties that are packaged in their own juice, rather than syrup. Fruit in heavy syrup contains a lot of sugar.

Yogurt is a good choice for snacking since it contains both calcium and protein. Your baby needs both these nutrients to grow. Yogurt with fruit on the bottom gives fruit as well as calcium and protein. String cheese is another good choice for adding a serving of calcium and protein.

Fresh vegetables can often be found cut and washed in plastic baggies. Most supermarkets carry these and they are great for getting a quick snack. Baby carrots, celery, broccoli and cauliflower can be found packaged.

Pay attention to what you drink when planning healthy snacks. Stay away from soda and coffee, which contain sugar and caffeine. Instead choose healthy drinks such as milk, orange juice, 100% fruit juices and water. Drink plenty of water, at least eight glasses a day is recommended.

A smoothie is a good way to meet your nutritional needs. Smoothies contain calcium, protein and fruit. A simple recipe: 1/2 cup of milk; 1/2 cup of strawberry yogurt, 6 fresh or frozen strawberries, 1/2 banana and 1 cup of ice cubes. Put all the ingredients in a blender.

There are some snacks that should be avoided during pregnancy. Stay away from fish that are known to contain mercury, such as tuna, swordfish, shark or marlin. Raw seafood, such as oysters and sushi can contain bacterium that are potentially harmful to a growing baby. The same is true for undercooked meats. Be sure all meat is cooked well done. Soft cheeses and lunch meat can contain listeria, which is a bacteria. Liver should also be avoided. Liver contains a form of vitamin A known as retinol. Retinol is used in some acne medications that are contraindicated during pregnancy.

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About Pattie Hughes

Pattie Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four young children. She and her husband have been married since 1992. Pattie holds a degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. Just before her third child was born, the family relocated to Pennsylvania to be near family. She stopped teaching and began writing. This gives her the opportunity to work from home and be with her children. She enjoys spending time with her family, doing crafts, playing outside at the park or just hanging out together.