Pregnant and feeling starved all of the time? Don’t be surprised. After all, your body is growing a baby inside, and that requires lots of nourishment. In the second trimester, your energy needs increase by about 300 calories a day and then jump to 500 more calories a day in the third trimester. Translation: You need to eat more at meals and add nutritious snacks in between.
Some people hear “snack” and think of chocolate bars, chips and pastries, but those are actually treats. While there’s always room for a sweet or salty goody, you’ll want most of your snacks to be mini-meals made up of nourishing foods, such as vegetables with hummus or a handful of nuts. These foods provide nutrients like calcium, fibre and protein that your body requires during pregnancy.
As you know by now, every pregnancy is different. That means the snacks you crave—and that your body needs—will vary greatly. Here are some snack ideas that meet many different pregnancy needs.
This essential mineral is important for building and maintaining healthy bones and teeth, as well as ensuring proper muscle function. Dairy foods are a good source of calcium, but they’re certainly not the only source. You might be surprised to learn what other foods are high sources of calcium. You can try:
Snacks can help keep your blood sugar levels stable and keep nausea at bay. Interesting fact: Pregnancy-related nausea is most common on an empty stomach, so always keep snacks handy. Cold foods tend to be better tolerated than warm foods, and ginger is scientifically known to help ease nausea. Try:
Getting enough iron can reduce the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. Meat and poultry are rich in iron. Try:
Looking for plant-based options? Boost absorption by pairing iron-rich foods with a source of vitamin C. Try:
The omega-3 fat called DHA is vital for proper development of the baby’s brain, eyes and nerves. Fatty fish is your best source of DHA. Try:
You can also choose plant-based sources of omega-3 fat. They contain some ALA omega 3 fat, and the body is able to convert a little bit of it (maybe five to 10 percent) to DHA. Try:
Ahem, another “perk” of pregnancy is a slow gut, and constipation is common. Along with increasing your water intake, try munching on these high-fibre snacks to help ease constipation naturally.
Sometimes convenience is paramount. Choose snacks that are nutritious, handy and non-perishable and keep them in your purse, desk drawer or car. Try:
Registered dietitian Cara Rosenbloom runs Words to Eat By, a nutrition communications company in Toronto. She is a writer, cookbook author and mom of two. Her go-to pregnancy snack was almond butter slathered on a banana.