Expectant mothers are often described as “eating for two,” and many pregnant women can attest to the fact that as the baby grows, so does their appetite. What many women don’t realize, however, is that a woman only needs about 300 extra calories per day when she’s expecting. So that means that the best way to manage those hunger pains is to nibble on healthy snacks that include some protein and healthy fats. Here are the top healthy snack ideas for expectant mothers.
1.) A Fortified Cereal
A fortified cereal (such as Grape Nuts) contains many nutrients that are beneficial to the mother and baby. A serving of half a cup of fortified cereal contains 400 mg of folic acid, which is important for the development of the baby’s brain and spinal cord during pregnancy. Doctors advise pregnant women to consume 600 mg daily of folic acid, so this snack provides 2/3 of the recommended daily amount. Adding half a cup of reduced-fat milk provides protein, calcium and vitamin D, which are all important for the baby’s bone and tissue growth.
2.) Hard-Boiled Eggs
Hard-boiled eggs are easy to prepare and take along in a lunch box or snack bag. They make great snacks because they are packed with protein, which not only gives the mom-to-be a helpful boost of energy, but also keeps her feeling full for longer than a sugary snack would. In addition, egg yolks contain the nutrients choline, for the healthy development of the baby’s brain and nervous system, and folate, which prevents neural tube defects.
3.) Sweet Potato Chips
Flavorful sweet potato chips can be made in under 30 minutes at home, and they satisfy that urgent craving for something crunchy without the sodium and fat found in grocery store chips. It’s easy to find loads of recipes for sweet potato chips, and some yummy variations include sea salt and vinegar or cinnamon and honey chips. Sweet potatoes are filled with protein and fiber, which keep mom feeling full and can regulate weight, bowel functions, and blood pressure.
4.) Fruit Salad
Expectant moms can satisfy their sweet tooth with a healthful fruit salad. The American Academy of Pediatrics has approved some artificial sweeteners for consumption during pregnancy, but there’s really no need for mothers to expose their unborn babies to any unknown threats. Fresh fruit gratifies that craving for something sweet, and it gives the unborn baby healthy vitamins and nutrients that promote growth.
Smoothies can’t be beat when it comes to snacks that are quick and easy to make. They are packed with healthy ingredients, and can be whipped up in an almost endless combination of savory or sweet flavors. Recipe websites and cookbooks are full of recipes for healthy and delicious smoothies. The hardest part of making one is settling on one recipe to try. Some smoothie ingredients that are beneficial to mom and the baby are carrots, apples, and ginger. The beta carotene in carrots helps with water retention and prevents jaundice in babies. Babies whose mothers consumed lots of apples during pregnancy experience fewer problems with asthma and allergies. Ginger is very soothing for stomach ailments, so it can relieve the nausea associated with morning sickness without the unhealthy calories, carbonation, and sugar found in ginger ale soda.
Mothers-to-be need to take care of themselves and their growing babies. Consuming lots of protein-filled and nutrient-packed snacks throughout the day not only helps expectant mothers feel strong and stay energized, but it also helps them to manage their weight by satisfying hunger without filling up on calorie-rich, sugary or high-fat foods.