As a guide for snacking, try to combine foods that have healthy fat and protein with foods that are a good source of carbohydrate or starch.
This combination helps manage your blood sugar levels during pregnancy. It will help slow the rate that sugar is introduced into your circulation and reduce insulin spikes, too.
Combining the right foods is also a good way to feel fuller longer and help manage your risk for gestational diabetes.
1) Apple, almonds, and cheese
This classic, nutritious pregnancy snack is easy to take anywhere. Apples are a great source of insoluble fiber, which fights constipation, and soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol. Almonds are packed with protein and heart-healthy fat, plus magnesium, potassium, and bone-building calcium. Cheese is also a great source of calcium and protein.
- Medium apple
- 1 oz of almonds (that’s about 24 almonds)
- String cheese
2) Oven-baked sweet potato fries
When you're craving something crunchy and sweet, try this comfort snack. Sweet potatoes are higher in fiber, potassium, and vitamins and can be lower in sodium and fat than regular french fries, depending on how they are prepared.
- Preheat oven to 400⁰F
- Lightly spray baking sheet with olive oil spray
- Slice sweet potatoes and spread on baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle with iodized salt and cinnamon
- Bake 20-25 minutes until cooked through, stirring once
3) Tortilla with hummus and tomatoes
Grab a whole-grain tortilla or pita and fill it with halved cherry tomatoes and hummus. One cup of tomatoes has just 25 calories, plus lots of vitamin C, the antioxidant lycopene, fiber, vitamin A, and a little folate. Hummus adds protein, fiber, healthy fat, and iron to this healthy snack.
- 1 whole-grain tortilla or pita
- ½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup hummus
Tip: For variety, switch out the tomatoes for another favorite veggie, such as diced carrots or green peppers.
4) Hard-boiled eggs
They’re the perfect on-the-go snack. Egg whites are high in protein, and the yolks have choline, for fetal brain and nervous system development, plus beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A. Eggs also have folate, which helps prevent birth defects of the brain and spine. Cook up a batch once a week so they’re easy to take anywhere.
- Place eggs in large saucepan. Cover with cool water, place lid on pan, and bring water to a boil over high heat
- Boil for at least 12 minutes over medium-high heat
- Cool eggs for a couple of minutes in a large bowl filled with ice cold water
- Peel and serve—enjoy perfect, creamy hard-boiled eggs
Tip: Try a sprinkling of chili powder, garlic salt, smoked paprika, or iodized salt for a flavor kick. If you really want to spice things up, make deviled eggs!
5) Dark chocolate
You don’t need to completely deny your cravings. Having a little dark chocolate can even be healthy during pregnancy.
Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that boost immunity. These antioxidants have been shown to have a positive effect on your cardiovascular system and heart health. In fact, a recent study showed that one of the natural compounds in dark chocolate has been tied to a reduced risk for preeclampsia, a condition characterized by high blood pressure during pregnancy.
Select dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa for the greatest health benefits. As a good rule of thumb, use moderation in your choice of foods.
If you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes and are watching how much sugar you eat, try a Glucerna® shake or snack bar. They taste great, are high in protein, and have a unique blend of slow-release carbohydrates to help manage blood sugar.
6) Mixed berry smoothie