Healthy Food for Pregnant Women: Snacking Strong

healthy_food_for_pregnancy.jpgGood nutrition and exercise are even more important when you’re expecting. So let’s talk about healthy food for pregnant women, specifically snacks.    

  • Think “doubles.” This should be an easy thing to remember: you’re eating for two, and WebMD says the best snacks to eat when you’re pregnant are ones that combine things from at least two food groups. Example: a tablespoon or two of natural peanut butter on red or green apples. The protein and fiber will help you feel full. Other yummy combos: hummus and veggies or cheese and nuts. Remember, portion control is still key! 
  • Think Vitamin D. Baby Center talks about the importance of moms-to-be getting enough Vitamin D. It says, “During pregnancy it’s vital to get enough vitamin D to help support your baby’s growing bones and teeth, and to make sure your little one’s immune system functions properly outside the womb. Pregnant women need 600 IU of vitamin D daily. Up to 4,000 IU per day is safe, according to the Institute of Medicine.” One of the snacks Baby Center recommends is an egg on an English muffin. Make sure the yolk is cooked through (the yolk contains the all-important Vitamin D). 
  • Reach for quality dips. Dips often get a bad rap, since we associate them with parties and general over indulgence. The key with dips (in addition to portion control) is what goes into the dip. We mentioned hummus above, but other dips to consider include guacamole (avocado is a healthy fat!). Check out this Avocado Goddess Dip or Roasted Red Pepper Dip (both from Fit Pregnancy) for inspiration. 
  • Choose healthy cereals. Parents magazine says, “Almost all cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals, making them a simple snack that provides lots of nutrients. And if you don’t like drinking milk, pouring it over cereal will help you get the calcium both you and your baby need.” When choosing cereals, Parents magazine reminds expectant moms to look for whole grains, high fiber, and low sugar. Add some fruit for an added burst of sweetness. 
  • Mix up your own fruit smoothies. We’re talking the ones you make in a blender rather than the ones you get at your favorite coffee shop. Remember, quality ingredients are what matters (and when you make smoothies at home, you can avoid adding in processed, sugary syrups or high-sugar fruit juices). Here are some great smoothie tips from WebMD
  • Think under 300 calories.When it comes to choosing snacks, try to aim for 300 calories or fewer. The Bump has 18 great recommendations—all under that magic number. Ideas include baked potato with yogurt and chives, banana and peanut butter, cottage cheese with fruit, and a hard-boiled egg with crackers. 
  • Allow an occasional indulgence. Yes, cravings are real. Allow yourself to enjoy an occasional indulgence, just as you would do if you weren’t pregnant. As long as you’re staying mostly on track with your calories, nutritional needs, and exercise, a treat every now and then is perfectly OK for you and your baby. 

Here’s to you and your baby’s health!