- Women's Health
Healthy Pregnancy Snacks-Nutrition for the Pea and the Pod
Healthy Snacks? Gimme that Reeses!
Pregnancy can be a time of extreme ups and downs, and when nothing matters more in the world than a Snickers bar it can be hard to concentrate on healthy pregnancy snacks. Pregnancy cravings, whether good or bad, can be relentless. Let’s also not forget about the times when the stomach is rumbling but you’re awfully busy, and just need something to make that gurgling beast shut up! Pregnancy can be a time when we women are extremely vulnerable to the siren song of junk food, which is ironic because this is the time when our bodies need nutrition the most. I know I certainly fall prey to the quickest and easiest snack, even if that happens to be a brownie. If you are having trouble finding healthy pregnancy snacks, here are a few ideas to get you off that junk food high and on to saner snacks.
One of the best snacks to take to work or to eat when busy at home is yogurt. Rich in calcium and friendly bacteria, yogurt makes for a healthy pregnancy snack that satisfies the sweet tooth as well. As many people know, calcium is essential for keeping your bones strong, and your baby also needs plenty because he’s busy building his own! For the maximum calcium benefit buy yogurt enhanced with vitamin D, which is crucial to the body’s absorption of calcium. The friendly bacteria in yogurt are also helpful in preventing yeast infections and normalizing the body’s intestines, great for those of us who suddenly can’t remember what a normal trip to the bathroom felt like. For a real health boost try mixing a tablespoon of ground flaxseed into your yogurt each day. One tiny tablespoon of flaxseed has almost 3 grams of fiber (way more than my Benefiber pill) and two grams of omega-3 fatty acids. Makes me all tingly just thinking about it.
Some people also find that making their own yogurt at home can be healthy and cheap, simply requiring some milk, active cultures and a yogurt machine.
Omega-3 and Your Baby
- Pregnant? Omega-3 Essential for Baby\'s Brain
Researchers found that infants born to mothers with higher blood levels of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) at delivery had advanced levels of attention spans well into their second year of life.
Tree nuts should be a snacking staple for any pregnant woman. Yes, nuts are fairly high in calories and fat, but all things considered they still probably can’t touch that PowerBar you had as a snack today (go check out the nutritional information). As long as you don’t eat the whole Costco sized container, you should be ok. Plus, the fat contained in nuts is mostly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, aka the "good" fats, including omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acids are especially important for moms-to-be because they help develop your baby’s brain. Nuts also have a high amount of plant based protein, which can be great for vegetarian moms looking to boost their protein intake. As a real bonus, nuts contain fiber as well, a must for any mommy who knows what it’s like to miss going to the toilet. I personally enjoy flavored almonds as a healthy pregnancy snack.
...and grapes, and apricots, and...Well you get the picture. Fresh and dried fruits can be a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth with a healthy pregnancy snack and get some vitamins and minerals as a bonus. It sure beats the nasty sugar rush after a bag of Skittles after all. Keep in mind though the fruit, though natural, does have a fair amount of sugar in it as well, so eat in moderation. Look to bananas for potassium, apples for fiber, and citrus fruits for vitamin C. You know the old "an apple a day" saying, well change that to "an apple a day keeps the constipation away". Amen.
Also consider drying the seasonal fruits that are grown in your area as a way of buying cheap fruit and making it last. Some of the best fruits for drying include apples, bananas, cherries, pears (oh they taste like candy!), apricots, and plums. This way you can save money and prevent problems like bruised bananas and rotten apples. Most fruit only requires a little lemon juice, a few hours in a dehydrator, and storage in a container as air tight as you can manage to last many a month.
With all of the temptation around us, it can be hard to refocus the sometimes addled pregnant mind on healthy pregnancy snacks. Please, don’t even get me started on my illicit affair with Fruit Loops, it’s more sordid than daytime drama. Hopefully these suggestions for healthy snacks will give you a springboard for ideas of your own, and give you inspiration in the hour of your darkest craving. Good luck, and if you have any healthy pregnancy snack tips, please leave them below!