During pregnancy, there can be no worse feeling than getting caught in a lurch without a snack. Small, light meals can be lifesavers in staving off morning sickness, keeping weight gain in check and ensuring your energy levels stay strong throughout the day. But not all snacks are created equal – especially for moms-to-be. Consider this your ultimate guide to snacking until delivery day.
Remember the golden rule
Whoever thought up and perpetuated the age-old pregnancy maxim that expectant moms eat for two needs a slap on the wrist. Pregnancy is not an excuse to eat with abandon. Instead, health officials advise that moms-to-be add only an extra 300 calories per day to account for nurturing baby. Instead of squandering those extra calories on sweets and junk food, give some thought to what snacks will give you the most bang for your buck, so to speak.
Leaving your decision-making until the last minute, when you’re completely ravenous, won’t set you up for the healthiest choice. Plan your snacks after you’ve just eaten a full meal, when you’re satiated and can think clearly. Pack up individual portions so that they’re ready to grab and go when you need them most. Stash non-perishable items in your purse, office desk and glove compartment to make certain you’re never caught without something healthy to eat.
Fiber, protein and fat
Consuming empty calories in the form of white bread or desserts will only leave you feeling hungry and guilty. When planning out your snacks, try to fit in fiber, protein and fat into each small meal. Eating this way ensures your blood sugar remains stable, making for a happier and calmer you – and a better shot at avoiding morning sickness. Good, balanced snacks include one serving of trail mix with dried fruit, an apple with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, Greek yogurt with homemade granola or whole wheat crackers and cheese.
Makeover the bad stuff
What pregnant woman doesn’t crave junk food from time-to-time? While it’s perfectly OK to indulge on occasion, making a habit out of nibbling on junk items will catch up to you in the long run. If you can’t kick a craving for milkshakes or salty, fat-laden chips, try experimenting in the kitchen to come up with a healthier alternative. Oven-roasted sweet potatoes are a good stand-in for French fries – and they’re chock full of nutrients beneficial to both you and baby. A Greek yogurt and fruit smoothie may satisfy a sweet tooth – and a small amount of dark chocolate can offer antioxidants.
Have you overhauled your diet since you found out you were pregnant? What are some ways you’re ensuring you stay healthy during these nine months? Share your ideas in the comments below.