In search of easy, but healthy pregnancy snacks? Looking for choices rich in vitamins and minerals to help you meet everything your body and your baby needs?
A healthy, well-rounded diet during pregnancy can help fill you up, curb those late-night cravings, and even help prevent several complications for both mom and baby. Nutritious choices also help ease a lot of those common pregnancy discomforts, such as fatigue, constipation, muscle spasms, yeast infections, and more.
So, what are some snack ideas to help you avoid those unhealthy choices and promote optimal development for your baby and yourself?
In this post, we’re going to talk about important nutrients to consume while you’re expecting and also give you 25 healthy snacks to eat during pregnancy.
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Nutrients to Aim for During Pregnancy
To help you handle the extra demands on your body as your pregnancy progresses and support the growth of your baby, it’s vital that you eat well and aim for good nutrition. Listed below are some key nutrients to aim for throughout your pregnancy and why they’re so important.
- Protein: Protein plays such a vital role in keeping both people healthy throughout pregnancy. Protein provides mom with energy, helps regulate her blood sugar, and helps build those crucial cells that carry oxygen and iron throughout the bloodstream. If mom doesn’t consume enough protein during pregnancy, this can increase the risk of a low birth weight for baby. Aim for 70-100 grams of protein per day.
- Iron: The expansion of blood volume puts you at higher risk of anemia during pregnancy. Pregnant women need double the amount of iron than non-pregnant women in order to keep hemoglobin levels up, which will aid in blood and oxygen supply to your baby and help you avoid several potential side effects of anemia.
- Calcium: Your baby is going to need plenty of calcium to support her growing bones and teeth, and you’re going to need plenty as well in order to avoid osteoporosis. Some of the best calcium-rich foods include dairy products, salmon, and broccoli.
- Omega-3s: Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be vital to your baby’s brain and retina development and also help prevent preterm labor, pre-eclampsia, as well and pre and postnatal depression (source).
- Vitamin D: You should try to aim for 4,000 IU of vitamin D daily throughout your pregnancy. Vitamin D not only supports your immune system, but also helps support your baby’s bone development and curb some of those crazy emotions that we often experience during and after pregnancy. There are even some studies that suggest that certain pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and low birth weight, may be linked to vitamin D deficiency (source).
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is also known to boost your immune system. It also aids in collagen production, which is essential for tissue repair for mom and bone and teeth development for baby. It even enhances your ability to absorb iron.
- Magnesium: This incredible mineral helps optimize blood pressure levels, promotes better sleep, aids in digestion, and supports muscle relaxation. It is known to help prevent preterm labor and improve growth and circulation of your baby. 350-400 mg/day is the average recommended dietary intake for pregnant women.
- Potassium: Getting enough potassium helps maintain the balance of fluids and electrolytes in your cells. It helps combat fluid retention, leg cramping, and high blood pressure.
- Folate (Vitamin B9): Folate is imperative to healthy infant development. Consuming it during your pregnancy will help prevent serious birth defects, such as spina bifida. Aim for 600 mcg daily.
- Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is important for the development and functioning of your baby’s brain and nervous system. It’s also known to boost energy and provide morning sickness relief. This vitamin is found in a wide variety of foods, including bananas, poultry, salmon, chickpeas, and more.
- Vitamin B12: B12 is also important for your baby’s brain and nervous system development. It’s also believed that when combined with folate during pregnancy, it can help prevent spina bifida and other spinal and central nervous system birth defects in your baby. Major sources of B12 include eggs, fish, beef, and dairy products.
**Please note, this is not a complete list. For further information, please check out this Pregnancy Nutrition Chart that includes 33 essential nutrients for pregnant women.
25 Healthy Pregnancy Snacks
Listed below are 25 healthy snack ideas for pregnant mamas. As you’ll quickly notice, many of the best pregnancy snacks, like all good things, are found in pairs. Plus, these snacks are comprised of some of the healthiest foods to eat while pregnant.
**Please consult your healthcare provider before making any dietary changes if you have gestational diabetes.
1. Apple Slices with Nut Butter
A classic snack-time pair that is nutritious and delicious! Apples provide fiber, which will leave you feeling fuller longer and also help combat constipation during pregnancy. Nut butters serve as healthy fats and excellent sources of protein. Be sure to look for nut butters that contain minimal ingredients and avoid added sugars and hydrogenated oils.
2. Hard Boiled Egg and Grapes
There are so many health benefits of eating eggs. This superfood is a high quality protein with all the right amount of essential amino acids. They’re also a source of vitamin A, vitamin D, calcium, and iron. Pair it with some watery grapes to add in potassium and vitamins C and K.
3. Baby Carrots and Hummus
Baby carrots are one of the best sources of vitamin A, which will help with your baby’s development of their skin, eyes, teeth, and bones. And hummus is actually one of the healthiest foods for pregnancy out there! It’s not just a high-protein pick, it’s also loaded with iron, healthy carbs and fat, folate, calcium, and more.
4. Dates with Cream Cheese and Almonds
Did you know that dates can actually help prepare your body for labor? Why? Because they have an oxytocin-like effect on the body, which aids in cervix ripening. They’re also loaded with vitamin K, so eating them late in pregnancy can help prevent postpartum hemorrhaging, much like oxytocin does.
Not everyone enjoys the taste of dates though, so pairing them with some cream cheese and almonds can help turn them into a delicious and protein-filled snack. You could also swap out the almonds for walnuts.
5. Cottage Cheese and Peaches
Partner calcium and protein with some vitamin C whenever you pair cottage cheese with peaches. Switch up the fruit and try pineapple, berries, or melon instead.
6. Air Popped Popcorn
Air popped popcorn is packed with fiber, making it a nice filling snack. It also contains vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and protein, believe it or not. Drizzle on a healthy fat, like coconut oil and add a dash of salt. You can also sweeten it up a bit with some dark chocolate chips or dried fruit.
7. Cheese Cubes and Bell Pepper Slices
A soft and crispy snack-time duo. Cheese is an excellent source of calcium, fat, and protein, while bell peppers have antioxidants and are rich in vitamin C to help boost your immune system.
8. Homemade Trail Mix
If you love sweet and savory snacks, then trail mix might just hit the spot and curb those not-so healthy pregnancy cravings. Pair your favorite nuts, seeds, and dried fruit with a little bit of dark chocolate, providing you and your baby with protein, fiber, and antioxidants. Here’s a good guide on how to build your own healthy trail mix.
9. Whole Grain Toast with Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon
This is one of my favorite pregnancy snacks. Salmon is an excellent source of protein and vitamin D, and it’s also loaded with omega-3s, which is vital for your baby’s brain development and may even help boost your mood. Spread some pasteurized cream cheese on a toasted slice of whole grain or Ezekiel bread and top it with some smoked salmon for a nice, filling snack.
10. Kefir Popsicles
These are the perfect pregnancy snack for a hot summer day. These popsicles provide probiotics and protein from the kefir and loads of vitamin C from the fruit. They’re also usually sweetened with honey, which contains antioxidants and can help protect the body from inflammation. Here’s one of my favorite kefir popsicle recipes.
11. Celery Sticks with Peanut Butter and Raisins
You might remember this favorite childhood snack as “Ants on a Log.” Peanut butter for protein, raisins for fiber and potassium, and celery stalks for its powerful antioxidant powers.
Continue reading below.
12. Roasted Chickpeas
An excellent vegan option that provides protein, healthy carbs, and fiber. They’re also a good source of iron, B vitamins, and folate. They give mom-to-be an energy boost and are known to help prevent neural defects in babies. There’s lots of different ways to cook these, but you may enjoy this healthy recipe the most during pregnancy.
13. A Banana and Glass of Milk
Bananas are a trusty source of potassium, providing anemic pregnant women with a helpful boost to their hemoglobin levels. They’re also a great source of folate. Of course, milk provides calcium, protein, and some vitamin D. To optimize nutrition for you and your developing baby, it’s best to go grass-fed and full-fat when it comes to choosing milk.
14. Baked Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are an excellent form of beta carotene, which transforms into vitamin A and is essential for healthy fetal development. It’s also a great source of vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B6, potassium, and fiber. Just be sure to keep the toppings healthy as well.
15. Avocado Toast
If you’re looking for a snack that’s full of healthy fats and carbohydrates, then avocado toast may be your best bet. There’s a lot of recipes out there, but I just like to drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on a toasted piece of whole grain bread and then spread half of an avocado on top. Yum!
16. Yogurt Parfait
Snack it up with a nutritious parfait. Layer plain yogurt, granola, chia seeds, and berries, and sweeten it up with just a touch of honey. Combining these foods will provide your body and your baby with calcium, protein, fiber, omega-3s, antioxidants, vitamin C, and folate. Use greek yogurt to add in even more protein.
17. Dark Chocolate and Clementine
This healthy snack is sure to hit those sweet late-night pregnancy cravings. Not only does dark chocolate have antioxidants, it’s also been shown to lower your risk of high blood pressure when eaten in moderation. Clementines are high in folate, packed with vitamin C, and are the perfect pop-in-your mouth snack.
18. Fruit and Spinach Smoothie
Such a great way to get those greens in. Spinach is bursting with folate and iron, and when you pair it with foods high in vitamin C, such as strawberries, kiwis, and mango, your body absorbs that iron even better. Avoid adding dairy in your smoothie for optimal iron absorption.
19. Cherry Tomatoes with Mozzarella Cheese
Tomatoes and mozzarella cheese topped with some fresh basil is really such a magical snack! Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, and also contain lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant that protects your heart. They even have potassium, which helps manage your blood pressure. And then there’s your pasteurized mozzarella that provides calcium, protein, B vitamins, phosphorus, and zinc.
20. Chia Pudding
With all their nutritional components, chia seeds provide so many benefits during pregnancy. They can help boost your energy, stabilize your blood glucose levels, help combat pregnancy constipation, and even strengthen your baby’s teeth and bones (source).
One of the most yummy ways to add these to your diet is through some chia pudding. Top it with some fresh berries and granola for vitamin C and fiber.
21. Veggies and Greek Yogurt Dip
Some of the best vegetables you can eat during pregnancy include bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, and green peas, as they’re loaded with various vitamins and minerals. Dip them in some homemade greek yogurt dip, and you’ve just added a healthy dose of protein and probiotics to your snack.
22. No-Bake Energy Bites
My favorite recipe for no-bake energy bites is the one from The Girl Who Ate Everything. These bite-sized energy balls are made with oats, peanut butter, honey, flaxseed, and a few chocolate chips. I also like to add in some chia seeds for even more nutritional benefits. Combining these ingredients, load this snack up with healthy fats, fiber, protein, and omega-3s.
23. Cocktail Shrimp
Shrimp have low levels of mercury and a low fat content, but are high in protein, making them an excellent healthy snack to eat during pregnancy. Now, research does suggest that pregnant women should consume no more than 8-12 ounces of shellfish per week, so do keep that in mind when planning out your meals and snacks (source).
Shrimp also contains omega-3s, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B2, and vitamin D.
24. Egg on Ezekiel Toast
Another great way to grab all the nutritional benefits of eggs is with an easy egg on toast or egg-in-the hole snack. This is honestly one of my favorite late-night snacks when I’m pregnant or breastfeeding.
Again, eggs are such a great source of protein and contain so many other vitamins and minerals, including choline, which helps your baby’s brain and spine develop properly (source).
Ezekiel bread is about as healthy as bread can get, as it’s high in fiber and protein, has no-added sugar, and contains several other micro and macronutrients. Unfortunately, it’s not gluten-free though, so not a good option for those with celiac or a gluten intolerance.
25. Pumpkin Seeds and Dried Fruit
A little twist on traditional trail mix. Pumpkin seeds, in particular, are a wonderful source of iron, zinc, magnesium, and antioxidants and even have strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Pair them with some dried mango or cranberries that generally contain a lot of fiber and are great sources of polyphenol antioxidants, which are known to help with blood flow, digestive health, and control of blood sugar levels.
Healthy Snacks for Mom and Baby
I hope this list gave you tons of easy and healthy snack ideas to eat throughout your pregnancy.
Making nutritious choices while you’re expecting will help promote optimal development for your baby and reduce your risk of complications, both during pregnancy and postpartum.
There’s lots of yummy choices out there to help you meet the variety of nutrients that your growing baby and body needs!
What About You?
What are some of your favorite healthy pregnancy snacks? Share your top snacks in the comments below and be sure to share this post with other moms-to-be.