5 Healthy Snacks for Pregnant Women

By Joanne Stone, Keith Eddleman, Mary Duenwald

Pregnant women need extra nutrition, but not empty calories, to keep themselves healthy and help their babies grow. Most pregnant women find they’re hungry throughout the day, not just at meals. With the busy schedules women have today, finding snacks that are both healthy and satisfying is difficult. Here are some recommendations for high-nutrient snacks that are easy to make and yummy.

Chunky Dried Fig, Coconut, and Almond Granola

This recipe uses oats, which are an excellent source of fiber and folic acid, in addition to the nuts and figs. Nuts are a great source of protein, fiber (especially almonds), and heart-healthy unsaturated fats. They’re also a cholesterol-free snack. Dried fruits are a great source of quick energy and antioxidants.

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Baking time: 30–35 minutes

Yield: About 6 cups; serving is 1/2 cup

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant)

3/4 cup whole raw almonds, roughly chopped

1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

1/2 cup raw cashew pieces

1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

1-1/2 teaspoons ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

2 tablespoons honey

1 cup chopped dried figs

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

  2. Mix first seven ingredients in a large bowl.

  3. Melt butter and honey in microwave-proof dish about 30 seconds. Pour melted butter mixture over granola mixture and mix well. Spread mixture on baking sheet; bake 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  4. Add figs and carefully stir to mix. Continue to bake until golden brown, about 10–15 minutes longer.

  5. Eat by the handful or spoon over lowfat yogurt or ice cream.

Per serving: Calories 262 (From Fat 119); Fat 13g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 10mg; Sodium 17mg; Carbohydrate 34g (Dietary Fiber 5g); Protein 6g.

Peanut Butter, Chocolate, and Banana Quesadillas

Peanut butter and chocolate is a classic combination. The addition of the banana makes this a heartier snack and adds lots of protein, fiber, and potassium.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Baking time: 12 minutes

Yield: 8 pieces or 2 servings

6 tablespoons peanut butter

4 10-inch whole-wheat flour tortillas

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate morsels

2 bananas, thinly sliced

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Spread half the peanut butter on two tortillas. On top of the peanut butter, sprinkle chocolate morsels. Wrap remaining tortillas in foil to warm in oven.

  3. Place on baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until chocolate begins to melt.

  4. Remove from oven and place sliced bananas on top of peanut butter chocolate spread. Remove foil-wrapped tortillas from oven and place on top.

  5. Let cool slightly, cut into quarters, and enjoy.

Per serving: Calories 742 (From Fat 342); Fat 38g (Saturated 13g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 571mg; Carbohydrate 105g (Dietary Fiber 13g); Protein 21g.

Herbed Cottage Cheese Dip with Whole-Grain Bread

If you’re worried about adding too many pounds, this recipe is really low in calories, fat, and carbohydrates, but still very satisfying. This recipe has calcium, which is great for fetal bone growth and development, and has the added benefit of some protein.

Preparation time: 15 minutes (additional hour and 15 min for chilling)

Yield: 4 servings; serving is 1/2 cup

1 cup low-fat (1%), small-curd cottage cheese

1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon water

1/4 cup assorted chopped herbs (such as parsley, dill, thyme)

3 tablespoons chopped chives

Salt and pepper to taste

Whole-grain bread

  1. Blend cottage cheese, lemon juice, and water in a blender or food processor until smooth.

  2. Stir in herbs, chives, salt, and pepper.

  3. Serve with toasted whole-grain bread.

You may want to use the small bowl of a food processor. A blender may require a little scraping down on the sides.

Per serving: Calories 44 (From Fat 6); Fat 1g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 2mg; Sodium 232mg; Carbohydrate 2g (Dietary Fiber 0g); Protein 7g.

Chickpea Parsley Dip with Pita Chips and Celery and Carrot Sticks

Chickpeas are a good source of the extra protein you need to consume while you’re pregnant. This snack is also very low in calories and has no saturated fat. The carrots are a good source of vitamin A and biotin.

Preparation time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4 servings; serving is 1/2 cup

1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or more for thicker dip)

1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 garlic clove, chopped

1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon water

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pita chips and celery and carrot sticks

  1. Blend all ingredients in food processor until smooth.

  2. Serve with pita chips, celery sticks, and carrot sticks.

Feel free to add more garlic if you like a little more zip. You can also use the full can of chickpeas if you want your dip to be a bit thicker.

Per serving: Calories 80 (From Fat 12); Fat 1g (Saturated 0g); Cholesterol 2mg; Sodium 361mg; Carbohydrate 12g (Dietary Fiber 3g); Protein 5g.

Fruit Smoothie

Try this recipe if you’re looking for a drink snack instead of food. It’s very satisfying because of its thickness. The calcium is great for fetal bone growth and development, and the fiber can help prevent constipation. It’s also very low in fat and a great source of extra protein.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Yield: 1 serving; serving is about 2 cups

1/2 cup low-fat milk

1/2 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

1/2 ripe banana

1 teaspoon honey

1/2 cup frozen fruit (such as strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries)

1–2 ice cubes

2 tablespoons powder (optional)

  1. Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth.

  2. Sit back and enjoy while reading your book!

You can also use soy milk instead of low-fat milk.

Per serving: Calories 271 (From Fat 27); Fat 3g (Saturated 2g); Cholesterol 11mg; Sodium 146mg; Carbohydrate 53g (Dietary Fiber 4g); Protein 11g.