“The best part of life is life itself”
Pregnancy marks the start for a lot of things– wonder, hope and a dream of possibilities. The dominant feature of any pregnancy is the increase in weight of the pregnant woman, accommodating for the growth of a baby in the womb. Expectant mothers might find it hard to eat large meals due to morning sickness and end up eating snacks which satisfy their hunger. Eating a variety of foods each day will ensure you and your baby get the right amount of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
Therefore, it is necessary to have nutrient-packed healthy snacks, which suffice the nutrition quotient of the baby and the mother too.
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Healthy snacking necessarily doesn’t have to be boring, monotonous and tasteless food. It indeed can be made interesting with a variety of food amalgamations catering to the preference of an individual.
“Healthy” is a word that connotes, as per a nutritionist’s vocabulary, something that adds nutrient value rather than providing only calories!
Refuelling is the idea behind snacking in between meals. So the focus should be on having guilt-free nibbles that do not increase the calories and fat content in the body.
Entertaining nutrient-dense rather than the calorie-dense concept of snacking can help in furnishing baby-friendly nutrients that take care of the baby’s development at different stages.
Even though you don’t really need to eat for two while you’re expecting but the hunger quotient does rise comparatively. The purpose of spilling out these healthy snacking ideas is because to some extent introducing healthy snack can play a role in:
- Averting unhealthy weight gain in pregnancy
- In addition to minimising chances of incidence of co-morbid conditions such as typical Gestational Diabetes or borderline Impaired Glucose Tolerance
- minimising chances of incidence of c what does this mean?
- Acidity, weakness, giddiness etc.
- Snacking not only aides in fulfilling the nutrient requirements but also prevents/ controls overeating during mealtime.
- Snacking not only aides in fulfilling the nutrient requirements but also
- As well snacking assists in controlling body weight compared to the three meal pattern.
Pregnant women can pre-prepare their snacking patterns in accordance with their medical practitioner and follow it for sustaining the development of the baby and being energetic at the same time.
Essential Nutrients for Pregnancy:
Here is a list of essential components which your snacks should include for that healthy and nourishing diet.
1) Folate- Rich foods
Folic acid is a component of Vitamin B that aids in the rapid growth and repair of new cells that will develop into the baby’s brain stem and spinal cord, early during pregnancy. Food sources of folic acid include fortified grains, spinach, lentils, and chickpeas, broccoli, peas, corn and oranges. It is recommended that pregnant women should start taking folic acid (400mcg) at least three months before conception and throughout their pregnancy.
2) Calcium and Vitamin D
Most convenient options for snacking are those that revolve around convenient foods with minimal or zero need for any processing or treatment. Foods in their natural state such as fresh fruits and vegetable top this list.
During the second trimester, calcium is the main nutrient as this is when your baby’s teeth and bones start to develop. It is recommended that you include at least two servings of milk each day. Choose dairy products such as milk, soy beverages, and yogurts that are fortified with vitamin D to absorb calcium.
Snacks like fruit and vegetable combo – such as Musk Melon, Cucumber, Apple or Carrot, Raisin, Mint leaves / Basil, Pear – Green or Red, fruit custard with an admixture of fruits of your choice, become a vitamin-mineral and fibre rich snack.
3) Vitamin B12
You need extra energy and Thiamine (Vitamin B12) in your last trimester. Vitamin B12 is essential for the growth of new tissue, nerve function and formation of red blood cells and is found only in natural food and beverages from animal sources.
Pork, beans, brown rice and green vegetables are fortified with this vitamin. Vegetarian moms need to get enough of this vitamin each day.
Fibre and water are equally important in the last trimester to ease constipation.
4) Fatty Acids
Healthy fats such as omega 3 are necessary for a baby’s brain and eye development. Sources include olive oil, tofu, avocado, nuts and fish.
5) Protein-Rich Options
Proteins are the main foods for bodybuilding, maintenance, cellular repair, their strong role in different metabolic reactions through enzymes.
Proteinaceous snacks are capable of taking care of the satiety element. The methods of preparing protein-rich snacks are neither very extensive nor challenging and these are easy to digest as well. Snacks like Chikki – dry fruit or groundnut and a glass of milkshake or a salad with Cottage Cheese dumplings (Paneer) or Soya Paneer – can be used with a thin spread of vegetable or eggless Mayonnaise for enhancing the taste.
6) Fibre Rich options
Tofu can also be eaten as salads, mixed with boiled vegetables or with sprouts and lemon dressing either cooked or seasoned.
“Fibre” is the direct answer for any of the Constipation related discomforts experienced in pregnancy. Fibre-rich snacks aid in the slow release of sugars into the bloodstream allowing an extended period of fullness. This is one of the direct strategies to avoid overeating during meal times. In addition, most of the options reflect accountable content of essential minerals and vitamins that play a major role in a healthy pregnancy – such as Iron, Calcium, Folic Acid etc. Soya Chunks can be cooked and eaten as a salad or made into a part of stuffing for rotis and Thin and thick vegetable soups like Dal soup, and tomato or Carrot, all are rich in fibre are god examples of fibre rich snack.
7) Baby bone builder snack ( BBB ) options
“Fibre” is the direct answer for any of the Constipation related discomforts experienced in pregnancy. Fibre-rich snacks aid in slow release of sugars into the bloodstream allowing an extended period of fullness. This is one of the direct strategies to avoid overeating during meal times. In addition, most of the options reflect accountable content of essential minerals and vitamins that play a major role in a healthy pregnancy – such as Iron, Calcium, Folic Acid etc. Soya Chunks can be cooked and eaten as a salad or made into a part of stuffing for rotis and Thin and thick vegetable soups like Dal soup, and tomato or Carrot, all are rich in fibre are god examples of fibre rich snack.
Even for Lactose intolerant candidates, options made out of Curds such as Lassi – plain or salted or fruit lassi such as Banana Lassi / Musk melon Lassi / Mango Lassi, Curd Smoothie – with one or two fruits – blended.A bowl of Curd – with Jeera or masala and Raita made with vegetables of your choice can serve as sensible, healthy choice beyond doubts.
Healthy snacks for pregnancy
It’s amazing to see how you can incorporate those daily ingredients in terms of fruits, porridge etc. for healthy and sustainable development of your child without much ado.
1) Fresh Fruits/Fruit Juices
Always choose a healthier way to keep hunger pangs at bay. Opt for a bowl of fresh fruits whenever you crave for food. Boost your folate and fibre intake by eating citrus fruits like orange, which helps your body to absorb iron from food.
Fruit juices can be the most refreshing if rich in antioxidants.
- 1 ½ cups freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 cup strawberries, tops removed, and cut into half
- 1 to 1 ½ ripe bananas
Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
A Protein shake (based on your Obstetrician’s recommendation) can be refreshing too.
For a healthy energy boost, you can have oats or broken wheat porridge (daliya). Porridge is good for your heart and helps prevent constipation. You can also add some fresh fruits and a variety of nuts, to make it more nutritious.
A protein snack before retiring to bed is suggested as one of the remedial measures for tackling morning sickness, nausea.
A small fistful of assorted Nuts – such as five each of Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios, Dates /Prunes, Groundnuts, Sunflower Seeds – this can be eaten as such or as a topping on any fruit.
Almonds contain Vitamin B that is important especially during your first trimester. For a fibre and iron boost, include almonds in your diet to make it a very nutritious snack.
4) A whole-wheat sandwich
The best way to combat morning sickness is to look at making plain toast or a sandwich. It can be made with a slice of cheese, and scrambled egg on a slice of brown or multi-grain bread, depending on the extent of nausea/ morning sickness, chicken can be included, and lettuce, which is rich in fibre. It is the easiest to make and a very nutritious snack, best suitable for pregnancy.
During pregnancy, you tend to crave for sweet things. Try a kheer made of rice and suji.
Thin Moong Dal Kheer – Moong dal cooked with a half portion of milk and
water, using Jaggery for the sweet element.
You can substitute sugar with jaggery, which is a source of iron. You can even add on some nuts to make it more nutritious.
Sprouts are a nutritious snack and a good source of iron and fibre.
You can add sprouts to curd or even have it raw in a salad. Sprouts – cooked and seasoned or raw (washed well) – topped with Basil or Lemon juice are a perfect resort in context to a healthy snack during pregnancy.
Green Salad – Lettuce / Iceberg Lettuce leaves, Cabbage – Green or Violet, Carrots, Cucumber, Capsicum – any from the tricolour, Kale / knolkhol, Tomato – normal or Cherry, Basil / Celery. Using any of these three or four or even two vegetables can make a fabulous salad which is rich in fibre. Toppings can be any of these: Dahi / Chaat Masala, Cumin seeds or Cumin seed powder, Pepper – Black or White, Salt – Black or White, Olive Oil, finely chopped Green Chillies, Lemon juice etc.
Snacks are meant to be as healthy as a meal nevertheless, treating yourself with mouth-watering bits of delicacies that may not fully belong to the category of a healthy snack is permissible.
Apart from nutrient-rich snacks, here are a few options that are not advised on a daily basis, so, once or twice a week is a good idea. Also, these snacks taste best when freshly prepared and consumed. Nutritionally these are 150 calorie snacks!
So when you just feel like breaking all the rules and running to the packet of wafers, here take a look at a few practical ideas for planning healthy take – away and provide for you and the baby during pregnancy.
Know more– Pregnancy Meal Planners (trimester to trimester).
- Sabudana Upma and SabudanaVada/ Plain Vada with different vegetables such as Greens, Carrots, Capsicum, Curry leaves, Coriander leaves etc mixed into the batter.
- Dal Soup with small Vadas floating in it
- Curd Vada
- Cooked sago with plain custard mixed and topped with fruits – same can be repeated with rice flakes / even whole Oats
- Marie biscuits – on one you could spread a layer of butter or Cheese Spread and on the other a thin layer of Butter with crushed Walnuts and Almond topping – the club the three biscuits and take a delicious bite!
- Homemade Bhel – waste management strategy, when there is Mint chutney – vegetables such as Cucumber, Carrot, Onion, curry leaves, pomegranate, sprouts can be mixed and then mixed with Puffed rice and topped generously with Mint chutney
- Mix vegetable Bonda – soaked in Rasam / Bonda cut into pieces topped with yoghurt, Coriander leaves, Dahi Masala, grated Carrot or fresh Sprouts.
Now that you are expecting, you are trying to think much more carefully about what you are feeding yourself, which in turn are the main source of nutrients for your growing baby. Two or three snacks throughout the day, adding extra nutrients, is exactly what you need for a healthy pregnancy.
Most of the ideas given above revolve around enhancing the chewability of the snack thereby attempting to give you a feeling of fulfilment upon eating. But the trick of this trade lies in the planning.
Hence it is recommended that you generally familiarize yourself to thinking and planning for the consequent day on the previous day itself– be it your meal, snack or walking. Exercising discipline, in all these matters, is expected to enhance the chances of good pregnancy outcomes.
You are not only what you eat, but also how much you eat!!!