Eating healthy is the most essential part of pregnancy for the mother as well as the child. Especially because of the morning sickness one has to be more conscious while choosing what to eat. Usually it is neither a good idea nor really possible to have large meals during morning sickness, and that is why snacking becomes so important in pregnancy at every stage.
Healthy pregnancy snacks for the first trimester
During the first trimester one needs more folate as compared to calories, therefore the expecting mother must consume food items that are rich in folate including at least 400 micrograms of folic acid as a daily supplement. Breakfast cereals are highly recommended to fulfill this need as they are rich in folic acid. It can also be found in:
- Salads, including baby spinach, beetroot, carrots
- Asparagus, oranges, cantaloupe, melon or orange juice
- Whole meal bread
Vitamin A is another important nutrient that is important for the development of the organs and to fight infections as well. For the complete development of baby’s organs such as circulatory, respiratory and nervous systems it is very essential to eat Vitamin A rich foods such as:
- Eggs and cheese
- Fruits such as ripe mangoes, peaches. They can also be added to the daily breakfast cereal.
- Soups made with turnips, tomatoes, carrots or sweet potatoes.
Healthy pregnancy snacks for the second trimester
During the second trimester there has to be more intake of calcium as this is the time when the teeth and bones of the baby start developing. Vitamin D is the most helpful in absorbing and using the right amount of calcium. A daily intake of 10 mcg of calcium is recommended as it also reduces the high risk of blood pressure going up. It can be had in the following healthy ways:
- Low fat yogurt smoothies with nuts and strawberries.
- Mildly sweetened milk and milk based drinks
- Calcium fortified soya products such as tofu salad, tofu soup or grilled/boiled soya with vegetables and low fat dips.
- Dried figs and almonds contain high amounts of calcium can be had as a healthy snack.
- Sardines are a rich source of calcium, iron as well as omega-3 fatty acids and can be had with some salt and pepper on top of bread.
Healthy snacking for the third trimester
During this phase one needs more energy, vitamin C and vitamin B1. Some healthy snacks that could fulfill the requirements are as follows:
- Wholemeal toast with yeast extract and tomatoes
- Mushroom soup and Satsuma
- Fruit and vegetables that are higher in vitamin C must be consumed to the fullest as they make excellent snacks such as fruits and vegetable salads containing tomatoes, strawberries, citrus fruits, and kiwi. It can also be had in the form of smoothies.
- Eating raw, steamed or lightly grilled instead of cooked vegetables is a better choice as it retains more nutrients
- Vegetables such as Carrot, celery, red pepper and radishes can be taken as a light meal with a dipping of guacamole, hummus or salsa.
- One must avoid snacking on high sugar fortified foods.
- A little amount of pork would do no harm. In fact its an excellent source of thiamine and can be had in a better way in the form of sausages or lean ham.
- Beans, brown rice and green vegetables can be had in moderation as they are also rich in thiamine. Baked beans with granary bread can be had as a light breakfast. You may become more constipatedin the third trimester.
- By the third semester one can become constipated therefore, fiber and water are essential. At least eight glasses of water should be consumed. One can also have decaffeinated drinks, fresh fruit and vegetable juices or soups.
- Brown rice, pasta, potatoes with jackets and wholemeal bread is an excellent source of fiber.
- Folate and fibre intake can be mixed by having fruits such as orange with dates.
- Mangoes, ripe pineapple, unsweetened apple juice can be blended to make a perfect smoothie instead of cola.
Healthy and convenient snacking for working women during pregnancy:
- One can keep a pre mix pack of dried figs and apricots or pack them fresh everyday as they can be had easily while working.
- Low fat Greek yogurt with chopped nuts such as almonds, apricots and prunes makes for a delicious and healthy snack.
- Hummus and tahini dips can always be used as good source of calcium.
Pregnancy is one of the most delicate periods for women and they could possibly get all sorts of cravings. But it is important to indulge more in healthy foods and sometimes treat one’s self with whatever satisfies the craving.