Healthy pregnancy snack ideas & recipes
During your pregnancy, you may find that your appetite is bigger than usual. It’s a good idea to have some healthy snacks for pregnancy at the ready for when your tummy starts to rumble.
However, whilst you might feel like eating more of the things you enjoy, you’ll only need around 200 extra calories per day1 to keep you and your baby healthy as your pregnancy progresses.
That’s why it’s important to eat a healthy balanced diet, complete with pregnancy snacks that will keep you fuller for longer.
Below you’ll find plenty of inspiration for healthy pregnancy snacks to help keep hunger at bay.
High protein snacks for pregnancy
Protein is very important during pregnancy as it helps your developing baby to grow. It supports the creation of antibodies to strengthen their immune system, repairs damaged tissues and helps new tissue to grow, and helps oxygen to flow through your baby’s bloodstream2.
As such, high protein pregnancy snacks are a perfect way to satisfy your appetite as well as support your baby’s growth and development.
Snacks for nausea during pregnancy
If you’re suffering with morning sickness or nausea during your pregnancy, you may have noticed that it can strike at any time of the day and night.
Whilst you may not have much of an appetite, eating little and often can really help to keep nausea at bay, so having some pregnancy snacks to rely on when you don’t feel great is a good call.
Some easy pregnancy snacks for when you’re feeling nauseous include:
- Ginger biscuits
- Dry toast and crackers
- Plain cereal
- Watermelon - with it’s high water content, a slice of refreshing watermelon will also keep you hydrated
If you find that you’re getting hungry at night, most of the snacks we’ve already suggested above would make ideal bedtime snacks for pregnancy.
The main thing is to avoid anything that’s high in sugar and fat, as they’re likely to lie heavily on your stomach and make it harder for you to get a good night’s sleep. The same goes for caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee and sugary fizzy drinks3.
Heavier meals and foods that are high in fat and sugar can also cause indigestion and heartburn - a very common pregnancy symptom. If this is something you’re experiencing, try to avoid eating in the three hours before you go to bed4
High calorie snacks
Since you’ll only need on average around 200 extra calories per day during your pregnancy, it’s best to try and avoid high calorie snacks unless you’ve been advised otherwise by your doctor or midwife.
Easy pregnancy snacks
Especially in the later stages of your pregnancy, cooking up a storm using elaborate recipes may well be the last thing you feel like doing.
Planning ahead will help you to prepare a number of tasty dishes that you can freeze and use when you need to. Our handy pregnancy meal planner is designed to help you do just that on a week-by-week basis. You can download your free copy here.
In the meantime, there are so many easy pregnancy snacks that are not only healthy, they’re tasty too! For example:
- Carrots, cucumber and/or celery with hummus
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Peanut butter on crackers
- A sandwich on wholemeal bread filled with chicken or ham
- Yoghurt and fruit
- Nuts and seeds
- Avocado on wholemeal toast
Healthy pregnancy snacks for gestational diabetes
If you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it’s very important that you follow the dietary advice you receive from your doctor and midwife throughout your pregnancy.
The main thing is to maintain a healthy and balanced diet. Try to incorporate enough starchy foods that release sugar slowly. For example, wholemeal bread, rice and pasta, as well as plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Some good pregnancy snacks if you have gestational diabetes include:
- Plain popcorn (with no added salt or sugar)
- Natural yoghurt
- Rice cakes
Healthy pregnancy snacks on the go
Whether you’re working during your pregnancy, looking after the kids or running those all important errands, it’s a good idea to have some healthy pregnancy snacks on the go in order to keep your energy levels up.
Why not try keeping some of these in your bag for when you’re out and about?
- A pack of mixed nuts and/or seeds
- Cubes of cheese for some protein and calcium
- Wholegrain crackers or rice cakes
- Granola bars - but be sure to check the sugar content, or use the recipe above
- A slice of malt loaf
Healthy sweet snacks
Whilst the odd chocolate or sweet treat is unlikely to do you any harm during your pregnancy, it’s best to limit your intake of foods that are high in sugar and fat. That’s because eating too much of these foods can increase your cholesterol level and lead to weight gain5.
If you’re craving something sweet, there are plenty of healthy sweet snacks for pregnancy that you can enjoy. Try chopping a banana into quarters, dip in some melted dark chocolate and pop in the freezer to set. For some added crunch, sprinkle with some crushed nuts before the chocolate hardens.
Other sweet and healthy pregnancy snacks include:
- Fruit - add some yoghurt for a more substantial pregnancy snack
- Pineapple and cottage cheese
- Fruit smoothies
- Dried fruit such as dates, apricots and coconut chips
- Wu G. Maternal nutrition and fetal development. The Journal of Nutr 2004; 134(9)2169-2172.
Last reviewed: 23rd November 2022
Reviewed by Nutricia's Medical and Scientific Affairs Team