Nutritious Snack Ideas during Pregnancy

AllisonMS, RDN, CDN

Read time: 4 minutes

What should I know about eating nourishing snacks while pregnant?

  • Why between-meal eating is a good idea during pregnancy

  • Ideas for snacks, with recipes!

Snacks are an important part of a healthy pregnancy eating plan, especially in the second and third trimesters when your calorie needs increase to support the growth of your baby.1

The quality of your diet is key – you’re not really “eating for two”, but rather “thinking for two.”2 So be mindful of what you choose and try to eat in line with your body’s hunger and fullness cues.3

Read about: How Much Should I Eat While Pregnant?

What are the benefits of eating snacks during pregnancy?

Reaching for snacks at regular intervals will help you throughout your pregnancy by:

  • Increasing your intake of protein, fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, as well as vitamins and minerals important during pregnancy.1,4,5

  • Ensuring you’re eating enough calories. This is especially important in late pregnancy when early satiety (feeling full after eating a small amount of food) becomes an issue as your growing baby takes up more space in your middle, leaving less room for food in your stomach.5

  • Preventing you from becoming too hungry, which may lead to overeating at the next meal.6

  • Managing common pregnancy discomforts like nausea, heartburn, uncomfortable fullness, and exhaustion.7

  • Keeping your energy up!8

Learn More: Which Nutrients do I Need during Pregnancy?

Tips for snacking during pregnancy

Eat every few hours

Try to eat three meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) plus two to three snacks each day.7

Typically, this means eating a mid-morning snack between breakfast and lunch and a mid-afternoon snack between lunch and dinner. Listen to your body, and don’t worry so much about watching the clock. If you feel like you need a little something, then grab a snack!

Snacks are an opportunity to increase your nutrient intake

Snacks can be seen as smaller portions of the healthy foods you would include in a regular meal. Use snack time as an opportunity to incorporate a wide variety of the vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and lean protein.9

Learn More: Meal Plan: Key Nutrients of Pregnancy

Choose healthy alternatives to processed snacks

Rather than reaching for convenience foods with little nutrient value, think about healthy alternatives.

Craving something sweet? Go for naturally sweet foods such as fresh fruit, a fruit smoothie, or dates with nut butter. Have a salty hankering? Reach for a savory snack such as cheese or hummus with whole grain crackers. These snack combos will help satisfy your cravings while also providing good nutrition for you and your baby.

Focus on eating snacks rather than drinking them

With the exception of whole fruit and veggie smoothies (which are often full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals), calories from drinks are often devoid of nutrients while frequently being loaded with sugar, additives, and caffeine.10

Learn about:

Minimizing Added Sugar in your Diet while Pregnant and Breastfeeding

Can I have Caffeine while Pregnant and Breastfeeding?

Practice good food safety even with snacks

To help practice good food safety, follow these tips:

  • Perishable foods should be refrigerated or kept on ice in a cooler if you are out of the house or away from your desk.

  • Remember to reheat any leftovers and deli meats until steaming hot.

  • Choose pasteurized dairy (or dairy alternative) products, juices and ciders and avoid any foods that are off limits when pregnant.11

Read more: Food Safety During Pregnancy

Plan ahead!

Make sure you have healthy and appealing snack choices at your disposal and the tools you need to safely enjoy them (for example, a microwave for reheating). Always pack snacks for while you are out and about and keep your favorite healthy foods stocked at home.

Need help planning healthy snacks during pregnancy? Reach out to our team of registered dietitian nutritionists and lactation consultants for free! They’re here to help on our free to live chat from Monday – Friday 8am - 6pm (ET). Chat Now!

Try these healthy snack ideas and recipes:

Dairy & Eggs
  • Plain, low-fat yogurt, or cottage cheese with your favorite toppings like fresh fruit or berries, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, or granola

  • Greek yogurt whisked with pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice

  • Crumbled feta cheese (pasteurized, of course!) over cold watermelon pieces

  • Hard-boiled eggs with fresh bell pepper or sugar snap peas

  • 1 slice of whole grain toast with ricotta cheese and sliced figs

  • Cheese with whole grain crackers

  • Homemade quesadilla: melt 1 ounce cheese on ½ whole wheat tortilla and sprinkle with black beans and chopped tomatoes or salsa

  • Part skim ricotta cheese dolloped onto bell pepper slices and sprinkled with cracked pepper

  • Egg Muffins: Beat eggs and add in your favorite chopped veggies, pour into a greased muffin tin and bake 10-12 minutes at 350*F

Nuts, Seeds & Beans
  • Trail mix: Nuts and seeds of your choice (almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds) with raisins and dried apricots. Optional: Add salty pretzels and a few chocolate chips

  • Whole grain rice cakes, bread, or crackers topped with nut or seed butter like almond, cashew, sunflower, or peanut butter. Feel free to substitute an apple, banana, or celery for the whole grain.

  • Baked or microwaved sweet potato drizzled with tahini or sprinkled with sesame seeds

  • Chia pudding with chopped strawberries

  • A nutrition bar: Look for one where the only ingredients are whole foods like fruit (dried fruit is fine) and nuts.

  • Black beans mixed into salsa and eaten with corn tortilla chips

  • Roasted chickpeas with dried seaweed (toasted sheets of nori)

  • Edamame with salt, pepper, and lemon

Fruit & Vegetables
  • Baby kale massaged with olive oil and tossed with salt, pepper, and orange slices

  • Avocado smeared on whole grain toast and topped with chia seeds and lemon juice

  • Chopped raw broccoli mixed with sunflower seeds, chopped apricot, walnuts, and a mixture of equal parts plain yogurt and balsamic vinegar plus 2 tsp sugar

  • Raw vegetables like carrots, celery, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, or summer squash dipped in 2 tablespoons of tzatziki, hummus, baba ghanoush, or guacamole

  • Vegetable-based soup like lentil, hearty vegetable, or three-bean chili

  • Frozen banana dipped in melted dark chocolate

  • Fruit smoothie: blend your favorite fruits (think bananas, berries, mango, etc) and ice with milk, plant-based milk alternative, or yogurt. For an extra boost, try adding spinach or kale or 1 tablespoon of nut butter, ground flax seeds, or chia seeds

  • No Bake Fruit Crisp: microwave ¼ cup granola (less than 5g sugar per serving) with ½ cup blackberries or other chopped fruit until fruit is tender and the ‘crisp’ is warmed through, about 1 to 1.5 minutes.

Whole Grains
  • ½ cup of whole grain cereal (less than 5g of sugar per serving) with milk or plant-based milk alternative

  • ½ cup rolled oats prepared with fresh blueberries and cinnamon

  • 1 whole grain waffle plain or topped with 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt and fresh blueberries

  • Popcorn: look for brands that limit fat and salt or even better, make your own. Stove Top: Layer the bottom of a heavy-duty pot with olive oil, add 1½ tablespoons corn kernels, cover, heat over medium-high heat giving an occasional shake until there are 2 seconds between pops. Microwave: put 1½ tablespoons corn kernels into a brown paper bag, fold the bag over, and microwave until there are 2 seconds between pops. Top your homemade popcorn with olive oil, a dash of salt and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese (optional)

  • Homemade pita pizza: layer ½ whole grain pita with tomato sauce, 1 ounce cheese, veggies

Let's Chat!

We know parenting often means sleepless nights, stressful days, and countless questions and confusion, and we want to support you in your feeding journey and beyond.

Our Happy Experts are a team of lactation consultants and registered dietitian nutritionists certified in infant and maternal nutrition – and they’re all moms, too! They’re here to offer personalized support on our free, one-on-one, live chat platform Monday - Friday 8am-6pm (ET). No appointment needed, no email or sign-up required. Chat Now!

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For more on this topic, check out the following articles:

How much Weight should I Gain during Pregnancy?

Meal Plan: Key Nutrients of Pregnancy

Meal Plan to Help Manage and Prevent Cravings