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19 Healthy Pregnancy Snacks to Satisfy All Your Cravings

There's a healthy—and tasty!—way to get in those extra calories.
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By Natalie Gontcharova, Senior Editor
Updated October 30, 2023
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Image: Dejan Dundjerski | Shutterstock

Figuring out what to eat while pregnant and which foods to avoid can feel like solving an intricate puzzle. But one thing’s for sure: You need lots of healthy pregnancy snacks to keep you feeling fueled and full. (This is your sign to stock up!)

Healthy snacks for pregnancy ensure you get the additional calories you need when growing baby, says Natalie Carroll, RDN, a registered dietitian and lactation counselor specializing in women’s health. For the record, most pregnant people need about 340 extra calories a day during the second trimester and 450 extra daily calories during the third trimester, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), although individual needs vary. That’s an extra one or two pregnancy snacks!

Another good reason to eat more bits and bites? “Snacks are often better tolerated later in pregnancy, when we often cannot eat a whole meal without feeling too full,” says Carroll. But how do you make sure your pregnancy snacks are actually healthy for you and baby? We consulted the experts for the nutritional lowdown. Read ahead to learn about the best snacks for pregnancy, healthy alternatives for cravings and more.

What Are the Best Snacks for Pregnancy?

The best snacks for pregnancy include a combination of carbohydrates, healthy fats, animal- or plant-based protein and fiber, says Carroll. “A combination of these nutrients will ensure that you’re getting a snack that’ll satisfy and satiate your hunger while promoting stable blood sugars, which is important in pregnancy—and anytime, really!” she says.

Balancing your nutrients when it comes to healthy pregnancy snacks is also key if you’re experiencing morning sickness. “If you’re in a state of survival mode because of nausea and vomiting, eating what you can keep down is important,” says Ryann Kipping, RDN, a registered dietitian, and owner and founder of The Prenatal Nutritionist. “Try eating something blander and carb-rich first to settle your stomach, like crackers, then follow it up with protein or fat, like cheese. If you really don’t feel like eating anything at all, you can also try more plain foods without strong odors or flavors, like cereal with milk or a strawberry smoothie.”

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Carroll agrees, adding that carbs on their own can lead to a blood sugar crash, ultimately causing more nausea or fatigue. She suggests topping your bread with avocado, or adding some pistachios to whole-grain graham crackers. Eating frequent mini meals or snacks can also help alleviate nausea.

Building your snacks around the key nutrients of protein, fat and fiber “will [also] help decrease intense sweet cravings because meals with plenty of protein and fat decrease the rapid rise in your blood sugar,” Kipping says. That said, pregnancy cravings are normal, and it’s okay to indulge from time to time. “In most cases, I recommend eating exactly what you crave and then moving on with your day,” says Kipping. “When we often make the ‘healthy alternative,’ we still crave what we initially wanted and then eat it later.”

Then again, you might have pregnancy food aversions that can keep you from eating the pregnancy snacks you typically enjoy. In that case, fruit can be your best friend, says Carroll. “Fruit can often be a safe, nutrient-dense choice that provides carbohydrates for energy, fiber for bowel regularity and satiety, and hydration,” she says.

Healthy Pregnancy Snack Recipes

If you’re looking for healthy pregnancy snacks that you can whip up at home, here are a few of our favorite recipes.

Image: Daria Saveleva | Shutterstock

Peanut butter energy bites

Looking for healthy sweet snacks during pregnancy? These fiber-filled peanut butter bites from Kipping’s The Feel-Good Pregnancy Cookbook will satisfy your craving and give you the extra energy you need.

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup ground flaxseed
  • 2 tbl. chia seeds
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened coconut shreds (optional)

Steps:

  • Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  • Form ingredients into 1-inch balls. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Image: New Africa | Shutterstock

Sweet potato fries

This satisfying pregnancy snack from Kipping’s book uses avocado oil, which increases your absorption of key nutrients in the sweet potatoes.

You’ll need:

  • 2 small to medium sweet potatoes, cut into 3-inch spears
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbl. avocado oil

Steps:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Fill a large mixing bowl with cold water, add the potato spears and allow them to soak for 30 minutes. This reduces the starch content of the potatoes, allowing them to crisp up when baked. (You can skip this step if you’re short on time.)
  • If you soaked the potatoes, drain the water and dry them with a paper towel. Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder and oil to the bowl and toss to coat the potatoes.
  • Spread the fries out evenly on the prepared baking sheet, making sure they aren’t overlapping each other, if possible.
  • Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and flip the potatoes. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until you notice the fries turning brown on the edges.
Image: Bartosz Luczak | Shutterstock

Home-baked kale chips

Kipping’s kale chips are the perfect pregnancy snack if you’re craving something crunchy and salty.

You’ll need:

  • 1 bunch kale, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tbl. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. garlic salt

Steps:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Place the kale pieces in a large mixing bowl and toss with oil and garlic salt.
  • Spread the kale out in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.
Image: Natalie Carroll, RD

Blueberry lemon cottage cheese muffins

“These have whole-grain flour, antioxidant-rich blueberries and protein-packed cottage cheese,” says Carroll. “You can eat [them] on their own or pair with some nuts or a cheese stick to make it more filling.”

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white, whole-wheat flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup full-fat cottage cheese
  • ⅓ cup avocado or olive oil
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 3 tbl. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries

Steps:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, cottage cheese, butter, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla.
  • Stir egg mixture into flour mixture just until moistened; fold in blueberries. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups.
  • Bake for 20 to 22 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and tops spring back when lightly pressed. Place pan on rack; let cool.
Image: Natalie Carroll, RD

Cannoli dip with graham crackers

Carroll says she created this sweet dip when she was pregnant. It’s perfect if you have a sweet pregnancy craving!

You’ll need:

  • ¼ to ⅓ cup of full-fat ricotta cheese (you can also use cottage cheese blended in a food processor until smooth)
  • ¼ tsp. almond extract (sub vanilla, if desired)
  • Drizzle of honey, to your taste
  • 2 tsp. slivered almonds
  • 2 tsp. mini chocolate chips
  • 1 serving graham cracker or thin cookie

Steps:

  • Mix all ingredients except the crackers in a small bowl or ramekin.
  • Serve and scoop with graham crackers or cookies.

Healthy Pregnancy Snack Ideas

When pregnancy fatigue doesn’t leave you with a ton of time to cook, these healthy quick snacks for pregnancy can save the day.

Fruit and nuts (or nut butter)

Pair a banana, apple or clementine with a package of raw nuts, suggests Carroll. Kipping also suggests dipping an apple or banana into a nut butter. (Bananas and peanut butter are a delicious classic!)

Protein stick and popcorn

Pair a turkey or beef stick with a bag of prepackaged popcorn (sweet or savory) for a healthy protein snack for pregnancy, says Carroll.

Cottage cheese and fruit

If you’re looking for healthy bedtime snacks for pregnancy, top ½ cup of cottage cheese with cut-up cantaloupe or pineapple. “I like a protein snack before bed to help stabilize overnight blood sugar levels and promote satiety,” says Carroll.

Yogurt, berries and nuts

Top a serving of low-sugar or plain Greek yogurt (you can sweeten it with honey or maple syrup) with ¼ cup of berries and a few tablespoons of sliced almonds, suggests Carroll. You can also add chia seeds to your yogurt for extra protein, suggests Kipping.

Sweet trail mix

You can use raw almonds or cashews, unsweetened dried cherries and dark chocolate chips—or other ingredients you like—to create a sweet trail mix to munch on, suggests Carroll.

Hummus, raw veggies and pita

Chop up some of your favorite veggies, unwrap some pita bread and you’re good to go.

Baked potato with yogurt and chives

The creamy, rich mix of the potato with yogurt will satisfy many a craving. Bonus: It’s super easy to make!

Mixed berry smoothie

Mix some frozen berries with milk and enjoy. Thick, creamy and sweet, you’ll get the satisfaction of slurping up a milkshake—without the sugar crash.

Chips and salsa

You may not be able to have a margarita while pregnant, but you can certainly enjoy this nutritious snack. Salsa is loaded with fresh tomatoes and veggies. You can also chop up some extra carrots, zucchini or whatever you’re prepping for dinner and you’ve got yourself a delicious, dippable crunch fest.

Avocado toast

Of course this now-classic makes our list. Mash up half an avocado (aka your dose of good fats), slather onto whole-grain toast, and give it a squeeze of lemon. You can drizzle it with honey for a bit of sweetness.

Hard-boiled egg with crackers

Egg is loaded with protein, calcium and vitamin A—an all-around win if you’re looking for healthy pregnancy snacks.

Oatmeal, walnuts and raisins

Topping your oatmeal with nuts and raisins will give you a mini meal with plenty of protein, fiber and healthy fats.

Whole-wheat bagel with almond butter

This is another winning combination of fiber, protein and healthy fats.

Edamame

This sushi-bar staple makes for a tasty pregnancy snack. Just toss a serving in the microwave and you’ve got your afternoon vitamin C hit. You can pair it with a whole-grain carb too.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

Sources

Natalie Carroll, MS, RDN, CDN, CLC, is a registered dietitian and lactation counselor specializing in women’s health. She specializes in working with people with prediabetes, gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Ryann Kipping, MPH, RDN, LDN, is a registered dietitian, owner and founder of The Prenatal Nutritionist, and author of The Feel-Good Pregnancy Cookbook.

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Weight Gain During Pregnancy, June 2022

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