You want to give your baby the best nutrition before they enter the world. Your baby's health depends on what you eat, and every bite matters when it comes to nourishing your little one. But you've got a lot to do, and you need healthy snacks you can make in minutes.
Your growing baby requires important nutrients: protein for building muscles, calcium, and vitamin D for forming strong bones, and iron for making extra red blood cells needed during pregnancy. The best snacks for pregnancy satisfy your cravings and your baby's need for nutrients at the same time.
Try these 9 healthy pregnancy snacks to keep you and your baby satisfied on the go.
Kefir is a fermented beverage made from milk. It's loaded with probiotics and calcium for your growing baby's bones. Plus, it contains very little lactose, so even people with lactose intolerance will probably tolerate kefir well. For a flavorful twist, try this key lime kefir smoothie:
2. Avocado Toast
Who doesn't love rich, creamy avocado spread on toast? Avocado is a good source of essential fatty acids which is important for mom and baby.
3. Roast Chickpeas
These will satisfy your crunchy cravings, and they're full of fiber and protein. To make them at home:
4. Parmesan Popcorn
In addition to the fiber naturally found in popcorn, you can get an added boost of calcium for your baby's bones when you make this gourmet treat:
5. Peanut Butter Energy Bites
Rich, filling and full of vitamin E as well as Niacin, these energy bites will satisfy your sweet tooth as well as your hunger:
High in fiber and protein, a cup of raw edamame provides just 127 calories. Depending on your preferences, it can be boiled, steamed, pan-fried or microwaved and ready in minutes. To pan-fry edamame:
Grab a whole-wheat tortilla and some of your favorite cheese, and you've got a satisfying, portable snack that provides fiber, B vitamins and calcium. You can even top with lettuce, cilantro, tomatoes or peppers to get a serving a veggies or leafy greens that will provide folate.
8. Mini Veggie Pizzas
Whole-wheat English muffins, a little pizza sauce, mozzarella and leftover chopped veggies. Stick them under the broiler for the best flavor, or microwave for about a minute if you're really crunched for time. These mini pizzas are a good source of vitamin C and calcium. To make mini pizzas:
9. Yogurt Parfait
For a super-quick snack, grab an individual carton of protein-rich Greek yogurt. If you have a few extra minutes, make a parfait:
And remember you don’t need to completely deny your cravings. Having a little dark chocolate can be ok. Select dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa for the greatest health benefits. As a good rule of thumb, use moderation in your choice of foods.
If you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes and are watching how much sugar you eat, try a Glucerna® shake or snack bar. They taste great, are high in protein, and have a unique blend of slow-release carbohydrates to help manage blood sugar.
What's the key to easily building healthy pregnancy snacks? Combine a high-fiber fruit or vegetable with another food that's high in protein or heart-healthy fat. Soon, you'll be snacking like a pro, and you and your baby will both benefit.
Did you find this content helpful?YES NO
How HMOs Can Support Infant Cognition
Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) are unique prebiotics found naturally in breast milk that feed the good bacteria in the gut where approximately 70% of the immune system exists. While there are hundreds of different HMOs available in breast milk, the most abundant and well-researched among them is 2'-Fucosyllactose (2'-FL). New findings from Abbott published in the Journal of Nutrition & Food Science suggests that HMOs may help support cognition and motor development in infants. The study found that 2'-FL and 6-sialyllactose (6'-SL) HMOs together may be helpful in brain development. For the study, researchers collected a total of 82 human milk samples from women at one month postpartum to determine the impact of mothers’ weight and medical risk factors on breast milk composition. The women were asked to record weight and other variables, including gestational diabetes and smoking habits. The results of the research showed that higher levels of 6'-SL HMO in breast milk was linked to higher cognitive and motor skills scores in breastfed infants at 18 months, regardless of the mothers’ weight, diabetic status or other variables. And, greater levels of both 2'-FL and 6'-SL HMOs together were associated with higher motor skills scores at 6 and 18 months of age. Gross and fine motor skills are essential aspects of a child’s overall development. They allow a child to explore his or her environment, play with objects, demonstrate affection by reaching and holding, and demonstrate independence through mobility. This research suggests HMOs may also be important in supporting brain development in babies.
The Role of HMOs in Reducing NEC
Welcoming a new baby into the world should be an exciting time if you're an expecting parent. But when your child is born premature, it's normal to worry about the possible health challenges and complications they may face. Necrotizing enterocolitis, also known as NEC, is a rare condition that premature babies may develop during their first weeks of life. Though NEC can be managed, its effect on a child's health can be serious. NEC prevention may also be possible, according to new preliminary studies. Emerging preclinical research from Johns Hopkins and Abbott suggests that when premature babies are fed breast milk, the presence of human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) in the milk may help reduce their chances of developing NEC. We sat down with Rachael Buck, Ph.D., a research fellow at Abbott Nutrition, to discuss necrotizing enterocolitis and the promising research surrounding it. What Is Necrotizing Enterocolitis? NEC is a disease that can affect newborns by causing inflammation in their intestines. With NEC, bacteria inside the intestinal tract can leak into the intestinal wall. Babies with NEC require a period of gut rest, which means they are temporarily nourished by intravenous nutrition. NEC may be fatal, depending upon how severely NEC affects the newborn, Buck explains. The specific cause of NEC is unknown, but it's most often seen in very low birth weight premature babies. In the United States, about 10% of babies who are born prematurely develop NEC. "While there are available NEC treatments, preventive strategies to aid infants at high risk for the disease are needed," says Buck. One prevention strategy that's already showing promise involves the use of HMOs. In new preclinical research from Johns Hopkins and Abbott, HMOs were shown to effectively prevent instances of necrotizing enterocolitis in animal models. What Are Human Milk Oligosaccharides?