Healthy pregnancy snacks can be a critical aspect of a healthy pregnancy. For some expecting mothers, the second trimester is the golden period of pregnancy. During these middle months, you may find your morning sickness subsiding, your energy returning, and your baby bump becoming more pronounced. It’s a time of anticipation and excitement as your baby grows and develops. And, just as baby needs nourishment to thrive, so do you.
The Importance of Nutrition in the Second Trimester
During these middle months, your baby is experiencing rapid growth and development. Key organs are forming, bones are hardening, and your little one is becoming more active. To support this incredible process, your body requires a significant increase in essential nutrients. Here are some of the key nutrients that should be present in pregnancy snacks:
- Protein: Protein is the building block of life, and during pregnancy, it’s essential for both you and your baby. The rule of thumb is 60 – 75 grams of protein a day depending on your weight. This helps in the development of your baby’s organs, muscles, and tissues. Protein-rich snacks are a must during the second trimester.
- Calcium: Your baby’s bones are hardening, and they require calcium for this process. Additionally, calcium is vital for your own bone health.
- Iron: Iron helps in the production of red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout your body and to your growing baby. It’s especially important during the second trimester when your blood volume increases.
- Fiber: Constipation can be a common issue during pregnancy, and fiber can help keep things moving smoothly.
- Healthy Fats: Fats are essential for brain development, and they also provide you with much-needed energy. Think avocados and walnuts.
- Folate: Folate is crucial for forming your baby’s neural tube. It’s recommended to consume foods rich in folate or take a prenatal vitamin containing this essential nutrient.
Snack Ideas for the Second Trimester
By paying attention to your nutrition and understanding what you need to fuel your body during these months, you can support the health and development of both you and your growing baby. These pregnancy snack ideas for the second trimester are not only delicious but also packed with essential nutrients like protein, calcium, iron, and healthy fats.
Greek Yogurt Parfait:
Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein and calcium. Layer it with fresh berries and a drizzle of honey for a sweet and satisfying pregnancy snack. This simple snack is quick and easy and the probiotics in yogurt can also aid in digestion.
Nut Butter and Banana Sandwich:
Spread natural almond or peanut butter on whole-grain bread. Add sliced bananas for a potassium boost. This pregnancy snack provides protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates.
Create your own trail mix with a mix of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. Nuts like almonds and walnuts are rich in healthy fats and protein. Dried fruits provide natural sweetness and fiber. This pregnancy snack is perfect for on-the-go munching. Trader Joe’s has some great options for those on the run.
Hummus and Veggie Sticks:
Hummus is packed with protein and folate. Dip carrot, cucumber, and bell pepper sticks for a crunchy, nutritious snack. It’s a great way to increase your veggie intake. Olive oil, tahini, salt, chickpeas and a food processor equals hummus heaven and many of the crunchy veggies come packed with helpful fiber.
Cottage Cheese with Pineapple:
Cottage cheese is a protein powerhouse.Pair it with pineapple chunks for a sweet and tangy flavor. This pregnancy snack is high in protein and calcium.
Spread mashed avocado on whole-grain toast. Top it with sliced tomatoes and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Avocado is rich in healthy fats, fiber, and folate.
Cook quinoa and mix it with chopped vegetables, such as cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and bell peppers. Drizzle with olive oil and a dash of lemon juice. Quinoa is a complete protein and provides essential amino acids. This pregnancy snack is hearty enough to be a meal!
Hard-boiled eggs are a portable source of protein. They also contain choline, which is important for fetal brain development. Sometimes the simplest recipes need the best technique… so we stick to this Serious Eats recipe from Kenji Lopez-Alt.
Cheese and Whole-Grain Crackers:
Pairing pasteurized cheese with whole-grain crackers provides protein, calcium, and fiber. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends against consuming unpasteurized cheeses during pregnancy, so make sure to check cheese type. The CDC’s safer choices include:
- Hard cheese, such as cheddar and swiss
- Cottage cheese, cream cheese, string cheese, and feta
- Pasteurized soft cheeses heated to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot
- Deli-sliced cheeses heated to 165°F or until steaming hot
Blend your favorite fruits with Greek yogurt or milk. Add a handful of spinach for an extra nutrient boost. Fruit smoothies are a delicious way to stay hydrated and get essential vitamins. We like the Daily Harvest ones but they are also easy to make using frozen fruit.
Oatmeal with Berries:
A warm bowl of oatmeal topped with fresh berries is a comforting and nutritious snack. Oats are rich in fiber and can help with digestive issues.
Dark Chocolate and Almonds:
Indulge your sweet tooth with a small piece of dark chocolate and a handful of almonds. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and can improve mood. As with most maternal health advice, always remember to consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to ensure that your dietary choices align with your specific nutritional needs during pregnancy. Skinny Dipped is one of our favorites.
As you enter your second trimester, it’s probably a good idea to start thinking about your postpartum village – the group of individuals who you can depend on after the baby is here. Hopefully you will be able to find a few foodies who will be able to support you with healthy postpartum meals and snacks!