Is it OK to snack on foods throughout the day?

Pregnant woman eating a healthy fruit snack

Snacking or eating more frequently can certainly be part of a healthy, balanced diet, it’s just important to ensure you’re choosing nutrient-rich foods as often as you can and not eating above your body’s energy requirements, to prevent excess weight gain. During pregnancy, many women may find it beneficial to eat smaller meals more often, to help manage symptoms of nausea and indigestion, and if they find themselves getting fuller quicker than usual.

Here are some tasty ideas for healthy snacks:

  • A pot of fat-free natural yogurt with plenty of chopped fruit.
  • Make a batch of ham and egg muffins and keep in the fridge for a grab-and-go snack.
  • Cherry tomatoes, cucumber sticks and strips of pepper are fab finger food for nibbling on. Eat with a home-made dip such as a healthy tzatziki made from a pot of fat-free natural yogurt mixed with a crushed garlic clove and some grated cucumber.
  • Scramble or fry a couple of eggs using low-calorie cooking spray and serve on wholemeal toast.
  • A handful of unsalted nuts or seeds. Nuts and seeds are packed with vitamins, minerals and healthy unsaturated oils, but just be aware they’re also high in calories so it’s best to enjoy them in measured amounts.

Third trimester snacks

Throughout most of your pregnancy it’s not usually necessary to up your energy intake, except during the third trimester, when energy requirements increase by around 200kcal, so you might want to add an extra snack into your day. Healthy snack ideas of around 200kcal include:

Salmon spread and Ryvita crispbreads

Salmon provides omega-3 fatty acids, essential for the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system (and good for yours, too!). The fibre in the Ryvita can also help to prevent constipation.

Mix a drained can of salmon (or mackerel) in brine with 75g fat-free natural yogurt. Add lemon juice, black pepper and chopped fresh parsley to taste. Spread half of the mixture over 2 Ryvita crispbreads. Store the remaining half of the spread in the fridge (covered) for the next day’s snack.

Welsh rarebit

This fancy cheese on toast recipe provides calcium from the Cheddar, which is important for healthy bone development. Enjoy one slice of our recipe here as a 200kcal snack.

Chickpea falafels

As well as being a good source of protein and fibre to help fill you up, chickpeas provide iron, which is important for making red blood cells for both you and your baby.

For the falafels:
2 x 400g cans chickpeas, drained
6 spring onions, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
40g fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp ground cumin
1 level tsp baking powder
Handful each of fresh coriander and flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Put all the ingredients in a food processor, season lightly and blend until fairly smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and mix well with your hands. Cover and chill in the fridge overnight.

Preheat your oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Divide the falafel mixture into 16 portions and shape into patties. Place on a non-stick baking tray, spray with low-calorie cooking spray and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Leave to cool. Enjoy 4 falafels as a snack with a mixed salad and a drizzle of fat-free natural yogurt.

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