5 Healthy Pregnancy Snacks

Pregnant woman on floor eating apple.
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Pregnancy is a time when you may think about your nutrition more than before. In previous years, we've told women that they were eating for two. This lead to many women consuming way too many calories, not to mention lots of junk food. This put a strain on their health and that of their babies.

Now research has shown that pregnant moms need about 1 extra snack per day to help grow a healthy baby. That works out to about 300 extra calories per day.

The hard part is deciding how to spend those calories every day. Obviously, they can be used to eat a candy bar or choose snacks that pack a nutritional punch. Having a healthy pregnancy snack is a great way to gain just the right amount of weight for your and your baby.

"I was under the impression that if I ate a snack every day, I'd just gain extra weight," says Eve. "But I was hungry! When my midwife sat me down and showed me how the baby was growing and told me why I needed a snack every day - I understood."

What are the best snacks for pregnant women?

Protein is a great choice for a healthy pregnancy snack because it is the building block for every cell. It also helps many moms when they are feeling fatigued or even nauseated. Some moms go for fiber to help decrease some of the more common but uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy like constipation. There are plenty of ways to spend the extra calories.

Here are some of my favorite snack combinations:

  • Crackers and cheese. This is a great way to get some protein and fiber. I loved being able to eat a few slices of cheese with some nice whole grain crackers. It was also fun to try lots of different crackers, even trying some of the newer version of old favorites that have less fat.
  • Nuts. A bag full of nuts was always handy to have around and it did not require preparation or refrigeration. There were times in pregnancy I had specific cravings, like almonds or pecans, but usually, I could eat almost any type of nut available. These are great protein powerhouses.
  • Fresh fruit. Every morning you could grab an extra piece of fruit for your desk. An apple, banana or orange requires very little thought or preparation. I am fond of the mandarin oranges. Now you can find fruit cups almost everywhere in the grab and go sections of stores.
  • Hard boiled eggs. These are compact snacks to carry with you, but do require a fridge. If you like these, they can be an easy way to increase your protein. Some moms I know also swear by their ability to quell morning sickness.
  • Dips and sticks. Carrot sticks and celery are great. But today we often use broccoli and other veggies with dips. Try bean dips, hummus and other fun sauces on your vegetables.

In the end, talking to your midwife or doctor about your weight gain is a great start, but you should also consider talking to someone who has extensive nutrition training to help you ensure that you and your baby are getting the right mix of nutrients every day.

This conversation is even more important if you are a vegetarian, particularly if new to the practice. 


Weight Gain During Pregnancy: Reexamining the Guidelines. Kathleen M. Rasmussen and Ann L. Yaktine, Editors; Committee to Reexamine IOM Pregnancy Weight Guidelines; Institute of Medicine; National Research Council; 2009.

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