When hunger strikes between meals, it’s tempting to grab a bag of chips or a candy bar. But healthy homemade snacks can be just as quick and easy as those prepackaged options. Try these nutrient-packed treats.
1. High-Fiber Cereal, Milk, & Berries
Almost all cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals, making them a simple snack that provides lots of nutrients. And if you don’t like drinking milk, pouring it over cereal will help you get the calcium both you and your baby need. When buying cereal, choose one that’s high in fiber and made with whole grains. Basic cereals are best since those with crunchy clusters or sweet coatings tend to be higher in fat, calories, and sugar. Top the cereal with fresh berries for additional vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.
2. Fruit & Yogurt Smoothie
Smoothies you buy at your local store are often high in sugar and low in fruit. Whip up your own at home using nonfat yogurt and your choice of fruit and you’ll get a healthy serving of protein, calcium, and other important nutrients. Frozen fruit will give your smoothie a thicker texture, so use fresh fruit if you like a thinner consistency. And don’t go overboard on the juice. The calories and sugar in juice — even 100 percent fruit juice — can add up quickly.
3. Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Chips
When you crave something crunchy with a hint of sweetness, these homemade chips will do the trick. They’re coated in a little cinnamon and sugar instead of salt, and then baked, which makes them much lower in sodium and fat than regular potato chips. Plus, you’ll reap the many health benefits of sweet potatoes, including fiber, potassium, and vitamins A, C, and B6.
4. Banana Biscotti
When you’re craving a cookie, try this classic Italian biscotti recipe. Each piece has just 100 calories and 3 grams of fat but comes with lots of sweet banana flavor and a satisfying crunch. Made from a banana bread mix, these are quick and easy to make. Mix in the dried cherries for a hint of sweetness and some additional fiber.
5. Mango Cubes
A cup of this tender, colorful fruit has just over 100 calories, making it a tasty snack when you want something sweet. In fact, most of its calories come from its naturally high sugar content. In addition to a sweet taste, you’ll also get 3 grams of fiber per cup of mango, along with vitamin A and a good amount of vitamin C. A known antioxidant, vitamin C is important for the building and repair of body tissue and also helps support a healthy immune system.
6. Oatmeal and Raisins
You don’t have to save oatmeal for breakfast. It’s great any time of the day. Full of heart-healthy soluble fiber, oatmeal is portable and easy to make. Just add water or milk and microwave. Avoid flavored instant oatmeal, which is high in sugar and may have artificial flavors and/or colors. Instead, flavor your oats with raisins, which have fiber and potassium, a mineral that regulates fluid balance in the body and helps nerves and muscles work properly.
7. Whole Wheat English Muffin
Top half of a whole wheat English muffin with a thin slice of your favorite cheese. The cheese will help you meet your protein needs, which are almost 50 percent higher during pregnancy. Cheese is also high in calcium — another nutrient that’s especially important during pregnancy. You could also try topping your muffin with some honey and your favorite fruit. Most English muffins and other breads are fortified with iron, vitamins, magnesium, and zinc, and the whole wheat version will also have several grams of fiber. When buying bread products, always check the label — whole wheat flour should be listed as the first ingredient.
8. Hard Boiled Eggs
Portable and high in protein, hard-cooked eggs are a great snack when you’re on the go. If you’re an egg white-only type of gal, now’s the time to eat that yolk. While the white is high in protein, the yolk is full of valuable nutrients, including choline, which plays a role in fetal brain and nervous system development, and folate, which helps prevent neural tube defects. Cook up a batch of eggs once a week so you can easily grab one when time is short.
9. Toasted Almonds
Almonds are nutritional powerhouses filled with fiber, protein, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. They’re rich in disease-fighting phytochemicals and have good amounts of nutrients such as fiber, iron, and calcium that are especially important for pregnant women. You can eat almonds raw but their flavor really comes out if you toast them in the oven for just a few minutes. Combine with dried cranberries for a tasty trail mix or just grab a handful when hunger strikes.
10. Carrot Chips & Dip
Rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene, carrots satisfy the need to crunch without resorting to high-fat chips. For convenience, choose baby carrots or carrot chips. To make a healthy dip, stir some ranch dip mix into low-fat sour cream. Serve with the carrots, and presto — you have chips and dip without all the calories and fat.