5 Energy Boosting Snacks for Pregnancy
Experts recommend women maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy, not gaining too much or too little depending on her pre-pregnant weight. But growing a baby takes energy. You may find that you’re not only more fatigued but also extra hungry!
Healthcare providers typically suggest 300 extra calories per day. While this doesn’t give you license to actually double what you’re eating, it does mean you may want to add a daily snack or two. Snacking doesn’t need to be boring and doesn’t need to mean binging. Snacks that combine a protein, a carbohydrate and a (good) fat are going to keep you feeling fuller, longer. They will help provide the energy you need between meals without adding empty calories.
Here are 5 healthy, energy boosting snacks you’ll love while you’re growing your little one!
Craving chips? Roasted chickpeas are a great alternative. These easy snacks are a great source of fiber and protein, as well as heart-healthy fats, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Think hummus with a crunch. Serving size is ½ cup, but sometimes it’s hard to limit yourself to only that many!
Preheat your oven to 230 degrees C (450 degrees F). Blot chickpeas with a paper towel to dry them. In a bowl, toss chickpeas with olive oil, and season to taste. You can make them without the olive oil to save calories, if you want. Spread them on a baking sheet, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until browned and crunchy. Be sure to give them a stir every 10 minutes so they don’t burn.
Try these seasonings before baking:
Ranch – sprinkle with dill, parsley, black pepper and garlic powder.
Taco – sprinkle with chili powder, cumin, minced onion, garlic and a little bit of oregano
Lemon Pepper – toss with lemon juice instead of olive oil and sprinkle with salt-free lemon pepper seasoning
Can’t find chickpeas? Hint: they’re also called garbanzo beans.
If you like granola bars, you’ll enjoy these tasty balls. Choose any nut butter you like as the base. If you don’t like nut butters (or if you have an allergy), consider using medjool dates (with the pits removed) – simply put them in the food processor with a bit of water until they make a paste. Dates are also thought to help you have an easier labor – so these protein balls might make a terrific addition in the weeks leading up to your due date!
250g (1 cup) rolled oatmeal (you can process them into a flour or use them whole – the whole oats give the balls a little more texture)
60ml (¼ cup) honey
60ml (¼ cup) nut butter or medjool date paste
40g (2 T) cocoa powder
pinch of salt
Combine all ingredients well (a food processor makes quick work of it), and then use your hands to roll the ingredients into balls. If the dough is too dry, add more honey. If it’s too wet, add more oats. Keep the balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer, and grab one whenever you need a quick energy pick-me-up.
It doesn’t get much easier than this! With 4 or 5 ingredients and 5-minute prep time, you can enjoy a nutritious snack with little fuss. Orange juice is a favorite, but apple juice works well, too. Try frozen peaches, mangoes, strawberries, or mixed berries. You can also add some fresh spinach to get some added folic acid in your diet.
½ Ripe Banana
125ml (½ cup) frozen fruit
125ml (½ cup) fruit juice
60ml (¼ cup) yogurt
5ml (1 tsp) sweetener, optional (honey, maple syrup, sugar)
Throw all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. (Or throw them all into a large cup and use an immersion blender!)
Black Bean Brownies
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, there’s no reason your snack can’t pack in a little nutritional value!
125g (4 ounces) unsweetened baking chocolate
125g (½ cup) butter or coconut oil
4 eggs (or egg substitute)
190ml (¾ cup) maple syrup or honey
500g (2 cups) black beans, pureed (canned beans are easier, but you can certainly soak dried beans then puree them)
50g (2½ Tablespoons) instant coffee
250g 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Grease 20cm (8in) square baking pan. Melt butter and chocolate in small saucepan. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs and sweetener. Slowly add melted butter and chocolate to this mixture and beat well. Beat in bean puree and coffee. Fold in nuts. Pour into the baking pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until set. (If you press a finger into the middle, it should dent.) Makes 16 squares.
You can tailor trail mix to your own tastes, but it’s typically a combination of nuts, seeds and dried fruits. The dried fruits are full of natural sugars, so you may want to use them sparingly. Nuts may be salted or unsalted depending on your preference and nutritional needs. Add a small handful of chocolate chips or coated chocolate candies if you’re craving sweets, but don’t overdo it!
Consider the benefits of these ingredients:
- Almonds: good source of protein, fiber, healthy fats, and vitamin E
- Apricots (dried): good source of iron, potassium, selenium and Vitamin A
- Banana chips: good source of Manganese and potassium
- Dates: great source of fiber and protein
- Pecans: good source of monounsaturated fats, fiber, vitamin E, copper and magnesium
- Pumpkin seeds or pepitas: great source of fiber, folate and unsaturated fats
- Raisins: good source of iron, potassium and fiber
- Sesame seeds: good source of fiber, protein, iron and healthy fats
- Sunflower seeds: good source of fiber, folate and unsaturated fats
- Walnuts: good source of Omega-3 fatty acids
Other add-ins include coconut flakes, fried cherries or cranberries, cashews and other nuts, and more. You might even consider adding a whole-grain cereal or popcorn. Mix all your favourites and store them in an airtight container. Grab a handful and go!
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