A healthy pregnancy includes a healthy pregnancy eating plan and sometimes it can be confusing about what changes you might need to make to your ‘non-pregnant’ eating plan. Here are some healthy snack ideas for your first trimester from Nikki Boswell, one of our Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Nutritionists:
So you’re eating for two now? – Well unfortunately that’s not quite the case. During pregnancy, especially the first trimester, your energy needs increase very little, but on the other hand meeting your nutrient requirements becomes oh-so important as your baby is doing a lot of developing.
These top ten snacks for your first trimester are nutrient dense rather than energy dense and will help you meet your nutrient requirements without doubling your energy intake.
Top 10 Snacks For Your First Trimester
Yoghurt is a great first trimester snack as it contains probiotics to promote healthy gut bacteria which is especially important if you have been suffering bouts of morning sickness. Maintaining healthy gut bacteria during pregnancy underpins a strong, healthy immune system for both Mum and baby. Yoghurt is also a great source of protein and calcium to help build strong bones and other tissues, and is a good source of iodine which is needed throughout pregnancy to support the growth and development of your baby. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause of impairments in the physical and mental development of infants.
Yoghurt can be eaten on its own, with fruit, nuts, in smoothies or use plain yoghurt in place of sour cream.
Eggs are another great source of iodine that can also help to bump up your intake of protein. Eggs are a good source of iron and make for a convenient alternative to meat if you are finding it a little hard to stomach. Requirements for iron increase early in pregnancy and an adequate intake is important to support oxygen transport to your baby and to prevent complications of anaemia. Eggs also provide vitamin A, D and B12.
Enjoy them scrambled, fried, boiled, in a salad, on toast, or on their own – just be sure that they are completely cooked to prevent listeria.
3. Baked Beans (no added salt)
The humble baked bean is an amazingly nutritious food and a perfect pregnancy snack. Baked beans and other legumes are a great source of folate (also known as folic acid) which is critically important in the very early stages of pregnancy in reducing neural tube birth defects, such as spina bifida; in supporting the production of red blood cells; DNA synthesis; and a healthy brain and nervous system. Ideally women should ensure they are meeting folate requirements prior to conception as well as throughout pregnancy.
Baked Beans are also high in protein, vitamin B6 and iron, all which work to fight fatigue which often sets in, in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Jam packed with fibre baked beans also help to alleviate constipation which is a common pregnancy problem.
Lending themselves to dozens of delicious snacks (or just eaten by the spoonful), avocados are perfect for pregnancy as they provide a healthy dose of monounsaturated fats which support cell membranes and brain development, and promotes healthy skin – we aren’t all lucky enough to ‘glow’. Avocados also contain folate and vitamin K for healthy blood clotting. The vitamin C found in avocados will help increases the absorption of plant based sources of iron such as that found in baked beans – so why not add a few slices of avocado to your beans on toast?
Bananas are another great snack that are packed with carbohydrates, fibre and antioxidants and they tend to be a little gentler on an uneasy stomach if you are suffering from morning sickness. They are also a great source of potassium to help regulate blood pressure and tryptophan to promote restful sleep.
6. Wholegrain Toast
Your mother may have told you to eat dry toast for morning sickness – and she wasn’t wrong. Wholegrain toast, or in its former state, bread, contains vitamin B6 which has been shown to help with pregnancy induced nausea. In Australia all bread (except organic) is also fortified with iodine. Toast lends itself to a huge variety of sweet or savoury toppings like ricotta and strawberries or avocado and tomato, making it a great way to meet requirements of other nutrients, fruits and vegetables.
Try topping wholegrain toast with tuna or salmon for a satisfying snack that is rich in essential omega 3 fatty acids.
The wrinkly old raisin in not merely shrivelled fruit, but a surprisingly fantastic source of iron, vitamin B6, potassium and magnesium, which has many important roles in the body and helps reduce cramping and restless legs which are common pregnancy problems. Raisins are also packed with antioxidants and fibre to help to keep you regular.
A perfect snacking partner to raisins, walnuts offer protein that is portable and convenient. Walnuts are also a good source of plant based omega 3 fatty acids and are high in fibre. This combination of protein, fat and fibre make walnuts a satisfying snack and help keep you feeling full. They are also packed with other nutrients like magnesium, iron and folate.
Pack a trail mix of raisins and walnuts to take to your next doctor’s appointment.
9. Peppermint and Ginger Tea
It is important to keep your fluids up during the early stages of pregnancy, especially if you have been suffering from morning sickness. Your fluid needs can increase by as much as 1000ml per day. Water should be your first choice of fluids but it’s not always easy to stomach when you are feeling nauseous. Peppermint and ginger tea are safe to consume when pregnant and can also be very beneficial in reducing nausea as well as heartburn which can begin in early pregnancy (although more common towards the third trimester) whilst also helping to keep your fluids up.
Smoothies, like The Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothie, are an ultimate snack in general as they can be tailored to your individual preferences and dietary needs. During pregnancy go for a dairy (or calcium fortified milk alternative) based smoothie to give you plenty of calcium and well as protein and carbohydrates. Add in yoghurt for probiotic benefits, fresh fruit for added fibre and antioxidants, try some flaxseed for plant based omega 3s, oats to help keep you feeling full.
Did You Know The Healthy Mummy Smoothie Is Breastfeeding Friendly?
The Healthy Mummy smoothie has been created to help mums benefit from a wide range of nutrients which can also help support your healthy eating plan and exercise routine if you are trying to lose weight.
The Healthy Mummy Smoothie range has been formulated by leading nutritionists, dieticians and with the input from the Monash University.
It offers an excellent source of essential vitamins, minerals, nutrients and important antioxidants. It is free from any weight loss accelerants, caffeine, contains no wheat ingredients, no fructose, is 96% sugar free and is dairy free. It is also a non Genetically Modified product and is breastfeeding friendly.