You’ve heard it before: Eating small amounts of healthy foods throughout the day rather than indulging in three whopping meals is the way to go. It keeps your belly full, which provides your wee one with a steady flow of nutrients—and you with a steady flow of energy—and also helps prevent overeating when you sit down for breakfast, lunch and dinner (since you never reach that I’m-starving-and-must-eat-everything-in-sight level). But how do you eat all day without packing on too many pounds? By snacking wisely.
It’s 10 a.m. Breakfast was (what seems like) forever ago, but lunch is still a couple hours away. What to eat? Reach for a snack that will give you some vitality to make it through the morning but isn’t too filling.
Half a banana with nut butter. Potassium, fiber, vitamins B6 and C—what’s not to love about bananas? (They might even help ward off pesky leg cramps and morning sickness!) Slice one in half and top with your favorite nut butter.
Hard-boiled egg. Don’t toss that yolk! The yellow part of an egg contains choline, an essential player in fetal brain and nervous system development. It also boasts a healthy dose of folate, which helps prevent neural tube defects. That’s not to say the other half of an egg isn’t worthwhile though—the white is an excellent source of protein.
Fruit and yogurt smoothie. Whip up a DIY smoothie (the café-bought varieties are often loaded with unnecessary sugar) by blending your favorite fruits—frozen for a thicker texture, fresh for thinner—with nonfat regular or Greek yogurt and a splash of fruit juice.
Greek yogurt topped with fresh fruit. Yogurt is a great source of calcium—go Greek and you’ll also double the protein. Stir in a handful of in-season fruit—blueberries, raspberries and strawberries should all be on shelves in the summer months—for extra sweetness and an added nutrient boost.
Afternoon energy boost
When the 3 p.m. slump hits, a handful of healthful grub can help give you the energy you need to get through the rest of the day. But rather than hitting the vending machine, plan ahead and bring in a treat that’s sure to ease your snack-food cravings.
Raw veggies or whole-grain crackers and hummus. Chickpeas are rich in both fiber and protein, and also contain folic acid, zinc, magnesium, calcium and iron— so you can satisfy your need for dip without feeling bad about what you’re feeding your baby.
Oven-baked veggie chips. Can’t fight the urge for a handful of chips? Make the craving work for you. Veggie chips are easy to make at home and, depending on your vegetable choice, boast an assortment of health benefits. Two great options: sweet potato chips, loaded with fiber, potassium, and vitamins A, B6 and C, and kale chips, which offer an abundance of vitamins, antioxidants and fiber.
Fresh salsa and baked tortilla chips. Combine freshly chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and your choice of chile pepper with a little salt and pepper for a chips-and-dip fix that transports nicely in a tightly sealed container.
Popcorn. Did you know popcorn is a whole grain? It’s also another great chip substitute, as long as you leave off the butter and salt, and it’s full of antioxidants and fiber.
DIY trail mix. An assortment of your favorite nuts and dried fruit—and even a few chocolate chips if you can’t resist—fills you up without making you sluggish, creating a perfect middle-of-the-day treat.
Instead of making 2 a.m. trips to the refrigerator, fill your belly with a bedtime snack before you hit the hay. Aim for something easy on the stomach that will leave you feeling full and sleepy.
Whole-grain, high-fiber cereal with skim milk and fresh berries. The milk is an obvious calcium boost, and most cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals. Avoid those with added sugar (watch out for crunchy clusters, which can look healthy on the box but be loaded with sugar on the label), and top with fresh berries for added fiber and antioxidants.
Oatmeal with nuts and fresh berries. Chock full of soluble fiber—which is great for heart health—this a.m. favorite is perfect for p.m. too. A few fresh toppers can offer additional benefit and flavor.
Whole-wheat English muffin with turkey, cheese and tomato. Looking for something a little less breakfast-y? Top half of a whole-wheat English muffin (or other slice of whole-wheat bread) with a slice of cheese – a great source of calcium – and a slice or two of turkey and tomato. Broil for a few minutes until cheese is melted. (Don’t love tomatoes? Try avocado instead.)
Apple slices with cheese or a handful of almonds. You know what they say—an apple a day keeps the doctor away! They are rich in both soluble fiber and insoluble fiber (which wards off constipation), so you’ll feel full through the night. A protein-rich slice of cheese or a few nutrient-packed almonds will top off your midnight (or 9 p.m.) feast.