Stay full, fueled, and beat nausea with these high protein pregnancy snacks! These healthy pregnancy snacks are real-food based, loaded with nutrients, and will help nourish both mom and babe. The best pregnancy snacks are ones that you'll actually enjoy while giving your baby the nutrients it needs- and you can find them below!
Staying active and healthy while pregnant can be a challenging gig. Mainly because you’re ravenous as hell but tired at the same time. And while there are a ton of benefits to staying active while pregnant, what about staying fueled?!
I’m a foodie so when I was pregnant, I was all about having healthy, high protein pregnancy snacks on stand by – and I wanted to share!
Your babe is in need of a lot of nutrients to grow, and let’s face it, you either want to eat everything in sight or vomit, so having healthy pregnancy snacks on hand can be a savior.
Don't want to learn? JUMP to the snack list.
Why You Need High Protein Pregnancy Snacks
Just like when you're not pregnant, protein is crucial for growth. However, this macronutrient becomes even more important during pregnancy. Protein helps:
- your baby grow and develop
- build the immune system
- repair and build tissues
- regulate hormones and make enzymes
Consuming protein while pregnant is crucial. Learn more about specific intake levels and what exactly your body does with the protein. However, know this also: protein also helps keep you full throughout the day and reduce the frequency of nausea.
While most of us crave carbohydrates during the first trimester, ensuring we're still getting in high protein pregnancy snacks will reduce the queasy, awful feeling. And protein intakes are even higher if you're still active and rocking prenatal workouts.
Though I promise mama, this doesn't mean you need to binge on chicken breasts to get your protein levels up. If you're like me, chicken as a pretty big no-go until 18 weeks haha.
It also doesn't mean that each healthy pregnancy snack idea needs to be fully protein-based. You simply want to make sure you're getting adequate amounts throughout the day. And the easiest way to do that is to get some protein with each snack.
What To Look For When Building Healthy Pregnancy Snacks
Having healthy snacks ready to go, on hand is important. When you're pregnant you're tired, exhausted, and whipping something up that takes longer than five minutes won't always happen.
This is why I like to keep stashes of snacks on hand so that there's always a grab-and-go option. When I'm making high protein pregnancy snacks I aim for:
- Healthy fats
- A stabilizing protein
- Low in processed sugar
I always find it a bit odd that our society shied away from fats for so long. It’s just not that we’re shifting our mindset and screaming “fat is okay!”. And thank effing god.
Fats, healthy ones, of course, are a staple when it comes to healthy snacks for pregnancy. And they're even more important postpartum if breastfeeding. This is why these no-bake lactation cookies are such win.
Fats help you keep your calories high (growing a baby!) while aiding in brain development. They help your skin, help you stay full, and make everything yummy.
Don’t shy away from fats- just make sure they’re healthy ones!
Nuts, seeds, avocados, quality oils, all of these should be staples in a pregnant lady’s diet. Plus, when paired with fruit, fats will also help control the sugar release and keep you full a bit longer.
This is something we need to focus on even when we’re not pregnant. Choosing healthy pregnancy snacks that are high in quality nutrients is important.
Your baby needs a lot of vitamins and minerals to grow and to develop its own immune system. You can’t build a solid house off of termite ridden wood.
Focus on the quality of your food choices before as much as you can.
Low In Processed Sugar
Oh sugar, how we love and hate you at the same time.
Sugar is yummy, I’ll be the first to admit it. But it’s also very detrimental to a developing babe. You’ll never omit is completely (and it would be even harder to do while pregnant, though here are some tips to cut back your sugar intake) but ensuring that the majority of your high protein pregnancy snacks are quality-based will make a huge difference.
Simple swaps like using plain yogurt and adding in your own fruit and nuts make a huge difference to a growing babe. It’s not easy and it may require some habit shifts but it’s worth it! In a podcast I did with Michael Collins we touch on how you can shape your babes and kids' taste buds. This alone is a great reason to ease off on the sugar and processed foods.
When I was pregnant, snacks were life (maybe that’s why my girls are such crazy snack fiends?!). I got too full eating actual meals and thus I lived off eating small snacks eight times per day haha
Having healthy pregnancy snack ideas in the back of your mind will help stop you from grabbing the first Danish you see in the window.
- Plain Greek yogurt with fruit, nuts and honey/maple syrup (if using a dairy-free yogurt, check out the tip below!)
- Homemade muffins (I love these morning glory muffins)
- Cashew coconut snack bars
- Cherry Vanilla Protein Bars
- Tuna salad
- No-bake energy balls (chocolate ones, banana ones, cherry ones.. all of them!)
- Cottage cheese, fruit, and flax meal (plus a sweetener)
- Smoothies (all of them!)
- Almond flour sugar cookies
- Avocado toast with hemp hearts
- Tofu egg cups
- Chia pudding
- Peanut butter protein balls
- Overnight Oats
- Bacon & Cheese bites
- Sticky chocolate pudding (almond butter, protein powder, cacao, maple syrup & plant-based milk)
- Roasted chickpea & edamame
- Hard-boiled egg and fruit or veggies
- Frozen yogurt covered blueberries
- Veggies and Greek yogurt dill dip (or fruit and this chocolate greek yogurt dip!)
- Egg muffins
- Crispy protein cookies
- Ham & dill pickle bites
- Paleo chocolate pancakes
- Protein muffins
- Healthy chocolate pudding
Protein Boosting Pregnancy Snack Hack
Many healthy pregnancy snacks like overnight oats, energy balls, or even yogurt (if you're rocking dairy-free yogurts) are extremely good for you but not overly high in protein. They contain some plant-based protein (which is amazing) but are more reliant on healthy fats.
For these recipes, I use my favorite busy mom hack: collagen.
Collagen is a protein most associated with bone broth. It provides the structure for your hair, skin, nails, growth etc. The best way to explain it is that it is the purest form of protein you can use.
Unlike protein powder, collagen is just derived from the animal, not additives or extras. I've been adding collagen powder to my recipes for years, to give them a bit more fuel and nutrient density.
Collagen blends well, it absorbs but it doesn't change the texture of anything or the recipe. Simply add a bit into your energy balls, bars or oats to give them a bit more fuel.
I grab my collagen powder from Perfect Supplements because it's sourced ethically and from pasture-raised, grass-fed cows. If there's a superfood that helps during pregnancy, this is it! You can use code mamabear10 to save some money too.
Other Healthy Pregnancy Snacks (but not protein-based)
- Veggies and hummus (green hummus is even better!)
- Fruit and nuts (we love almonds, walnuts, and brazil nuts!)
- Trailmix (toss some nuts, dried fruit, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, and coconut together)
- Healthy cookies (yes, cookies are totally part of healthy eating!)
- Crackers, hummus, and avocado
- Crackers and nut butter
- Fruit and nut butter (banana and almond butter was always my favorite)
- Hummus and veggie wraps
- Granola bars
- No bake energy bars
Keep in mind that every mama is different. What you love one pregnancy you may not enjoy the next. Our bodies crave and enjoy different things. Take it day by day and do what you can.
The important thing while pregnant is to stay fueled, hydrated (here’s some fun preggo, low sugar mocktails!), and enjoy that growing belly of yours!
Don’t forget to pin these healthy, high-protein pregnancy snacks!
Eating while pregnant can be tricky. You want to fuel your babe, but you also have to combat food aversions. Thus, do your best to focus on quality, healthy snack ideas and keep some no-bake snacks on hand for when you get ravenous suddenly. But don’t stress over it, do what you gotta do mama!