If you are feeling hungrier than usual or have certain cravings during pregnancy there’s clearly a good reason for this, given you are now eating for two.
While eating for two doesn’t mean you should eat twice as much food, health experts do advise that pregnant women eat around 300 extra calories per day while they’re expecting.
But it’s important to remember that not all calories are created equal, so you should ensure that these extra calories come from nutrient-dense sources that are high in protein, high in good fats and low in sugar.
Why Is Protein Important During Pregnancy?
It is essential that pregnant women eat protein during their pregnancy for several reasons, especially because protein helps:
- Promote the growth of new body tissue
- Produce antibodies that support your immune system
- Develop enzymes and hormones
- Provides you with vital energy
- Contribute to a healthy birth weight
How Much Protein Should You Eat During Pregnancy?
Given how essential protein is and it’s role as one of the main building blocks in growing a baby, experts recommend that pregnant women increase their protein intake by about one third during pregnancy.
This means that while you are pregnant you should be eating around 70 grams of protein each and every day.
Sometimes you’ll need to make a conscious effort to eat this much protein, especially as some popular high protein foods like beef jerky are off the menu while you’re pregnant and not all protein shakes are good for pregnant women.
So let’s take a look at 10 of the easiest, healthiest and most delicious high-protein snacks to eat during pregnancy.
10 Delicious High Protein Snacks For Pregnancy
1. Trail Mix
Trail mix is one of those foods that almost everyone seems to love, and for good reason.
A bag of trail mix makes an excellent emergency snack that you can keep in your bag at all times, and given it’s something you can easily make at home, you can tailor it exactly to your liking.
If you are craving chocolate you can always break a few pieces of dark chocolate and add it to your mix, which will usually contain a variety of different nuts and some dried fruit.
Although nutritious, trail mix does have a lot of calories however, so it’s best not to eat more than a couple of handfuls per day, which should give you around 10 grams of protein.
Given all the above, you won’t be surprised to hear that trail mix also features as our number one snack for labor.
2. Greek Yogurt With Berries
You might be surprised to learn that a typical serving of Greek yogurt contains approximately 20 grams of protein, which is over one quarter of your recommended daily intake.
When combined with blueberries or raspberries (which are a great source of antioxidants), you’ll also get around 4 grams of fiber too.
3. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese may not be to everyone’s liking, so if you’re not a fan the good news is there are plenty of other healthy sources of protein to eat during your pregnancy.
But if you do like the taste, you’ll be pleased to know that one cup of cottage cheese contains a whopping 28 grams of protein.
Serving suggestions include adding fresh fruit like sliced bananas or berries or adding pieces of apple and sprinkling some cinnamon on top.
Oats are an inexpensive source of protein that you can add to a lot of things such as cottage cheese and Greek yogurt (see above), as well as to milk, nuts and fresh fruit.
One cup contain around 6 grams of protein, so while this isn’t as high as some of the other foods on this list, their versatility and ability to pair with a lot of foods makes them a useful source of extra protein for pregnant women.
5. Peanut Butter With Apple
In the USA alone, we eat an incredible 700 million pounds of peanut butter every year, so there’s a good chance you’re one of those people that love the stuff.
Spreading some peanut butter on top of some chunks of apple is an excellent way to eat satisfy a sweet craving, all while getting in some fiber in addition to the 8 grams of protein that 2 tablespoons provide.
6. Protein Bars
As we’ve already covered, protein bars are handy for pregnant women during those times when you’re out and about and looking for a quick, easy and large dose of protein.
As a word of caution, a lot of protein bars are high in sugar however, so it’s best to choose the most natural options available and to look for bars with as few additives as possible.
7. Rice Cakes With Nut Butter
One of the fastest and simplest high protein snacks for pregnant women to enjoy are rice cakes topped with a few spoons of nut butter.
Apart from the obvious peanut butter, why not try almond, cashew or walnut butter.
8. Hummus With Vegetables
If you’re looking for a savory snack between means then you could do a lot worse than hummus.
One serving will provide you with approximately 8 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber, which is impressive for a snack that you can prepare from seconds straight from the refrigerator.
Try serving with sliced vegetables like cucumber, carrots or celery, or if you want some extra crunch and saltiness, serve with pita, corn or lentil chips.
9. Chicken Or Turkey
Lean meat like chicken or turkey is one of the most protein rich foods out there.
A single serving of skinless chicken is not only low in fat, but also provides a massive 28 grams of protein, which is over a third of your daily recommended intake.
If you’re looking for a more substantial snack between meals, then making a small chicken salad is an excellent way to fill you up for a few hours.
10. Eggs On Toast
One large, hard-boiled egg provides around 6 grams of protein, as well as a good amount of healthy fat.
You could always eat the egg by itself, but a more exciting serving suggestion (and a way to bulk out the snack) is to serve the egg on crackers or whole-grain toast, which will provide you with approximately 2 grams of fiber as well.
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