Secretly nutritious treats

Just because you’re eating for two doesn’t mean you have to deprive your baby of some of the finer tastes in life. In fact, now’s a great time to experiment with some snacks that fit the old cliche “nutritious and delicious” all too well. Just because it’s cheesy, doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

You’ll probably have lots of different cravings throughout your pregnancy; some will be salty, some savory, some sweet. One of the best ways to manage cravings is to enjoy them while also getting a nutritional benefit from the food. If you know for certain that you have a hard time getting a specific nutrient, try some of the following recipes.

Secretly nutritious treat #1: Almond butter and mini dark chocolate chips and walnuts or pecans on apple slices

  • What it provides: Iron, vitamin C, magnesium
  • How you make it: Cut an apple into thin slices. Spread almond butter across one side and sprinkle some mini dark chocolate chips and walnuts or pecans on top.
  • Why it’s nutritious: Pregnant women need about 27 mg of iron per day. Almond butter and dark chocolate are high in iron, and the apple’s vitamin C boosts your body’s ability to absorb iron. The magnesium in walnuts or pecans helps promote healthy tissue growth, which is important as your and your baby’s bodies grow, and it can also help regulate your blood sugar.

Secretly nutritious treat #2: Bread with flaxseed flour and walnuts

  • What it provides: Omega-3 fatty acids
  • How you make it: Instead of using a full serving of regular flour in your bread recipe, substitute roughly ¼ of the flour with flaxseed flour. You can add 1 cup of chopped walnuts right into the mix too.
  • Why it’s nutritious: Omega-3 fatty acids protect both your and your baby’s brains and hearts, and it’s recommended that you get at least 300 mg of it every day during pregnancy. Flaxseeds and walnuts are both excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. 

Secret nutritious treat #3: Cookie dough greek yogurt

  • What it provides: Protein
  • How you make it: Mix 6 ounces of greek yogurt with 2 tablespoons peanut butter, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon of almond extract, and a handful of mini dark chocolate chips.
  • Why it’s nutritious: Six ounces of Greek yogurt has about 17 grams of protein, and 2 tablespoons has about 8 grams. Pregnant women need about 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight, which averages to somewhere around 70 grams per day, depending on the individual. This treat could provide nearly a quarter of the protein needed in a day.

Secret nutritious treat #4: Basil with reduced fat mozzarella, drizzled with olive oil on whole grain bread

  • What it provides: Calcium
  • How you make it: Lightly toast some slices of a whole grain bread loaf. Slice some reduced fat mozzarella and layer it on the bread. Scatter full basil leaves onto the mozzarella, and then lightly drizzle olive oil over the basil.
  • Why it’s nutritious: One serving of low-fat mozzarella provides 222 milligrams of your daily recommended 1000 mg of calcium. Basil is also a healthy source of calcium; ½ cup of chopped basil delivers about 37 mg of calcium. The olive oil adds antioxidants and healthy fats, and whole grain bread provides fiber and important minerals.

It’s not always easy to avoid intense pregnancy cravings, but if you keep an eye on your nutrients, you don’t have to stress too hard about your sweet tooth. There are lots of recipes that will satisfy you and your baby, and provide the two of you with many of the minerals and vitamins you need.

  • “Ch. 17: Nutrition During Pregnancy.” ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Apr 2015. Web.
  • “Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution.” Harvard. The President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2017. Web.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Iron deficiency anemia.” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Nov 2016. Web.
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