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Pregnancy Snacks: Smart Eating for 2

Healthier ways to satisfy those powerful pregnancy munchies.

Your Pregnancy Diet: Programming Your Children's Health? continued...

Muhlhausler, who was not involved in the study, says exposure to high levels of blood sugar or fat before birth can alter the development of fat cells, as well as the pathways in the brain that regulate hunger and satiety.

"These individuals are less able to switch off their appetite and stop eating even when they've consumed enough calories," she says. "This makes them more prone to weight gain."

The study adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that not only does mom's diet influence her child's appetite and food preferences, but it also shapes the child's risk for chronic conditions other than obesity.

Controlling Pregnancy Cravings

Whatever the cause, every expectant woman knows food cravings are nearly impossible to ignore, whether they're for nutritious foods or unhealthy ones. 

While overwhelming at times, longings for fat-laden foods that may also be rich in sugar and sodium can be curbed using these strategies:

  • Eat on a regular basis to keep blood glucose levels steady. The desire for a sugary pick-me-up may be the result of intense hunger.
  • Stick to a balanced eating plan with adequate calories for your pregnancy, and consider dividing your daily calorie allowance into six small, healthy meals. 
  • Make sure meals supply protein, carbohydrates, and some fat to keep you satisfied. Always start the day off right with a healthy breakfast, such as eggs, whole-grain toast, and a glass of orange juice.
  • Ask yourself this: Am I hungry or just craving comfort? When pregnancy is wearing you down, take a break instead of reaching for a snack. Try a short nap, a 10-minute walk, reading, watching a movie, or anything else that will help you relax, as long as it's safe.
  • Put down a pregnancy craving by indulging in a very small portion. For example, try satisfying your urge for chocolate with a fun-size candy bar rather than a regular-size one.


Better Pregnancy Snacks

Dig into these smarter snack options. They're healthier choices before, during, and after pregnancy.

If you crave:                                                      Try these instead:


  • Flavored rice cakes
  • Toasted wheat pita bread chips sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 ounce nuts or sunflower seeds
  • Low-fat popcorn
  • 1 ounce reduced-fat cheese with 6 whole-grain crackers

Ice cream

  • 100-calorie cups of low-fat ice cream
  • 8 ounces low-fat coffee or fruit yogurt
  • Smoothie made with fruit and yogurt


  • Chocolate pudding prepared with low-fat milk
  • 100-calorie frozen fudge bar
  • Hot chocolate or chocolate milk made with low-fat milk
  • Chocolate-dipped strawberries or dried fruit
  • Choco-banana frappe made with 1 cup low-fat chocolate milk, 1 medium banana, and 2 ice cubes

Carbonated soft drinks

  • Club soda with splash of 100% juice


  • 2 graham crackers spread with low-fat cream cheese and strawberry jam
  • 1/2 whole-wheat bagel spread with peanut butter and drizzled with honey
  • Rice cakes spread with part-skim ricotta cheese and sprinkled with 1/4 teaspoon sugar and pinch of ground cinnamon


  • 1/4 cup trail mix: combine equal parts whole-grain cereal, chopped nuts, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, and mini chocolate chips
  • Angel food cake drizzled with fat-free chocolate sauce
  • Frozen pops made with 100% orange juice
  • Sorbet
  • Sherbet
  • Frozen fruit
  • Dried fruit
Reviewed on February 05, 2009

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