It can sometimes be difficult not to indulge those cravings. Here’s how you can…healthily.
WORDS TEO KUAN YEE
Hunger pangs may strike any of us but when one is expecting, you need to quell the stomach rumblings before they strike, say every two hours. Yes, snack time becomes a must as you start eating in smaller quantities in order to deal with morning sickness or nausea. Before you start binging on your favourite fried banana fritter or sugary dessert, remember eating for two isn’t about doubling the portions – the focus should be on quality, rather than quantity. The strategy: opt for nutrient-dense foods which are essential for the healthy development of your baby.
The nutritional needs of a pregnant woman may sound mind-boggling. Just remember the end in mind is to boost your consumption of essential nutrients. One rule of thumb is to plan ahead and be discerning with your choices by selecting ingredients containing essential vitamins and minerals to complement your higher protein intake.
The essential nutrients include folate and vitamin A
(development of your baby’s organs and nervous system),
omega 3 fatty acids (for brain and eye development),
vitamin D and calcium (for strong teeth and bones), vitamin C
and fibre especially during the last trimester to prevent constipation.
The good news is: these power snacks only take minutes to prepare. Minus the extra sugars and fat, they can be yummy and satiating. Happy snacking and keep the hunger pangs at bay!
Just pull open a can of tuna chunks in olive oil, spread them on some wholemeal bread and top off with a slice of cheddar cheese if you like. Pop it into the toaster oven for a few minutes at medium heat – voila, you have ready a savoury and nutritious snack.
This is a snack that is easy to pack along to the office and you can make them in batches in advance. Hard-boiled eggs are a good source of vitamins B12 and E, folic acid, iron and zinc. The egg yolk also provides vitamin D, so consume the whole egg even if you would normally ditch the egg yolk. For some crunch, serve with a few pieces of whole grain crackers.
Baked Chips with Salsa
These days, you can easily get the baked version of chips. There are also brown rice chips. Add some punch to the crunch with a salsa dip by chopping up some cherry tomatoes, baby carrots and zucchini.
Pregnant women should avoid soft cheeses such as brie, camembert and feta as they are more likely to grow bacteria such as listeria which may harm your unborn baby. However, cheese made from pasteurised milk is a good source of protein and calcium, and good for pregnancy.
Whole Grain Cereal
This is a simple snack that you can whip up in no time, plus breakfast cereals contain B-group vitamins such as vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, niacin and folate.
Go for the simple whole grain cereal mix which is
relatively low in sugar and high in fibre, which you
can pour over with some low-fat milk. Throw in some
dried fruit and nuts for extra crunch and flavour.
Yoghurt and Fresh Fruit
This is a healthy snack that you can eat anytime, at home or in the office. Opt for natural flavour yoghurt which is lower in sugar; add in your own fresh fruit such as sliced strawberries or organic peaches with lots of vitamins A and C, niacin and potassium.
Blend some non-fat yoghurt and any fruit of your choice and voila, a healthy serving of protein, calcium, and other important nutrients in a palatable shake.
A great snack at any time of the day, oatmeal is good for the heart and helps fight cholesterol. Filled with soluble fibre, it is also easy to prepare. If possible, go for natural oatmeal instead of flavoured instant oatmeal which is higher in sugar and may contain artificial flavours. Sprinkle over some raisins for extra fibre and potassium.
Labelled nutritional powerhouses, almonds contain fibre, protein, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, and monounsaturated fat and are rich in disease-fighting phytochemicals. Eat them raw or toasted. You can even combine them with dried cranberries for a yummy trail mix.
Fresh fruits and vegetables make great munchies – they satisfy your snack cravings minus the calories. A cup of grape tomatoes has less than 50 calories – a better deal than high-sodium and calorie-laden potato chips.
Brimming with vitamin C which is good for the immune
system, tomatoes are also a good source of antioxidants
such as lycopene which helps prevent cancer and heart disease.
Besides, it also contains fibre, some vitamin A, and a little folate.
Another vegetable that provides a healthy crunch is the good old carrot, rich in the antioxidant, beta-carotene. Pay slightly more for baby carrots which are sweeter and you can easily chomp up, saving you the time in peeling and slicing the normal-sized version.
Bananas may be slightly sugary but it redeems its higher calorie count by being a good provider of fibre, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 which helps form red blood cells.
From young, we all know that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. The pros in eating apples work for pregnant mums too. Apples contain insoluble fibre that prevents constipation and soluble fibre which can help lower cholesterol. If your budget allows for it, go for organic apples as the normal ones may contain pesticide residue on the skin. Combine with some thin slices of cheese for a sweet-savoury treat.
This fruit is high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that gives it its bright orange colour. When consumed into the body, beta-carotene converts into vitamin A which helps develop and maintain healthy teeth, bones, and skin. Easily available at supermarkets, dried apricots can be a handy and healthy snack when you have a sweet craving. You can even pair it with some dark chocolate for a dessert treat.