Maternal Nutrition header

Choosing what to eat at work or on the go can add an extra challenge to selecting the best nutrient-dense choices while you're pregnant. The snacks you eat throughout the day really do matter. In fact, snacks can make up as much as 25% of your total calories for the day.1

With easy planning, you always can have a snack on hand that’s quick and nutritious. Here are some general principles to keep in mind:

  • Stock your purse, desk drawer, car, or fridge at work with healthy, convenient foods, such as whole-grain crackers, apples, low-fat yogurt, string cheese, or nuts.
  • Eat three smaller meals and grab healthy snacks in between meals to make sure you're getting enough nutrients.
  • Eat nutrient-dense foods at frequent intervals to prevent intense hunger that can cause cravings.
  • Pair up foods from the five food groups (grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy, and protein foods). Try to select from at least two food groups for each snack. Your body and your baby should get a variety of foods to supply protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, and minerals to thrive.
  • Remember to drink plenty of water, which is critical for building new tissue, aiding digestion, and forming amniotic fluid. Ideally, you should drink at least 10 8-ounce glasses a day. The easiest way to accomplish this goal is to always keep a bottle of water at your desk or in your purse and sip from it often.

Make healthy food the convenient choice

In the five minutes it takes to order fast food, you can prepare quick, low-calorie snacks or mini-meals. Here’s how:

  • Store precut fruit or vegetables in individual small bags or reusable containers to grab on the go.
  • Invest in an insulated lunch bag and insulated thermos to carry perishable food and drinks.
  • Look for healthy food options at places you frequent. Find the closest deli with fresh fruit or a vending machine that offers yogurt or skim milk.

Simple on-the-go snack ideas

  • Small apple with 1 ounce of low-fat string cheese or 1 Tbsp. of peanut butter
  • Half of a whole-wheat pita pocket, half of a banana, and 1 Tbsp. of peanut butter
  • Baby carrots, red pepper strips, and celery with 1/4 cup of Greek-style hummus dip
  • 1 ounce of low-fat tortilla chips, 1 ounce of low-fat cheese, and 2 Tbsp. of picante salsa
  • 4 ounces of low-fat fruit yogurt and 2 snack-size raisin boxes
  • 1 ounce of honey-wheat pretzels and 1/2 ounce of dry-roasted peanuts
  • 4 ounces of mixed fruit and 4 ounces of vanilla low-fat yogurt
  • 2 graham cracker squares and 1 Tbsp. of peanut butter
  • Mini oat-bran bagel, 1 Tbsp. of low-fat cream cheese, and 1/2 cup of fruit
  • 1/4 cup of dried fruit, 1/2 cup of cereal squares, and 1/2 ounce of peanuts

With just a little planning, you can make healthy meals and snacks a regular part of your everyday routine, even when you’re on the go.

1Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy: The Complete Guide to Eating Before, During and After Your Pregnancy, 2e, Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D., 2002. 61-62.


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