pregnant snackI have been an obstetric dietitian for quite some time now. But it’s only been since recently that I’ve had the newfound perspective of pregnancy. At this point, I’m 28 weeks along and things have eased up for me significantly. But, I can officially say I totally understand how good nutrition can completely go out the window when you’re pregnant – especially in your first trimester

I, fortunately, did not have as bad morning sickness as some of the patients I’ve seen. But, I definitely wanted to eat nothing but starch…all the time. I would be so sick to my stomach if I went too long without eating and felt so good if I was snacking on something full of carbs. I even ate an entire box of goldfish over the course of one workday.

Knowing that I needed to be practicing what I preach, I set out to find the best starchy options that I could. Here is what I came up with:

  • Cheese and Bean crisps - Start with a whole grain tortilla spread with low-fat, reduced sodium refried beans (I used Amy's Light in sodium which has 0 grams of saturated fat, 6 grams of fiber and only 190 mg sodium). Sprinkle with low-fat cheese and heat.
  • Sweet potatoes - Wash well. Poke some holes with a fork and heat it in the microwave. A little heart healthy version of a butter spread makes this an easy and delicious option. Don't forget to eat the skin for the nutrient bonus if you can tolerate it.
  • Whole grain pasta - Find one with at least 3 g of fiber per serving. I liked mine pretty bland with just some olive oil and Parmesan cheese, but if tomato sauce sounds good to you, try Giada's brand sold at Target and opt for the Vegetable Marinara or go with the Prego Veggie Smart to sneak in some extra nutrients like fiber, vitamin C and vitamin A!
  • Dry cereal - Kashi makes some great options or I loved snacking on the Quaker oatmeal squares. I had a box in my car and one at my desk. I snacked on it pretty much all day.
  • Multigrain wheat thins or other crackers- another constant snacking option 
  • Flaxseed crackers- (I was eating the Doctor in the Kitchen brand "Flackers"... I didn't even know they existed before). Please note, I'm used to things that taste like "health-foods" or as some would say "cardboard." You may or may not like this one.

There are plenty of other good options out there. My rule for picking any sort of cereal, starch or snack bar is the following: At least 3 g fiber, less than 2g saturated fat, and less than 13 g sugar. If you have blood pressure issues or are already starting to notice your legs and feet swelling, please watch your sodium intake as well!!! And if you are diabetic, you need to spread these foods out appropriately throughout the day and be conscious of your carb counting. Please see a dietitian for a personalized plan of attack if you have either of these issues, both can lead to very serious pregnancy complications!

For more Gina: