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Whether you're at a full-time job or work full time growing your family, vegan snacks are an essential component of a healthy and happy pregnancy.
Healthy snacks can help diminish the symptoms of morning sickness by keeping your body from getting empty, they help curb cravings, keep your metabolism cranking, and ensure you're getting plenty to eat when it's hard to eat big meals.
I recommend taking one or two days a week where you prepare your vegan snacks and split them into reusable containers. You can take the containers to work, or just keep them in your fridge so they're ready when you want one and you don't have to scramble around looking for food.
1. Hummus and Vegetable Sticks
This is the old standby by vegan option for everything under the sun, and it works perfectly for a snack during pregnancy. You can spice it up with different flavors, spices, or vegetables, and keep it in individual containers in the fridge. Carrots are great for dipping, as are bell peppers, celery, cucumbers, zucchini, and any other strong vegetables. You can also mix it up with whole wheat pita, crackers, and other whole grain bread.
2. Nuts and Seeds
Every single nut has a different health benefit, and you can make sure you're getting a little of every vitamin by making a trail mix at the beginning of the week with some cashews, walnuts, almonds, pecans, peanuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, and any of your favorite staples. Or, keep a bag of each kind in the fridge and have a handful from one bag every day. Around 1/4 cup is a serving of nuts, and it will keep you full and satisfied until the next mealtime.
3. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit makes an awesome vegan snack, and will often help you get over cravings for sweets. Most grocery stores have plenty of dried fruit options, and I always look for unsulphured, unsweetened, organic dried fruits, so they're as close to natural as possible. My favorite easy healthy snacks are raisins, cranberries, blueberries, apples, pears, apricots, dates, and prunes. If you have a dehydrator you can make your own and save a ton of money. Around 1/4 cup of dried fruit counts as a serving of fruit.
4. Homemade Granola
You can buy granola, of course, and there are some really good brands on the market that have fewer ingredients and don't add in preservatives. I just find it so easy to make granola that it isn't necessary for me to buy it. All you have to do is take a combination of nuts (you could use the trail mix we talked about in #2), some oats, and a sweetener of your choice (I like brown rice syrup or maple syrup), a pinch of salt, and bake it at a low temperature until it's golden brown and crispy. You can add dried fruit (examples in #3) toward the end of baking, and then it's done.
5. Limited Ingredient Protein Bars
There are a few really good vegan snack bars in grocery stores, but I find so many that are loaded with tons of unreadable ingredients, added sugars and salts, and they just don't even taste good. The bars I like are ones with a handful of real food ingredients, like LaraBars.
You can also make protein bars really easily. Medjool dates are your best friend; you can puree them and add them to anything for a nice mild sweetness that won't spike your blood sugar. You can make a nice protein bar with pureed dates and cashews, lay it into a baking pan to flatten and harden, and call it a day.
6. Nondairy Yogurt
Eating dairy increases your odds of developing a host of illnesses and afflictions, and it doesn't really do anything for you. Dairy yogurt does come in a nice single-serving portable container though, so it's always on lists of good pregnancy snacks.
Luckily for us, there are several brands of coconut milk, almond milk, and soymilk yogurt that are readily available just about everywhere. I try to find unsweetened and plain whenever it's possible, and then add in my own fresh fruit and a good sweetener, if necessary.
7. Unsweetened Applesauce
You can buy the individual containers of unsweetened applesauce or save some money with a bigger one that you split into Tupperware containers. I love adding a splash of ground cinnamon for flavor.
8. The Obvious: A Piece of Fruit
Make sure to have a lot of portable pieces of fruit around for vegan snacks. As much as a I love melons and pineapples, if they aren't cut up, I'll look around for another snack. If you have apples, oranges, grapefruits, bananas, kiwis, pears, and peaches in the house, you can grab one and throw it in your bag for later in the day.
9. Whole Grain Crackers
Try to find crackers that have no refined flours in them; you can tell by looking at the ingredients and searching for anything "enriched" or without the word "whole" in front of the grain. I also really like the ones with seeds added into them. You can also dehydrate your own flax (or other) seed crackers and store them in airtight containers.
10. Cashew Cheese
There are a few high-end cashew cheeses that are available in stores and online that make for an amazing snack every once in a while. You can also make your own cashew cheese fairly easily. I usually make a huge batch and store most of it in the freezer until I'm ready to eat it.
11. Unsweetened Whole Grain Cereal
Some people love cereal for breakfast, but it can also be a nice late morning or afternoon snack. Around 1/2 cup of cereal is usually a serving size.
12. Whole Grain Muffins With Jam
If you feel like baking, think about making a few batches of whole grain muffins for vegan snacks. You can store them in the freezer and just pull one out each morning for a snack later that day. They're delicious with jam, or even with a nut butter.
13. Fruit Salad
When you do feel like cutting up fruit, make a big fruit salad with chunks of melons and pineapples and strawberries. Toss them with a little bit of lemon juice to keep them bright, and then divvy them up into individual containers for vegan snacks later in the week.
14. Apple With Almond Butter
A piece of fruit topped with a nut butter like almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter, or even sunflower seed butter is a really filling and delicious vegan snack. You can even mix it up with vegetables like celery ala ants on a log.
15. Popcorn With Nutritional Yeast
I love air popped popcorn as a vegan snack, and my favorite topping is nutritional yeast. We once visited an awesome store in Portland, Maine called Little Lads, and they are famous for their healthy popcorn. My best imitation of their recipe includes nutritional yeast, salt, dill, and onion powder, and it comes close! Nutritional yeast is packed with real nutrients and B vitamins and is stellar for pregnancy.
Enjoy these easy healthy vegan snacks for pregnancy!