Preggers Nom Nom Nom
November 15, 2007 7:31 AM   Subscribe

What are some healthy, quick snacks for a suddenly constantly ravenous pregnant woman?

Extra degrees of difficulty:

- I'm in Japan and probably won't have easy access to many Western food brands
- I don't have access to an oven
- I am not keen on nuts (only like pine nuts and peanuts)
- I don't eat beef or pork, and have recently gone off chicken

Yes there are always carrot sticks and fruit - both fresh and dried - but one does get beyond those after a little while.

I'm not particularly craving anything - just need to stop the stomach growls.

Feeeeed me.
posted by gomichild to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Yogurt, cheeses (esp. soft cheeses like cottage cheese, mozzarella), hard boiled eggs, edamame beans, miso soup (heat it and carry it in a thermos if you're mobile). I would be concerned with keeping my protein intake up, if I were in your shoes. In addition to delivering protein, a benefit of the dairy items I listed is that they will help you feel full longer. I used to keep yogurt on my bedside table for when I woke hungry at 3am.
posted by cocoagirl at 7:37 AM on November 15, 2007

Udon. Ramen.
posted by zeoslap at 7:39 AM on November 15, 2007

Congratulazioni! I was making my wife banana smoothies with yogurt first thing every morning during the queasy months. One banana (or other fresh or frozen fruit), ice, yogurt and milk in a blender. Helped her face the day. When you were in Italy did you find out whether Vespa makes a child seat that can fit a Majesty? ;-)
posted by planetkyoto at 7:49 AM on November 15, 2007

Mrs. Plinth went through grapefruit by the bag.
posted by plinth at 7:49 AM on November 15, 2007

Cheese cubes
Apples and peanut butter
Jerky, if you have access to a food dehydrator and can make your own (the store-bought stuff is loaded with MSG)
Quesadillas (just melt some cheese or meet in between a couple of tortillas and slice up with a pizza cutter)

I found that when I was pregnant, I craved protein. Fruits and veggies were fine and all, but the protein really kept me from getting hungry.
posted by Ostara at 7:51 AM on November 15, 2007

Let's make something clear: the reason you're ravenous is that your body needs to pack on weight, so that your baby will grow.

This is not the time to be talking about "healthy" in the usual sense of "filling but low calorie". What you need now is high calorie -- and in particular, what you need is fat.

If you've been trying to fill this craving with fruit and carrots, you're doing it wrong. The reason you're hungry is that you aren't consuming enough calories -- and in particular, not enough fat.

Start eating chicken again. Eat a lot of bread. Peanut butter is good. Eggs are good. Cheese is good. What you want are high-density foods, things that will help you pack on weight. You've got 3 months to put on 25 pounds. Start eating!

Dieting during pregnancy is the worst thing you can do. What's healthy during pregnancy is all the things you ordinarily would avoid. Go eat a lot of ice cream!
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 7:51 AM on November 15, 2007

Response by poster: Pregnancy is not the time for dieting - but it's not the time for going out of control either.

I am eating enough calories according to my doctor to be healthy for both me and the baby. It's also not good to gain too much weight at this time.

What I am looking for are small snack ideas to keep me going between meals.

Like I said I'm already eating fruit. I refuse to force myself to eat chicken if the idea makes me gag.

Items like udon and ramen are too heavy for a snack for me.

PS planetkyoto - the Majesty died in a spectacular crash last year and we actually have a Vespa now.
posted by gomichild at 7:59 AM on November 15, 2007

kale smoothie:
1 banana
huge handful of raw kale (don't worry, you won't taste it)
1 cup pineapple juice
honey to taste
spash of yogurt, soy milk, coconut milk, or rice milk

posted by cometwendy at 8:03 AM on November 15, 2007

crackers like rice crackers, dipped in cream cheese, or something similar. Hard boiled eggs. Can you get anything akin to a wrap kind of bread? I used to heat them up and spread on some sort of spread like hummus, peanut butter or pesto. Or just dip it in some olive oil.
posted by gaspode at 8:07 AM on November 15, 2007

baked chickpeas -- you can make these with a range of spices. I like a steak rub, but you could also use cumin, what have you

eat 1/2 cup... pretty filling
posted by chickaboo at 8:07 AM on November 15, 2007

Best answer: As a side note, if any of the snacks you end up settling on require prep work, do the preparation before you are hungry. At least in my case, when the GAH MUST EAT urge struck, I didn't have the patience to wash or chop anything. If it weren't for the readily accessible granola bars, I would probably have gnawed my own hand off.

- rice crackers (not *that* bad for you)
- prepared sushi rolls
- light broths or soups (seconding the miso recommendation), throwing in an egg or tofu for extra protein
- granola or breakfast bars
posted by Wavelet at 8:20 AM on November 15, 2007

Best answer: Congrats! And I respectfully disagree with Steven C. Den Beste; I was quite successful with a completely vegan pregnancy.

I munched on bagels (which are high protein...*a-hem*), tortilla chips with salsa or bean dip or guacamole, baked or fried tofu fillets, multigrain toast with fruit preserves, and soy yogurt. After the queasiness of the first trimester was over I could have seaweed salad, avocado/vegetable sushi, and tempura.

I pretty much ate what I craved without regard to fat or calories but WITH regard to refined sugars and white grains. I added flax seed oil into my diet wherever possible (in salad dressing, soy yogurt, and softened margarine) and the extra oil helped me to stay full longer.
posted by mezzanayne at 8:21 AM on November 15, 2007

"What's healthy during pregnancy is all the things you would normally avoid" would perhaps be true if you were stereotyping every pregnant woman as someone who in the past has always had a cigarette + diet coke for breakfast, picks at a salad for lunch, and has a zone meal for dinner.

Steven C. Den Beste: Nothing in gomichild's post indicates that she's dieting, and telling her to "go eat a lot of ice cream!" is irresponsible. (And I say this as a formerly pregnant woman who showed up alone and on crutches at the doorstep of an ice cream shop after business hours and they let me in out of pity). The fact that she's asking for suggestions about healthy snacks--in a world where "snacks" usually equals high sugar, high salt, high fat and/or highly processed foods--is smart. Fruit and carrots are great choices for a pregnant woman who wants to munch between her regular meals, and they don't signify an effort to lose weight.

Your recommendation that she stock up on fatty foods is misguided. (Mayo Clinic has several guides for pregnant women, linked below, and nowhere do they mention stocking up on fats.) But it's your attitude here that really bothered me. Your post reads like an order, given in the imperative and laced with condescension.

Healthy eating for you and your baby

Pregnancy weight gain: what's healthy?

Essential nutrients when you're eating for two

posted by cocoagirl at 8:32 AM on November 15, 2007 [3 favorites]

my wife craved sushi a lot. I imagine you might be able to find that pretty easily in Japan. Also, fish high in omega 3 fatty acids grows baby brains.
posted by jrishel at 9:30 AM on November 15, 2007

I imagine in Japan, you could find one of these really cheap. Wrap up the rice ball in a sheet of nori, and suddenly rice is portable.
posted by Sara Anne at 9:44 AM on November 15, 2007

Hummus - dip pita, carrots, mushrooms, slices of bell peppers - whatever you want. or dollop it into a pita and add some lettuce and tomatoes.

Beans. So easy to make into delicious burritos. Have some black beans and rice on hand, and add small cubes of cheese (cheddar or pepper jack), a dollop of yogurt, a splash of hot sauce, a bit of minced onion, and a sprinkle of chilli powder if you so desire. wrap it up and put it in a frying pan to heat it and grill it closed.
posted by entropone at 10:17 AM on November 15, 2007

Response by poster: I certainly appreciate the answers given - I guess from my perspective food like sushi, onigiri and burritos - even sandwiches are not snacks but rather meals.

I assumed that by using the word "snacks" in my question that we would all be thinking of small items of food which could be consumed in between meals, such as the examples of carrot sticks and fruit I listed.

As I've never really been a snack eating type of person so it's been difficult to come up with ideas beyond the standard fruit/veggies/dips/crackers deal - which is why I asked the question. I am already getting bored with these options and not wanting to resort to say eating chips or cakes to fill the void.
posted by gomichild at 10:46 AM on November 15, 2007

Look around for squid products. Often you can find long strands of dried squid, or dried squid on a stick. It's a staple bar snack there and it's quite good.

I didn't see any protein bars in convenience stores - but you will find Calorie-Mate. It has lots of nutrients and a good deal of protein. But, it's a meal replacement, so it might not count as a "snack" per se - but it is good for you.

Convenience stores will also have cheap bento boxes full of snacks - seafood, veggie tempura, rice balls, etc. Often they'll have individually wrapped rice balls with a tasty snack inside.

Small bowls of soup should be pretty readily available - miso + rice is a regular breakfast item there.

If you're on the west side - specifically Osaka you'll have easy access to Takoyaki (octopus balls!). Sooo good, deep fried though.

Hit up bakeries and checkout the savory section, check around usually you can get a veggie+cheese item (in addition to sausage or hotdog pasteries).

There is another snack, I'm not sure of the name, but it's basically fried seaweed. It's crispy and loaded with healthy nutrients. Check around the supermarket.

If you don't mind a little prep at home you could spice up some peanuts with red pepper and mix in some rice crackers or raisins.

Its a cinch to find snacks in Japan - not so easy to find healthy stuff (in the western perspective). Good luck!
posted by Craig at 11:47 AM on November 15, 2007

I guess from my perspective food like sushi, onigiri and burritos - even sandwiches are not snacks but rather meals.

I assumed that by using the word "snacks" in my question that we would all be thinking of small items of food which could be consumed in between meals, such as the examples of carrot sticks and fruit I listed.

You: "I'm bored with snack food!"
Us: "Here are some atypical foods that you could snack on..."
You: "But those aren't snack food!"

I totally understand being bored with standard snack-type foods, but I think you need to broaden your thinking a little bit if you're going to find any answers here. Could you try thinking of snacks more as a function of portion size? Sure, 12 pieces of sushi is definitely a meal, but why couldn't 2 pieces or 4 pieces be a snack? Or half a PBJ sammich instead of a whole one? Work with us here! :-)

My personal japan-specific snack food favorites are arare and shrimp chips, but neither are something I would consume in large quantities while preggers... too much salt and/or MSG...
posted by somanyamys at 11:51 AM on November 15, 2007 [1 favorite]

You can take smaller portions of the "meals" -- a few pieces of sushi, onigiri, half a cheese/hummus sandwich -- and make them into snacks. Make lots of dips that you like -- eggplant (baba ganoush), yogurt with garlic/chives/salt/pepper, chickpea, white bean, etc. Eat with veggies, crackers, bread, whatever - adds variety.

Other favourites around here -- adjust as needed for Japan/preferences:
-- Trader Joe's soy crisps
-- pretzles with peanut butter to dip
-- apple and peanut butter
-- cheese and crackers (and pickles!)
-- fried tempeh
-- small cup of squash soup or risotto (just put in a mug, microwave, yum!)
-- protein bars -- you can make your own
-- one of my favourite dips/spread: canned white beans (whatever kind will do), garlic, olive oil, canned or fresh tomatoes - put in saucepan 'till kind of mushed and reduced, throw some salt and basil in if you have it, a few squirts of lemon and/or zest. SO GOOD with parmesan over good bread. Perfect dip/snack on the go.
-- hard boiled eggs
-- a bit of tuna with lemon zest and crackers. Or whatever you like in there.
posted by barnone at 12:00 PM on November 15, 2007

Lots of other threads that are good for you: snacks tag, low-carb snacks, hard-boiled egg snacks! Happy snacking!
posted by barnone at 12:14 PM on November 15, 2007

Best answer: Hope you're feeling well, gomichild! Do you have a microwave? Maybe you could wash and wrap a smallish sweet potato in plastic wrap and microwave it to make a quick fukashi-imo? Or just run out and grab a yaki-imo when you hear the truck coming by.

Tenshin amaguri? Or does that count as a nut? These days you can find larger baked chestnuts in some JR stations (like Yurakucho) so you might look for those. Someone mentioned edamame above, and that sounds especially great if you don't eat any meat, but you'd have to use frozen ones this time of year and I'd be careful about where they were packed (but I'm sure you know this already).

Atarime? Surume? Load up on rusks at your local bakery? I'll try to think up some more...
posted by misozaki at 3:12 PM on November 15, 2007

There's a bazillion varieties of sushi, surely one time (inari??) works as a snack.

Is fish fine? When I was in Japan I was often fed barbequed small fish as breakfast. I don't know how easy they are to prepare, but could they be store-bought?

From my experience, Japanese families feed visitors like crazy, so I recommend hiding out with a host family and getting them to cook you crazy amounts of food 24/7 ;) (they'd do it anyway...)

Could you buy prepared bento boxes and snack on those during the day? One of my host mums got a big box for dinner that had 12 compartments, each with something different. Sounds like something that could sustain you for a while - just eat as much as you can muster (possibly the whole box if you're THAT hungry).

Japan has some of the weirdest snacks I know of. Is it OK to indulge in some Pocky once in a while? I don't think they're THAT unhealthy. I did spot some chocolate-covered potato chips in Tokyo...don't know how healthy THAT is for you!

Does your part of Japan sell buttered boiled corn kernels? They're common here in Malaysia and YUMM.

Also, I don't know if this is necessarily the case for pregnancy, but I found that sometimes when I think I'm hungry I'm actually thirsty. So a glass of water or a cup of tea actually satiates me. Maybe an option?
posted by divabat at 7:06 PM on November 18, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the thoughtful answer divabat.

OMG if I let my Japanese in laws feed me I'd end up the size of a house!

The savoury Pocky (known as Pretz) are already something I've been having now and then, and those chocolate covered chips are both foul tasting and very unhealthy.

As for water - yes this is a common issue but I've been drinking lots of water.

Luckily I just received a care package from my brother in Australia filled with dried fruit treats and yogurt muesli bars so I am safe for a while with some different options.
posted by gomichild at 8:35 PM on November 18, 2007

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