Cravings

Pregnant woman in front of a fridge late at night
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Best Middle-Of-The-Night Snacks During Pregnancy

Because you’re just so hungry.

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When you’re pregnant, your metabolism goes into hyperdrive. Not only is your body responsible for keeping you charged up and moving, it now must feed a growing human being. And that’s a lot of work. So much work, in fact, that you might find yourself with midnight hunger pangs. When that happens, these middle of the night snacks are what you should reach for.

Now cravings might be calling you at all hours of the day, but Caroline Thomason, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Virginia, says that if you’re hankering for a treat past the witching hour, your blood sugar likely needs a boost.

“If you wake up in the middle of the night, your blood sugar might be too high or too low based on what you ate before. So I would try to re-stabilize your blood sugar,” Thomason tells Romper. But what are the best bites to get your blood sugar in order and cure a craving that might be infiltrating your dreams? Fortunately, Thomason has plenty of healthy suggestions, real deal small snacks you can even prepare before bed so that you don’t have to sleepwalk to the fridge and forage for something to cut the cravings asap.

1

Cheese & Crackers

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“A perfect pair of something like that would be like cheese and crackers,” says Thomason. “Because you don't want to wake up again and you want to have energy when you get up in the morning. You don't want to do something that's going to derail your blood sugar again and then just send you on that cycle.” With the carb/protein combo of crackers and cheese, Thomason says you can regulate your blood sugar so you can fill up and then get back to sleep.

2

Apples & Peanut Butter

Another protein/carb combo, this one might appeal to those with more of a sweet tooth. The apple might cover sweet cravings, but Thomason says eaten alone, it might also not be enough. “Fruit might cause your blood sugar to spike,” explains Thomason. “Carbs are then absorbed really fast. So you’re going to end in a crash again. That protein piece prevents the spiking crash and keeps us more stable.”

3

Greek Yogurt

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“A lot of times in the middle of the night, if you've been sleeping, you're not ready to have a meal,” says Thomason. That’s why she suggests grabbing snacks that are quick and easy to digest. In this case, Greek yogurt. And the great thing is, there are all kinds of easy to eat Greek yogurts on the market now, some even in pouch format so you can sip quickly, then get back to sleep.

4

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is another easy to grab midnight snack for pregnant women. All you need is a spoon. It’s something that’s going to be super easy and digestible,” says Thomason.

5

Pickles

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“With cravings during pregnancy, there's some interesting research to show that there’s maybe actually a biological need behind them,” says Thomason. Take for instance, pickles. Many women find pickles irresistible while pregnant. “Pickles are super salty, but usually not the best choice to choose salty foods,” says Thomason. “But when you're pregnant, you have an increased sodium need. So it can actually be beneficial to maybe follow that craving. So should you eat a pickle in the middle of the night? Thomason’s advice: Go for it.

6

Chocolate

Much like pickles, a craving for chocolate could also be serving a greater purpose, Thomason says. “Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, is high in magnesium and has a lot of antioxidants. And sometimes we just need that boost from our pregnancy.” Now, should you eat an entire bag of Oreos? Hard no. But a piece of dark chocolate? Sure.

Pregnant women might be worried about eating after a certain hour or indulging their midnight cravings, but Thomason says the reason the body is begging for a snack is because it didn’t fill up enough during the day.

“You can preempt those cravings by really making sure you have good nutrition all day and then hopefully you're not waking up in the middle of the night because you missed out on them or you didn't get enough,” says Thomason.

So listen to your hunger pangs and don’t be too worried about indulging cravings. Your body just might be telling you it needs something in the process.

Expert:

Caroline Thomason, RDN LDN CDE, Certified Diabetes Educator and Registered Dietitian