In this post, you will find a great list of the best snack ideas for your hospital bag for labor and delivery.
Labor can leave you hangry and can take a lot longer than you might think. After having two babies I can assure you that packing the right snacks in your hospital bag is vitally important! Get ready for your perfect healthy list of snacks that will help you power through one of the most trying and miraculous days of your life.
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Why You Should Pack Snacks in Your Hospital Bag for Labor
You might be a total “type A” planner and you’re completely ready for baby to come and maybe you’ve marked off almost everything on your hospital bag checklist – and all you have to do is throw some snacks in your labor bag. (No matter that baby still has over a month to arrive!)
But, what if you aren’t?
What if you are a total “unplanner” like myself and that due date is fast approaching (or has arrived), and you’re doing something between nesting and panicking? If that’s you, and you’re trying to think of every last thing that you need to throw into your hospital bag on the way out the door… well that’s ok too.
Either way, this list is going to be a lifesaver for helping you nail down a majorly essential component: your hospital bag snacks. (Oh and if you are still scrambling to get your hospital bag together, I have the perfect free printable hospital bag list here.)
It’s really great that you are choosing to prepare for your labor and delivery with this list of snack ideas. (Preparing is important, and speaking of preparing, these are 5 tips that really made the biggest difference with my labors.) I wasn’t totally prepared for labor, and we ended up the hospital with NO SNACKS.
It was awful (for me) to get to the hospital and labor for hours and have nothing to rely on but the junk food in the vending machines and then the hospital food!
As you probably know labor takes a lot of energy.
I mean A LOT of energy. It’s usually more of a marathon than a race. This means that packing good snacks that are healthy and going to give you sustained energy is essential. (And I bet your birth partner is going to want some too, so make sure you put snacks in bag!)
Now it’s worth noting that if you are giving birth in a hospital they may or may not allow you to eat during labor. Hospitals used to only allow pregnant women to eat ice chips during labor. It sounds pretty cruel but there was actually a justified reason for this:
In case of an emergency c-section or anything requiring general anesthesia, there was a fear of possible aspiration or the stomach contents going into the lungs. Which can be deadly.
But good news – many hospitals are rethinking this old-age advice and allowing clear liquids (including popsicles and jello) during labor, and some hospitals allow any foods. Basically leaving it up to the mother to decide.
So if you want to be snacking during labor, assuming there are no complications, put that into your birth plan.
Let’s hop right into those tasty and portable snack ideas.
24 Best Snack Ideas for Labor
There’s nothing wrong with throwing a few goldfish crackers in your hospital bag, but our snack list focuses on high protein and nutrient dense foods, to really fuel you through labor!
Fresh fruit is a great snack to munch on during labor for so many reasons! First, it is refreshing. Labor can be hot and grueling and a sweet refreshing piece of fruit can be just the pick-me-up you need to keep going.
Fruits can also be pretty high in natural sugars (but not all, most berries are very low in sugar). In this case that is a good thing! Sugar means energy and right now that is what your body needs! Plus whole fruits also have a good amount of fiber. Which helps keep your energy levels more stable and sustained for longer.
Fruit is also a great choice to keep on hand for your hospital stay because there are so many options!
- Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.)
- Melons (watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew, etc.)
- Apples and pears
- Bananas (One of my favorites for labor because they are so easy to pack and peel to eat.)
- and so many more!
Fresh fruit is so great and I really prefer it during labor, but dried fruit is a lot easier to pack ahead of time and contains the same nutrients (Those good fructose sugars and fiber that we mentioned before.) So I highly recommend bringing some dried fruit with you to the hospital as well.
Just be sure to check the labels for added sugars. Fruit has a lot of sugar already, but in a lot of dried fruits, they will add unnecessary additional sugars as well. You are better off staying with the natural sugars in your fruit. Try raisins, apricots, dates, or cherries.
Trail mix is one of my favorite healthy snacks that is a good idea to bring with you to the hospital. Of course, some trail mixes are healthier than others but you should aim for one with a good amount of nuts or seeds and dried fruits.
The nuts will provide healthy fats which give you more energy for a longer amount of time and the fruits will give you that quick burst of energy that you need during labor. Plus they taste great together.
You can buy a premade trail mix at the store or make your own with your favorite ingredients. Either way, it will be a great source of energy. I love mixing pepitas, sunflower kernels, cashews, almonds, and dried cherries in mine. And if you want to throw in a handful or two of dark chocolate chips or even m&m’s, it wouldn’t be a horrible idea.
Some of the best things to pack in your labor bag are non-perishable items like granola bars. These are a great addition because you can stick them in your labor and delivery hospital bag weeks in advance and/or if you have a super long labor they won’t spoil if you need to eat only after delivery.
Granola bars can get really high in unnecessary added sugars so make sure to check your labels at your grocery stores. Nature’s Valley Bars and Kind Bars are great choices; one is crunchy while the other is soft.
An even healthier option than granola bars (usually) that is a good option to put in your hospital bag for an easy snack is protein bars. These typically have fewer carbs and more protein than a granola bar would. Giving you even more strength and longer-lasting energy.
String cheese or any variety of cheese sticks is a good choice to bring in your hospital bag as a labor snack too. They provide you with healthy fat and protein and are great paired with some of the fruit you will be bringing.
This is a trick I learned from my midwife once. Bringing honey sticks into labor is an irreplaceable idea! When you have been at it for hours and your contractions are getting closer and closer together you may start to feel your energy fading.
Once you are in active labor your contractions are pretty much one on top of the other and it feels like you don’t even get a break between them. This is when you will need a really fast and easy burst of energy. The nutrients and sugars in a honey stick can give you just that. Even if they are only allowing you clear liquids in your hospital room, you should be able to have honey sticks.
We mentioned that trail mix is one of the best hospital snacks, but plain nuts are great nutritious snacks too. They keep virtually forever and provide so much healthy fat! You don’t need to eat a lot to feel your hunger pains diminish and your energy perk up.
Did you know that coconut water is an all-natural sports drink? Coconut water is filled with electrolytes and is a great option to bring with you in your hospital bag. There is no more natural drink that will fuel you with electrolytes than coconut water.
Another great boost of protein that is easy to eat and very portable is hard-boiled eggs. This is a great way to get in a full meal if you are absolutely starving. A couple of hard-boiled eggs paired with another snack from this list like rice cakes or an applesauce cup will have you fully satiated in no time.
Fruit is great for labor or after delivery. But have you tried freeze-dried fruit? They are a bit pricier than fresh fruit but they are light, refreshing, and crunchy. Plus they keep well and rarely have added sugars.
If you are in early labor or just delivered and need something super nourishing try some beef jerky. It can be a bit chewy so I guarantee this is not a snack you will want to have near the end of labor when your time to chew or drink between contractions is minimal, but it is perfect to have in your hospital snack bag for after labor. There’s a good chance your labor partner will appreciate this snack too! I’ve got a really great hospital bag packing list for dads too if you haven’t gotten his done yet.
Light and fluffy snacks can feel really good during labor. You can eat rice cakes plain or smother them with your favorite nut butter too.
When you are laboring in the hospital it’s a great time to make your liquids really work for you. Water is of course a healthy drink choice, but some options like coconut water and vitamin water can give you the additional nutritional boost that your body needs at that moment.
Fruit bars can be a good choice for a fast energy boost, like a honey stick. But for more sustained energy pair it with some nuts or cheese.
It’s a great idea to pack a chilled lunchbox with an ice pack for some of these snacks. Greek yogurt is high in protein and a perfect snack choice for during or after labor. Be sure to keep your string cheese, hardboiled eggs, Greek yogurt, and other perishable snacks cool.
Whole Grain Crackers with Nut Butter
A fast and affordable snack to pack is whole grain crackers with nut butter. You can use any type of cracker like whole wheat saltines or Ritz or even gluten-free crackers.
My favorite nut butter to add to my labor snacks is almond butter because it helps with milk production. If you start eating correctly now, you can actually help your milk to come in faster and with more volume. You can even buy those little premade peanut butter crackers sandwiches at your local grocery store if it’s more to your liking.
What a fancy name right? But it really just refers to sports drinks. Some are really just dyed sugary drinks but there are some great options of isotonic drinks as well besides the coconut water and vitamin water we already mentioned. Some isotonic drinks even come in little packets that you can simply add to your cup or water bottle.
Applesauce cups provide a healthy and shelf-stable snack to bring with you to the hospital. Don’t forget the spoons!
But you don’t have to stop at applesauce. There are a lot of other delicious fruit cups that can save you from having to pack a cooler while still providing you with the nutritional and energy benefits of fresh fruit. Look for the ones that are packaged in water or real fruit juice instead of syrup.
Instant oatmeal cups are perfect for your hospital bag snacks because most hospitals have you stay for quite a while after delivery. Your body will be looking to replenish itself and won’t necessarily run on the hospital food hours. An oatmeal cup can fill you up anytime with just a little bit of hot water. Plus they are great for building up your milk supply as well.
Baby Carrots with Hummus (or Ranch)
Don’t forget that vegetables can make a great snack for on-the-go too. Baby carrots with hummus are a great option. I’m a sucker for ranch though even though it isn’t as healthy when compared to hummus, it’s not a horrible choice either. Right now you need to replenish your body so if you prefer your veggies dipped in ranch or any other sauce pack them that way for your hospital bag!
Any other vegetables that can be sliced and dipped are a good option as well. Think cucumber, peppers, or celery.
For a burst of flavor and some really fast energy (bananas are very high in sugars and carbs) munch on some banana chips during labor or after delivery. They taste like nature’s candy and I’m convinced bananas taste even sweeter when dried or frozen.
If you have some extra nesting energy ahead of time you can make yourself some energy bites to pack for labor and delivery. Conversely, you can also purchase energy balls premade. They even make lactation energy bites these days that boost up your breastmilk supply!
Whether you choose one of the many options for homemade energy bites or decide to pick some up that are prepackaged, these little balls of goodness are one of the best healthy energy-boosting snacks for on-the-go.
Wrapping Up The Best Snack Ideas for Your Hospital Bag for Labor
It is a good idea to pick a bunch of your favorite snacks and drinks from this list to pack in your hospital bag for your stay. You might end up staying at the hospital a long time (or what feels like a long time when you are eager to get home with your new bundle of joy) so pack a lot of different options to take you through labor and fuel you after delivery.
Try to choose some snacks with a lot of healthy carbs and some with a lot of protein when planning for the big day. Pick up a cute little cooler and toss in some ice packs to keep everything cool if you opt for some of the fresh choices from this list.
Did I miss anything? What’s your favorite labor and delivery snack? Let me know in the comments below.
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