Are you looking for the best snacks for hospital bag to help keep you energized throughout your labor?
Then our guide on the best snacks to bring to hospital for labor is for you!
You’ve packed all the clothes and toiletries you need for labor and delivery, but then you start wondering if you need snacks for the hospital bag. Some advice-givers tell you that the snacks sit unused in your hospital bag, but others tell you that these are essential.
Everyone may have their own experience, but after heading to the hospital for two births of my own, I will tell you that having hospital bag snacks are a mom’s – and dad’s – best friend. Especially as both of my labors were long.
Most hospitals offer snack boxes after labor and delivery, but labor, delivery, and breastfeeding take a lot out of your body. So, you need food for recovery and energy.
By the time my babies arrived, I felt ravenous. I wanted to eat everything and having a variety of snacks was a godsend.
Following your body’s cues is essential, but you don’t want to rely on the vending machine for all your midnight snacking. Instead, bring a variety of foods to satisfy all of your needs.
You might need something high in carbs and fats during or after labor but crave something sweet while nursing. Other times, hunger pains strike, and you need something more substantial to fill your belly.
Having a fully packed snack bag at hand is convenient for both you and dad. So, let’s look at some of the best snacks for the hospital bag.
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Best snacks to bring to hospital for labor
1. Granola Bars
Granola bars are a tried and true, easy snack for a hospital bag. They give you the little boost of energy you need while laboring, but they typically won’t upset your stomach.
There are many great granola bars; you want ones with healthy ingredients rather than sugar-ladened ones.
Here are some good brands.
2. Protein Bars
Toss some protein bars into your lunch bag as well. These give you a calorie boost when you are hungry but don’t have time for a meal. Also, if your labor lasts a long time, protein bars fill your stomach and help you maintain your energy and stamina.
Since you’ll find so many varieties, try packing a few brands or varieties. You never know what will sound good when laboring. Also, since protein bars digest slower than granola bars, they’re better for diabetics or those with blood sugar issues.
3. Fresh Fruit
Fresh fruit is always a great idea when picking snacks for hospital bags but stick to whole pieces of fruit that you don’t need to refrigerate. You have no idea how long you will be in the hospital, and if you need them to stay cold, the fruit might turn mushy.
Try these fruits:
- Mandarin Oranges
4. Fruit Cups
A great prepackaged snack to bring is fruit cups; you can find all certain fruit cups. While they taste better cold, they don’t have to be kept in a cold pack. Some are made with 100% juice or water.
5. Trail Mix
Trail mix is an obvious pick for hospital bag snacks. Depending on the variety you pick, they come with addictive mixes of nuts, dried fruits, chocolates, and other goodies. In addition, they give you a boost of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
Plus, they’re delicious and perfect for snacking.
6. Flavored Nuts
You’ll find all sorts of flavored and assorted nuts available. Whether they’re honey-roasted, cinnamon-coated, or coconut flavored, consider small packs of these. They’re non-perishable and give you protein throughout your stay.
If flavored nuts aren’t your thing, regular ones may be. Pick either pre-portioned nut packs or make your mix.
8. Nut Butters
Grab some little nut butter packets if you’re a big fan of peanut butter. They’re great on their own or paired with fruit.
9. Beef or Turkey Jerky
Protein is essential when trying to stay energized during labor, and beef jerky is a portable option. Tossing a few sticks into your lunch bag before leaving for the hospital is easy.
However, some brands are high in sodium, so you should consider the ingredient list. In addition, it’s best to pack other snacks alongside the jerky and stay adequately hydrated due to the sodium intake.
Another one of the easy snacks for hospital bags is crackers. Prepackage wholegrain crackers into baggies, and toss them into your lunch bag. Try including some cheese sticks as well for a yummy snack.
Stick to healthy crackers, if possible, such as Triscuit whole grain crackers, Flax crackers, and vegetable crackers. Of course, any type of cracker works like graham crackers, Goldfish crackers, and saltine crackers.
Crackers are great snacks for your stomach when it might be nauseous.
11. Chips & Pretzels
One of the most common snacks for hospital bag is chips and pretzels. Those are easy to toss into your lunch bag and don’t need refrigeration.
Everyone loves cookies. If you have time to make some homemade cookies, toss those into your bag. Another great option is breakfast cookies since they tend to have healthier ingredients.
13. No-Bake Energy Bites
If you search Pinterest or Google for No Bake Energy Bites, you’ll find all sorts of fantastic recipes. These often contain something sweet, like chocolate chips, along with oats, peanut butter, and other good-for-you ingredients.
Store these in a sealed baggie or an airtight container in the fridge until it’s time to go. They are best if kept cold next to an ice pack.
14. Crispy Chickpeas
Try crispy chickpeas if you’re looking for a snack that comes in many flavors and varieties. Most grocery stores carry several brands. Sometimes, you need that crunchy bite when snacking, and chickpeas give you a little energy boost because of the protein and fiber.
15. Cheese Snacks
Cheese is another excellent source of protein to take with you as long as you have a cold pack to keep it at proper temperatures. Another idea is to bring Whisps or Moon Cheese, which are crisps made from cheese.
16. Fruit Sauce Packets
Applesauce packets are another easy snack to grab, but some have more exciting flavor combinations. It’s no longer just simply applesauce; you’ll find banana, strawberry, and applesauce or chocolate banana and peanut butter fruit sauce packets.
17. Dried Fruit Bars
Consider some dried fruit bars or fruit leather when picking snacks for a hospital bag. These give you the little boost you need during labor.
18. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is a great snack and easy to find in stores. Packs of raisins are cheap and easy to pack, but you’ll find all sorts of dried fruits in the store. Try dried cranberries, banana chips, dried apricots, or dried mango.
Popcorn is a versatile snack. Some mixes are sweet, while others are salty. It makes a great snack because it gives you both fiber and carbohydrates to fuel you up with some energy.
20. Rice Cakes
Pack some rice cakes in your lunch bag for the hospital. Rice cakes come in various flavors, from chocolate to white cheddar, so it’s the perfect way to get savory and sweet. The white cheddar is delicious, but apple cinnamon is a sweeter bite.
21. Veggies + Dips
If you love eating raw vegetables, they’re a healthy snack for labor and delivery. Ideally, you want to pack vegetables that don’t require cutting and preparing, so you can toss them into your lunch bag before heading out to the hospital. Plus, cutting them introduces bacteria!
- Snap peas
- Baby bell peppers
- Baby carrots
- Cherry tomatoes
- Mini cucumbers
When it comes to dips, look for single-serve containers. For example, most stores offer ranch dip, hummus, or guacamole containers.
22. Veggie Straws
It’s hard not to love veggie straws. They don’t feel as dense as a potato chip, and depending on the brand, some contain actual vegetables. Veggie straws are crunchy, salty, and delicious.
Who doesn’t love pickles? Sometimes, you need a bit of a bite, and pickles are perfect. You can find individual cups or small jars that will fit into your insulated bag.
Are you an olive lover? Olive pouches are great as a snack when you crave a different flavor. Also, if you get a salad from the hospital cafeteria, you can add these olives.
Another great reason to put olives into your hospital snack bag is that they are packaged with no liquid; they aren’t messy and require no refrigeration.
25. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are like nuts because they contain proteins, antioxidants, and healthy fats. So it makes perfect sense to grab these as snacks for a hospital bag.
26. Oat Bowls
Sometimes, you want more filling snacks for the extended hospital days you’ll stay there. For example, you may only stay for a day, but other stays are three or four days. Also, oatmeal is easy to prepare, even at the hospital, since you only need a microwave or boiling water.
Consider getting the bowls rather than the packets since you may not have access to bowls in the hospital.
Oatmeal puts carbs into your diet, filling your belly, and is a known food to help with lactation. In addition, some mixes have fruits and nuts, boosting the overall nutritional content.
Throw a batch of muffins together and wrap each one individually. You can even freeze them ahead of time and take them out before heading to the hospital.
If baking isn’t something on your to-do list, have your partner stop at a local grocery store to get a pack or two of muffins. The bakery section at most grocers has a great variety to pick from.
28. Apple Chips
Apple chips are a snack kids love, but they’d be great to toss into your lunch bag for the hospital.
29. Baked Oatmeal
Baked oatmeal is a simple meal and packs into your hospital bag well. You must create a batch a few weeks before your due date, slice it, and store it in the freezer. When heading to the hospital while in labor, toss a few slices into your bag.
30. Dry Cereal
An easy snack is dry cereal; make pre-portioned bags to keep in your lunch bag when heading out. Then, grab any of your favorite cereals like Frosted Mini-Wheats or Apple Cinnamon Cheerios.
Many cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals, and some brands contain fiber. But, if you pair it with milk, it also gives you a sort of fat and protein.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a classic on-the-go snack, filled with nutrition, and it doesn’t require refrigeration. When you’re nursing your newborn in the middle of the night, these taste like a dream.
Individual greek or regular yogurt cups are excellent snacks if you bring an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack. Greek yogurt, in particular, is a perfect option because it’s a protein source and promotes a healthy gut with probiotics. Hospitals have spoons, but pack a few on your own to be cautious.
Yogurt tubes – the ones marketed to kids – are an easy option. They freeze well, so freeze beforehand and toss them into your lunch bag on the way to the hospital.
33. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Sometimes, you need a substantial snack that does more than satisfy a craving. For example, hard-boiled eggs are healthy, give you a boost of protein and healthy fats, and travel well.
It’s best to keep these eyes in a hard container to avoid squishing them at the bottom of your lunch bag!
34. Honey Sticks
Honey is often used for healing in different cultures and has antibacterial properties. Plus, it gives you a boost of energy without needing to consume processed sugar. So grab some honey sticks to put into your snack bag.
35. Jell-O or Pudding
Jell-O and pudding is a great snack similar to applesauce. If your hospital wants you on a clear liquid diet during labor, Jell-O qualifies for that. Grab some cups at the local grocery store, and make sure you have spoons to go with them.
You will be dying of thirst once your milk arrives and after having a baby. Your hospital will provide plenty of water, but if you want your bottle or prefer a particular brand, make sure to bring it!
37. Vitamin Water or Gatorade
Technically, Vitamin Water and Gatorade is not a snack, but it’s nice to have an alternative to water. If you don’t want to bring bottles of drinks with you, grab the flavoring packets so you can add them to your water provided by the hospital.
Hydration is crucial during labor and delivery; if you end up dehydrated, you may not have the energy to push when your baby is ready. Also, hydration is essential for a good milk supply.
38. Lollipops & Candy
Listen, sometimes, you just want something sweet, and eating some candy is OK. Candy gives you a quick boost of carbs and energy.
Grab candy like Snickers, Twizzlers, any lollipop you like, and gummy bears. Snickers have protein, and gummy candies tend not to melt as quickly as chocolate.
How to Pack Your Snacks for Hospital Bag
Some snacks need to be kept cold, and others you want to keep safe and avoid smashing. Keep these tips in mind when packing your hospital bag snacks.
Get an Insulated Lunch Bag for Perishables
Whatever you do, don’t toss your snacks into your bag with your outfits and toiletries. They will get lost, smashed, or forgotten about.
Instead, bring an insulated lunch bag for your items. Ideally, the bag would fit your perishables and non-perishable snacks, but if it only fits one, use it for the perishables. A portable, insulated, soft-sided cooler is ideal.
Have an Ice Pack
I suggest stocking up on several ice packs; don’t use ice cubes in Ziploc bags. They will undoubtedly leak and get all over your food. If you can fit all the ice packs into your bag, do that, but most labor and delivery wards have a freezer where you can put the ice packs.
Separate Snacks in Hard Containers
Another tip that makes a big difference is packing your snacks in hard containers rather than plastic bags. Of course, the last thing you want is smashed hard-boiled eggs, but you also don’t want crushed chips or broken granola bars.
Do Hospitals Even Allow Snacks During Labor?
You might have heard that some hospitals don’t allow moms to eat during labor, and there is a lot of truth to that. Most hospitals discourage and won’t let mothers have snacks once active labor starts. This is often why moms stop for food before they head to the hospital to give birth.
If you’re having a natural birth and opting for a vaginal birth at a midwife center, most allow you to have snacks. In addition, many will encourage you to have snacks if you feel hungry, but make sure you speak to your midwife ahead of time.
Considering labor often lasts for hours and takes a lot out of your body, it begs the question – why?
Hospitals worry about mothers needing an emergency c-section with general anesthesia, a possible risk during labor. In addition, food in your stomach increases the risk of aspirating any partially digested food during surgery. Pregnant women are more likely to aspirate because the baby pushes upward on their stomach.
However, current research shows that these hospital policies are outdated, especially for those with low-risk pregnancies. Labor lasts up to 24 hours (or longer), and fasting this long for any pregnant person is not safe. In addition, some evidence shows it is harmful during labor, and other studies show that eating during labor shortens the duration.
So, you have plenty of evidence to discuss with your caregivers!
This is why moms often wait to go to the hospital or eat on the way! However, you can ask your hospital if you are allowed to snack during labor to ensure you know ahead of time.
Even if you don’t snack during labor, you will be at the hospital for at least one day, so you’ll still need snacks!
What Are Healthy Snacks for a Hospital Bag for a Mom with Gestational Diabetes?
If you have diabetes or have gestational diabetes, you will want snacks with you to increase or decrease your sugar levels. However, if your doctor puts you on insulin during labor, you won’t be allowed to eat, so talk to your doctor about your childbirth plan.
Even so, you’ll want snacks after childbirth. Most hospitals prefer to keep mothers with gestational diabetes for a few days after birth to ensure everyone is fine.
Here are some good hospital bag snacks for diabetic mothers.
- Oatmeal Cup
- Sargento Balanced Breaks
- Gatorade Zero
- Raw Veggies with Hummus
- Sugar-Free Jell-O
Final Thoughts on best hospital snacks for labor
While some moms say that snacks aren’t a necessity, it’s better to pack these and not need them rather than wish you had. Labor takes a lot out of you, but you’ll be awake longer than average, and breastfeeding takes even more calories. Good snacks to bring to hospital during labor are an essential thing to pack!