Are you heading to the hospital soon and searching for the best snacks for your hospital bag? Whether you are delivering a baby, facing surgery, being a supportive spouse, or creating a gift bag for a friend in the hospital, packing some good snacks for the experience is always a good idea.
Of course, it’s always a good choice to consult your doctor to understand when you can eat during your hospital stay. For new moms, your physician or doula may have specific suggestions. This will be particularly true if you encounter any general anesthesia or an emergency c-section. Regardless, you will want some healthy snacks during your wait time or during your recovery.
Hospital food can be hit or miss. During one of my deliveries, the food was amazing! Another time, service took a long time and the options were only so-so. Sometimes you just need to have some small snacks in your bag for both yourself and your birth partner to make it through when day becomes night and night becomes day with a new baby. When you need more than ice chips and a nearby vending machine, you will appreciate having a variety of snacks prepared in your hospital bag.
Don’t forget your spouse too! A hospital stay, especially if you are waiting for a baby, can take quite a while, so be sure to pack enough of the best hospital snacks for both of you. It is a great idea to pack items with some protein and healthy fats to keep energy levels up. I hope this list of the best hospital snacks helps you as you get your hospital bag checklist together!
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1. Fresh Fruit
Fresh fruit is always a great snack to have on hand at the hospital. Filled with water and nutrients, it is a great option for a light snack to tide you over. After four babies and four deliveries at hospitals, I enjoyed having something fresh on hand in my bag. Be sure to include ice packs, if you like to keep it extra cold. Pre-made fruit cups or fruit bars can also make a perfect snack when you need to boost your blood sugar.
If you don’t want to worry about keeping fruit chilled, consider packing some applesauce cups or freeze-dried fruit. Fruit juice, fruit leather, or even banana chips can also be a great addition to your hospital bag.
2. Granola Bars
Granola bars make another good option for your hospital bag. They are one of the best snacks since they are easily portable and can offer you a protein boost. Check the sugar content while you are shopping at your local grocery store – not every granola bar is created equally.
Our family prefers either Clif protein bars or Kind bars, both a great choice with a variety of flavors and lesser sugar content. We tend to buy ours in bulk from Costco or Amazon to keep them on hand.
I also kept granola bars in the top drawer of our babies’ nurseries. Any new mom knows that you will need to have an easy snack available for those middle-of-the-night feedings when your days and nights are a bit confused.
3. Hard-Boiled Eggs
If you need a protein boost and some healthy fats (and you can handle the smell!), hard-boiled eggs are a great idea. You can make some before you leave home, or many grocery stores now sell pre-cooked hard boiled eggs. You can even find them peeled!
it is also a great thing to have these on hand once you get home with the baby. You can throw them into an easy salad, combine them with a piece of string cheese for an easy snack, mix them with some mayo and mustard for an easy egg salad, or combine with tuna for a quick tuna salad sandwich.
Eggs are such a great source of energy! (The only downside is the smell, so I understand if you want to leave them at home.)
Cheese is another fantastic snack for your hospital room. Again, be sure to keep it chilled, but a good cheese stick or cheese cubes can offer you a little boost of energy. Combine it with wheat or whole grain crackers for the perfect snack, night or day.
Whisps Cheddar Cheese Crisps are another delicious snack that don’t require being chilled. It’s the perfect snack when you want something cheesy and crunchy! Babybel cheese can also be a great portable option. Top some crunchy rice cakes with Babybel for a quick burst of energy while in your hospital room.
5. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter can be the hero for pregnant women and new moms! It’s a quick dose of protein and delicious on graham crackers, apples, pretzel sticks, and so many other things! Pack some peanut butter crackers in your bag. You can also find some individual cups of peanut butter or almond butter in your local grocery store to make it a little simpler.
Birthing a baby is thirsty work! Be sure to stay hydrated, particularly as your body begins milk production. You will find yourself thirstier than ever before, so consider packing a variety of options.
Pack a reusable water bottle. You will probably receive a plastic hospital cup, but I always love cold ice in a metal cup with a straw! Your nurses will bring you loads of ice chips to keep your beverages cold.
You could pack some great options like coconut water, vitamin water, flavored sparkling water, and isotonic drinks like Gatorade or Powerade can help you as well. If you suffer from gestational diabetes, do be careful about sugary drinks that will elevate your blood sugar.
If you are a tea drinker, pack some tea bags and request hot water. This can be a great stress reliever during the sometimes exhausting experience of child birthing. Bottled smoothies can also be a great refreshing option.
Nuts should always be added to your list of nutritious snacks. Plain nuts like almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, and pecans are a great thing to add to your hospital bag. A great trail mix is one of my favorite kind of snacks! Add some chocolate chips for a decadent treat.
8. Energy balls
A great idea before you head into the hospital is to consider making some energy bites as a delicious treat both in the hospital and when you return home! They are super simple to prepare with no cooking involved. A mix of peanut butter, chocolate chips, oats, honey, flaxseed, and shredded coconut – it’s a simple no-fail combination that can give you sustained energy any time of day or night.
To make energy bites or energy balls, combine 1 cup of rolled oats, 1/2 cup of shredded coconut (optional), 1/2 cup of creamy peanut butter, 1/3 cup ground flaxseed, 1/2 cup chocolate chips, 1/3 cup honey, and 1 tsp of vanilla.
Stir all of the ingredients together. Chill together for at least 1 hour. Roll into small balls and enjoy! (I usually spray my hands with cooking spray to prevent them from sticking to me!) You can pop these into the fridge for a few days or freeze them in a gallon zip bag.
9. Oatmeal cups
If you want a quick breakfast option during your hospital, consider packing some individual oatmeal cups. Again, ask the nurse for some hot water and have a quick and easy option any time of day. These are also great options to have on hand at home, once you return with your new little one.
10. Gum and Hard Candy
At some points during labor and recovery, it can be nice to have something refreshing for your mouth. Think about packing your favorite gum or hard candy during your hospital stay. I used to always keep a stash of Jolly Ranchers in my diaper bag and the baby’s nightstand during the newborn stage. Sometimes having that little treat in the middle of the night felt encouraging and indulgent. I still think of those days when I reach for a watermelon Jolly Rancher!
11. Yogurt Cups
Individual cups of yogurt can be another great addition to your cooler or insulated lunch bag. Pick your favorite flavor and throw in a few plastic spoons as well!
12. Small Packs of Veggies and Dip
When you go shopping, look in the produce aisle for individual packages of veggies and dip or baby carrots with hummus. It is an easy way to sneak in some fresh veggies during the long hours of labor and delivery.
13. Beef or Turkey Jerky
If you need another quick protein boost, beef or turkey jerky can be a great option. Your spouse may appreciate these too!
Popcorn is one of my all-time favorite snacks! It satisfies that salty, crunchy craving, and you can find plenty of varieties to throw into your bag.
15. Dry Cereal Boxes
If you love cereal in the morning or a bowl in the middle of the night, throw a few small single-serving boxes in your bag. If you have a spouse who loves his Cheerios every day (like I do!), he will appreciate it too!
How do I pack my snacks?
Be sure to pack the snacks separately in your hospital bag. Grab an insulated lunch bag with some ice packs to keep items cool. Consider using plastic hard-sided containers to keep items well organized and prevent them from being crushed.
You can consider purchasing an insulated lunch bag or cooler bag like the ones below if you are planning to pack a few options that are best kept cool. These actually make great baby shower gifts, as families will be using them for years to come, well past the baby stage!
I hope this list of the best snacks for your hospital bag encourages you! Whether you are packing a bag for yourself or a gift bag for a friend, you will appreciate having all of your favorites with you.