The ultimate list of the best snacks to pack in your hospital bag when giving birth.
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I spent an absurd amount of time figuring out what to pack in my hospital bag for labor and postpartum.
With my second baby, I didn’t spend as much time prepping and packing but I did make sure to include certain necessities that I hadn’t brought the first time.
This included a variety of easy, tasty snacks to eat after labor.
I am a self-professed snacker. So are my kids. Maybe it’s hereditary?
Snacks are my thing. I bring them everywhere.
Car rides? Got to bring snacks. Walk in the stroller? Bringing snacks. Doctor’s appointment? Don’t forget the snacks!
The first thing I do when I visit my mom? Look for a snack… Okay, hug her, say hi and then look for a snack.
Some of you may be like my husband, who finds it kind of weird that our kids and I are constantly eating snacks.
However, whether you are snack-obsessed or an anti-snacker, there are some really good reasons you should pack snacks in your hospital back when you’re going to give birth.
Do You NEED To Pack Snacks In Your Hospital Bag?
Whether or not you pack hospital bag snacks, is of course, entirely up to you.
However, if you’re not sure and you’re looking for an opinion on whether you should bring snacks to the hospital, my answer is YES.
Here are some reasons packing snacks is a good idea.
1. You may nOT be allowed to eat while in labor
Depending on how long you’re in labor, you may be extremely hungry at the end, especially if you haven’t been able to eat during the whole process.
You’ll be grateful to grab a snack from your hospital bag after being given the all-clear to eat.
2. Most Hospital food is not that great
I love breakfast anywhere. You can’t really go wrong with french toast and yogurt no matter where it’s from. However, lunch and dinner in the hospital can sometimes be questionable at best.
You will also most likely have limited options and none of them may be what you’re craving. Having a variety of snacks that you KNOW you like can be your saving grace in this situation.
3. Cafeteria May Only Be Open Certain Hours
Even if the hospital food is great, the cafeteria is probably only open during certain hours. You may have limited times that you can actually order food.
The nurses can probably provide you with certain snacks from the floor but you can only tolerate so many saltines and mini cranberry juice cups before you start to get sick of them.
If you keep your own snacks in the hospital room, you’ll be able to eat something delicious whenever you’re feeling hungry.
4. You’ll Need Stamina For Those Middle Of The Night Wake Ups
Newborns need to eat every few hours. Chances are, you’ll be up multiple times during the night while in the hospital.
Having snacks on hand will help give you extra energy to stay awake.
5. Breastfeeding And/Or Pumping Uses extra Calories
Lactating women have increased nutritional requirements. Producing milk takes energy, which uses up calories and can lead to increased hunger.
Breastfeeding and pumping moms also have an increased demand for certain vitamins, minerals, and protein.
Having frequent snacks can help meet these nutritional requirements.
6. You May Have A Hangry Husband Or Birthing Partner
As moms, we’re always thinking about everyone else.
Whoever is in the room with you during labor is there to help YOU, whether they are providing emotional support or physical comfort.
(I will never forget my husband pressing into my back during each contraction while I was having really bad back labor).
Show your thanks by sharing some snacks to keep up their momentum and prevent any hangry partners.
When Should You Pack Your Hospital Bag?
Most of these snacks listed below you can pack in advance, which I highly recommend.
In my personal experience, it makes life much easier and less stressful to have your hospital bag packed early.
I was unexpectedly induced early with my first baby. Like went-to-the-hospital-for-a-few-hours-of-monitoring-after-a car-accident-thinking-I’d-be-home-for-dinner-and-told-I-wasn’t-leaving-the-hospital-until-I-had-my-baby unexpectedly.
It was a wild ride. You can read my labor induction story here.
The second time around, my water broke at 39 weeks.
This was a little more expected but trust me when I say that you don’t want to be waddling around your house with a towel stuffed down your pants leaking amniotic fluid all over the place while trying to figure out what to put in your bag for the hospital.
So yeah, pack your hospital bag and snacks for your hospital bag a few weeks early if you can.
You can thank me later.
Now, on to the snacks!
What Make A Good Hospital Bag Snack?
When you’re bringing food to the hospital, keep the following suggestions in mind.
- Non-perishable. Unfortunately, most hospital rooms don’t come with a mini-fridge. And a cooler will only keep food cold for so long.
- Stores well. You don’t want something that is easily crushed or could leak or spill in your bag.
- Easy to consume. Ideally, you can eat it one-handed (while holding a newborn at the same time).
Healthy Snacks For Your Hospital Bag
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Fruit Cups – A great prepackaged, grab-and-go healthy snack. In my opinion, these taste better when refrigerated but they don’t have to be, which makes them a great choice for a hospital bag snack.
Applesauce – Applesauce cups or pouches would work great! GoGo Squeez is my personal favorite.
Fresh Fruit – Fruit that doesn’t need to be refrigerated to stay fresh (bananas, apples, clementines, nectarines, plums) is a great option to bring with you to the hospital.
Dried Fruit – If you don’t want to risk smooching or bruising your fresh fruit, dried fruit is a more portable yet still delicious option.
Freeze-Dried Fruit – a great on-the-go snack idea that provides a serving of fruit with a different texture and flavor than whole fruit or dried fruit.
Hummus – Shelf-stable hummus is a great idea to pack if you love using it as a dip (or just eating it with a spoon)!
Olives – These olive pouches are great to bring as a snack for when you’re craving something with a little different flavor. These are packaged with no liquid so they’re not messy and don’t need refrigeration.
Kale Chips – You could make your own kale chips, but since labor is unpredictable most of the time, grab a bag of kale chips to pack with you when you need a crunchy healthy snack.
Fruit Bar – I love fruit bars because it kind of feels like you’re eating candy, but you’re really just eating smooshed-up fruit.
Protein Filled Snacks For Hospital Bag
Trail Mix – Make your own or buy a premixed bag of trail mix. Either way, this is a great snack to bring along on your hospital stay. My favorite homemade trail mix includes dried apricots, cranberries, almonds, walnuts, and mini chocolate chips.
Beef or Turkey Jerky – Beef jerky or turkey jerky is a great post-labor snack that’s high in protein.
Yogurt Pouches – GoGoSqueez makes flavored yogurt pouches that are pantry-safe and don’t need to be refrigerated. Although targeted toward kids they make a yummy, easy snack for adults too.
Peanut Butter Packets – Peanut butter packets are a perfect snack for your hospital bag. Spread onto crackers, fruit, or just eat plain. Nut butter provides a great energy boost when you’re feeling hungry.
Oatmeal Cups – Oatmeal cups are a great portable snack. You just need to add a little water and microwave. Most hospitals should have a kitchen area somewhere with a microwave you can use.
Tuna Packets – Tuna may not be for everyone. To be honest, I don’t mind the taste but I HATE the smell of tuna. However, this is a healthy and shelf-stable snack that is packed with protein so it’s a great option for curing hunger while in the hospital.
Protein Bar – Protein bars are the perfect hospital snack. You can pack them in advance, they’re easy to eat, not messy, and all that protein will satisfy your hunger cravings.
Cheese Crisps – I think cheese is a great snack but it’s not really a good option to bring with you to the hospital. These cheese crisps, however, don’t need to be refrigerated so they are perfect to throw in your hospital bag.
Crackers – Crackers were always my go-to snack when I was pregnant and feeling nauseous but knew I needed to put something in my stomach. They’re still a great option post-pregnancy to bring with you to the hospital.
Goldfish Crackers – If you’re craving something salty and crunchy, you can’t go wrong by grabbing a handful of goldfish crackers (except when one handful becomes 10 and before you know it, you’ve eaten the whole bag. Not that I’ve ever done that before or anything…).
Pretzels – A great salty snack. Also perfect for dipping into hummus.
Sandwich Crackers – You could make your own, but these prepackaged peanut butter crackers and cheese crackers are such a convenient and easy snack to bring in your hospital bag.
Popcorn – Bring a bag of ready-to-eat popcorn with you when you’re craving a salty snack.
I tried to fill this list with healthy-ish snacks but sometimes you just crave a little sweetness. Even though I’m a diabetes nurse by day, I believe everything is okay in moderation.
Pudding Cups – A creamy, tasty treat for when you’re craving something sweet! Snack Pack puddings don’t need refrigeration so they’re perfect to pack in your hospital bag.
Cookies – A delicious, sweet snack.
Yogurt-Covered Raisins – The yogurt has a bit of added sugar to it, but the raisins make you feel like you’re kind of being healthy.
Mini Muffins – One of my favorite guilty pleasures. Mini muffins are so yummy and the little bags make them super simple to pack.
Final Thoughts On The Best Snacks For Your Hospital Bag
You can probably tell from this article I’m passionate about snacks.
But I’m also lucky enough to be a seasoned mom when it comes to knowing what to bring when going to the hospital to give birth.
I’ve had both an induced vaginal delivery and an unexpected c-section delivery.
Snacks were important after each labor experience!
I hope this guide gave you some great ideas for food to pack in your hospital bag.
Next, find out what else you should pack in your hospital bag (and what you shouldn’t): Hospital Bag Must-Haves For Pregnant Mamas.
And make sure you’re fully prepared for baby’s arrival: Must-Have Baby Essentials For The First 3 Months