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  • Writer's pictureNutured Birth Ottawa

Top 12 Grab and Go Snacks Every Doula Should Have in Their Bag!

Doula in Ottawa has placed a bowl of trail mix on a wood surface. The trail mix contains almonds, peanuts, cranberries and pumpkin seeds.

What doulas pack in their doulas bag is a hot topic in the birth community! And what is more important to have in your doula bag than a number of healthy and sustaining snacks that you can easily make and eat? In this blog post Ottawa Doula and Nutritionist, Julia Davie, shares her favourite grab and go snacks that she keeps on hand to toss into her birth bag at a moment's notice.

As a nutritionist, I find that the topic of nourishing ourselves with food isn't talked about enough within the doula community. Food should be at the top of the list when it comes to nurturing ourselves so that we can stay energized for long births, and long doula careers! Personally, balanced and nutrient dense snacks take the centre stage while I am supporting my clients. I love having something I can easily take a bite of between offering hip squeezes and whispering words of encouragement. Healthy snacks help me maintain my energy, stay focused, and recover more efficiently from births.

What is a healthy snack? My top criteria for healthy snacks is that they are as whole, live and natural as possible.

Whole foods are foods that have been processed and refined as little as possible, and are extremely close to the form that you would find them in nature. These are foods that your great-grandparents would recognize, grow, and eat. An example of a whole food would be a whole grain (wheat, quinoa, oat). The fragmented food produced from these whole grains would be flour.

Over processing results in foods that are deficient in natural enzymes. By contrast, live foods are foods that are rich in enzymes and probiotics. Live foods are typically raw fruits and vegetables, sprouts, nuts and seeds, and fermented foods. Living foods provide high levels of nutrients, are rich in antioxidants support healthy digestion, and strengthen immunity.

Natural foods are foods that are minimally processed and free of chemical preservatives, flavours and colours. Read the label on any box of cereal or bag of chips at your grocery store and you will be sure to find ingredients that you don’t recognize nor can you pronounce. Among other reasons these ingredients have been added to increase shelf life and make cheap “food” look and taste good. Natural foods do not need additives to taste good – they are delicious in their natural state!

I also do my best to pack snacks that can be nutrient balanced to contain a mix of carbohydrates, protein and health fat. Macronutrient balancing your birth snacks helps keep blood sugar levels balanced, increases satiation, and supports energy levels.

While I do my best to make as much from scratch as possible, I am a busy birthworker with a large family and having a few prepared snack options is crucial! So I have included my favourite healthy packaged snacks as well. Also, what is a birth bag without a few treats?!

My top 12 Grab and Go Doula Bag Snacks

  1. Mama Chia Squeezes. These are single serving chia puddings in a squeezie. What I love about these are that they are easy to open and consume quickly and discreetly, chia seed is a an excellent source of dietary fibre, and they are delish!

  2. Beef jerky or meat bars. I am all about the protein, especially when looking for a satisfying snack at a birth. I find keeping either of these in my bag gives me a quick snack that will keep me feeling satiated for a long time.

  3. Fruit. You really can't beat fresh fruit as a snack! It's an excellent source of glucose and fibre, which makes for a nutritious and fullfilling addition to my birth bag. When I am in a hurry I may grab an apple or banana. If I have more time I may pack some berries or even a fruit salad! Pro tip: make sure you some protein along with your fruit to help keep your blood sugar levels balanced.

  4. Egg bites. I love eggs, but I don't love the smell of a boiled egg at 2 am, and I don't think my clients do either!! You can get the nutritional benefits of eggs by whipping up some high protein egg bites! And yes, they ARE delicious cold! Pro tip: bake them in muffin liners or silicone molds, and store them in the freezer. Grab a few when heading out the door and they will be thawed by the time you want to eat them!

  5. Frozen protein smoothie. I pre-make a smoothie and put it in a jar or smoothie cup (only filling it up 3/4 way) before throwing it in the freezer. When I head off to a birth I grab the jar and toss it in my bag, and it's ready to drink it a few hours!

  6. Veggies with hummus. Easy and delicious! Cucumbers, peppers, carrots, radishes ... everything is delicious when dipped in hummus!

  7. Awake Chocolates. Ok, for the record, I would NOT consider these chocolates to be healthy, but it's definitely an emergency snack so it's worth mentioning! These chocolates contain 1/2 cup worth of caffeine. They have really come in handy when I need a pick me up but do not have the ability to run out for a coffee.

  8. Trail Mix. Protein, healthy fats, and a few pieces of dried fruit for some easily absorbed carbohydrates, and you have a nutritious and macronutrient balanced snack!

  9. Protein bars. I am sure that, if I asked 20 birthworkers to empty their doula bag right now, 99% of them would have some kind of bar in their bag! It's important to remember that a granola bar is not the same thing as a protein bar, and to aim for bars that contain a solid amount of protein!

  10. Cheese & Crackers. Easy to prepare, easy to eat!

  11. Chia pudding. Not into squeezies? Make your own Chia Pudding! Chia is a good source of protein, fibre and omega fats! Check out my prefered chia seed pudding recipe.

  12. Dark chocolate. Some births require chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Chocolate not only boosts your brain power, but it also helps you feel good! Good reasons to keep some in your birth bag.

I hope that this list gives you more inspiration to pack your doula bag with snacks that sustain you to do more of the work that you love! Here's to nourishing ourselves so that we can nourish others!

This post was written by Ottawa Doula, and Ottawa Prenatal Nutritionist, Julia Davie. Her approach to birth work is heart centered, holistic and inclusive. She is honored to support families in Ottawa, Gatineau, and the surrounding areas.


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