50 Quick and Easy Hospital Snack Ideas

Don’t forget to look up a few hospital snack ideas for your labor and delivery go-bag. Snacks are an underrated necessity for your hospital bag.

Many hospitals won’t allow you to eat snacks during active labor, but snacks are essential for recovery after birth–after all, you’ve got to have enough energy to snuggle and love your new bundle of joy 😍.

Please note: I am not a doctor or medical professional. Consult your doctors before consuming snacks during or after labor to get the go-ahead. 

apple, granola bar, assorted nuts, and chocolate for a well balanced hospital snack.

This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you purchase something through one of these links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you for the support!

Even though I was induced with my first and could pack a hospital bag, I forgot to pack snacks! I had my son in the late afternoon, so by the time we recovered, the cafeteria was closed, and I was FAMISHED!

Thank goodness my dad had thought about food and went to the convenience store before it closed. I was overjoyed to find filling and satisfying snacks in our room later that night when everything was closed. 

Pro Tip: At the bottom of this post I have some good questions to ask during your hospital tour regarding food. 

Snack Info 

Most of the snacks I suggest are non-perishables that don’t need any special preparation. Still, I’ve added a few more substantial items for longer stays that require additional storage or preparation. 

  • Items need refrigeration (marked with a 🧊): If you have time, grab a small cooler and some ice packs to take with you. If not, skip these. If you’re there for a while, your nursing team will get you some new ice to keep your items cool. 
  • Items require a microwave (marked with a ♨️): Most hospitals will have a courtesy microwave, but ask during your tour. 
  • Items require hot water (marked with a 🫖): If you ask, I almost guarantee your nurses will bring you hot or boiling water. If not, you can heat water in the courtesy microwave. 

Pro Tip: Buy individually packed snacks or pre-divide snacks into individual portions before packing so nothing goes to waste. 

50 easy snack ideas

List of 50 Hospital Snack Ideas 

Here are my quick and easy hospital snack ideas. These are all things you can find online or in your grocery store.

I haven’t put any recipes or meal-prep ideas on here. In my last few days before birth, I could barely pack a robe, some slippers, and a change of clothes for my hospital bag, let alone prep freezer meals, padsicles (see my store-bought padsicle hack), or snacks to go. 

  • Applesauce Cups and Pouches: As a mom of two toddlers, I’m well-versed in food pouches. You can opt for unsweetened options and fruit blends for diversity. 
  • Baked Goods: Grab individually packaged baked goods like muffins, donuts, cookies, banana bread, coffee cake, and more from the bakery section. 
  • Belvita Breakfast Cookies 
  • Bread: Bring a loaf for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pita bread for dips and spreads, bagels, and English muffins for breakfast… The sky’s the limit. 
  • Candy, Gum, and Mints 
  • Cereal: Eat it dry or ask for some milk in the hospital. 
  • 🧊 Cheese Sticks (may require refrigeration): You can find shelf-stable cheeses, individually wrapped string cheese, or snacking cheese sticks. 
  • Chex Mix: Pub mix, bar mix, whatever you call it, this mixed snack checks all the boxes. 
  • Chips: Buy various snack packs at the store for traditional chips, or pick a healthier alternative and find veggie straws, kale chips, seaweed sacks, and even crispy chickpeas. 
  • Chocolate: Milk, dark or white, they are all 🤤.
  • Chocolate Covered Fruit and Nuts: A little healthy, a little sweet, it’s a win-win. 
  • Crackers: Saltines, Graham crackers, whole grain crackers, Goldfish, Cheese crisps, nutcrackers, sandwich crackers, animal crackers, anything crunchy! 
  • Dried Fruit: Banana chips, raisins, dates, apple chips, dried cranberries. 
  • Drink Mixes: Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.
  • ♨️ Easy Mac 
  • Energy Bites 
  • Freeze-Dried Fruit: Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, etc.  
  • Fresh fruit: These fruits travel well: oranges, clementines, apples, grapes, cherries, pears, avocado, and grapefruit. 
  • Fruit Cups: If you’re taking a cooler, you can find some nice fruit cups in the refrigerated produce section of the grocery store. If not, traditional fruit cups will do just fine.
  • Fruit Leather: There are some very healthy varieties of fruit leather for adults out there nowadays! 
  • Granola Bars: Kind Bars, Cliff Bars, and Nature Valley are all my favorite varieties. 
  • 🧊 Hard Boiled Eggs (may need refrigeration): If you like pickled eggs, there is no need to refrigerate them! 
  • Honey Sticks
  • 🧊Hummus (may need refrigeration): pair it with pita chips, bread, pretzels, or veggies. Find shelf-stable options in grab-and-go packets.
  • Instant Coffee and Tea: Or iced tea mix. 
  • Jello and Pudding Cups 
  • Jerky: Protein packed 💪.
  • Jelly and Preserves: Make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or spread jelly on toast. 
  • Meat Sticks 
  • Nostalgia Sacks: Being away from home, mixed with the emotions and hormones of birth, is challenging. Bring something comforting, like your favorite childhood snack, to make you more at ease. 
  • Nutella: Bring a whole jar for toast in the morning, or find individual serving cups for a light snack. 
  • Nuts: If plain nuts sound boring, buy flavored nuts or eat them plain. Pistachios, cashews, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pecans, macadamia, and even corn nuts! 
  • 🫖 Oatmeal Cups: oats are great for milk production and are a well-balanced snack. 
  • Olives: Individual bags or cups that don’t need to be refrigerated. 
  • Peanut Butter: Grab a whole tub of peanut butter to make PB&J’s for a more substantial meal, or find some Jif 2 Go packs to pair with crackers for a quick snack. You can also look for other nut butter like cashew or almond butter. 
  • 🧊 Pepperoni (may need refrigeration)
  • Pepperoni Rolls: No need to even heat in my books! These babies are great, just the way they are! 
  • Pickles: Individual bags or cups that don’t need to be refrigerated. It’s not just a pregnancy craving, my friends 🤣.
  • Popcorn: Grab already popped popcorn or bring some microwaveable bags. 
  • Protein Bars: Cliff Bars, Quest Bars, Larry and Lenny’s, and Lara Bars are just a few of my favorites. 
  • Pop Tarts: Look for the unfrosted kind for a lower-sugar option. 
  • ♨️ Ramen Noodles 
  • Rice Cakes: Find them in sweet and salt varieties. 
  • 🧊 Salami (may need refrigeration): You can buy shelf-stable salami. It doesn’t need to be in your bag if it’s not in the fridge in the store. 
  • Seeds: Sunflower and pumpkin seeds make great snacks. 
  • Smoothies or Shakes: You can find shelf-stable smoothies (although they won’t be as good as refrigerated) and meal replacement shakes. 
  • ♨️ Soup
  • Sports Drinks: Vitamin Water, Gatorade, Coconut Water, Body Armor, and Powerade are good hydration options. 
  • Trail Mix
  • Tuna Packets or canned Salmon: These have come a long way recently. Grab full tuna kits or seasoned fish packets. 
  • 🧊 Vegetables (may need refrigeration): Here are some varieties that don’t need to be kept cold: bell peppers and tomatoes–cherry tomatoes are super snackable! 
  • Water Bottles: The hospital has limitless tap water, but if you’re not comfortable with tap water, you can pack your bottles. 
  • 🧊 Yogurt (may need refrigeration): You can buy shelf-stable yogurt that doesn’t need to be refrigerated. 

Here’s My Shopping List⤵️

Crunch on Savory Snacks: Satisfying Salty Bites for Your Hospital Bag

Send Them With Your Family and Friends! 

If you forget to pack snacks as I did or go into labor spontaneously and cannot bring a packed bag, send this list to a family member or friend who can drop off some snacks for your hospital stay–especially if you will be there longer (like after a c-section or due to complications). 

Why Should You Pack Snacks? 

  1. The hospital cafeteria and convenience store might have limited hours: Your newborn has no sense of time! They will be up and ready to breastfeed or eat at all hours of the day and night. Think of snacks as your fuel to stay awake and care for your newborn during that time. 
  2. The hospital food stinks 🤢: I was lucky that the hospital food was–dare I say–quite good. Unfortunately, this is not the norm! If you know where you will be delivering, check with family and friends to find out what the food is like. If it sounds sketchy, look for some of the more filling options on this list! 
  3. No Food For Dad: Even if your hospital food is decent, most hospitals will not provide food for your labor partner–only the mom.  
  4. Added Cost: The hospital’s food prices will increase quickly, especially if you’re in a city. Having some filling snacks in your room can help offset the cost. 
  5. Hangry Partner: Your partner will be so focused on you that they might forget to eat themselves. They will need energy to support you and the baby after birth. Quick, delicious snacks will keep them full and ready to attend to you and the baby. 
  6. To Pass The Time: Yup, despite the movies, labor is painfully slow a lot of the time, and snacks can help pass the time. 
  7. So Your Partner Doesn’t Miss Anything: I’m not kidding. My husband almost missed the birth of our second because he was waiting for a sandwich in the cafeteria 🤣. I was getting my epidural, having excruciating pain, and being told I was going to have to push soon… All while my husband was buying a very mediocre chicken salad sandwich. I was in a full-blown panic. And trust me–he was not prepared for what he was about to walk back into! 

Pro Tip: Have your partner grab snacks that don’t interest you so you won’t feel left out if you can’t eat while laboring. 

Pack a Variety of Snacks 

Most blog posts with snack ideas for after-delivery will tell you only to pack healthy snacks with fiber, good fats, and protein. 

I’m here to tell you if you want to pack Hostess Cakes and Cheetos, it’s okay. That being said, plan on a variety of snack options. 

I was very nauseous during and after labor. The only thing I wanted to eat was cheese and crackers after… But if I would have told you what to pack in advance, I would have said chocolate chip cookies! 

It’s impossible to know what you’re going to want to eat after delivering a baby, so grab a wide range of options: 

  • Sweet
  • Salty 
  • Protein-rich
  • Nutrient-dense
  • Healthy
  • Fresh
  • Indulgent 

How Many Snacks Should I Pack? 

I would pack one snack per person every 6 hours you think you’ll be at the hospital. 

My hospital stays were just over 48 hours. So, I would have packed 16 snacks for me and my husband (had I remembered them 🤣!). 

It sounds like a lot, but thinking back on all of the (💵💵💵) trips to the vending machine, it sounds about right. 

It Won’t Go To Waste 

Don’t worry about finishing all of your snacks at the hospital. Even if you don’t eat any of them, having quick snacks at home is a breastfeeding essential

Whether you need some energy for middle-of-the-night feedings or quick bites to eat between pediatric appointments in the first few days, none of these supplies will go to waste, I promise! 

Here are some questions you might want to ask during your hospital or birth center tour: 

  1. Are there any food or drink restrictions during labor and delivery? 
  2. What meals are provided for the mother? 
  3. Are any meals provided for a birthing partner? 
  4. What are the cafeteria hours? 
  5. Are there vending machines available for after-hours? 
  6. Is there a courtesy microwave in the hospital? 
  7. Is hot water available for coffee, tea, ramen noodles, etc.? 
  8. Are there any questions that I’ve forgotten to ask? 

Final Thoughts on Hospital Snacks

  1. Pack 8 (non-perishable) snacks per person in your hospital bag.
  2. Have individual grab-and-go snacks in your fridge with a small cooler and ice packs if you have time.
  3. Ask your hospital about their food options beforehand.
  4. Ask your medical team about eating during labor.
  5. Don’t be afraid to buy in bulk and use extras to set up your breastfeeding caddy.
Jacqui headshot

Jacqui

Author

Hi, I'm Jacqui, founder of Mommy Maker Teacher and mom of two toddlers. With a degree in education, 12+ years of experience as a K-12 teacher and curriculum developer, and courses in childhood psychology and language acquisition, I share research-backed parenting tips and advice. I provide helpful content for moms on all stages of motherhood - from trying to conceive and pregnancy to postpartum, breastfeeding, and parenting.