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Pregnancy Food Swaps – Get What You Want the Healthy Way

Pregnancy Food Swaps – Get What You Want the Healthy Way

Cravings are a major part of most pregnancies, but most people don’t often want the healthiest foods, and yet there are ways to get what you want while avoiding the “junk.” Soda, chips, cold cuts, sweets… these are the things we often call “junk food” because they are full of fat, salt, and sugar but offer little to no nutrition. However, most people develop a taste for such foods and will usually snack on them from time to time, or even more frequently than that. This can lead to weight gain and even some health problems including dental problems from sugar, high blood pressure from salt, and heart disease from trans fats.

When you are pregnant, you absolutely must avoid such problematic foods, but it can be a time when you crave them even more than ever. Though the occasional “cheat” won’t do any harm (with the exception of risky foods such as raw fish, alcohol, and caffeine), you have to find some better alternatives. We are going to consider some of the best ways to satisfy your junk food cravings without compromising yours or your baby’s health.

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A List of Easy Swaps

It is not uncommon for pregnant women to go to bed and wake up thinking about certain foods. The demands placed on the body by pregnancy tend to increase hunger and allow a pregnant woman to become fixated on food from time to time. This is something that can make them want to grab a simple or “fast” food to satisfy their cravings. Thus, many women find themselves eating candies, bags of chips, canned fruit soaking in sugary syrup, cookies, and more.
How can you possibly swap out healthy foods for these unhealthy choices? The following tips will help:

1. Dedicate time to making “fast” foods before hunger strikes. Wash and chop fruits and vegetables to have as ready to eat snacks sitting in the fridge. Always carry prepared snacks when out and about too.

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2. Choose a time for snacking. When you know that you can eat a snack at a specific time of day, it can help you to overcome hunger pangs created by fatigue, boredom, or because you have just spotted an amazingly tempting food. Instead, you can simply say to yourself, “Nope… you can eat your healthy snack in ten minutes.”

3. Choose to eat five or six small meals. As your pregnancy progresses, you are less likely to feel comfortable eating bigger meals. Before that time arrives, try to regulate your blood sugar and control cravings by getting used to five or six small meals each day.

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4. Decide on portions. When you know that a certain food is a weak point and that you will indulge in it, mentally decide your maximum serving size for that snack. As an example, a measuring cup of ice cream instead of a large bowl is a good way to train your brain to avoid overeating snack foods.

In addition to using these tips, also consider the following food swap options:

• Ice cream. This one is okay from time to time, but if you crave it every day you will want to cut the fat and sugar by eating nonfat frozen yogurt or even a sugar-free sorbet.

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• Cake. Again, a slice now and then will harm no one, but if you want to eat cake a few times each week, swap it out with some sugarless angel food cake, a whole wheat banana bread, or a dense green tomato or zucchini bread.

• Chips These are not such a great snack at any time because of the high salt, fat, and carbohydrate content. Get them out of the diet and choose unsalted tortilla chips, plain popcorn, a baked potato, or “oven chips” made by slicing potatoes thinly and baking until crisp.

• Soda. Worst of the worst, and can be swapped out for a bubbly mineral water with some fresh fruit juices added.

You don’t have to succumb to unhealthy food and diet choices when you prepare and make a few good swaps.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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