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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 September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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