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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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