Pregnancy Snacks: Smart Eating for 2
Healthier ways to satisfy those powerful pregnancy munchies.
Your Pregnancy Diet: Programming Your Children's Health?
Consume too many high-fat, high-sugar foods during pregnancy, however, and you may
be putting your child's health at risk, Muhlhausler cautions.
A recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition illustrates just
that, suggesting pregnant moms who feast on junk food have children with a
propensity for packing on pounds.
In the study, pregnant and nursing laboratory rats ate either regular lab
chow or a steady diet of biscuits, marshmallows, jam, doughnuts, potato chips,
and candy bars. The rats whose moms ate the junk-food diet when pregnant and
nursing put on more weight at 10 weeks old than the rats born to moms fed rat
Muhlhausler, who was not involved in the study, says exposure to high levels
of blood sugar or fat before birth can alter the development of fat cells, as
well as the pathways in the brain that regulate hunger and satiety.
"These individuals are less able to switch off their appetite and stop
eating even when they've consumed enough calories," she says. "This
makes them more prone to weight gain."
The study adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that not only does
mom's diet influence her child's appetite and food preferences, but it also
shapes the child's risk for chronic conditions other than obesity.
Controlling Pregnancy Cravings
Whatever the cause, every expectant woman knows food cravings are nearly
impossible to ignore, whether they're for nutritious foods or unhealthy
While overwhelming at times, longings for fat-laden foods that may also be
rich in sugar and sodium can be curbed using these strategies:
- Eat on a regular basis to keep blood glucose levels steady. The desire for
a sugary pick-me-up may be the result of intense hunger.
- Stick to a balanced eating plan with adequate calories for your pregnancy,
and consider dividing your daily calorie allowance into six small, healthy
- Make sure meals supply protein, carbohydrates, and some fat to keep you
satisfied. Always start the day off right with a healthy breakfast, such as
eggs, whole-grain toast, and a glass of orange juice.
- Ask yourself this: Am I hungry or just craving comfort? When pregnancy is
wearing you down, take a break instead of reaching for a snack. Try a short
nap, a 10-minute walk, reading, watching a movie, or anything else that will
help you relax, as long as it's safe.
- Put down a pregnancy craving by indulging in a very small portion. For
example, try satisfying your urge for chocolate with a fun-size candy bar
rather than a regular-size one.