While having a baby is the ultimate high, the ultimate low for many new moms is the "Terrible Ten." On average, women gain 25 - 35 lbs. during pregnancy but never lose 10 of those pounds. To make matters worse, they can expect to pack on an additional 10 lbs. for each child born thereafter. Much of that weight is gained because of a change in diet dictated by cravings for high fat, high calorie snacks, which makes shedding the pounds particularly difficult. To reverse the tide, one expert is offering expectant moms healthy alternatives to the most commonly craved foods that contribute to excess weight gain.
"Cravings occur during pregnancy due to a high level of hormones flooding the body, fluctuations in blood sugar levels and a heightened emotional state," says bestselling author and media personality Jennifer Cohen, who is pregnant with her first child. "So while an increased appetite is nature's way of making sure that the fetus is receiving enough nutrients, it's important to respond to the cravings in a healthy way."
- Potato chips -- What you're really craving is the salt so substitute potato chips with kale chips. While you can purchase them in stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, they're easy to make. Just sprinkle olive oil and sea salt over kale leaves and bake at (#degrees) for 20 mins or until crispy. Kale chips provide magnesium, vitamins and minerals and have 80% fewer calories than potato chips while containing the same salt content.
- Chocolate -- Your craving is really for magnesium than the chocolate itself so if you increase your intake of magnesium-rich foods like kale, spinach and beans, your craving for chocolate will diminish somewhat. When you do indulge in your favorite sweet, though, limit your intake to two squares of dark chocolate. Not only is it packed with antioxidants but it’s good for your heart and brain and helps to control blood sugar as well.
- Soda -- When you're pregnant, you should avoid soda at all costs as the artificial chemicals can damage the child. Instead, opt for carbonated flavored seltzers or more natural alternatives like Perrier's pink grapefruit carbonated water.
- Cheesecake -- Substitute the high fat, high calorie sugar filled cheesecake with a Graham cracker topped with a light smear of cream cheese.
- Donuts -- You can enjoy a slice of whole wheat toast spread with almond butter and cinnamon much more when you consider the sugar-filled, fried dough alternative.
- Candy -- The perfect substitute for your candy fix are 100% fruit popsicles with no added sugar.
- Pretzels -- Again, your body is craving the saltiness of pretzels so try eating hearts of palm instead. They have a high salt content without the dense carbohydrates found in pretzels.