While it’s tempting to reward our pregnant selves with sugary treats and decadent pastries, there’s a stack of evidence to suggest that making healthy food choices during pregnancy will help with your long-term health goals.
Sure it’s not always easy to make healthy choices when you’re eating out or are with friends, but just making a few small changes can have a huge impact:
3 Simple Ways To Make Healthy Food Choices During Pregnancy
1. Swap it out
- Ditch that soft drink and try mineral water or plain water instead.
- Trade in highly-processed breakfast cereal for homemade muesli. Try these 9 quick and easy baby brain breakfasts.
- Enjoy some tasty wholemeal, wholegrain or rye breads instead of white.
- Look at flour alternatives when making cakes and cookies, these include brown rice flour, rye flour, quinoa or amaranth, coconut flour, almond meal, wholemeal flour or banana flour
- When making biscuits swap white flour and sugar to ones made from oats, wholemeal flours and maple syrup or rice malt syrup.
2. Read The Labels
- Be aware that some things that are sugar-free are filled with chemicals, so read your labels and if it sounds like it is a science experiment then put it back.
- When you are reading labels, anything that ends in “-ose” is a sugar. In addition, try to avoid things sweetened with corn syrup, glucose, fructose, or sugar.
- Remember, just because something is low in calories doesn’t mean it’s low in sugar so keep your wits about you!
- You can also work out how much sugar is in a product by looking at the nutritional label, it gives you a breakdown of all items in the product per serve.
- Keep in mind that 4g of sugar is about 1 teaspoon so if you get to the sugars section, usually under the carbohydrates label, and it says 20g sugar per serve; that’s about 5 teaspoons of sugar per serve of that item!
Fact: According to the World Health Organisation we should stick to around 6 to 9 teaspoons of sugar a day. Some food and drink products will have that amount of sugar in one serve!
3. Find alternatives
While maple syrup, molasses, rice malt syrup, barley malt syrup, coconut nectar, yakon syrup, raw honey, brown sugar and stevia are all still high in sugar, if used in moderation as a substitute, they are better than crystallised white sugar as they contain less fructose. Here are some pro’s and con’s of different sugar alternatives.
Stevia is a herb that is naturally sweeter than sugar so when using you should only need a small amount. Just be aware that some products are not 100% stevia and have other sweeteners in them as well.
So have fun experimenting! We haven’t had sugar in our house for years, but I can still bake some awesome sweeties when I get the urge! It’s not about depriving yourself of the good things in life, we all like some chocolate, cake or ice cream every now and then and that’s okay.
Rather it’s about being mindful about what you’re putting in your mouth and how it may affect you and your baby. Reading labels, making healthier swaps and knowing the better alternatives are great tools to have for a healthy eating lifestyle.