Posts Tagged ‘ Junk Food ’

Is Your Unborn Child Already a Junk Food Junkie?

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Put down those Doritos and read this! The foods you’re eating during pregnancy and while breast feeding are shaping the way that your unborn child will eat for years to come, according to a new study. That’s right—bad eating habits form in utero.

Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, a nonprofit research organization in Philadelphia, found that babies’ taste buds are directly linked to what their moms ate while pregnant with them. So if you’re eating a diverse and varied diet, your child will eventually be a less picky eater, who is open to trying new things. Your good habits are being passed down to them, and that will show in how they eat as toddlers and later on as adults.

But your bad habits are being passed down as well. A study conducted at the University of Adelaide in South Australia found that if you are eating sugary or fatty foods, your child will actually have cravings for those foods and form an emotional attachment to them. Moms who ate Froot Loops, Cheetos and Nutella during pregnancy had children that built up a tolerance for those foods, so that they needed more of them to get the same gratification from eating them. That is how researchers believe the US’ obesity epidemic all started (70 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese).

According to the New York Times, “researchers believe that the taste preferences that develop at crucial periods during infancy have lasting effects for life. In fact, changing food preferences beyond toddlerhood appears to be extremely difficult.” So when you tell people you’re “eating for two,” you really are—not the amount of calories for two people, but you are choosing what your baby will be eating for the rest of his or her life. Just think about that the next time you have a craving! Of course it’s fine to indulge every now and again (here are some ideas for doing that the smart way), but know that your eating habits do have long-term effects on your little one, so choose your meals wisely!

Test your Pregnancy Nutrition IQ here.

TELL US: What foods have you cut out while you’re pregnant? What are your healthy indulgences?

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Junk Food Pregnancy Cravings That Aren’t So Bad

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

It’s midnight, and all you can think about is some sweet or salty treat you must have right that second or that hangry monster inside you is going to bust out again. Been there, done that. Yes, that’s called pregnancy cravings—which try as you might, you can’t control.

But while your pregnancy cravings are the little devil on one shoulder, telling you that you can eat anything and everything you want because you’re pregnant, the little angel on your other shoulder is the scale, reminding you to not go too crazy because you want to have a healthy pregnancy. (If you were a normal weight before getting pregnant, you should only be gaining 15-25 pounds throughout your entire pregnancy; if you were underweight it should be more like 28-40 pounds; if you were overweight, 15-25 pounds; and if you are carrying twins, 35-45 pounds. Check out the Pregnancy Weight Gain Calculator to see if you’re on track).

So in order to not overdo it, you have to get creative on how to satisfy those extra-strong cravings. That’s why Burger King’s new menu item, “Satisfries” are extra-exciting. “The fries—which are said to have 20 percent less fat than BK’s regular fries, but the same yummy taste—can majorly help with those salty pregnancy cravings. The crinkle-cut “diet” fries have a secret ingredient that allows them to absorb less oil, cutting the calories of a small fry down from 340 calories to 270 (which they say is actually 40 percent less fat and 30 percent less calories than most of its competitors).

If you’re craving something crunchy, like potato chips, check out baked chips rather than fried for fewer calories (but still read the labels, because some baked chips pack in more salt—which can make you bloat, something you really don’t need when you’re pregnant!).

If sweets are your sweet spot, then consider eating what you want, but controlling the portion size. Want cake? Have a cake pop instead. Want a donut? I did! Eat a donut hole (or two!), and get the same delicious satisfaction with way less fat and calories. Craving apple pie? Cut out the crust—where most of the calories hide—and bake apples with a sprinkle of cinnamon for the same sweet fix.

Remember, you’re not actually eating for two (you only need about an extra 200 calories per day in the beginning of your pregnancy, and 400 calories extra towards the end), so as easy as it can be to get carried away, try to keep your cravings in check the best you can. That way you’ll not only have a shorter labor with less complications, a healthier baby, who will live longer, and is less likely to be a food addict, but you’ll also have less baby weight to lose after your little one comes. It’s a win-win!

TELL US: What are your biggest cravings, and how are you satisfying them in a healthy way?

Image of pregnant woman courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Why Cupcake Cravings Could Lead to Pregnancy Complications

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Weight gain leads to pregnancy complicationsPut down that bag of chips and step away from those cookies! Being pregnant means having constant food cravings that we can’t control. Some women need sweets (I sent my husband on plenty of ice cream and donut runs). Others hunger for spicy (I ate Mexican and Indian food all the time!) or tart (I suddenly wanted salt and vinegar potato chips after never eating them before in my life).

But no matter what your craving(s), all pregnant women like to feed into the old saying, “I’m eating for two”. But the truth is, if you’re a healthy weight you are only supposed to have an extra 300 calories a day while pregnant (or the equivalent of a turkey sandwich). While I fully believe hormones are the little devils on our shoulders who make us gorge ourselves on goodies, most of us use the excuse of being pregnant to indulge in every last culinary whim (guilty as charged!). Jennifer Love Hewitt is no different. She recently confessed that being knocked up has amplified her already large sweet tooth. So instead of savoring one delicious cupcake, she chows down on three at a time!

I’m sure that sounds like total bliss to you right about now! Not to steal the cherry off of your sundae, but new research out of the University of Alberta reveals that excessive weight gain during the first half of pregnancy means bigger, fatter, longer babies with more body fat. The simple translation: Ouch! Those babies are going to be a lot harder to get out, and can lead to lengthier labors and more medical interventions, like c-sections.

No one wants the food police knocking down their door, and this is not intended to make you feel guilty about any past or future snacking indiscretions (we’re all human!), but it is food for thought. What would you rather have: a mound of delicious homemade chocolate-chip cookies or a quicker, easier birth with less pain and less complications? For me the answer is a piece of cake (not literally!).

TELL US: Are you trying to curb your cravings? What are your favorite healthy snacks?

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Got Junk Food Pregnancy Cravings?

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

junk food pizza hot fogs burgers fries fried chicken donuts chipsIf a new study out of Australia is true, pregnant women everywhere—and their offspring—are in deep trouble! According to the findings, moms who eat junk food while pregnant or breastfeeding have already turned their babies into junk food addicts, jonesing for fat and sugar before they can even ask for it.

I know what you’re thinking: I thought I was supposed to be eating for two? Sadly, when you’re pregnant, you only need an extra 150 to 200 calories a day in the first trimester (the equivalent of a 6 oz. low-fat yogurt) and 300 calories a day in the second and third (about half a sandwich and a glass of skim milk).

Whether you’re craving something sweet, sour, or tart, you’re not alone! Even celebrities, can’t resist cheating on their usually-strict diets. How could we forget Jessica Simpson’s “Slutty Brownies,” the super-decadent splurge she gave into with her first pregnancy— before she joined Weight Watchers.

Confession time: I, too, had severe pregnancy cravings. Besides healthy fruits, I wanted chocolate, ice cream, and donuts (which I normally never ate)! And I needed vinegar on everything—balsamic vinegar on salads and vegetables and salt and vinegar potato chips (another thing I never ate until I was pregnant, but that pregnancy craving seems to have lingered post-baby. Oops!).

While the occasional indulgence is fine (mmm…a chocolate chip cookie), researchers warn that a mom’s overly-active pregnancy cravings can cause overeating, food addiction and obesity in your unborn child. Like we need more things to feel guilty about before the baby’s even born!

The good news is that research also shows that many of the long-term health problems associated with junk food addictions can be avoided if the child has a healthy diet once weaned from a junk-food junkie mom. Though the predisposition for loving sweets and fatty foods will always be there for the child, a healthy body weight can be maintained through proper diet and exercise. So if you’re going to have that extra scoop of Ben & Jerry’s Red Velvet Cake ice cream, be prepared to be active with your family, and to show your child that veggies can be yummy too!

Tell us what you think: What food cravings are you having? Do you believe eating junk food while pregnant can cause your child to be a junk food addict? Leave your comments below. 

How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy:Decoding Pregnancy Cravings
How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy:Decoding Pregnancy Cravings
How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy:Decoding Pregnancy Cravings

Image of junk food courtesy of Shutterstock.

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