Pregnancy can make you so ravenous you could be tempted to reach for high-calorie, low-nutrition foods. But before you grab a bottle of soda and a bag of chips, you should consider that children whose mothers gorged on junk food during their pregnancy were more like to suffer from mental health problems than children whose mothers didn’t, according to researchers from the Deakin University in Australia.
The scientists followed more than 23,000 women and their children, from ages 18 months to 5 years old. They found that kids whose moms consumed the most processed foods and sugar while pregnant had the highest incidence of aggression, tantrum-throwing and other troublesome behaviors. Kids who ate the most unhealthy snacks during early childhood also had the most behavior problems. Kids exposed in-utero or after to unhealthy foods had increased incidence of depression and anxiety, too.
Kids exposed in-utero or after to unhealthy foods had increased incidence of depression and anxiety, too.
Want your kids to grow up happy and healthy? Skip the junk food. Bonus for you: Moms who gain healthy amounts of weight and maintain physical activity during pregnancy tend to have easier pregnancies and get back to their pre-baby bodies faster.
When cravings strike, try one of these satisfying yet sensible switches.
Greek yogurt. Craving cheesy pasta or nachos? Blend plain (unsweetened) Greek yogurt with a dusting of Parmesan cheese and spread it over high-protein pasta. You can bake your own low-fat chips using corn tortillas. Load them up with healthy black beans and “guacamole” made with avocado, salsa and plain Greek yogurt.
Dark chocolate. Dying for cookies? A quarter cup of oatmeal prepared with a touch of honey, cinnamon, a bit of almond butter and a tablespoon of dark chocolate chips can soothe your craving while nourishing you with protein and fiber.