Ten healthy alternatives to junk food in pregnancy – and why you should try them

If there’s one grand life event that warrants a change in an unhealthy diet, it’s pregnancy – for the sake of the baby and all.

The laws of logic tell us that too much of any one thing is not good but researchers from, and Deakin University in Australia has collaborated with researchers from Norway to discover the effects of engorging on junk food in pregnancy – as reported in Medicalnewstoday.com. And the results are quite severe.

The study has revealed that mothers who eat more unhealthy foods during pregnancy (refined, salty, sweet food types) are likely to have children with increased behavioural problems often manifesting in the form of aggression and tantrums.

But it’s not just eating junk during pregnancy that affects children; the research showed that children who are dosed on junk food in their first year of life are prone not only to increased aggression and behavioural problems, but also to symptoms of depression, anxiety and even dementia – mental illness in other words.

And the research was not a small project (which often seems to undermine the poignancy of findings): 23,000 mothers (and their children) took part.

Okay – now the idea is not to rise to a panic and eliminate anything that has an iota of sugar and salt from your pregnancy diet – or even from your child’s diet. The idea is to eat in moderation. So if you have a craving for junk food, don’t give it up entirely, just limit the amount you eat – to a treat on weekends or the like.

Some healthy alternatives (to junk food), which are affordable and uncomplicated, are (as suggested by the NHS:

  1. Sandwiches or pita bread filled with grated cheese, lean ham, mashed tuna, salmon or sardines, with salad
  2. Salad vegetables – such as carrot, celery or cucumber
  3. Low-fat yoghurt or fromage frais
  4. Hummus with bread or vegetable sticks
  5. Ready-to-eat apricots, figs or prunes
  6. Vegetable and bean soups
  7. Unsweetened breakfast cereals, or porridge with milk
  8. Milky drinks or unsweetened fruit juices
  9. Fresh fruit
  10. Baked beans on toast or a baked potato.

For further details on the research, visit Medicalnewstoday.com – “Junk food in pregnancy linked to childhood mental disorders”.