What is junk food?
Simply said, junk food is unhealthy food. You don't want to eat unhealthy food in pregnancy (or for that matter at other times too). Junk food is generally food that is high in calories, including sugar or fat, with little other healthy ingredients, with little dietary fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, or other important forms of nutritional value.
During pregnancy, your body will go through tremendous changes in order to guide the fetus along the growth process and prepare the mother’s body for birth 40 weeks after conception. During these changes, food cravings can occur when a mother is lacking in a certain vitamin or nutrient. These cravings are perfectly normal, but when the cravings are for junk food the mother will need to make better food choices and resist the craving for the health of both the unborn fetus and mom.
Junk food And mom
Junk food should not play a major role in food during pregnancy just as during any other time in life. An occasional salty chip snack, a slice of pizza or fast food burger, while full of extra calories and fat, is not going to hurt your baby. It is when mom tends to live on these junk foods that the troubles may occur.
Junk food is laden with extra calories and fat but offers mom and baby little or no vitamins or nutrients. These empty calories can lead to excessive weight gain and water retention during pregnancy.
In lieu of junk food, mom should choose healthy snacks that provide the body with a boost in the vitamins and nutrients the body craves during the months of pregnancy. Healthy food during pregnancy results in healthy babies after birth.
Junk food and baby
Studies have been linked to maternal eating habits and the food choice habits of babies later in life. This means the more junk food mom eats while pregnant, the more junk food the baby may crave later in life. Overeating junk food during pregnancy has also been linked to the rising number of obese children in the United States today.
Kicking the habit
For women who eat junk food on a daily basis, quitting the habit of unhealthy snacking may be more difficult than just putting down the doughnut. The junk food habit can be broken before conception in order to help regulate the cravings during pregnancy. If mom finds herself making good food choices before getting pregnant, those same habits will be used during the pregnancy.
Choosing healthy alternatives
The next time you get that craving for a bit of junk food, try choosing a snack that is far healthier and less sugar-laden. Sugar-free pudding and Jello are great choices for pregnant moms. Instead of the doughnut, try a low-calorie bagel with a bit of Splenda sweetened cream cheese. The idea is not to stop eating those fun snacks but to choose a healthier version that supplies the body with more than just excess calories.
Junk food cravings are not uncommon during pregnancies. Eating junk food in moderation will most often pose no health risks to mom or baby. It is when junk food becomes a necessity or an everyday occurrence that health risks and health-related complications may occur.
Pregnancy Nutrition and Food Guide