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Tips for Healthy Eating During the Holidays While Pregnant

written by: Elizabeth Engel • edited by: Rhonda Callow • updated: 4/26/2011

Eating healthy during the holidays is a difficult task under normal circumstances; imagine being pregnant.

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    Pregnancy and Holiday Eating

    Trying to eat healthy while pregnant isn't always the easiest task. You are already having all types of crazy cravings, then you have these holiday treats staring you in the face. But eating healthy during the holiday months doesn't have to be as hard as everyone makes it out to be. By following these easy tricks you can still enjoy the holiday snacks without packing on the extra pounds.

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    Cheat When You Bake

    One of the greatest pleasures during the holidays is the delicious baking that goes on. These treats surround you at family gatherings, work parties and get-togethers with friends. But not all these goodies have to be unhealthy. With these simple steps, any treat can become a healthy treat.

    When baking desserts that call for unsweetened baking chocolate, use unsweetened cocoa instead. For every ounce of unsweetened baking chocolate that a recipe calls for, use three tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa. If a recipe calls for margarine, butter or vegetable oil, you can substitute it with apple butter. One cup of butter, margarine or vegetable oil equals one half cup of apple butter. Another great trick is to use fat-free evaporated milk instead of cream.

    These simple substitutes will cut back on the calories and still satisfy your sweet tooth.

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    Load Up on the Good Stuff

    If you do not have many healthy foods to choose from, just grab a few then head for the vegetable tray. You do not have to completely deprive yourself from all sweets but do not get full on those alone. Carrots, broccoli and celery with a low-fat dressing alongside one or two healthy treats can do the trick.

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    Watch Out for Empty Calories

    During the holidays the beverages can become quite tempting. But what you may not realize is that they are packed with empty calories. Hot cocoa, apple cider and egg nog are just some of the beverages that are holiday favorites. Drinking these beverages can add several empty calories throughout your day. Try drinking a low-fat egg nog or warm non-fat milk in place of the versions that contain whole milk in them. Keep in mind to stick with treats and meals that will benefit your growing baby, such as foods that contain fiber, vitamin C, and calcium, such as broccoli, oranges, and milk. Make sure you treat your body right always, paying special attention to your habits during the holidays, which is often the hardest time to stick to a good program.

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    Bring Your Own Dish

    If you plan to go to someone else's house during the holidays, bring at least one healthy dish with you. That way you know that no matter what will be served there will be at least one healthy item that you can be guaranteed to enjoy. Comfort food and unhealthy treats are almost always a given in social situations and holiday events, so it's a great idea to bring a little something containing the vitamins and minerals you need to maintain your diet and keep you on track. Not to mention, the fact that others at the party might be incredibly grateful to have the option of healthy treats as well.

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    When All Else Fails, Exercise

    If the temptation gets the best of you and you just have to eat that homemade fudge, try to work off those extra calories with exercise. Keep up with the calories you take in from the snacks and beverages that you have throughout your day. Later on in the day take a walk around your neighborhood to burn them off. Exercise is a quick trick when you give into your holiday snacking needs.

    Always remember to consult your doctor before doing any type of exercise while pregnant.

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    References

    WebMD, http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/eating-right-when-pregnant

    What to Expect, http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/eating-well/whenever-wherever/on-special-occasions.aspx

    Image credit: WikiMedia Commons/Canwest News