As my pregnancy progresses, I’ve thought a lot about what’s on my plate. Literally. The do’s-and-do not’s of eating for two can be a big change for many women, myself included, and eating healthy, inexpensive meals is its own challenge. This week, I want to share some of my favorite food alternatives and discuss how to keep your nutrition stable and within budget while you’re pregnant.
One of the hardest things for pregnant women to give up is one of the first things most of us reach for in the morning – coffee. Many healthcare organizations advise women to limit their caffeine intake to less than 200 milligrams per day. To put that into perspective, that’s one 8-ounce cup of coffee and maybe a single ounce of dark chocolate. If you’re the soda type, that’s 4 cans of Diet Coke (but I doubt any obstetrician would advise you keep up that habit, regardless of pregnancy).
If you’re having trouble weaning yourself off your morning java, try cutting your regular coffee with decaf or switching to a low-caffeine green tea. For those of you who drink caffeinated soda, try ginger ale (which is also great for morning sickness) or seltzer water dressed up with lemon or lime slices. You’ll get the effervescence you crave without the unnecessary caffeine or sugar. http://lifehacker.com/206574/cut-80-of-the-caffeine-from-your-tea. Cutting out your morning coffee runs should also help your budget!
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The Value of Veggies
Another daily staple for many, and off the menu for pregnant women, is deli meat. Your garden or farmer’s market has many good, relatively cheap alternatives for your lunchtime (and dinnertime) meals.
Hearty vegetables like eggplant are a great substitute for deli meat. Sweet potatoes are another sandwich meat swap that’s not only healthy, but delicious, too. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Sweet-Potato-and-Avocado-Sandwich-with-Poppy-Seed-Spread-230165
Spaghetti squash is also a favorite in my house. Instead of pasta, we cook up a squash, shred it and put meat sauce over the top. It looks just like regular spaghetti and it’s packed with vitamins, including the all-important folic acid.
Another produce aisle delight is homemade smoothies. Making your own blend gives you the chance to cut out unnecessary sugars. A good fruit and vegetable smoothie may be just the trick for satisfying your sweet tooth without loading up on junk food. http://www.mom365.com/pregnancy/food-and-drink/7-pregnancy-smoothies.aspx
The great news is, these alternatives are extremely comparable in price, especially considering one eggplant or large sweet potato could last you the entire week!
Of course, there’s no denying that sometimes cravings rule our better judgment. If I really want sweets, my go-to is peanut butter covered popcorn http://allrecipes.com/recipe/peanut-butter-popcorn/. Sweets and treats can easily be switched out for healthier options, too. Instead of ice cream, you may find that frozen yogurt can satisfy you just as much. Whether or not you add pickles as a topping is up to you. http://www.webmd.com/baby/features/heres-to-pickles-ice-cream
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little one, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens.