Healthy Holiday Food Swaps

Celebrate the holidays (and your pregnancy) with these healthy food swaps.

Healthy Holiday Food Swaps

While Thanksgiving may be over and you may still be recovering, the holiday season is still upon us. So as you get ready for the festivities, remember that the age-old myth of eating for two could be detrimental as your pregnancy progresses. At the same time, satisfying your cravings is an innate need -- during the holidays and pregnancy. Because it’s all about balance, here are 6 holiday food swaps that will help you pack in all the nutrients you need as you and the bump are ringing in the new year.

  • Appetizer: While bacon wrapped dates are a fun party staple, why not try a crudité platter with a greek yogurt based dip as a starter? You can use 2% greek yogurt for the healthy fat and add some of your favorite spices and herbs. Check out FlavorGod’s collection of seasonings including a ranch based blend, a lemon and garlic and a BBQ flavor blend - made without preservatives and paleo friendly. With this dip platter, you’ll snag some fiber, antioxidants and protein.
  • Side: We get it, mashed potatoes are so, so good, but they are also rich and can leave you with some serious heartburn. So try to swap the potatoes with cauliflowers. Mashed cauliflowers aren't as caloric and have less carbohydrates. It's also packed with vitamin C, which can help boost immunity -- something you definitely need while you are busy growing baby.
  • Main Dish: Most traditional entrées include a meat variety (turkey, duck, Cornish hen, pork), which is always an excellent source of protein. But opting for a vegetarian and lower-carb entrée is a good way to get fiber, vitamins, minerals without spiking your blood sugar. Our suggestion? Zucchini lasagna! It's festive and delicious. For the sauce, you could either make it with ground meat or keep it simple with a marinara.
  • Dessert: While noshing on cookies, cupcakes, or cake seems satisfying in the moment, the post-prandial sugar rush could leave you feeling extremely tired and even lethargic. Instead of a full-fat, high-sugar dessert, opt for black bean brownies, a flourless and protein-rich treat that will no doubt satisfy your sweet tooth without slowing you down.
  • Condiments: Most traditional chutney or relish recipes -- either store bought or homemade -- can very rich and sugary. Though you may not usually care, you are pregnant, so now is the time for healthy substitution. A fresh fig chutney is a tasty and nutritious option because of the fiber and potassium. If you’re feeling constipated during pregnancy, help yourself to a spoonful (or two!) of this chutney.
  • Drink: Instead of apple cider (or any cider for that matter), stick to a simple homemade infused flavored water recipe. Choose either sparkling or still water and zest it up with cucumber, mint, or fresh fruit such as berries or orange slices.

Photography by Lauren Crew for Well Rounded.

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    "Unfortunately, cloth masks don't do very much [to protect you from the smoke pollution]," Oro says. "You really need an N95 mask, and most of those have been allocated toward essential workers." To keep at-risk children safer, Oro recommends avoiding brisk exercise outdoors. Instead, set up an indoor obstacle course or challenge your family to jumping jacks periodically to keep everyone moving safely.

    Know the difference between smoke exposure and COVID-19.

    "COVID-19 can have a lot of the same symptoms—dry cough, sore throat, shortness of breath and chest pain could overlap. But what COVID and other viruses generally cause are fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and body aches. Those would tell you it's not just smoke exposure," Oro says. When a child has been exposed to smoke, they often complain of a "scrape" in their throat, burning eyes, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain or wheezing. If the child has asthma, parents should watch for a flare of symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing or a tight sensation in their chest.

    Unfortunately, not much is known about long-term exposure to wildfire smoke on a healthy or compromised immune system, but elevated levels of air pollution have been associated with increased COVID-19 rates. That's because whenever there's an issue with your immune system, it distracts your immune system from fighting infections and you have a harder time fighting off viruses. Limiting your exposure to wildfire smoke is your best bet to keep immune systems strong.

    Have a plan in place if you think your child is suffering from smoke exposure.

    Whatever type of medication your child takes for asthma, make sure you have it on-hand and that your child is keeping up with regular doses. Contact your child's pediatrician, especially if your area has a hazardous air quality—they may want to adjust your child's medication schedule or dosage to prevent an attack. Oro also recommends that, if your child has asthma, it might be helpful to have a stethoscope or even a pulse oximeter at home to help diagnose issues with your pediatrician through telehealth.

    Most importantly, don't panic.

    In some cases, social distancing and distance learning due to COVID may be helping to keep sensitive groups like children with asthma safer. Oro says wildfires in past years have generally resulted in more ER visits for children, but the most recent fires haven't seen the same results. "A lot of what we've seen is that the smoke really adversely affects adults, especially older adults over 65," Oro says. "Children tend to be really resilient."

    This article was sponsored by Stanford Children's Health. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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