Many women have experienced food cravings during the course of their pregnancy. Many of these cravings consist of chocolate, ice cream, meat, cheese and salty snack food.
Most doctors believe that cravings can be nutritionally based. It could be a message from your body on what it needs to eat. If you are craving salty foods it could be because your body needs more sodium as your blood volume increases. If you are craving fruit, your body might need more vitamins C. The problem is sometimes the message gets lost on the way to our brain. You may find yourself craving something sweet and instead of getting berries or fruit, you find yourself gulping down snicker bars.
Cravings can be the downfall of your weight gain especially if the message is getting scrambled. There are some ways though you can help curb your cravings.
Hormonal shifts during pregnancy intensify sense of smell (which heavily influences taste) and are powerful enough to affect food choices.
Tips to fight Food Craving
Food craving is actually normal, but pregnant women need to learn how to deal with these cravings, so that proper nutrition is maintained. It is important for a pregnant woman to clearly know her limits in terms of overindulging, especially when the cravings are particularly on food items that have little, or no nutritional value.
- Eating a good breakfast helps begin the day in a healthy way and at the same time prevent cravings later in the day. An example of a nutritious breakfast would be yogurt, fresh fruit, whole grain bagel with jam, and orange juice. You can try some soy crisps, instead of French fries. Instead of ice cream, try frozen yogurt. If you feel like candy is calling your name, snack on some frozen grapes. If you want something salty try pretzels, or even rice cakes to satisfy that urge. A good substation for soda would be some fruit juice mixed with sparkling water.
- Think small. If you are craving chocolate, you do no need to reach for a king size bar. The snack size bar will satisfy your craving just the same. If you want a brownie, have one; just do not eat the whole pan. There is nothing wrong with indulging in a few of your cravings as long as you know not to over do it.
- Eat regularly to avoid drops in blood sugar that could trigger food cravings. Dividing up food into six small and satisfying meals can help.
- Take dairy products, for example, rich in protein,calcium, and several other nutrients, which are among the top foods women want during pregnancy,
- Focus on lower-calorie foods. Frozen yogurt and low-fat fudge bars may do the trick when you desire super-premium ice cream. Sorbet, sherbet, and frozen fruit bars are other lower-calorie frozen treats that can stand in for higher-calorie options.
- Include regular physical activity (as permitted by your doctor).
- Pay attention to your own emotional needs. During pregnancy, many women experience mood swings. You may be tempted to comfort yourself through food. Find someone supportive to talk with regularly throughout your pregnancy.
Giving in to your cravings during pregnancy does not make you a bad person and it is not something you should beat yourself up about and feel guilty about. Cravings are a normal part of pregnancy and denying yourself all the time might make you resent being pregnant. Indulge when you want to, just make sure you make wise choices and do everything in moderation.
Avoid these Craving
No matter how strong your desire, steer clear of foods considered health risks for pregnant women and developing babies. These include:
- Raw and under-cooked seafood, meat, and eggs
- Unpasteurized milk and any foods made from it, including Brie, feta, Camembert, Roquefort, and Mexican-style cheeses.
- Unpasteurized juice
- Raw vegetable sprouts, including alfalfa, clover, and radish
- Herbal teas
- If you should find yourself craving dirt, soil, or chalk call your doctor right away. Not only could these be harmful if you do eat them, but chances are they are a sign of iron-deficiency anemia. These bizarre cravings are known as pica, which are potentially harmful to both mother and child.
Remember, a good nutrition plays a key role in a healthy pregnancy. And it is very important for women to try to eat well-balanced meals, to support the needs of the growing baby.