Pregnancy Cravings

Control your food cravings and stay satisfied

Cravings during pregnancy are more than inconveniences -- they are constant challenges to your will, the devil on your shoulder that sways your decisions and leaves you feeling defeated. Well, maybe your food cravings aren't that bad, but most moms-to-be will experience cravings (some stranger than others) that affect them physically and emotionally. Pregnancy nutrition is an important consideration from month one to month nine, and learning how to balance a healthy and varied diet with tastes and textures that satisfy cravings will be your best bet for staying happy, energetic and fit throughout your pregnancy.

 

Causes of Pregnancy Cravings

A pregnant woman often experiences food cravings based on what her body needs. You may crave food in general because you need to take in more calories to support your growing baby, but also to sustain your body as your blood volume increases and your joints and muscles need more vital nutrients. Check out the video on this page for a tasty way to calm your cravings. A sudden and specific craving can be your body's way of letting you know that you're lacking something important. Your steak craving may seem odd, but it could simply be a cry for more iron. Salt cravings during pregnancy are very common and may signal your body's need to balance sodium levels as your tissues retain more water. Getting to know when and how your cravings strike will require some close attention to your daily diet.

Another cause for cravings lies in the biological changes that you're experiencing. Your fluctuating hormones can do weird things, and a sudden sweet, salty or altogether bizarre food craving is not out of the ordinary. While these cravings can be strong, a small indulgence may be all you need to relieve the pressure. Another solution is to pop in a pregnancy fitness video and increase your endorphins through some moderate exercise while you naturally decrease your appetite. Most often, the key is to determine the cause behind the craving and pay close attention to every part of your diet.

Your Diet during Pregnancy

Good nutrition during pregnancy is your best weapon in the fight against cravings and the weight gain that they can bring, so you should focus on foods that bring the best health benefits for their caloric load. Remember that, while you will need to take in a few hundred more calories each day, replacing a balanced diet with sporadic indulgences will usually lead to fatigue and irritability. Ultimately, giving in to your craving without a second thought won't satisfy your body or your mind as much as you expect it to.

Instead of packing your pantry full of sweet treats and salty snacks, substitute whole foods that have similar characteristics to the foods you crave. Adding a variety of textures to each meal is a great way to keep your menu interesting, and a small plate full of different foods can actually make you feel like you've eaten more than you have. Nuts for crunch, fruits for sugar and avocado or yogurt for richness are satisfying choices, and they'll keep you feeling full longer than simple carbohydrates.

Here are some examples of what a few hundred nutrient-rich calories look like:

  • 1 slice whole-wheat bread with 1 tablespoon peanut butter and 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 1 whole-grain English muffin with 1 slice Swiss cheese melted on each half
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots and 2 tbsp almonds
  • 1/2 cup low-fat granola with 1 tbsp semisweet chocolate chips and 1/2 oz. raisins (about 30)
  • 2 tbsp chocolate syrup with 1/2 cup sliced apples and 1 cup whole strawberries (fresh or frozen, without any added sugar)
  • 1 cup low-fat fruit yogurt with 2 tbsp Grape Nuts mixed in
  • 1/4 cup hummus with 10 baby carrots and 1/2 whole-wheat pita, cut into triangles

Please consult with your physician before starting any new exercise or making any lifestyle changes during your pregnancy.

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