Many women crave different, specific foods during their pregnancy. While there are those who may pine for broccoli, bananas or oatmeal, most probably have visions of cookies, chocolate, and ice cream pints and cones dancing around in their heads. Moms-to-be also tends to have a greater fondness for sweet foods. If your desire for sugar and fat feels too powerful to resist, it’s okay to indulge once in a while. But try to keep your pregnancy food cravings in check, so your growing baby gets all the nutrients they need.
So how do you cut back on unnecessarily unhealthy snacking and make sure your child gets the nutrients they need? Here’s a list of how to do it:
7 Healthy Ways to Manage Pregnancy Food Cravings
Eat a Good, Filling Breakfast Every Day
If you start the day feeling well-nourished, you’ll be less susceptible to mid-morning snack cravings. A winning breakfast idea includes a hard-cooked egg, an orange, half a whole-grain English muffin and a glass of milk.
It is okay to Feel Hungry and Snack
Experiencing cravings because you are hungry is common. You might confuse a persistent hunger for temporary cravings and you’ll either ignore them or snack in all the wrong ways. Eat balanced meals and snacks containing a mixture of fat, protein and carbohydrates, this combo of nutrients will energize you and keep you full.
Dividing up your typical day’s three meals into five or six balanced meals can help you prevent hunger, reduce cravings and thus eat a variety of healthy foods. Frequent small meals may be easier on your sensitive stomach too. They may also keep the hunger pangs at bay for longer.
There are many reasons for you to stay active during pregnancy: to keep weight in check, be fit for labour and to decrease stress. Staying active is an excellent way to curb any hunger and distract yourself from those dreaded cravings. Regular exercise – like going for a daily walk – is a great way to keep fit throughout your pregnancy as well.
Eat Something Rich in Protein at Every Meal and Snack
Protein is the building block of all cells, so it is necessary that mothers-to-be eat enough protein throughout the day for the baby’s proper growth. Additionally, protein can vastly reduce cravings. Eating protein is associated with increased satiety and reduced hunger and cravings. Pair healthy protein like eggs, nut butter or Greek yogurt with a healthy carb that is high in fiber and low in sugar, like whole-wheat toast or high-fiber cereal. This winning protein-fiber combo will satiate you and keep cravings at bay.
Keep Healthy Variants of Your Favourite Snacks at Hand
Try to look for ways to satisfy your cravings and get the nutrients you and your baby need. Remember to keep them close at hand, should your cravings strike.
It’s absolutely fine to indulge in some pizza, ice cream, and french fries while pregnant, but doing it regularly could lead to depriving your baby of important nutrients they need to thrive. If you find healthier alternatives to your typical cravings, you can have the best of both worlds. For instance, try to replace your ice cream with low-fat yogurt or low-fat ice cream, sherbet or sorbet.
Figure Out Your Levels of Hunger
Moms-to-be often feels pressured to control their cravings and to not give in. If they do eat what they’re craving, they may feel guilty or try to “make up” for the snack later by not eating enough. This way of thinking can lead to women restricting themselves and then later overeating.
You must realize that cravings stem from hunger, and you should be mindful about what you eat, when have you eaten or is this stemming from boredom and stress? If you are hungry, you can satisfy the craving in a healthy way by eating a small meal or some healthy snacks. Don’t ignore your hunger.
Train Yourself to Think Small
As mentioned earlier, it’s absolutely fine to give in once in a while and eat whatever you’re craving, but how can you control yourself from spiraling out of control?
Controlling your portions is the easiest way. Have a single scoop of ice cream rather than a whole bowl or the entire pint, have one or two squares of that chocolate instead of the entire bar. Training yourself to enjoy the small portions is the key to maintaining a successful pregnancy and to make sure you don’t starve yourself from restraint. Enjoy whatever you can but in moderation!
It makes sense that if certain foods are associated with feeling joy during pregnancy, you’ll eat more of them. If that’s the case, then have it. If you’re feeling nauseous, then you should eat what you want, or what you can keep down. Most things in moderation are fine.