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Although pregnancy is a time where you get to eat more of the foods you love, it’s also a time where you may start to experience cravings for foods that you normally wouldn’t touch.
Salty snacks, sweets, spicy foods, dairy products… or maybe even Dr. Pepper! Cravings like these are common. In fact, 50% to 80% of all pregnant women will experience some sort of craving. Source
Once I was close to my second trimester and prior to my gestational diabetes diagnosis, I had to have pickles with mint ice cream every single morning. I knew this wasn’t very healthy. Nor was it appetizing to anyone else. But it tasted so delicious to me!
While there is generally nothing wrong with indulging yourself every now and then, you should limit certain foods — or you could end up with some unhealthy weight gain.
Here are some ways to fight pregnancy cravings without feeling deprived…
#1 – Find healthier alternatives.
Many of the foods you crave while pregnant are not going to be very healthy for you — or your baby.
Start finding healthier alternatives now so you can adjust to eating them and possibly get rid of your strong cravings for any offending foods.
If you’re craving sweets, look for low-fat and naturally sweet options — such as yogurt, sherbet, whole grain breads, fruits, and vegetables.
#2 – Distract yourself.
It’s not uncommon for your pregnancy cravings to hit all of a sudden when you see something that looks appetizing.
If this is happening to you more often than not, then you need to start distracting yourself.
Walk away, call a friend, leave the house (or store), or go exercise.
My best tip: Keep the unhealthy snacks out of your house. Or, at least move the places where you store the unhealthy snacks so it takes a lot more work for you to access them.
You have willpower — now is a great time for you to use it.
#3 – Think of the consequences.
Depending on how strong a craving is, you may be able to avoid it by simply thinking of the consequences.
No matter how much I felt like wanted some cake, I knew that I did not want to end up struggling with my weight — so that helped me avoid it.
This strategy only worked for me when I was craving something and not necessarily hungry to begin with.
When you’re pregnant, your baby is fondly called a ‘glucose sink. Whenever you eat sugary foods (think junk foods here), all the sugar sinks right into the baby — making them more insulin resistant, more likely to crave junk foods, and more likely to struggle with their body weight, not to mention more likely to develop glucose disorders like diabetes. Source
#4 – Drink water.
Often times, I noticed my pregnancy cravings would strike and be much harder to fight when I already felt hungry.
I felt hungry — even after eating — so my doctor suggested that I drink more water to curb my hunger.
I was surprised to learn that much of my hunger pains were, in fact, my body telling me it was thirsty.
Once I started to drink more fluids regularly, I also started to experience fewer cravings.
The moral of the story: Listen to your body. Here’s what your body is really craving.
Must read: Pregnancy Food Cravings & What They Mean
#5 – Get your family involved.
I’m pretty short, so my friends and family would strategically “hide” foods from me in the upper cabinets. At the same time, they made a point to offer me crackers, bottled water, and salads instead of cookies, soda, and ice cream.
Even though I knew what they were doing, that didn’t stop me from crying, screaming, and being mean periodically — because I was frustrated that I couldn’t eat what I wanted.
However, once I ate what they offered (and they made it so easy for me by handing me healthy snacks all the time), I was no longer feeling hungry and my good mood would immediately return.
It helps to have understanding family members who are also patient and willing to put up with your frustrations, moods, and unhealthy cravings. Their emotional support is priceless.
Mood swings and the ebb and flow of emotions are found to be another reason that will trigger cravings. This is a proven fact that the emotionally unstable mind will try to find comfort through the process of eating food. All you need is a hug and emotional support from your loved ones to overcome your cravings. Ask your family members for any help that you might need and talk your fears and apprehensions out. Source
#6 – Eat smaller portions.
If you must indulge yourself, then — at the very least — try to eat smaller serving sizes of the unhealthy foods.
For example, instead of eating a large bowl of ice cream or an entire bag of chips, aim for a scoop of ice cream and only a small handful of chips.
In many cases, simply tasting what you are craving is enough to satisfy the urge.
If for some reason you find yourself wanting more, that’s when you should get up and head to the kitchen for healthier alternatives — or head outside to distract yourself.
Breaking Free From Pregnancy Food Cravings
Clearly, just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean that you can eat anything and everything you like. It’s in your best interest to maintain a healthy diet.
In fact, they’re now saying that it’s a myth that women can ‘eat for two’ during pregnancy.
If you’re struggling with pregnancy cravings, try to train your brain to think of other things and try to move your body so you’re doing other things — rather than giving into the cravings and the psychological hold they have on you.
76% of women crave at least one food item by the second trimester — much before the demand for added nutrients or energy by an unborn baby begins. Popular cravings also do not greatly benefit maternal or fetal health, most being high in calories and sugar including ice cream, chips, chocolate, pizza and various fast foods. Source
If you do still crave junk foods, try your best to avoid them or only consume them in small amounts.
And if you find yourself craving nonedible items — like paper, clay, paint chips, or dirt — you should inform your doctor right away. You may have an iron deficiency and may need to be treated for pica.
More About Pregnancy Cravings
- 20 Foods Most Craved By Pregnant Women
- Diet Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy
- 15 Pregnancy Power Foods
- Here’s What Really Causes Pregnancy Food Cravings
- 40 Ways To Curb Your Food Cravings
- Top 10 Pregnancy Cravings
- 10 Prenatal Power Foods That May Be Surprising
- Moms Share Their Unique Pregnancy Cravings
- 10 Best Foods To Eat Turing Pregnancy
I’m a stay-at-home mom and writer. Having experienced the joys and discomforts of pregnancy 3 times, I have a lot of advice to offer expecting mothers. I’m committed to providing new moms with an in-depth and honest view on pregnancy, so you’ll have a better idea of what to expect and a good feel for what pregnancy is really like.