Pickles and ice cream, midnight burger cravings, pizza and chocolate? All these foods are synonymous with pregnancy cravings. According to research, 50 to 90 percent of women experience cravings for specific foods during pregnancy. The most commonly craved foods include sweets like juice, candy, ice cream, chocolate and fruit.
We’re back to chat about cravings. When to give in, what to avoid and how much you should be eating to avoid gaining excess weight during pregnancy. The average healthy weight gain is between 10 – 16kgs. `
One rule of thumb to keep in mind is 100 extra calories per trimester so really, that is 300 extra calories, which equals a hand full of nuts……. Now before you kill us with hunger, keep reading….you’ll thank us, we promise.
Cravings get a bad rep, but they could be an underlying sign of something, so the next time you are reaching for a snack ask yourself:
- When was the last time I ate, and what did I have?
- Do I have physical signs of hunger? For example, is my stomach growling? Am I shaky?
- Am I just stressed or bored?
Most of the time your cravings stem from hunger and the best thing is to give in a little and have something to eat. Resisting the urge, especially if you are worried about weight can often lead to overeating and have the exact opposite effect. Also be aware that sometimes thirst can be mistaken for hunger and pregnancy increases your need for hydration.
Pregnant or not, sometimes you just want something sweet and that’s ok too (in moderation of course) often ignoring the craving can also lead to over indulging. Try looking for a better option for you and bubs, one suggestion is to swop a not so healthy option out for a healthier one.
Craving chips? Try having sweet potato chips
Craving sweets? Reach for fruit, which will give you tons of vitamins, minerals and fiber!
Craving Ice Cream? Grab some frozen yoghurt
Want an ice-lolly? Freeze some grapes to snack on
Craving some cool drink? Have some sparkling water instead (We love the flavored ones from Woolies, they also have a nausea fighting ginger flavor!)
Three things to also remember to help curb your cravings
- Eat less more often – this not only helps to reduce heartburn and nauseas. But you will have a fuller feeling longer
- Eat protein with every meal, protein not only helps you feel fuller longer, but it is great at curbing cravings as well.
- Exercise! Reducing stress will greatly help to reduce cravings and well as keep you a fit and happy Momma!
Now there are times that your craving may more than just a need for a certain food. In some cases it is much more serious, this is due to a condition called pica. The word pica is Latin for magpie, which is a bird notorious for eating almost anything. The reason that some women develop pica cravings during pregnancy is not known for certain. There is currently no identified cause; however, according to the Journal of American Dietetic Association there may be a connection to an iron deficiency. Some speculate that pica cravings are the body’s attempt to obtain vitamins or minerals that are missing through normal food consumption. Pica cravings can include any of the following, but the most common are dirt or clay:
- Burnt matches
- Coffee grounds
- Baking soda
- Cigarette ashes
As you can see some of these do pose potential dangers not only to Mom but to baby as well. But don’t panic it is not uncommon and is completely manageable.
The most important thing is to notify your Doctor.
You’ve got this Mama! X
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