Healthy Options to Satisfy Cravings

Posted on Mar 29, 2012 | Pregnancy Symptoms Category | | Print This Article

Food cravings are normal when you’re pregnant. While it’s still unknown why women crave particular foods during pregnancy, it’s believed that cravings might be tied to your body’s nutritional needs. Who knows? There just might be something in that combination of pickles and ice cream that your body needs.

At any rate, there’s no harm in giving in to your cravings as long as you’re not craving unhealthy non-food items. Some women experience a condition known as pica during pregnancy. Those with pica crave non-food items, such as dirt, laundry soap, or paint chips. If you experience those kinds of cravings, consult your health care professional as soon as practical.

In some cases, pica may indicate a shortage of necessary nutrients in your diet. While the items you crave don’t contain the nutrients you need, your health care professional may be able to determine what type of nutrient your body is lacking based on what you are craving (as an example, those who crave cigarette butts often have an iron deficiency).

Most women don’t crave anything quite that strange during pregnancy. In fact, most cravings are fairly mundane. A recent study of pregnant women who experienced cravings found the following were the most cravings:

  • Ice Cream (does anyone really have to be pregnant to crave ice cream?)
  • Pickles
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Lemons
  • Tomatoes
  • Sour Fruits
  • Salty snacks (pretzels, chips, etc.)
  • Cheese
  • Chocolate

Another recent survey of mothers who experienced cravings listed the most commonly craved food types as follows:

  • Sweets (40% of respondents)
  • Salty snacks (33%)
  • Spicy foods (17%)
  • Tart/sour fruit (10%)

Even if your cravings are a bit more bizarre, there’s nothing wrong with indulging them. As long as the items you’re craving are food items, go ahead and eat them. Just make sure that you’re also getting a balanced diet with nutritional balance suggested by your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Occasionally, you may crave things which go against your doctor’s advice. An example of this is craving salty snacks if you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure. Here are some suggestions for alternate snacks:

  • Try yogurt instead of ice cream. Frozen, nonfat yogurt can satisfy that ice cream urge without adding too many Calories.
  • Sprinkle popcorn with herbs instead of eating a salty snack.
  • If you crave a sour snack, have sour fruit (lemons, limes, etc.) instead of sour candy. Alternately, squeeze lemon over your salad or entrée (especially good on fish or chicken).
  • Try dried fruit instead of candy.

What cravings have you had? What healthy alternatives have you tried?


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