When those random pregnancy cravings hit, remember that indulging during pregnancy still means you should only enjoy your cravings in moderation.
“I’m eating for two now.” Isn’t that what we all say to justify our diet choices during pregnancy?
There’s no doubt it’s hard to fight those pregnancy cravings when they’re all you can think about, but science shows us that indulging during pregnancy could be dangerous. I don’t know if you really needed a scientist to remind you that eating a dozen donuts is a bad idea, but there you have it. It’s not just your weight gain to consider but the health of your baby if you overindulge during your pregnancy. That said, you should never deny yourself the things that make you happy! Just focus on moderation whenever a craving hits.
According to one study, about 36 percent of pregnant women say they give in to unhealthy cravings most days. Out of those surveyed by American Baby magazine, 80 percent of women admitted to indulging in sushi, alcohol or other foods that are not recommended by a doctor, and another 84 percent craved to unhealthy foods like ice cream, chips, chocolate, candy or cookies during pregnancy. As you can see, you’re not alone in your cravings, and you’re not the only one who caves to your pregnancy cravings. Quite simply, you have to give in eventually.
My roommate in college was studying to become a registered dietician and she said something that I continue to live by: indulge cravings moderately because if you don’t give in, they’ll get worse and worse until you completely overdo it. That’s why when you want ice cream, you should scoop a little into a bowl and eat it so you don’t deprive yourself for weeks and finally eat an entire pint in one sitting. Been there? Me too.
Safer Ways to Indulge During Pregnancy
I hate to say it, but indulging pregnancy cravings could be bad for your health. I know, I know, that’s not very surprising! Because many women tend to crave high-carb foods and sugary desserts during pregnancy, it’s safest to avoid giving in to every craving in order to reduce the risk of gestational diabetes and other health risks.
How to Indulge in your Favorite Things During Pregnancy
- When out with friends, order a mocktail! Don’t let pregnancy keep you from feeling social at gatherings surrounded by alcohol
- Make smoothies when you’re craving something sweet, and fill it with sweet fruits or a little cocoa powder with peanut butter and bananas
- If you’re craving chocolate, reach for a small piece of dark chocolate to satisfy the craving. In addition to satisfying your craving, dark chocolate has its own batch of health benefits that are good for you and the baby when eaten in moderation
- On those days when you crave ice cream, try making frozen Greek yogurt popsicles with fresh fruit or all-fruit sorbet with no sugar added. Both are great, healthier alternatives!
- Craving cake? Try angel food cake with strawberries to indulge your sweet tooth! This cake is lighter and free of butter and oils, but it does still have a relatively high sugar content, so don’t go overboard
- Anytime you want sweets, try making it yourself! Not only is it a fun activity but homemade desserts tend to have less sugar and less processed ingredients. You can even search sites like Pinterest for a slew of raw, vegan or no-sugar-added desserts
- Don’t deprive yourself of pizza, but look for tasty, healthier alternatives sometimes, such as cauliflower crust pizza or a pizza that’s heavy on the veggie toppings. Yes, you can still have your favorite pizza sometimes, just not all the time!
Like any relationship, you have to pick and choose your battles with food and pregnancy cravings so that you don’t overindulge during your pregnancy.
How to Kick Pregnancy Cravings
You should never “fear” food. By telling yourself something is bad for you, you may only want it more and then give in, eventually feeling sick or simply guilty. Let’s put it this way though - you are growing a life. You can have whatever you want. Nonetheless, moderation is still key and you don’t want pregnancy cravings running your life.
Try these ways to kick pregnancy cravings and control your health:
- The best way to move past a craving is to satisfy it, so as long as you maintain healthy proportions or try lower-calorie alternatives, you’re not risking your health or your baby’s
- Eat smaller meals consistently throughout the day to keep your blood sugar at the appropriate level, reducing your body’s desire for unhealthy snacks
- Maintain a balanced diet of protein, reduced-fat dairy foods whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes
What’s the weirdest pregnancy craving you’ve ever had?