Pregnancy causes your hormones to go wild, and you’ll also find that your taste buds begin to change. You may start to like pickles and ice cream – maybe even together.
Food aversions and cravings will be amplified when pregnant. There is some validity behind the statement: you crave what your body needs. Some of the foods that you simply must have may have vitamins, minerals, fats or nutrients that your body needs to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Your baby needs all of the right foods to grow and be strong, right?
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6 Common Food Cravings During Pregnancy
Food cravings will vary from person to person. There are some strange combinations that seem to pop up time and time again, but there are also types of food that you’ll be drawn to when pregnant.
The most common foods to crave are:
- Pickles and ice cream
- Pesto and papaya
- Sugary foods
- Vegetables (a good thing)
- Fatty foods
Some of these foods seemingly have no rhyme or reason for being so highly desired. Pickles and ice cream are not a normal food coupling, but for some reason, pregnant women across the world will flock to this combination.
A few tips to help you overcome cravings and make your food choices better are:
- Substitute: A sure-fire way to get over your cravings is to provide your body with what it wants in a different form. For example, if you’re craving sugary foods, you can eat strawberries and bananas instead of bowl after bowl of cereal. The goal is to substitute the bad foods for something that will satisfy your taste buds and keep you satiated in the process.
- Give In: Sometimes you’ll give into your cravings, and you need to know that this is perfectly acceptable. Yes, there will be times when you’ll say, “should I really eat another hamburger?” and the answer at this point is probably no. But you can give into temptation as long as you do it in moderation. I don’t think any doctor would put you on a strict diet of hamburgers, but in moderation you can eat all of these tempting foods without much concern.
- Be Cautious: When you hit the second and third trimesters of your pregnancy, it’s increasingly important to pay attention to your body and what you’re feeling. All too often, women will crave a food that will give them an adverse side effect later in the day. If you have acid reflux or heartburn when you try to sleep, eating a spicy burrito is not likely a good choice.
If you find yourself obsessing over foods and simply can’t break the cycle, it may be time to take your mind off eating. When you’re stuck at home with nothing to do, this becomes problematic. Perhaps the father is at work and you’re on maternity leave; after the initial euphoria of not having to go to work, you’ll find that having nothing to do can be very boring.
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When the cravings turn into somewhat of an obsession (you know those times when you must have a cookie…or a dozen), it’s time to break the cycle. Going for a quick walk around the neighborhood or for a swim in the pool may do the trick.
It’s almost certain that you’ll experience cravings during pregnancy, but these cravings can be controlled, and they may be your body’s way of telling you the nutrients it needs for a healthy pregnancy.
6 Common Food Aversions During Pregnancy
When you’re pregnant, you may also have aversions to food. This means that some foods, maybe foods you’ve eaten your entire life, are simply inedible. This happens to a lot of women, and the most common of these foods are:
- Spicy food
Studies point to 85% of women having some sort of food aversion when they’re pregnant. These aversions are often temporary and are normally experienced during the first trimester when your body is producing hormones at a rapid pace.
Studies suggest that the aversion mechanism is part of the evolution of women. Since refrigerators were not available until recent times, women’s bodies would naturally have aversions to certain foods. According to some theories, these aversions are an attempt from the body to protect women from foods that have potentially spoiled.
There are times when these aversions will be beneficial. Instead of desiring bad foods, you might find that the mere thought of a big fat hamburger is appalling. What’s most important is that you evaluate the foods you simply can no longer eat.
For example, if you find that eggs and chicken aren’t going to be your favorites during pregnancy, you’ll want to add protein into your diet from other sources. Nuts and beans can provide you with the protein you need if you’re suffering from a food aversion to meat or eggs. Or if you must continue to drink milk because of its high calcium count, you can try to “trick” the brain into avoiding the aversion. How? Start adding milk to a smoothie or choose to have yogurt instead.
Many of these food aversions become more of a mental issue as your pregnancy progresses, so trying to change things up a bit is a smart choice.
Substitution is Key to Overcoming Food Cravings and Aversions
Food cravings and aversion are not a major issue unless you’re lacking vital nutrients that a particular food can provide. If you’re unsure of which foods your body may need at this time, consult with your doctor.
A diet void of protein would not be good for your growing baby’s development, but protein can come from a variety of sources aside from eggs and meat.
If you can substitute in foods that have the nutrients you’re lacking from food aversions, you’ll be able to sleep better at night knowing that you and your baby’s nutritional needs are being met accordingly.