We all know that we’re supposed to eat a healthy balanced diet during pregnancy, but at times, challenges such as pregnancy nausea, food aversions and food cravings can make eating healthily whilst expecting feel like an impossible task.
Pregnancy food cravings (and indeed aversions) are normally a result of those pesky pregnancy hormones. Often said to mirror your nutritional needs and result in you craving what your body needs most, they can also be the result of your heightened sense of smell and taste, ultimately making some foods seem far more appealing than others.
As tempting as it may be to sit with a tub of ice cream or king-sized bag of chips resting on your rapidly growing bump, your food choices can actually have a big impact on your energy levels, mood and overall wellbeing. Some foods may provide an initial energy boost, but they lead to negative side effects of afternoon energy crashes and lethargy, whilst others are best avoided or enjoyed in small quantities.
If you’re finding yourself constantly craving carbs or indulging your sweet tooth, here are some healthy alternatives to the foods you might crave the most during pregnancy:
If you’re craving candy
It’s fairly common to have a sweet tooth during pregnancy, which may leave you reaching for the candy or opting for unhealthy sugary snacks. As an alternative, try and focus on natural sugars, which can satisfy the craving but also offer some valuable nutrition and Vitamin C. From fresh fruits to fruit topped granola, or a small meringue nest topped with natural yoghurt and raspberries, these are far healthier options will not only curb your cravings, but also be kinder on your teeth.
If you’re craving chips
It’s quite common to crave salty and savoury food during pregnancy, particularly if you are experiencing bad morning sickness or nausea. Ready salted chips whilst calming for your stomach, are packed full of unhealthy saturated fat, Healthier options that still come with the familiar crunch and salty flavor include rice cakes and air-popped popcorn, the latter of which makes the perfect excuse for a relaxing movie marathon!
If you’re craving fizzy soda
Sometimes you can’t beat the sensation of an ice-cold glass of fizzy pop, but during pregnancy, soda can be an unhealthy choice for your teeth and normally contains caffeine; something which should be limited or controlled during pregnancy. For the familiar fizz sensation without the sugar or caffeine, opt for ice-cold sparkling carbonated water with lemon or mix up a fresh fruit smoothie for an instant energy boost.
If you’re craving French fries
French fries are delicious and often easy to digest if you’re feeling a little delicate or nauseous. They are often fried however and full of fat. Instead of traditional French fries, why not opt for sweet potato fries or roasted vegetable fries – you will be amazed how good they taste and may be converted even once your baby has arrived!
If you’re craving ice cream
Finally, ice cream is an appealing snack during pregnancy, cooling and soothing against heartburn and indigestion. It’s also scarily calorific and packed full of sugar. Frozen fat-free yoghurt or ice lollies made from fresh fruit can be a great alternative, offering the cooling and fresh sensation you crave, without the risk of energy crashes or bloating once you’ve emptied the tub.
What other pregnancy food swaps would you recommend?