How to satisfy your pregnancy cravings!

As many of you are well aware nausea is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the food related trials and tribulations of pregnancy. Many women experience strong food aversions and cravings. The reasons for this are as varied as the cravings themselves. 

Many researchers chalk cravings up to the hormonal changes you are experiencing. Some believe it is a deep-seeded biological influence from the days of old that helped women to steer clear of foods that could easily be contaminated or dangerous for the developing fetus. Other researchers are convinced that cravings are caused by metabolic imbalances and nutrient deficiencies created by the demands of pregnancy on the body (see this food cravings chart). 

I am not sure which I believe but I definitely am of the opinion that the mind and body have been so confused by all of the fake foods out there, it is entirely possible the brain could be sending some pretty confusing messages. For example, if you crave a fast food hamburger your body may be crying out for some sodium and protein.

Many of my clients embark on a healthier eating plan prior to pregnancy to ensure optimum nutrition for their growing baby. Reminding yourself why you want to make better choices is often a huge motivating factor in dealing with some of the less nutritious cravings. The knowledge you are in control as long as you are eating a variety of healthy, whole foods and that your baby is getting everything she needs is empowering.

A few more strategies I like to share when dealing with cravings and aversions are:

If a food makes you feel sick, there's no need to eat it  

There will always be at least a few foods you are able to eat even with the plethora that may be causing nausea or aversion. If it means eating the same breakfast, packing the same lunch and eating the same dinner over and over again, eating something is always better than eating nothing. The only important thing is that you are getting some whole, real, natural foods. Consult your healthcare provider about prenatal supplements that will help ensure you get the vitamins and nutrients you and your growing baby need.

Keep plenty of nutrient dense snacks nearby

It's often really helpful to stock your kitchen, work desk and even your car with plenty real food-based nutritious snacks for when cravings or hunger arise unexpectedly. This will give you the opportunity to make healthier choices when the cravings for less than wholesome foods creep up. Food related symptoms and cravings are definitely heightened when you let yourself go hungry.

Ensure you are eating sufficient healthy fats and nutrient dense carbohydrates

It is not only about what you ARE feeding yourself and your growing baby; it is also about what you are NOT eating. Not eating enough - especially healthy - naturally occurring fats and nutrient dense sources of carbohydrates (coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, sweet potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, butternut squashes and the like) will leave your body hungry and energy depleted, creating the opportunity for the body and mind to go searching for a quick source of energy and comfort.

Consider healthy substitutes to satisfy your cravings

There may be a time when you have a strong craving for a certain food and are tempted to drive to the closest corner store to get some ASAP. As long as you are meeting all of the nutritional needs for you and your growing baby the occasional treat is fine. But if it’s a daily craving, finding a more nutritious substitute will both satisfy you and keep your body and your growing baby happy. Your cravings don't need to control you and you are not obliged to give in to them in all their specificity. 

This food cravings chart lists substitutes for certain types of cravings including the possible correlating nutrient deficiency (to go with the theory mentioned above that cravings are caused by metabolic imbalances and nutrient deficiencies). Consult your healthcare provider if you are craving dirt or anything else that you typically would not ingest

Food is meant to nourish and be enjoyed. Working through your cravings in positive and constructive ways is a sure fire way to create both through your pregnancy – a good outcome for both you, and your baby. 

Sign up to receive bi-weekly updates about nutrition, health and wellness for you and your family here. As a free gift Michal will send you her eBook 10 Step Guide to Ultimate Wellness.