Pregnancy cravings strike when you least expect them.
When you’re laying in bed at 2am, immediately after you’ve ordered something different for lunch, or when you’re stuck in traffic on the motorway.
And you’d do anything to get what you’re craving – regardless of how obscure it is.
Pregnancy cravings hit hard and fast.
Despite how amusing some of these cravings can be, it’s still a good idea to try and keep some control over these cravings – or at the very least, which ones you give into and how you can help curb them.
While giving in to every craving sounds enticing, it’s not always the best for a healthy pregnancy.
Here are some tips to cope with pregnancy cravings (I promise you’ll like the first one).
1 – Indulge Yourself Occasionally
Seriously. If you’re craving chocolate, then have some chocolate.
Craving cake? Have some cake!
The key is ‘some‘ not ‘all‘.
You don’t need to eat an entire jar of Nutella to satisfy your craving, but a spoonful or two will enough to help you kick that craving.
The thing is, if you’re craving chocolate and you try to ignore it, chances are you’re going to eat everything else in your path in order to try and satisfy the craving.
But the thing is, the only way to satisfy that craving is with chocolate.
So have a small amount and move on. There’s no room for guilt here.
2 – Keep Healthy Snacks On Hand
When you’re hungry you’re likely to start craving random things – especially carb heavy or sugar heavy things.
By keeping healthy snacks on hand, you can grab something and eat whenever you start to feel hungry.
Be sure to keep savoury and sweet snacks on hand just to cover all your bases.
Anything you can store in a small container or reusable bag and keep in your handbag is a good idea.
Things like nuts and seeds have good carbs, fats and protein and keep you fuller for longer.
I also kept healthy cookies so I could get a sweet hit without all the processed sugar.
Fruit is also a great healthy snack option and things like apples and bananas are easy to take with you anywhere you go.
3 – Pay Attention to What and When
Do you tend to crave sweet food of an afternoon and salty food of a morning?
Then make yourself some bacon for breakfast and have some fruit or healthy sweet snacks on hand for the afternoon.
Knowing your cravings, when they come and what they’re for can help you keep them at bay.
4 – Eat Frequently
Small, regular snacks are a great way to keep cravings at bay.
Cravings usually strike when you’re hungry.
Then they get even worse when you can’t find what it is you’re looking for.
Being prepared and having your meals and snacks planned out can definitely help.
5 – Find Out Why You’re Craving Particular Things
We all hear jokes about pregnancy cravings of things like pickles and ice cream (I still haven’t met a woman who has actually craved pickles and ice cream) but sometimes our cravings can give us insight into what’s happening on a deeper level.
Sometimes our cravings are related to minerals we may be deficient in, or can be because we are dehydrated, or have low energy so we are looking for a quick boost.
Our bodies are pretty smart and getting us to eat what it needs, a craving for meat could be because you have low iron levels, cravings for salty food could be due to low potassium, cravings for high water foods (like watermelon or cucumbers) could be because you’re dehydrated, and cravings for carbs could be because you’re looking for an energy hit.
Or they could just be because you smelled something good or saw a picture of donuts…
If you do have a repeat craving it’s worth mentioning to your midwife.
6 – Go For Healthy Substitutes
While I’m all for giving in to your cravings and indulging every now and then, giving in to every craving is not going to be the healthiest choice.
So, why not go for healthy substitutes instead?
Instead of milk chocolate, go for one that’s a little darker (not too dark if you don’t like it), homemade pizza rather than store-bought and smaller portions rather than eating the whole cake (not just me I’m sure).
Healthy substitutes won’t always work, but sometimes they can still satisfy the craving without being too unhealthy along the way.
7 – Keep Hydrated
Being dehydrated can lead us to feel hungry, tired, foggy, nauseated and generally crap.
Often we mistake thirst for hunger, and then we eat and don’t feel satisfied so we keep eating.
Generally in pregnancy, we need a higher water intake, and we feel dehydrated easier (especially if you are vomiting in your first trimester).
Increasing your water intake to ensure you’re hydrated can sometimes help keep the food cravings at bay.
If you do find yourself craving a particular food, grab a glass of water and drink that over 10 minutes and see how you feel after.
If you’re still craving the food, then go for it, but sometimes all it takes is that glass of water to help keep on top of the cravings.
Not all pregnancy cravings are the same, and not all pregnancy cravings are obscure, but they can be a little overwhelming at times.
Hopefully these tips help you cope with your pregnancy cravings and remind you that it’s okay to indulge a little every now and then.