RD, LDN, CBS
Certified in Maternal and Infant Nutrition from Cornell, Angela’s mission is to help people reach their wellness goals. She also helps run a program that teaches pregnant women about how a healthy lifestyle optimizes prenatal and postnatal care.
Food cravings that strike during pregnancy are a common occurrence that most moms admit to experiencing at least once (pickles and ice cream, anyone?). Whether you have a small hankering for something specific or an insatiable desire for anything sweet and salty, cravings can happen at any point in your pregnancy.
The experts agree that there is really no definitive reason
behind food cravings. More often than not, the foods being desired are high in
fat, sugar and salt. While it’s true that pregnancy demands more nutrients,
giving into too many cravings can interfere with healthy pregnancy weight gain
recommendations, so it’s best for you and your baby to continue being mindful
of what foods you are choosing.
Foods that are salty and foods that are sweet are two of the
most common pregnancy cravings. If your sweet tooth just can’t be tamed, try
satisfying it with some of these healthier, naturally sweet options instead of
reaching for that candy bar: baked cinnamon apples topped with a dollop of low
fat yogurt, banana “ice cream” (frozen bananas blended with almond milk), or
low-fat plain yogurt or cottage cheese with sliced peaches. In place of salty
snacks like potato chips, try these lighter swaps: roasted pumpkin seeds,
roasted chickpeas or edamame, roasted seaweed or nuts.
A great way to keep food cravings at bay is to consume a
balanced diet, while varying food choices within each food group. It’s ok to
give into an indulgence once in a while as long as you are making the best
choices the majority of the time. If you find your cravings are getting
stronger and more frequent, try subbing lighter options, like swapping low fat
frozen yogurt for ice cream. If you ever find yourself with an urge to consume
inedible and non-food items, reach out to your health care provider right away.
See the What to Do Section for more ways to manage cravings!
Orloff, Natalia C., Hormes, Julia M. “Pickles and ice cream! Food cravings in pregnancy: hypotheses, preliminary evidence, and directions for future research” Frontiers in Psychology. 5.(2014):1076