Meal Plan to Help Manage and Prevent Cravings
Food cravings that strike during pregnancy are a common occurrence that many moms report 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.
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 cottage cheese with sliced peaches. In place of salty snacks like potato chips, try these lighter swaps: roasted pumpkin seeds, roasted chickpeas or nuts.
- A great way to keep food cravings at bay is to consume a balanced diet (like the one listed below), 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 ever find yourself with an urge to consume inedible and non-food items, reach out to your healthcare provider right away.
The following meal plan and recipe ideas may help you manage your food cravings by satisfying your taste buds with a variety of flavors and nutrients.
- Option 1: Scrambled eggs with peppers, onions and cheese stuffed into a whole grain pita pocket
- Option 2: Whole grain toast topped with ricotta cheese and sliced berries
- Option 3: Oatmeal with nuts and dried fruit
- Option 4: Brown rice cake or whole grain toast topped with smashed avocado and sliced hard-boiled egg
- Option 5: Smoothie made with yogurt, unsweetened cocoa powder, peanut butter, and banana
- Option 1: Whole grain pasta, veggies, and beans drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with parmesan cheese
- Option 2: Whole grain wrap with hummus spread, red pepper strips, grilled chicken breast and romaine lettuce
- Option 3: Whole grain or cauliflower crust pizza topped with veggies and mozzarella; side of grapes
- Option 4: Leafy green salad with veggies, chickpeas, dried cranberries and walnuts; side of sliced fresh fruit salad
- Option 5: Sweet potato stuffed with shredded barbecue chicken breast; side of sliced kiwi and oranges
- Option 1: Whole grain or bean-based baked macaroni and cheese with broccoli and chopped mushrooms
- Option 2: Turkey Burger on a whole grain bun with cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion with baked zucchini “fries”
- Option 3: Chicken, vegetable, and noodle soup with crusty whole grain bread
- Option 4: Chicken burrito: Whole grain wrap with shredded chicken, black beans, corn, brown rice, salsa and guacamole
- Option 5: Veggie lasagna made with whole grain pasta; side salad
- Option 1: Air-popped popcorn with cinnamon or parmesan/garlic
- Option 2: Greek yogurt and granola parfait with sliced strawberries
- Option 3: ½ whole grain pita with hummus and tomatoes
- Option 4: Trail mix: whole grain cereal, nuts, dried fruit, and dark chocolate chips
- Option 5: Banana with peanut or almond butter
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