While it’s true mums to be often develop pregnancy cravings there is no evidence that your body needs what you crave. Take a peek at our junk foods swaps – these are also handy snacks to pack in your labour bag.
WHAT ARE CRAVINGS IN PREGNANCY?
Cravings are thought to be due to the rising horomone levels, and it's your body sending signals of what it needs. If you are getting a balanced diet you probably won’t have any strong pregnancy cravings at all. Remember a baby’s first food is the amniotic fluid in the womb, and the foods you eat as a mum-to-be will change its flavour.
WHEN DO PREGNANCY CRAVINGS START?
For most women pregnancy cravings start in the first trimester, peaking during the second trimester, and declining in the last.
For a long time there was a misconception that pregnant women needed to eat for two but we now know that you only need an extra 200kcal a day in the last trimester when your baby’s weight increases to get ready for birth. For the first two trimesters, eating a healthy balanced diet will provide all the nutrients your growing baby needs. Women can sometimes miss out on these key nutrients but with a bit of extra planning you can make sure you’re eating just what you need to nourish your growing bump.
CRAVING FRUIT IN PREGNANCY
By eating whole natural foods your baby will get all the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development, and when your baby grows up they will be at lower risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It could reduce the risk of your baby developing a taste for foods high in sugar and salt, which may help you avoid food fights in the future
Also a healthy diet during pregnancy means less weight gain, a healthier pregnancy and an easier birth.
HEALTHY PREGNANCY CRAVINGS
While it is true that mums-to-be often develop a sweet tooth or crave salty snacks during pregnancy, there is no evidence that your body needs what you crave. Try these junk food swaps to keep any cravings under control:
- Swap chocolate for strawberries dipped in high cocoa chocolate
- Swap icecream for a small handful of dried apricrots or raisins
- Swap crisps for lightly salted popcorn
- Swap cake for a wholemeal bagel topped with mashed banana and cinammon
- Swap icecream for natual yoghurt, with honey and flaked almonds
TOP TIPS TO AVOID PREGNANCY CRAVINGS
Here are our top tips to help avoid pregnancy cravings:
- Eat a hearty breakfast to prevent you reaching for a mid-morning muffin.
- Eat low GI carbs like wholegrain bread, and protein-rich foods like nuts, seeds, Greek yogurt and hard boiled eggs, along with lots of fruit and veg to help you feel fuller for longer.
- Eat regularly. Have 2-3 snacks a day as well as three meals so blood sugar levels never reach rock bottom.
- Have healthy snack foods ready at work and home, so you are not tempted by a quick fix.
- Get an early night. Being tired can make you eat more and often choose sugary or unhealthy foods.