Satisfying Food Cravings Safely

Most women at some point in their pregnancy will suddenly feel an incredible craving for some type of food. Whether it’s ice cream or pickles, or both as the old pregnancy tale goes, the urge to get some of what you want right away can sometimes be overwhelming and difficult to ignore.

Most food cravings are entirely harmless. If you really want something sweet or a salty snack, it’s ok to have one. There are a few caveats to this, of course. Simply put, the answer to the question of whether it’s ok to satisfy a food craving is that it depends what you are craving.

Remember Moderation

If you are craving something not particularly healthful, such as potato chips or a chocolate bar, it won’t hurt if you give in. However, if you start to crave that type of food all the time and consume it regularly, you will be replacing healthy foods with those lacking in nutrition and high in fat. Satisfy that sweet tooth or that need for salt, but do so within reason. Don’t eat the whole bag of chips or the whole tub of ice cream. You probably only need a small amount to make that craving go away, and you really won’t feel very good afterwards if you over-do it.

Of course, if you happen to be craving healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, eat as much as you would like! Just be sure to vary your choices to get a range of nutrients in your diet.

The best way to deal with a craving for a food that is less than healthy is to wait it out. Most cravings will go away if you distract yourself and force your body to wait before you give in. If you wait and the craving doesn’t fade, the next best solution is to try to find a food that is similar but a little healthier. If you are craving French fries, try baked sweet potato fries instead. Try to satisfy a desire for potato chips with a baked snack cracker. If you really must have chocolate, choose a small amount of dark chocolate, which contains healthy anti-oxidants. Use caution with chocolate, however, as it does contain caffeine.

Cravings for Strange, Unhealthy Things

Some women suffer from cravings for very unusual things during pregnancy. This is known as pica. Women may find themselves craving completely inedible things such as dirt, bleach, or soap. There is a great deal of speculation and discussion on what causes pica, but the jury is still out. It is possible that it may be linked to mineral deficiencies such as low iron. It goes without saying that you can’t give in to these cravings. If they become bothersome, contact your doctor.

If you are craving something not quite so strange but still not advisable for consumption during pregnancy such as alcohol or sushi, you will likely have to do your best to ignore it. You can try the above advice and have a substitute, such as dealcoholized wine, or sushi that does not contain raw fish. Unfortunately, if this doesn’t work, you are going to have to tough it out. It isn’t worth the danger of consuming something that could harm your baby.

The good news is, giving in to most normal pregnancy cravings won’t harm the baby, as long as you eat junk foods in small amounts and try to find healthy alternatives that will satisfy the craving while keeping your pregnancy diet on track.

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