The pregnancy test came back with a big fat positive and now your craving pickles, ice cream, and a big greasy burger from that place down the street. Don't worry Mom, you are not alone. Nearly 80 percent of expectant mothers experience cravings sometime during their pregnancy.
But what are you supposed to do when your craving that morning coffee your doctor told you to kick, or that soda you swore you'd stay away from? Its time to understand exactly whats going on, and control those crazy cravings.
During the next nine months you may crave some absolutely crazy things. Here is the good news: If its healthy, munch away. Fruits, vegetables, yogurt and nuts are a great way to pack in the nutrients that you and your baby are going to need to stay healthy and happy. So, if it's a big leafy green salad you are craving for lunch, go ahead and indulge, just remember to stay away from the soft cheeses like feta or bleu cheese and maybe sprinkle on some freshly shredded cheddar as an alternative.
Don't feel ashamed if apples and mangoes aren't topping your cravings list. Over 40% of moms-to-be with cravings said their number one craving was sweets. The trouble with sweets, or even the salty snacks we crave, is that they are usually jam-packed with calories. With the average pregnant woman only needing 300 calories more a day than she did before her pregnancy, it may be a good idea to walk away from that slice of triple layer chocolate cake and choose a square of dark chocolate instead. This simple swap could save you over 200 calories and still satisfy that sweet tooth. If its the salty crunch of a potato chip that has got your mouth watering, you can cut your calories by over 120 if you reach for a small bowl of air popped popcorn instead. (Even oil popped popcorn could save you 100 calories.)
Now what about those cravings on your "Do Not Eat" list? Well, one cool thing about your body is it can be tricked. When a craving strikes, your body is actually craving the nutrients our mind associates with certain foods, and not necessarily the food itself. While caffeine may be something that should be avoided for now, coffee also provides your body with things like salt, iron and phosphorus which can be found in foods like poultry, eggs, nuts and even black cherries. When it comes to craving your favorite carbonated drink, try reaching for calcium rich foods like cheese,legumes, and dark leafy greens to kick the craving.
It is so important to listen and respond to your body during this eventful and exciting time. However, if you are one of the women who has odd or unusual non-food cravings like dirt, clay, or chalk, please consult your physician.