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Pickles on ice cream, chocolate on pasta, hot sauce on biscuits, are you suddenly wanting junk food combinations you’d never EVER want to eat if you weren’t pregnant? Then you’ve got pregnancy cravings

What are pregnancy cravings? These are intense desires to eat specific, usually unhealthy foods that feel almost impossible to resist, and it can happen whether or not you’re hungry.

When do they happen? While some cravings might appear in the first trimester, the second trimester of your pregnancy is usually the most common time for unusual food cravings

Food cravings in pregnancy can range from sweets like chocolate and desserts to starchy carbs and fast foods. It isn’t always just junk food, though. Your cravings may also be for healthier foods, like fruit and vegetables.

Not all pregnant women are lucky enough to crave healthy foods. You might be dreaming of a greasy pizza or a sugary treat right now.

Whatever your cravings, it’s important to find a healthy balance and make the baby’s health a priority. 

Eating too much junk food while pregnant can lead to extra weight gain, which can become a risk factor for the baby.

If you’re wondering how to deal with pregnancy cravings in a healthy way, here are 7 tips from our surrogacy team on how expectant mothers can deal with cravings during pregnancy. 

1. Eat Before You Go Food Shopping

An easy mistake to make, but not eating before you go grocery shopping is a dangerous game to play, whether or not you’re pregnant. Hungrily eyeing up all the sweet treats and savory snacks on the shelves while doing the weekly shop makes it so much harder to resist the urge to buy junk food. 

Your shopping list and willpower might go right out of the window if your cravings get the better of you, so shopping on a full stomach will at least prevent any hunger pangs from taking over. Follow your shopping list and avoid walking down the junk food aisles to stop yourself from buying unhealthy food that won’t benefit you or the baby. 

2. Stock Your Kitchen With Healthy Snacks

Don’t fight your cravings for snacks, if you’re hungry, then you should eat. The key to this, though, is replacing junk food with healthy alternatives to deal with those unhealthy food cravings.

While you’re out doing your weekly grocery shop (on a full stomach!) stock up on tasty healthy treats like granola bars, a variety of nuts, delicious fruits, and smoothies instead of soda. Finding healthy alternatives that taste similar to their unhealthy counterparts will help satisfy your cravings without compromising on nutrients. This could even be buying baked chips instead of fried, or yogurt instead of ice cream.

3. Eat Plenty of Protein

To make sure the baby is growing and developing properly, eating proteins will help nurture the cell growth for the tissues and organs. Protein increases your blood supply so that the baby will receive more blood. Not only does it have beneficial nutrient properties, but it can also help control cravings

Start your day with a protein-filled breakfast to help reduce hunger and cravings throughout the day. Mix it up each day to keep it interesting, whether it’s a smoothie bowl with nut butter, eggs and avocado on toast, oatmeal with your favorite fruit, or yogurt topped with granola. 

Eating more protein with each trimester of pregnancy is important, so plating up the protein with each meal will help towards this. You can find a vast array of foods that are rich in protein, but some good sources include nuts, beans, peanut butter, lentils, chicken, and salmon. 

4. Snack On Smaller Portions More Frequently

Cravings are often caused by hunger, and if you’re hungry often, then eat often. Don’t focus on three big meals a day, instead, split this into 5 or 6 small meals, eating smaller portions but more frequently to sustain yourself. 

For women with sensitive stomachs, this can also help while satiating you for longer. Throughout the day, make sure you are eating a balance of foods around every four hours, to help keep you energized. Avoiding meals or not getting enough of a particularly nutritious food source can actually be more harmful in the long run, as the food cravings intensify. 

Eating in moderation will help curb cravings. Don’t restrict yourself from eating the occasional junk food, just eat a small amount alongside healthier and more nutritious food to make it easier to control the cravings

5. Stop To Ask If You’re Actually Hungry, Or Just Bored

If you feel yourself craving something naughty, stop for a moment and consider how hungry you are. Think about when you last ate, what you ate, and what your hunger feels like. In some cases, you might actually just be thinking about food due to boredom, or if you’re experiencing increased stress levels. 

You shouldn’t ignore hunger pangs but satiate them instead with small nourishing meals or healthy snacks. 

6. Do Some Gentle Exercises To Squash Cravings

Who knew exercise could help with cravings? Going for a run, taking a stroll through the park, practicing yoga, going for a swim, whatever your favorite way to exercise is, movement can help with cravings in many ways.

Not only does exercise boost your mood, which if you’re feeling stressed or bored can lead to bad eating habits, but it also helps you feel good about your ever-changing pregnancy body while distracting yourself from those tempting cravings. There has even been some research to suggest that running could be connected to a reduction in cravings

Of course, one of the more obvious parts of exercising is to keep fit. Keeping your weight at a healthy level will influence the baby’s growth while helping you prepare for labor. Sometimes pregnancy can have stressful moments, which isn’t good for you or the baby, and exercise has the ability to reduce stress.

7. Give Into the Cravings, But Only Sometimes

Stopping yourself from eating can be just as harmful as eating too much. The feeling of guilt won’t make your mind or body feel good, so if you want a scoop of ice cream, eat that ice cream. Eating in moderation just means eating one scoop, rather than the whole tub. 

Ignoring a craving can make things worse. It will make you want it,even more, so denying yourself makes the whole situation even harder to control. Yes, eat the food you’ve been dreaming about all day, but slow down and eat it thoughtfully and gratefully. Eating this way will prevent your eating habit and cravings from spiraling out of control, and will help from overeating too. 

Learn More from Joy of Life Surrogacy

Learning how to control your unhealthy cravings can feel a little tricky at first, tempted by your cravings however weird and wonderful they might be. Like our normal diets, we should eat in moderation, a balance of the good and the naughty.

Eating a balanced diet will ensure that you and the baby are getting all the nutrients needed. So yes, while this does mean you can eat burgers, it also means you should eat enough nutritious food too to get enough vitamins and minerals. 

If you’d like to learn more about cravings during pregnancy or need help keeping your cravings under control, contact us today and speak to our friendly team here at Joy of Life®.

*The health tips on this page were reviewed by our founder, Joy Millan, and the Joy of Life team. Learn more about our California surrogacy center.

Joy Millan

Author Joy Millan

I’m Joy, the founder and CEO of Joy of Life. With a professional background as a fertility clinician, I’ve spent thousands of hours working with surrogates and intended parents alike. As a mother of two, I often wished for more support and a deeper commitment to care for those embarking on non-traditional family-building journeys. This is why I established Joy of Life: to create a more robust, compassionate experience in parenthood for both parties involved with surrogacy. In 2021, I stepped back from daily operations at Joy of Life to fight cancer. Fortunately, the combined 20 years of experience from our incredible team has allowed me to focus on my health & recovery. I continue to provide company guidance and serve as the head liaison for our network of doctors, clinicians and caregivers.

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