Choosing healthier options to combat cravings.

Blue Flower

During your pregnancy, chances are you'll have some type of craving. When a craving hits, it’s hard—really hard—to be good. states that any food in moderation is fine during pregnancy. Eating a small amount of "empty" calories—those found in high-sugar foods such as candy bars, cookies, and soft drinks—is OK. However, many expectant mothers eat far more than is healthy. Moderation is the key.

Most often cravings are due to the changing hormones in your body while you're expecting.

Some pregnancy food cravings can undermine your healthy eating habits, but it’s possible to satisfy your cravings and still give yourself the nutrition you and your baby need. If you’re craving something that’s high in calories, fat, or sugar, look for a substitute that satisfies with fewer calories and less fat. The charts below can help.

In addition to the following healthier food substitutions, try adopting the following eating habits for the duration of your pregnancy:

  • Eat more frequent mini-meals and snacks. Being less hungry can help curb cravings.
  • Begin with a balanced breakfast with at least one whole grain and one fruit. Skipping meals can increase food cravings later in the day.
  • Work with your cravings instead of fighting them. Indulge in moderation. A small serving of the food you’re craving might suffice.
  • Maintain regular exercise (with your doctor’s approval). Exercise is shown to help reduce cravings.

Don’t eat this: Eat this:
Chocolate candy A square of dark chocolate
Ice cream Sorbet, sherbet, or juice bars
Potato chips Air-popped popcorn

Source: Accessed 10/13/15.

YUK! – Dealing with food aversions during pregnancy

While pregnant you might develop aversions to certain foods including nutritious foods that you and your baby might need for good health. If some of your favorite healthy foods seem unappealing, try these substitutions:

If this makes you want to hurl: Try this instead:
Meat Other protein sources, such as low-fat yogurt, low-fat milk, low-fat cheeses, beans, nuts, or tofu
Any kind of protein Incorporating or disguising protein in a casserole or stir-fry with a flavorful sauce
Dark green leafy vegetables Beta-carotene-rich fruits, such as peaches, apricots, or tropical fruits

Fish during pregnancy: To eat, or not to eat?

Fish is low in fat and contains high-quality protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, and other essential nutrients.

The Omega-3 fatty acids in fish play a role in your baby's brain and eye development. But, certain fish, like shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel, can contain high levels of mercury that can be harmful to your baby. While pregnant you can safely eat up to 12 ounces per week of fish low in mercury (shrimp, salmon, catfish, canned tuna, etc.).*

To ask more about eating fish during your pregnancy, click here: Ask Karen.

*ACOG's Nutrition During Pregnancy Accessed 10/13/15.