Coping with Pregnancy Cravings, Foods to Eat, and Foods to Avoid:
So this cute little baby inside of me this week is about 11 inches long and sleeps 12 to 14 hours a day. Crazy to think of all the activity I do while she’s just catching some ZZZs. I've been feeling her kick pretty hard in the same spot, which is startling and amazing all at the same time. So far I am still getting in regular weight training sessions, some HIIT cardio, and steady state cardio almost each day.
I’m definitely feeling more pregnant now, as I am more out of breath than I was a couple weeks ago. Oh and I noticed my protruding belly more as it tends to be knocking into things! It’s always awesome to realize I have a food stain on my shirt right on the belly :) I have to say that my diet hasn't really changed too much from my normal pre-pregnancy diet besides that I eata greater variety of healthy foods. My cravings during the first two trimesters, so far, have been oranges, orange juice, olives and an occasional marshmallow. Okay, I know, I was sort of normal until the last one:)
Whatnutrients are a must during pregnancy? Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet could help your child avoid aheightened risk for cardiovascular disease, hypertension, andType 2 diabetes later in life.
Here is a quick list of important nutrients and their suggested servings:
Protein- 3 ounces, 2 to 3 servings a day. Places where you can get protein are split peas, red/white kidney beans, navy beans, black eye peas, chickpeas, eggs, fish, chicken, and lean beef to name a few. Since personally having been vegan for the greater part of the last two years, I've since added in eggs while being pregnant.
Calcium- about 1000mg a day during pregnancy. Even though you can get calcium through cow’s milk you can also get it from almond& cashew milk, eggs, dark leafy greens, cabbage, salmon, almonds, white beans. I have been mostly dairy-free for years and have gotten all my calcium through foods like dark leafy green vegetables.I now also take a pre-natal vitamin that includes calcium in order to make sure I’m getting the suggested 1,000mg or more each day while pregnant.
Iron- you can get this from seeds, whole grains like rice and quinoa, nuts, dried fruit, dark leafy vegetables, and animal protein if you eat meat.
Zinc- you can get this from whole grains, legumes, nuts, and animal protein.
Folate- legumes and dark leafy vegetables
Vitamin B12- nutritional yeast and/or animal meat.
Omega-3- you can get this from flax, seaweed, hemp seeds/oil, chia seeds, walnuts, and fish oil. I just like to throw a couple teaspoons of chia seeds in my smoothies to thicken up the shake and also provide myself with great omega-3's
Vitamin D- 20 to 30 minutes inthe sun 2-3 days a week will provide a great source of vitamin D.If you are not in a sunny region I would suggest a vitamin D supplementor vitamin D fortified foods/beverages.
My Favorite Pregnancy Power Foods
These are some of the foods that I tend to eat the most during my pregnancy:
- Chick Peas or no/low fat Hummus
- Sweet Potatoes
- Carrots or Carrot Juice
- Gluten-free Oatmeal
- Green Peas
- Eggs/Egg Whites
Below is also a list of foods that may seem healthy but are actually foods to AVOID during pregnancy.
- Soft cheese due to E. coli and listeria risk
- Raw eggs because of salmonella risk
- Fish such as shark and swordfish that have high levels of mercury
- Raw sushi because it could contain parasites and bacteria
- Unpasteurized milk due to salmonella and E. coli. I actually haven't consumed dairy in years and usually go for unsweetened cashew milk, almond milk, or coconut milk. I also choose these because they have a ton of vitamins and calcium and have less sugar than regular milk. My body actually is intolerant to dairy and will feel like crap if I eat it.
- Raw shellfish due to the bacteria risk
- Deli meat and deli salads such as chicken salad, ham salad,and seafood salads are not only oftenhigh in fat but could contain listeria.
- Raw sprouts as they could contain E. coli
- Undercooked meat for the same reason; E. coli
- Smoked seafood is not cooked all the way and needs to be cooked to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Although not a food, tobacco is of course a substance that needs to be restrictedfor general health, but especially so during a pregnancy.
Foods/Beverages that we should limit:
Coffee or caffeine-limit to about 200 mg a day.
Artificial sweeteners- I actually use the "sweet leaf” brand of stevia as it doesn't have any fillers or additives and is from the steviaplant.
Avoid over indulging in nutrient lacking foods often craved during pregnancy.
Speaking of cravings. I always thought it was weird women that are pregnant hadcravings and I was kind of nervous on how it would pan out for me once I began having my own pregnancy cravings.
An old wives’ tale is if you crave sweets you're having a girl and if you crave saltyfoods then you're having a boy. Coincidentally, this turned out tobe accurate for me when I found out I was having a girl and was definitely moreattracted to sweet foods. After doing some researchI found out some common things most pregnant women crave and some of the items on the list surprised me.
Items Commonly Craved my Pregnant Women
- Ice Chips- that seems quite harshon teeth, especially if you have sensitivity to cold like I do; but after doing some more research I realized that women with anemia tend to chew on ice to relievethe common anemia symptom of inflammationand swelling of the mouth.
- Potato Chips- Women also crave things like potato chips because they are salty. My recommendation with this one would be to try to substitute you're craving with a healthier version of a salty fix- I personally go for pink Himalayan salt on baked, salty kale chips.
- Chocolate and other sweats-Research seems to show that chocolate makes people happy through the release of endorphin. My suggestion would be to buy 100% dark cocoa powder and mix with hot water and some stevia to create a low fat, low calorie treat at the end of the night rather then reaching for a piece of candy or entire candy bars.
- Spicy Food- I've always had a love for spicy food and have pretty much kept that same craving throughout my pregnancy. I wassurprised to find out the reason why some pregnant women crave spicy food and that is because it makes you sweat- creating another avenue for cooling our bodies. If you're pregnant you know how hard it is to stay cool. While trying tostay healthy when eating spicy food I say try to make healthy versions of whatever you're craving and add some great spices like red pepper flakes and black pepper to spice up your meals.
- Pickles or Lemons- sourthings tend to be another big craving for pregnant women. Lemons tend to shock the taste buds and pickles provide sodium, another very common craving as mentioned above.
Coping with pregnancy cravings:
- Eat a balanced diet because it will help with cravings since you will be less hungry throughout the day and less likely to lack necessary nutrients.
- Include regular exercise to ensure that you are feeling healthy and fueling your workouts in order to make healthier choices. I have noticedwhen I don't work out I have a tendency to crave more unhealthy foods. If you're interested in finding out what exercises you can do while pregnant please read my last blog about "Fit Pregnancy" here on the Core Nutritionals website!
- Go on a short walk. Call a friend. Do something that you have writtenon your to-do list instead of raiding the kitchen. You will feel better that youhave been productive, plus the craving will likely pass since your mind was on other, non-food related things.
- Make good substitution choices- for example instead of having a full-fledgedice cream sundae go to the nearest frozen yogurt bar and get some low fat, no sugar addedoptions with fresh fruit on top!
- Even if you are craving chocolate or some sort of sweet, it's easy to create a protein pudding with Core Nutritionals’Chocolate Delight Core PRO. Mix 1-2 scoops in with just a little bit of water or unsweetened cashew milk.
- Eat frequently tomaintain steady blood sugar levels. Try to eat low sugar foods with lots of veggies, which can help prevent you from having an extreme dip in blood sugar and a subsequent rise in appetite.
- Limit your cheat "treat" of choice to once a week. There is no need to be on a restrictive dietwhile you are pregnant but giving into cravings or having unhealthy food all the time is not good or justified for your or your baby's health.
- Water!! Hydration is very important while you'repregnant. This helps prevent constipation, swelling, and also helps remove toxins from the body.
- Find a prenatal vitamin that doesn't cause you constipation or nausea- this alone will help you to eathealthier. This is due to most people when they feel nauseous grab simple carbs to help calm the nauseous feeling. I switched from a reallyexpensive whole food vitamin to a different (cheaper) whole food vitamin and it made a world of a difference to my stomach. Finding a vitamin that works best for you is very helpful for a more comfortable, healthy pregnancy!
- Make a "mock tail" when everyone else is drinking an adult beverage. My go-to has been made from 50% less sugar orange juice (the brand I use is sweetened with Stevia) with citrus seltzer in a 50:50 ratio. Itis great! This recipe makes it a lot easier to get in some much-needed calcium, potassium and vitamin C while feeling like you're having drink similar to a Mimosa.
- If you'recraving a less healthy option then switch to lower calorie ingredient alternatives or eliminate some of the ingredients to have a healthier version.
- Track your food intake on an online food diary or app to makesure you are eating a consistent diet each day. I useMyFitnessPal to make sure I'm eating enough calories or sometimes to check if I'm eating more then I should. Since I'm not getting ready for acompetition I tend to eat what I want each day and just track the healthy foods as I go to make sure I'm getting a proper balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
- Like always, eat a high volume ofveggies. This not only provides a variety of vitamins and minerals but it gives you tons of fiber and keeps you full.
After just recently getting back from my baby shower on Long Island, I can’t wait to get back to the swing of things and my normal routine! Although I did not over eat at all, and I always had my normal healthy food choices in the fridge for me, I definitely had a big piece of the amazing cake that my mom had made for the baby shower. So like this blog states I had my treat for the week and I’m ready for the exciting healthy meals I have planned. Feel free to contact me for healthy pregnancy meal ideas and check back in for more upcoming blog posts!