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Being someone who's really into nutrition and physical exercise, I have been getting questions regarding cravings throughout my pregnancy. This topic is not only a food related topic but also an emotional one.
Please note that I am NOT a doctor, talk to your OBGYN before trying any foods or suggestions I talk about in this article.
When do the cravings start?
This is dependent on each woman, but for me I started craving certain foods beginning in the second trimester. I ate at least two mangos a week for the longest time and I could go through a whole watermelon by myself. I would say from my own pregnancy that sometimes the cravings made sense... Sometimes they didn't. I do think at times my body did crave certain nutrients for the baby, but other times it was just my body wanting something for whatever reason. I do have to say this, as I started approaching the third trimester, I started craving more, I could feel like my body didn't want to respond to self-control. My biggest weakness is chocolate and fresh fruit. I lacked in protein and omega-3 fatty acids... I lacked in those because my body didn't naturally like meat, fish or eggs. I do love nut butter though!
That Sweet Tooth Though!
Do not get me started on the sweet tooth. Yesterday, I had already eaten fruits throughout the day, my nut bar had maple syrup in it, but it didn't make a difference. Once 10 PM hit, my body was practically begging me for ice cream or chocolate cake. I knew then that well... This wasn't a nutritious command from my body... My body is just addicted and doesn't want discipline. So, as difficult as it was, I instead had a banana with tahini. I ate it, then a few minutes later I felt full and felt the craving subside.
When do you indulge the unhealthy craving?
I have definitely indulged my unhealthy cravings throughout pregnancy, but I have managed to do it in portion control and giving myself certain freedoms depending on how the day is going. For example, last weekend, I was exhausted and we had so much to do. While I usually cook all the time, that day I consumed too many carbs. Bagels for breakfast, jam, breads, etc. I was aware that I just didn't have the physical or mental capability to make every meal the most nutritious. I had a lot going on so I allowed myself that freedom. I would say in this case as long as it isn't a daily habit of indulgence, then it's probably okay. You can add protein or certain fats like avocados to boost up the nutrition level on those hard days!
A few days after that, I had a craving for rocky road ice cream, my husband went and got Cold Stone! Who can say no to Cold Stone? Throughout my pregnancy, my biggest motivation isn't even physical appearance... It's the health of my baby. So, I had a few bites of the ice cream and gave the rest to my husband. That's one way of portion controlling. It can be extremely hard, but you just have to get the piece of food away from you and you will feel better. It's all a mental game.
What do you do when you just don't care?
This topic is so near and dear to my heart! Sometimes... We just don't care. We're pregnant! We're battling our hormones every day, still trying to be healthy and do our daily tasks. Hey believe me, I get it! Some days I could care less about my physical appearance, I think it's a common thing as we approach the third trimester. My motivation on those days isn't strong enough. However, I think those are the most important of days! Why? Because they challenge us to really think about where our motivation lies. Since this is a pregnancy post, I am trying to only focus on pregnancy related suggestions, but this can work even if you're not pregnant.
On those hard days ask yourself:
Who am I doing this for?
Why am I doing this?
The answers to those questions can help to keep going for the rest of that day. Physical appearance only go so far, other people's approval only goes so far. For me, on those days my answers are always this:
Who? For my baby, I don't want my baby girl having health issues throughout her life so if I can help manifest a good environment for her when she's inside me, maybe she will have less issues to worry about.
Why? I am called to be a good steward of my body, we reap what we sow. Even though my mind doesn't care, my body might face some health consequences if I'm constantly not caring about it.
What do I do when I'm NOT craving protein and healthy fats?
So, omega-3 fatty acids and protein are highly important for the development of the little life in the womb. However, I know many women (myself included) who just can't eat protein/ healthy fats naturally. I have had my struggle with this and I'm learning every day. I can't stand fish, I can't stand fried eggs, I can't stand baked chicken (by itself). So here's what I've done.
- Collagen: I buy grass fed collagen which naturally is a protein and put a scoop of it every day in my coffee. Can't taste it! It's got great health benefits and is great after a workout! If you want to try this, make sure to get it unflavored so that it doesn't have added sugar. I would say that I was on and off taking collagen before pregnancy so please consult your doctor!
- Eggs: Eggs are tricky! They are healthy, but also can be gross if you couldn't stand them in the food aversions phase of pregnancy. While my morning sickness disappeared beginning of second trimester... I still couldn't stand fish or eggs. I did realize that I can hard boil eggs, their taste is actually much better if they're hard boiled and they don't feel so heavy in the stomach.
- Flax seeds and nuts: Both of those can be added to salads, breakfast, muffins, etc. Super simple! Flax seeds are high in omega-3 and so are walnuts! I try to eat five walnuts a day along side some nut butter.
Lastly, please make sure to do your own research and talk to your healthcare provider for any diet changes. Again, I am NOT a healthcare professional, just someone whose passionate about a healthy life style! Feel free to ask any questions!