Sending your partner out for ice cream at 2 a.m. or having a pizza fourth meal is the part of pregnancy that everyone jokes about — but the truth is, cravings happen. What you choose to indulge in, however, can impact your health and the health of your baby. Fortunately, you can satisfy your pregnancy cravings with healthy foods.
“If you’re eating a lot of junk food — sugar and everything processed, devoid of proper nutrients and stuff like that — you don’t have the essential building blocks to lay down for baby, the amino acids and minerals, which are so vital,” says Dr. Corey, ND, health expert spokesperson for Better Health Store and a board certified Naturopathic Doctor at Thrive On Life in Brighton.
That’s why it’s essential to eat a wide plethora of foods, she says, adding that it’s OK to indulge sometimes. How can you satisfy your pregnancy cravings while still being healthy? Here, Dr. Corey offers some simple swaps.
Eat this, not that
You don’t have to deprive yourself during pregnancy, Dr. Corey says. In fact, as long as you’re eating nutrient-dense foods most of the time, it’s OK to indulge in healthy pregnancy snacks occasionally.
“For me, it was my little reward,” she says. When it comes to some top pregnancy cravings, here are some tweaks you can make that will leave you satisfied.
Grabbing a Hershey’s bar or Kit Kat at the checkout line might seem tempting, but reaching for a piece of organic dark cacao is the way to go if you’re craving chocolate, Dr. Corey says.
“I personally think there’s nothing wrong with that in moderation,” Dr. Corey says. “It’s so satisfying and dark chocolate has a little magnesium in it that can calm mom a bit.”
Look for organic chocolate bars, which have less sugar, or snag some cacao nibs. Add cacao powder to your smoothie, too.
At the Better Health Store, you can pick up some one of the Theo dark chocolate bars, BHU Fit organic products, Garden of Life products that feature raw organic ingredients and other organic bars, she notes. Raw Revolution and Luna bars are other options if you’re in the mood for chocolate.
Can’t resist that salty crunch of a potato chip? While Dr. Corey isn’t personally a fan, she knows that many moms-to-be could be reaching for that chip bag.
“I’m not a big fan of just potatoes in general because they tend to be super sprayed with pesticides and toxins. They’re just one of those no-nos,” she says and while there are organic options, a lot of them are fried in canola and soy oil.
For an alternative, look for kale chips. You can make them at home, she says, by coating kale with olive oil and sea salt or nutritional yeast, which is a cheese substitute.
Grab some veggie chip alternatives, as well, but steer clear of any that use canola oil or soy oil.
“They’re just not as healthy as some of the other oil alternatives,” she says.
At the Better Health Store, you can grab Rhythm Kale Chips, Late July Organic Chips (some do have corn, so Dr. Corey says to keep an eye out for that), and Garden of Eden organic chips.
If you’re craving some frosted goodness, trade the cakes or cupcakes from your grocery store for something with better-for-you ingredients.
“If mom wants a little cake or cupcake, that’s fine,” she says. “Let’s just make it from organic nutrients,” including farm fresh eggs, stevia as a sweetener, Kerrygold butter and real organic creams.
At the Better Health Store, you can find some tasty cake alternatives including Miss Jones organic cake mixes. If you’re adding things to the mix, she says to make sure those ingredients are organic. Lundberg cinnamon toast organic rice cakes are another alternative to snack on if you’re craving something sweet.
As tempting as that circle of meat and cheese can be, it doesn’t always agree with a person’s body. A lot of pizzas are made from wheat, which is a genetically engineered food, Dr. Corey says, which can cause some people to have inflammatory reactions.
If you’re craving pizza, opt for gluten-free instead, or snag an organic frozen pizza. Try making your own crust at home by searching for a recipe for gluten-free crust, she suggests, and top it with organic spinach and lots of veggies. Switch to cauliflower crust, which is another good alternative.
Just don’t overeat cauliflower crust pizza, she says, as cauliflower and other cruciferous veggies can interfere with thyroid function.
Stop by the Better Health Store to pick up a Cadia Organic margherita pizza or Amy’s pizza — just make sure that it’s organic.
If the summer heat has mom wanting to cool off with a cone of her favorite ice cream, sip on a smoothie instead. Add in bananas, berries, shredded coconut, nut butters, fresh vanilla bean or vanilla extract — just experiment with different flavors until you find a couple recipes you love.
If you’re still hoping to eat ice cream, select fully organic options or make your own. The Better Health Store offers Alden’s Organic ice cream in tons of amazing flavors, she says, and Let’s Do…Organic ice cream cones.
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