When you’re pregnant and craving ice cream, chocolate, chips, spicy food, coffee or comfort food it’s all you can do not to push an entire supermarket shelf of product straight into your trolley. I know, I’ve been there.
Pregnancy cravings: those moments that take over your stomach and your brain like a fire; you just can’t seem to control yourself. One moment I’m fine, just cruising along and the next, I’m searching through the cupboards looking for something that is stuck in my mind but I have no idea where to find it. Nothing can take that thought or feeling away until I find something to satisfy the craving and stuff it into my wide, hungry mouth.
Luckily, as someone who has suffered from pretty terrible cravings in my teenage and early adult life, I know a few things. You could say I’ve always been a bit of an extremist. When I started eating a more wholefood diet, I had way less cravings and way more control over what I fuelled my body with. More healthy fats, less carbs and a whole lot more energy. When you are feeling so brilliant it’s a lot harder to surrender to having a bite off something you know is going to make you feel like crap later.
I would say that when I’m not pregnant, I’m an all-in kinda girl, I like to look after myself the best way I can. When I am pregnant, it’s like this wave of grossness comes over me and all I want to eat is white bread, butter, chocolate and ice cream. It’s like I’m possessed by the junk food fairies. My friends laugh at me as I tell them that I need chocolate and do they have any? Their reply is always; “What has happened to you? Where has the real Cass gone?”
Everyone has very different ideas when it comes to pregnancy cravings.Some experts believe that cravings are your body’s way of telling you what you need. Others say it’s your body’s way of telling you you’re deficient in a specific area. Still others tell you that when we are pregnant, we should just go for it, enjoy eating what we like while we can. I’m not so sold on the last point; I think when we are pregnant, we are tired. We feel crappy and we want good that gives us energy so we reach for the easy fix — refined sugar and other junk.
These kinds of food gives us an instant high and then a big crash as we process it. This crash is not what we want while we’re pregnant as we are tired enough already just trying to get through the day. It’s not good. I’m a big advocate for finding healthy alternatives and solutions.
Here are 5 of my biggest cravings; smacked in the face by these better things to eat.
1. A big fat greasy chicken burger – This pregnancy has brought on the chicken burger cravings. Luckily there is something magical that you can create with a Jamie Oliver marinated chicken breast. My solution to avoiding the drive-through is frying up a Jamie Oliver chicken breast from the supermarket, loading it onto a nice, soft wholegrain bun with lots of salad and a layer of good quality, whole egg mayo. It hits the spot perfectly but you’ve avoided the additives, hidden refined sugars and bad fats of drive-through burgers.
2. Hot chips – What’s better than salty hot chips when you are fighting that permanently hung over morning sickness feeling? The best switch for this one is a simple sweet potato chip. Just slice your sweet potato into wedges, lay out on a baking tray and cover in olive oil, sea salt and herbs. Bake for half an hour and you’re good to go.
3. Chocolate – ANY TYPE – Any hormonal change seems to bring out a rampant chocolate obsession, it’s been coming and going for me this pregnancy, but generally I get the urge to stuff chocolate in my face every single day. Please don’t tell me I’m the only one! Luckily I have so many go-to healthy chocolate recipes. Believe it or not, you can enjoy chocolate in a healthy diet. You can see some of my recipes here.
4. Ice cream – I don’t know if it’s the milk or the coolness that helps ease heart burn, but either way I’m drawn to eating ice cream when I’m pregnant, even though I’m not usually the ice cream type! A great ice cream alternative is ‘nice cream‘, a homemade frozen fruit version, often completely dairy-free.
Related content: 3 Superfood Nice Cream Recipes
5. Sushi – Sushi is known as a healthy food but in pregnancy it is not recommended due to the bad bacteria that can be found in raw fish or old rice. The good news is that if you make your own, you can still enjoy it. Best to avoid raw fish but if you make your own sushi rice fresh and eat it straightaway, you can enjoy a delicious vegetarian sushi. Here are 2 of my favourite recipes; brown rice sushi and paleo cauliflower fried rice sushi.
So you really can have your cake and eat it too so to speak.
What’s been your weirdest pregnancy craving???
More on pregnancy, food and basic survival:
- What Foods Are Really Off-Limits During Pregnancy
- What Is the Cravings Gender Theory and Is It Legit?
- 7 Pregnancy Old Wives Tales That Were True for Me