Food cravings during pregnancy
Pickles on pizza? Chicken and jelly? During pregnancy, it's normal to crave certain—sometimes unusual—foods or food combinations. And many women are surprised by some of their food cravings. For instance, a woman who has never liked mayonnaise before may crave it during her pregnancy.
What causes cravings?
Nobody really knows what causes cravings, but there are theories. Some experts think cravings are caused by changes in hormones. The biggest hormonal changes occur in the first trimester, making those months a prime time for cravings. Hormones can alter how things taste, which explains why you suddenly like a food that you didn't like before you were pregnant.
There is also a theory that cravings are nature's way of telling you that your body is deficient in a certain nutrient. For instance if your body is in need of calcium, it may crave milk, cheese and other dairy products. Or if it needs more protein, you may crave beef or chicken.
A good way to manage cravings is to find a healthy way to indulge them. For instance, if you crave something sweet, enjoy a bowl of fresh strawberries instead of a piece of strawberry pie. Or for a salty craving, have a few whole-wheat pretzels instead of potato chips.
If you really must have something, go ahead and have a little. An occasional slice of cake is fine, but eating a whole cake every day may not be. In general, it's okay to give in to a once-in-a-while craving as long as you maintain a nutritious diet and don't go overboard on portions.
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