Smart indulgences during your pregnancy

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  • Cravings can be a nutritional plus for your diet if you choose healthier alternatives to what you had in mind.
  • Limiting portion size is one way to eat “the real thing” and still manage your calorie intake.

Food cravings are a very real — and sometimes bizarre — part of pregnancy for some. Unfortunately, most cravings are for foods high in fat, sugar or salt (maybe all three!). The key is to find ways to satisfy these urges with healthier alternatives so you can manage weight gain throughout your pregnancy.

The upside of cravings

Sometimes cravings are hard to ignore. But you can turn a craving into something good for your diet.

Dairy foods can be a good source of Calcium and protein — two important nutrients in pregnancy.
  • Try a low-fat frozen yogurt instead of premium ice cream.
  • Buy single-serving frozen dairy desserts to keep track of portion sizes.
  • Choose light cheeses, like part-skim mozzarella, or reduced fat cheddar.


Salty foods
can be a problem in pregnancy, particularly if you are dealing with high blood pressure or water retention.

  • Low-sodium pretzels and popcorn are a better choice than chips.
  • If you absolutely need chips, have only a few and look for newer bean- or lentil-based baked chips for extra protein and fiber. Add a little hummus or guacamole for a more satisfying and nutritious snack.

If your craving can’t be substituted, occasionally treating yourself with a small portion is fine.

Track your pregnancy
Noticing a bigger belly, mama? MyGerber Tools help keep track of lots of things from how your body changes during pregnancy to how much your baby eats as they start to sprout. Sign up to check it out!

Steer clear on some cravings

While the occasional ice cream is fine, not all cravings should be fed. No matter how badly you may want sushi or an unpasteurized creamy cheese, steer clear. These and other foods that may pose a health risk for your developing baby just aren’t worth the risk.

If you noticed that you’re craving ice, clay, dirt, paper or paint chips you may have pica, a condition that may signal Iron deficiency. Talk to your doctor immediately if that’s the case.
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