Craving for ice cream, cheesecake, sweet and sour pork or McDonald’s at midnight? Yes, pregnancy cravings in general can be pretty overwhelming, and uncontrollable – and continues throughout the day. But what happens when you’re craving for non-food items: shoe polish, tree bark, crayons and even dirt? Some women actually do! This is what is called “pica”, which refers to bizarre cravings for inedible things.
What Causes Pregnancy Cravings?
We don’t know, and it seems like the doctors don’t quite know either. There are several studies on the subject, and findings show links to iron deficiency in pregnant women and the body’s attempt to obtain nutrients that are missing in the body. But one thing’s for sure: it’s all normal and nothing to worry about, unless you start craving shoe polish or the ice that you’ve scraped off your freezer.
6 Ways To Curb Those Cravings
Satisfy Cravings In Small Doses
If you want ice cream, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have ice cream (unless you’re suffering from gestational diabetes), but it might be sensible not to eat up the entire tub.
Take Dried Fruits With You
Choose fruits like cranberries, apricots and cherries. They’re a great boost for when you’re craving something sweet. Dried bananas are often processed in oil and thus not recommended. Of course, fresh fruits are even better, especially if your office has a fridge and you can keep them cold and fresh.
Have A Great Breakfast
And by great we don’t mean three family-sized bars of your favourite chocolate dipped in peanut butter, or a huge bowl of nachos with lots of cheese and mayo. Have your proteins and healthy carbs in the form of eggs with a slice of whole wheat bread and skimmed milk. Remember to add fruits into the meal.
Find Healthier Substitutes
Instead of ice cream, low-fat frozen yoghurt or a sorbet might better serve your nutritional needs. If you crave for pizza, make your own with whole wheat pita for the crust, and roasted vegetables as toppings. Substitute potato chips and French fries with your own baked sweet potato slices.
Cook Your Own Meals & Keep A Food Journal
Opt for healthier methods like baking instead of frying, and control what goes into your dish. It’s also useful to pen your meals down, so you’ll feel more accountable and this will help with your self-control.
Exercise can distract you and also keep you fit during your pregnancy. It will also help you stay more committed to leading a healthier lifestyle.
Originally published in Singapore’s Child July 2016 issue.