During your pregnancy you may or may not encounter food cravings. During my two pregnancies I discovered that I my cravings were not always driven by the same things. As much as I wanted my drive to eat to be about nutrition, it wasn’t. This has proven true for me both during pregnancy and today as a mother of five and eight year old boys.
Instead of feeling guilty about my cravings I have decided to listen to them very closely. By listening I was able to identify five different drivers of cravings. Here is what I learned:
Driver 1 Hunger
When all you can think about is what you will eat when given the chance, your craving is likely driven by hunger. Honor your body’s needs. Protein and fiber are great choices individually, but together, they’re an incredibly dynamic duo that helps you feel fuller longer.
Driver 2 Nutrition
Our full lives can sometimes get in the way balanced nutrition. Are your cravings linked to vitamins, minerals and nutrients that your body really needs? Make sure to include foods rich in calcium, iron, folic acid, potassium, vitamin D, and fiber in your diet. Say no to empty ingredients like partially-hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, flavors and preservatives.
Driver 3 Taste
We all crave flavor—whether sweet, savory, tart or spicy. Go ahead and have a treat, just choose wisely (no artificial junk) and keep an eye on those portions. Moderation is good. Deprivation, not so much.
Driver 4 Escape
Sometimes all a craving really means is, “I need a break.” It’s re-energizing to tune out the world once in a while. So get outside and take a walk or sneak ten minutes with US Weekly behind the locked door of the bathroom.
Driver 5 Style
Cravings are as much about delighting our senses as they are about satisfying our needs. Imagine a vibrant spring salad, a delicate chocolate truffle or a beautiful package that makes opening a snack feel like opening a special present.* No need to sacrifice style for substance—you can have both!
I hope this helps you to think about your own food cravings in a more positive way during pregnancy and beyond. Next time your cravings are calling, take a moment to and listen to what they are saying.
By Tara DelloIacono, RD at Clif Bar & Company, and LUNA Bar, she is also a long time PAM Advisory Team memberand mom.