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Craving Meat During Pregnancy: Why Are You Into That Protein?

Craving Meat During Pregnancy: Why Are You Into That Protein?

Even Phoebe from Friends started craving meat during pregnancy. And there wouldn’t be anything weird about that if she wasn’t vegetarian. So, why do pregnant women get this sudden urge to eat a whole lot more meat than they used to? There must be an explanation.

Pregnancy cravings are a real thing and each woman experiences them differently. You may feel an aversion to sweets even though you couldn’t go a day without having a sugary dessert before you got pregnant. Now, you’re craving meat even though you were never really a big fan of it. That sounds weird!

So, pregnancy is full of surprises and you never know what food you’re going to become obsessed with. As other pregnant women share their cravings list with you, you may realize that their urge for certain foods is nothing like yours.

But why is that so? There must be a reason why you can’t stop thinking about grilled meat, juicy steak, and yummy hamburgers. Is your body trying to tell you something? Are you lacking certain nutrients? Let’s find out!

Why do pregnant women develop cravings?

Craving Meat During Pregnancy Why Are You Into That Protein

One of the main reasons why you can’t stop thinking about certain foods during your pregnancy is because of your hormones. Now that you’re growing a life inside of you, your body is going through all of these changes.

Some of them are visible to the eye, like a change in the size of your belly or the glow of your skin. Others are happening internally, and even though you can’t see them, you can definitely sense them.

One thing that’s also changing is the level of your hormones. They’re constantly fluctuating which is the reason why you go through all these emotional rollercoasters. One second you’re smiling, and the next one you feel like crying.

Now, as a result of these hormonal changes, you may also start experiencing different cravings. Since your hormones affect your sense of smell and taste, you develop food aversion toward certain ingredients while you become obsessed with others.

This is all completely normal and can last until the very end of your pregnancy. Even if you don’t experience any cravings, it doesn’t mean that something’s wrong. It’s just that every body is different and it goes through different changes during pregnancy.

Just don’t stress about it and make sure to enjoy this special time. You’re growing a tiny human under your heart. How amazing is that?

Why are you craving meat during pregnancy?

To most women, cravings are usually one of the first symptoms of pregnancy. Some of them realize that they’re pregnant only because they experience a strong appetite for certain foods.

Now, when you start craving meat during pregnancy, you may get worried because you’ve never really heard anyone say they experienced the same thing, at least not in your close circle of friends. Women keep talking about their urge to eat sweet and salty food, but they never mention meat.

So, why do you keep thinking about it all day long? Even after you just had a piece of meat for lunch, you plan on eating more of it for dinner since your craving is still there.

Some believe that craving meat signifies your body’s need for more protein. Now that you’re growing a little human inside of you, you need way more energy than you used to. Of course, meat is a great source of energy and nutrients.

So, it could be that you’re always hungry for meat because your body needs it to keep you and your baby safe and healthy.

On the other hand, your meat craving could be a result of the lack of iron. During pregnancy, your blood volume increases as your child absorbs your nutrients. For that reason, many women experience anemia during this time.

Their need for iron-rich food grows and if they don’t adjust their diet, their iron levels drop. Some of the first signs of low iron are pale skin, fatigue, and dizziness. If you notice any of these symptoms, make sure to share them with your doctor so they can test your iron levels.

If they end up being too low, they will probably give you some supplements and recommend a change in diet.

Now, craving meat doesn’t instantly have to mean that you need more protein or iron. This could simply be your comfort food which is why you can’t stop thinking about it.

If you had a favorite meat dish that you loved eating at any point in your life, you could crave that same meal now that you’re pregnant. This is especially the case if you’re still feeling nauseous and tend to struggle with keeping food down.

Your body is trying to come up with something you’re going to eat without throwing up right away, and at this point, meat sounds like a good option.

Is there any kind of meat you should avoid during pregnancy?

Craving Meat During Pregnancy Why Are You Into That Protein

Once you realize that you’re pregnant, you become ten times more cautious about everything you do and eat. Before you grab something for a shelf, you first check if you’re still able to consume that certain item during pregnancy.

Meat gets a green flag as long as it’s cooked properly. Leave your rare cooked steak for after you give birth since you don’t want to risk any infection. The same is true with pork, poultry, and any other type of red meat. Just make sure that everything is properly cooked and there’s no blood coming out of it.

That being said, cured meats aren’t the best option since they don’t get cooked. So, they carry a risk of toxoplasmosis which can cause miscarriage.

Deli meats are also something you should be careful with. They can be infected with listeria and even though the probability of it is very low, you still want to take some precautions.

However, if you’ve been eating this meat in your sandwiches, don’t panic! The chances of getting listeria are extremely low and if you haven’t noticed any symptoms then you’re just fine.

To be honest, many women eat deli meats throughout their whole pregnancy but if you have a chance, then it’s better to replace it with other kinds of protein, especially because these meats are highly processed. If you’re craving it then you should first cook it before you put it into a sandwich.

Uncooked seafood is a no-go, so make sure you cook your fish well until it’s steaming hot. Smoked and cured fish is also something you should avoid, but if you plan on eating it then, you already know the drill – cook it well first.

Certain types of fish such as swordfish, marlin, and shark should go off the menu during your pregnancy. They contain high levels of mercury which could affect your baby’s nervous system.

See also: Craving Spicy Food While Pregnant: Facts To Keep You Safe

How to replace meat if you’re vegan (or vegetarian) or simply don’t like the taste of it?

Now that you know that protein is necessary for you and your baby’s development, you may wonder if there are any alternatives that you can turn to. Maybe you never really liked the taste of meat or you don’t eat meat at all but lately, you’ve been craving it like your life depends on it.

In that case, you can choose some other options that are going to meet your need for protein. Even though these food items won’t necessarily satisfy your cravings, at least you’ll know that your body doesn’t lack this important nutrient.

Now, if you still eat eggs then feel free to make them a regular part of your diet. Eggs are filled with protein and the great thing about them is that you can make them differently each day. This way, you won’t get bored of them since you won’t feel like you’re eating the same thing over and over again.

Soya-based drinks and yogurts are also a good way of getting that protein into your body. The market is filled with all these different options so I’m sure you’ll be able to find a plant-based milk that you like since some of them tend to have that odd flavor and texture.

Read also: The Ins And Outs Of Craving Milkshakes During Pregnancy

When it comes to vegetables, beans and pulses are one of the biggest sources of plant-based protein. Kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, and soya beans are all great options when you’re looking for an alternative that won’t make you gag.

A great thing about them is that you can make some hearty, comfort dishes with them that are definitely going to make you happy.

If you love your snacks then you can easily introduce some healthy, protein-rich ingredients into your diet. Nuts such as peanuts, almonds, pistachios, and cashews are all full of proteins. Plus, they’re a great way to feel less guilty about your snacking habits.

All in all, you shouldn’t try to suppress your cravings!

Some women may feel guilty about giving to their cravings. But, as long as you’re eating healthy and balanced meals, you should know that you’re doing the right thing for the health of your baby.

Your maternal instincts are already kicking in, and even though you don’t realize it yet, you’re doing everything you can to protect this little beam of joy that’s growing inside of you.

Craving Meat During Pregnancy: Why Are You Into That Protein?