As you can already tell, pregnancy cravings are some next-level sorcery. You know how it feels to have a desire for a certain food, but this level of appetite for everything sugary is something you can’t explain to anyone. Why do you keep craving sugar during pregnancy, though?
You’ve witnessed a whole lot of changes during this period of your life. It’s not only your body that’s adjusting to this new life that’s growing inside of you but it’s also your mind. You’re changing as a person and even though it can be hard to accept that, you’re also glad because you know that you’re doing it for your baby.
However, there’s one thing that still puzzles you and it’s the fact that you keep craving certain food even right after you ate some of it. You instantly go into panic mode and start worrying if everything’s okay. Is your baby getting all of the necessary nutrients? Should you be eating more? Or are you eating way too much?
I’m sure these thoughts are familiar to every single pregnant woman out there. You want to make sure that your baby is doing well inside your tummy, so every little change freaks you out.
Right now, you’re worried to the bone that your sugar cravings have a meaning to them. And you’ll do everything you can to understand what they represent.
Why are you craving sugar during pregnancy?
Some women experience the need for some weird food combination during their pregnancy. But most of them know how it feels to crave sugar. It seems to be a universal food that you simply can’t get enough of. Why is that so?
Well, there are a couple of explanations. The first one has to do with your hormones. Now that your body is growing a baby inside of it, your hormone levels keep changing day after day (or even hour by hour). As you’re looking for something to deal with all that change, you reach for a comfort food, a.k.a. sugary treats.
Sugar is known to increase your level of serotonin which instantly makes you happy. However, that rush of happiness usually doesn’t last for a very long time. Once you experience a sugar crash, you start craving another slice of cake, a piece of chocolate, or a scoop of ice cream. Pretty much anything sweet will do the trick.
Another explanation could be that your body is looking for that instant energy rush. It’s working hard to make your baby happy and satisfy all of her needs. So, from time to time, you may experience low blood sugar.
To solve that problem in a fast and efficient manner, you start craving foods high in sugar which will give you that instant boost.
How to keep your sugar cravings under control during pregnancy?
You may get worried about craving sugar during pregnancy. Are you eating way too much of unhealthy food? Can it harm your baby? Does it make you more prone to developing gestational diabetes?
Now, the thing is that you should keep your sugar intake under control. This doesn’t mean that you can’t eat sweets at all but that they shouldn’t make up the majority of your diet.
The main reason why that’s the case is because too much sugar can cause additional weight gain. Even though it’s normal for your weight to increase during pregnancy, there are still some guidelines that you should follow.
Another issue with the overconsumption of sugar is the risk of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Plus, there’s a chance of increased baby weight.
All in all, you can eat sugary sweets as long as you know your limits. But once those cravings hit, it’s hard to control yourself. So, how can you satisfy your need for sugar while also making sure you’re not crossing the line and eating way too much of it?
Here are some examples of how you can keep your cravings under control.
1. Try eating naturally sweet food
Sugary treats are in fact simple carbohydrates that don’t do much for your body. Yes, they make you happier since they elevate your levels of serotonin, but that’s only temporary. Once your body processes them, you go into a sugar crash wanting more.
A good way to trick yourself is to opt for food that’s naturally sweet. Fresh fruit has natural sugars that are way better for you and your baby. So, when you’re craving sugar during pregnancy, you can grab any fruit you like.
Mango, strawberries, and peaches are all good options when you need that extra sugar kick. These fruits are usually very sweet and can serve the purpose of tricking your body and making those cravings stop.
You can also make some guilt-free desserts that have no added sugar. Cinnamon apple pie is a great alternative just make sure to skip the sugar completely. The natural sweetness of the apples is going to make it taste just fine.
If you’re craving ice cream, you can, for example, blend some frozen bananas and add some cocoa into them. This is a great alternative that should satisfy your cravings. It will also make you feel better knowing that you didn’t consume anything unhealthy.
There are a ton of interesting recipes online so give them a try and see which one you like the most. I’m sure you’ll be able to find something that makes your taste buds do a happy dance.
2. Make sure you’re not skipping any meals
I already mentioned how your need for sweets may come from the fact that your blood sugar has dropped. Now that your body is doing all this hard work while feeding both you and your baby, it’s wasting way more energy than what you’re used to.
So, you need to ensure you’re not skipping any meals since that’s the best way to keep your blood sugar in control. Eat three meals a day and have three lighter snacks. Now that you’re pregnant, you need to eat for two, but only nutrition-wise.
You should introduce around 200 additional calories by the very end of your pregnancy. However, from the moment you find out you’re pregnant, you should make sure that you eat diverse food that will provide your baby with all the necessary nutrients.
Remember, eating for two doesn’t mean eating two times more. It means eating food that’s good for you the same way it’s good for your little joy that’s growing inside of you.
3. Combine your cravings with nutrition-packed food
If you’ve already shot your luck with alternative, healthy desserts, and none of them make those cravings go away, you can opt for another trick.
For example, if you’re craving chocolate, take some of it but make sure to eat it with nutritionally rich food. You can opt for a couple of nuts that are going to trick your body into thinking that you ate way more chocolate than you actually did. At the same time, you’ll satisfy your cravings by eating something you want.
This is a great trick that you can use every time you’re craving something sweet.
4. Stay hydrated
Even though drinking water won’t help your cravings magically go away, it’s definitely a good alternative when you’re thirsty for sugary drinks. Replacing them with teas or homemade fruit-infused water is a trick that can save you from consuming unnecessary amounts of unhealthy drinks.
Plus, this is a great way to drink enough water which is necessary for your body to function properly.
5. Move your body
Have you noticed how you often crave sugar whenever you’re lying around the house, watching TV, and not doing much with your body? It’s because your body is looking for that additional energy, something that’s going to make it feel alive.
A good way to keep your cravings under control is to get up and move. If you don’t feel like going to the gym and getting back to your old workout routine, you can always go for a walk.
Start with a slow pace and see how your body is going to react. According to the way you feel, you can intensify or tone down your tempo.
This will give you that energy boost your body is desperately looking for. Plus, you’re going to breathe in some fresh air and get at least some level of exercise.
6. Allow yourself to enjoy the food you’re craving
If you’ve tried all of the options and nothing seems to work, you shouldn’t pressure yourself into ignoring your cravings. Instead, allow yourself to have a bite or two of the food you can’t stop thinking about.
Pregnancy can be hard in itself and you shouldn’t make things even more difficult by feeling guilty about having cravings. If that’s what your body is looking for then allow it to have some.
You’ll instantly feel better and you’ll have more energy to do your everyday tasks. Just make sure you’re not crossing the line and consuming too many sweets (or any other food, for that matter).
The key to a healthy diet is to maintain balance in everything you eat. You can’t eat just sugary treats the same way you can’t eat only protein. Your body needs all the nutrients in order to complete its functions, especially now that you’re growing a baby in your stomach.
Dear mama, take things easy, and don’t be too hard on yourself. I know that you can do this, but you have to believe in yourself as well.