Six common pregnancy cravings explained

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Healthy Mummy nutritionist Cheree Sheldon talks about pregnancy cravings and how to choose healthy options when they strike.

Following a healthy pregnancy eating plan will help to avoid those unhealthy pregnancy cravings, but sometimes they are so strong we need a little help!

Pregnant Woman With Craving For Pickled Onions
Source: iStock

Why do we get cravings when we’re pregnant?

Cravings in pregnancy are very common. Sometimes they are straightforward, like wanting to eat chips or cheese, and sometimes they are odd and dangerous, like wanting to eat soap or dirt!

It’s not just the hormonal pregnant brain having a glitch moment – the real reason is because we need some nutrients that those foods provide, and we need it in higher than normal amounts, hence the very strong urges.

pregnant healthy eating
Source: iStock

When our body is growing a baby, it requires more nutrients than normal.

Iron, magnesium, calcium, iodine..these are just a few minerals we need more of.

The foods we crave give a rough guide of which minerals we need more of, and then we can look at the healthiest options to get what we need.

Six common pregnancy cravings explained


Chocolate chunks on a stone background
Source: iStock

Craving chocolate usually indicates magnesium, but we can also get magnesium from nuts, dark green leafy veggies, plums, artichokes, and legumes. Or if they don’t satisfy that craving, go for dark dark chocolate, as this has the magnesium in higher amounts, and is better for you than milk chocolate.

Salted Dark Chocolate Popcorn

Try these yummy Salted Dark Chocolate Popcorn snacks instead.

2. Milk

rows of milk selection in grocery store filling frame.
Source: iStock

If you have become a milk guzzler, than your body is crying for calcium. Other ways you can get calcium are chia seeds, almonds, and tinned fish with the bones.

Berry smoothie in a glass jar on the breakfast with raspberries, oatmeal and honey on a white background,top view
Source: iStock

Include a Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothie made with cow’s milk into your day as a snack to get a tasty boost of calcium.

3. Salty and pickled foods

Sweet Potato Fries

Pickles (along with potato chips) are a common go-to for pregnant women. It could mean you need a bit of sodium, and if that is the case, a healthy electrolyte will re-balance your salts. Coconut water is a great natural electrolyte drink.

If you fancy chips, try our Easy Crispy Sweet Potato Fries instead.

4. Crunchy foods

Seed Nut Clusters

Sometimes you just want a bit of crunch, but the difference is calories, and preservatives in a chip can be tremendous. Always read your labels, and get to know which numbers to avoid. Think about what products you want your kids to be eating now, and set the taste example for them in the womb!

For a healthier alternative to chips, try these delicious Crunchy Seed And Nut Clusters.

5. Cold foods

Ice cold hands. Woman hands holding ice cubes - closeup.

Source: iStock

If you are needing ice or ice cream because you like the feeling of it in your mouth, you may be a bit deficient in B vitamins or iron.

Super Duper Greens Smoothie

Stick your tongue out and have a look, is it puffy looking? You can boost your iron and B vitamins through our Super Greens – which are pregnancy friendly – and have more iron than 12 cups of spinach and 5 times more Vitamin B12 than a beef steak!

6. Non-Food Cravings

This is a condition called Pica and is potentially dangerous as some items that are eaten may be toxic, cause constipation or introduce bugs into your gut. If you have begun eating items that are not food, then seek professional help, you may need some behavioural modification or a practitioner grade nutritional supplement.

So, feel reassured that food cravings are a perfectly normal part of pregnancy, it is your choice to act on the craving or interpret them in a healthier way.

Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothies

*Please note that The Healthy Mummy Pregnancy range promotes healthy weight gain in pregnancy*

Boost your nutrients in pregnancy with our Pregnancy Smoothie and Eating & Exercise Book, which have been specially formulated to help women reach these additional calorie and nutrient needs.

The Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothie is designed to complement, not replace, your prenatal vitamin intake. Our nutritionists ensured that the vitamins and minerals in the smoothie are at a low level so there is no risk of doubling up on any pregnancy vitamins.

It is ideal as a high-protein, high-calcium snack in pregnancy. You can download the Pregnancy Smoothie Label here

About the Pregnancy Smoothie

Healthy Mummy pregnancy

The Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothie is a convenient and easy supplementary food, designed to complement your existing pregnancy vitamins or supplements, to help you meet the extra protein, vitamin and mineral requirements during your pregnancy.

Please read below for all the information on the smoothie – you can also see the FAQ on the smoothie here.

The pregnancy smoothie is also free of all chemicals, fillers and artificial ingredients, has no fructose in, no added sugar and uses high quality dairy protein sourced from grass fed cows in New Zealand.

Purchase your Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothie here.

How can the Pregnancy Smoothie help?

Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothie
  • HEALTHY INCREASED CALORIES – Additional nutrients and calories are needed in pregnancy to support the mum and the baby – and the smoothie is a convenient and tasty way to increase your calories in pregnancy whilst nourishing your body.
  • MORNING SICKNESS – If you are suffering from morning sickness and find eating food difficult – the smoothie is a great way to nourish your body with a easy to drink smoothie- it also contains ginger.
  • TIREDNESS – If you are feeling exhausted, the smoothie is a nutrient dense snack high in protein, B vitamins and low constipation iron to help keep energy levels up.
  • CONVENIENT- if you are struggling to find the time or energy to eat nutrient dense and healthy foods then the smoothie will be a great help. You could also have it as a quick breakfast by adding fruit, oats and vegetables to your smoothie to further increase calories.
  • PROTEIN & CALCIUM – It is ideal as a high-protein, high-calcium snack in pregnancy with each smoothie giving you 30% of your protein needs

Key nutrients needed for pregnancy

The Healthy Mummy Pregnancy Smoothie provides a Good Source of Vitamins & Minerals – providing extra nutrition, including protein, vitamins & minerals for expectant mums

  • Folate – contributes to maternal tissue growth during pregnancy. Consumption of at least 400mcg† per day, at least one month before & three months following conception may reduce the risk of fetal neural tube defects
  • Vitamin B12 – necessary for normal cell division, neurological structure & function, & contributes to normal blood formation, which are important processes during pregnancy
  • Calcium – necessary for normal teeth, bone structure, important for baby’s development
  • Iodine, Phosphorous, Vitamin D & Vitamin B12 – contribute to normal growth & development, including that of the baby
  • Vitamin C, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Folate & Iron– contributes to the reduction of tiredness & fatigue, symptoms often experienced by expectant mums
  • Protein – necessary for tissue building & repair, normal growth & development of bone & contributes to the growth of muscle mass
  • Probiotics – contribute to gastrointestinal health & the maintenance of beneficial gastrointestinal microflora, which can benefit pregnant women
  • Fibre – aids in regular bowel motions, which can become irregular during pregnancy.

You can download the Pregnancy Smoothie Label here.  

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