Healthy Substitute Cheat-Sheet For Expecting Mothers

Food cravings are a common occurrence for expecting mothers, about half of them report at least one food craving during their pregnancy. Cravings can be defined as sudden urges for a particular dish or snack and can occur at any time of the day or night.

Studies suggest that hormonal changes are the main reason for food cravings since there are no other proven reasons. However, some practitioners believe that certain cravings contain hidden messages.


For example, during a condition known as pica, women tend to crave for weird substances such as cigarettes, laundry, and starch. This is linked to the deficiency of iron in their body, however, none of these contain iron.1

Other studies suggest, craving for chocolates during pregnancy comes from the deficiency of magnesium. Most of the time women submit to these food cravings, but the truth is that the cravings are not likely to be your most nutritious and healthy food choices after all.


It is vital to keep a check on these cravings and substitute them with healthy alternatives or superfoods.2

Cheat-Sheet For Expecting Mothers

To do this, first take a look at what type of taste the food has that you are craving such as: salty, sour, bitter, sweet, or spicy and then follow the below cheat-sheet to satisfy your needs with a healthy substitute.


1. If You Crave Sweets

Sweets are the most common craving, ice cream, chocolate, doughnuts. When you’re pregnant, it can seem like all you think about is dessert. Fresh fruit is the best choice when sweet cravings kick in.

Dry fruit can also pack a punch, and it’s portable, so keep a mix in your bag for when cravings strike. Sorbet, fruit-juice popsicles, or a chai-vanilla shake can make great substitutes when ice cream cravings hit. Or, in the summer, reach for iced herbal teas, sparkling water, or anything else that cools you off while keeping you hydrated.


2. If You Crave Salt

Next time you start to reach for chips or pretzels, consider popcorn instead. Unbuttered lightly salted popcorn is a light, enjoyable, eat-anywhere snack. Pretzel sticks and tortilla chips with salsa can also help curb salt cravings – just make sure to drink an extra glass of water to stay hydrated if you indulge in salt.

3. If You Crave Grease

You might need protein. Before turning to a cheeseburger, consider healthier foods that provide that same rich taste and texture. Nuts, beans, and lentils are great, healthy sources of filling protein, and dips like hummus or nut butter go a long way to curbing hunger.


4. If You Crave Starch

Carbs are comforting, so who can blame you? Treats like bread, pasta, and mashed potatoes are classic go-to comfort foods, but they also can wreak havoc on your blood sugar. If you find yourself dreaming about carbs, try oatmeal, whole-grain cereals, or a rice cake.

5. If You Crave Spice

Spicy foods, such as curry, hot red peppers or jalapenos, are yet another common craving among pregnant women. Interestingly enough, it’s because hot foods make the body sweat, which cools off the body.


Instead of going all out on spicy food, you could try adding a bit of spice to other foods. For example, scrambled eggs with spicy salsa, popcorn sprinkled with spicy seasoning, spicy roasted chickpeas etc.

6. If You Crave Sour

The urge for sour foods often has pregnant women reaching for sour stuff. This craving has been found to be more prevalent in the second and third trimester, and some think it’s the body’s natural way of getting a more varied diet.


For a healthier alternative, try sliced apples soaked in lemon juice, frozen grapes, plain Greek yogurt with berries or freshly squeezed lemonade or grapefruit juice.

And don’t forget: healthy eating is important, but don’t feel too guilty if you indulge every once in a while. Pregnancy is difficult, and if the occasional treat cheers you up, that’s good for you and your baby.