Pregnancy cravings

We take a closer look at what causes those pesky pregnancy cravings and offer up some healthy alternatives for expecting moms.


A woman’s taste and smell alters greatly during the early months of pregnancy due to hormone changes. You may be surprised at what you’ll want to eat. We look at what causes pregnancy cravings and offer up some healthy alternatives for expecting moms.

What causes cravings?

“No one really knows why pregnancy cravings occur, though there are theories that it represents some nutrient that the mother may be lacking – and the craving is the body’s way of asking for what it needs,” according to an article on WebMD. The article further states that it’s not that the body actually needs the specific food you are craving, but it may need something in that food. And your taste buds just interpret it as a craving for something specific. Studies have shown that the high hormone levels during pregnancy can alter a woman’s sense of taste and smell, which explains why certain foods and odours can not only be more enticing but in some cases more offensive.

How to curb those cravings

  • Practice portion control. Use a smaller plate than usual
  • Include lean animal protein in your diet
  • Choose healthy alternatives over unhealthy cravings
  • Never skip breakfast
  • Have a healthy high protein breakfast: egg, tomato and wilted spinach
  • Eat healthy snacks between meals
  • Drink enough filtered water

Healthy alternatives

When you feel a craving coming on, try these healthier options instead:

Instead of Try
Ice cream Frozen low-fat yoghurt or smoothies in ice trays
Soft drinks Sparkling/still water with a squeeze of lemon and ginger
Pizza Make your own homemade pizza using veggies
Cake Find a recipe using healthy ingredients such as apple
Potato chips Dip veggie sticks into hummus or popcorn or pretzels
Fried fish Grilled fish with lemon and herbs
Chocolate Choose dark chocolate instead
Too much dried fruit Frozen berries


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