Pregnancy cravings are a signal to your body that it needs something. The right foods and the right quality help you avoid cravings and excessive weight gain. It is a signal that your body needs something specific, and it is not saying it just needs more calories necessarily. This is important to keep in mind because you really do not need to eat for two. You only need to increase your caloric intake by 300 calories starting in the second trimester and 500 calories in the third trimester.
So what do those cravings mean? It is common to hear about women craving chocolate during pregnancy or craving fruit. If you are having chocolate cravings, check out this blog post. The two most common pregnancy cravings we hear about are ice cream and pickles, and it can be easy to reach for the junk.
Ice cream is a signal to your body that you need fats, which are critical to your baby’s brain development. The fat soluble vitamins, A, D, and K2, are critical for cellular creation and function. For example, VItamin A facilitates the signal to develop all your baby’s organs, starting even before you would get a positive pregnancy test. Some great sources of healthy fats are avocados, pasture raised dairy, salmon, and whole eggs. I loved having some salmon lox, runny eggs, sauteed greens, and half an avocado for breakfast when I was pregnant! I ate eggs almost every morning during my pregnancy because they are packed with choline, which is critical for your baby’s brain development. You can also make a homemade treat such as coconut milk hot chocolate, coconut cream custard, or avocado chocolate pudding for healthy fats.
A craving for pickles means the body is asking for sodium and probiotics. The probiotics support the gut bacteria and will be the basis for your baby’s immunity when they are born. Probiotics also support digestion and absorption of nutrients. Other than taking a probiotic, you can eat high quality yogurt, sauerkraut, or pickled veggies. For sauerkraut or pickled vegetables, try to find brands without artificial ingredients that are in the refrigerator section and not on the shelf, or ideally, make them at home. We like making spicy pickled green beans, and it is so easy! You can even start by just using more apple cider vinegar on your foods or in your water to support your gut health. Your body needs more sodium because of the increased blood volume and sodium supports your adrenals, which are working overtime while your body creates another human life. Sodium is great for the adrenals first thing in the morning so you can also sprinkle a dash of sea salt on your breakfast to boost your energy and digestion.