Pregnancy Cravings: What Do They Mean?

I craved guava when I was pregnant. I was lucky it was in season and I could actually get it, but it’s not a cheap fruit to buy by the box. I ended up spending a small fortune trying to satisfy my pregnancy craving. At least it was a healthy one. Other pregnant ladies may not be so lucky, wanting ice-cream, chocolate and even non-food substances and having to control themselves. So where do pregnancy cravings come from and what do they mean?

Researchers have come up with a variety of answers to this question and have presented convincing evidence for their theories, so pregnancy cravings most likely occur as a result of several different factors.

RELATED: Nutrients And Vitamins Important During Pregnancy

Nutrient deficiency

It’s logical to expect that our body will use cravings to point us towards foods containing nutrients we lack. If you crave fruit, you probably need more vitamin C. Cravings for salty foods (pickles, anyone?) can be a result of increased blood volume and therefore, increased need for sodium. Craving sweets may be due to increased energy needs.

the not-so-normal behaviour pica (eating of non-food substances) can be an indication that you’re lacking important nutrients. Research has found a link between pica and iron deficiency

Emotional needs

During pregnancy many of us experienced a roller-coaster of emotions. Heightened stress and anxiety may contribute to cravings of comfort foods like sweets and snacks. A study K. Hurley (2005) also reported a link between stress and meat aversion. I found this to be in line with my own experience. I was very stressed out during my third pregnancy. Muffins were in and meat was totally off the menu.


Your hormone balance changes during pregnancy and there’s evidence to suggest that hormones are responsible for changes in our appetites. They are also thought to affect our taste buds, but researchers haven’t been able to link particular hormones to any specific food cravings.

Should you give in to your pregnancy cravings? It depends on what you’re craving. Not much harm can come from eating too many guavas, but it’s not a great idea to snack on sweets all day. Try figuring out what it is about the food you’re craving that you really want and satisfy your body’s needs in the healthiest possible way.

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October 19, 2014

Pregnancy Cravings – Do They Mean Anything?

There is much debate over whether craving certain foods during pregnancy actually means anything and studies conducted in the past have failed to come up with any concrete evidence. Some health professionals believe that cravings are a sign that your body is deficient in certain vitamins or minerals whilst others believe that cravings are the result of hormonal changes in our bodies which alter our taste and smell during pregnancy. It has also been suggested that cravings for particular foods can be a response to our emotional needs when we are pregnant and that cravings can have a correlation to the sex of your unborn baby.

Whether you believe the theories or not, here are some foods that are commonly craved during pregnancy, and what that might mean for you.

Women who crave chocolate during pregnancy can sometimes be lacking in magnesium but if you’re worried about how much chocolate you’re eating then consider eating some more healthy options packed with magnesium including spinach, kale, almonds and cashews. Although, there is certainly no harm in sneaking in the odd chocolate or two.

Cravings for salty foods such as potato chips and pickles may be associated with your body’s increase in blood volume during pregnancy. Sodium is used in our bodies for controlling blood volume and because our blood volume increases during pregnancy that may explain the need for an increased sodium intake.

If spicy foods are high on your radar during pregnancy it may be a sign that your body is needing to cool off. Spicy foods make your body sweat which in turn cools down your body.

Many mums to be crave sour foods, particularly in the third trimester. It has been suggested that this craving could be our body’s desire for a varied diet which will provide the unborn baby with a range of nutrients that it needs as it grows.

Strangely enough, some women experience cravings for non-food related items such as ice, laundry detergent, chalk or dirt. These cravings have been associated with Pica disorder which is when people eat these same non-food items, possibly because of a mineral deficiency such as iron. If you are craving any of these items it’s important to see your GP for a blood test to determine if you are iron deficient. Never indulge in this craving, as these substances can be toxic.

Did you have any weird and wonderful food cravings during your pregnancy?  We’d love to hear them!

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August 2, 2014

Healthy Foods To Snack On During Pregnancy

Nourish yourself and your growing baby with these hunger-crushing, pregnancy diet-approved snacks that are both delicious and healthy.

Sliced vegetables and Greek yoghurt dip
Keep a container of chopped vegetables ready in your refrigerator for whenever you need a snack with some crunch. Pair your crudités with plain Greek yoghurt seasoned with spices, like cumin or simple salt and pepper, stirred in to add much-needed protein and calcium.

Trail mix
Trail mix is an ideal snack to have when you are on the go. Slightly sweet and very filling, keep a ziplock bag in your purse or desk drawer. Choose a trail mix that is low in added sugars and full of natural ingredients. Better yet, make your own by lightly toasting some oats, adding in your favorite nuts, and finishing with some dried fruit. The carbs in this snack will give you an energy boost for the remainder of your afternoon and the protein in the nuts will keep you feeling full longer. The healthy fats in nuts like walnuts and almonds are great for baby’s brain (and yours as well!).

You don’t have to save sandwiches just for lunch. Make yourself a healthy half-sandwich to get you from breakfast to lunch. The combination of carbohydrates, veggies and protein makes for a healthy snack that beats a greasy bag of chips or sugary candy bar any day.

Apple and nut butter
It’s hard to beat the classic combination of apples and peanut butter, but surprise your taste buds and load on the omega-3s with almond butter or cashew butter. The sweetness of the apple combined with the creaminess of the nut butter can help your late-night sweet-salty cravings.

Sweet potato fries
We always need antioxidants and vitamins, but never quite as much as when we are expecting a new little one. You are your baby’s sole source of nutrition while you’re carrying them inside you, so be sure to look for vitamin-packed, antioxidant rich foods like sweet potatoes. Make them snack friendly by cutting them into small wedges. Toss with olive oil and the seasonings of your choice. Roast until crispy.

Avocado and red pepper
This snack is a nutritional powerhouse. Omega-3s, antioxidants, vitamins and fibre – this one packs in a multitude of nutritional benefits for moms-to-be. Plus, it’s delicious and easy to throw together when hunger strikes.

April 12, 2014