So you’ve made it through the first-trimester morning sickness and your appetite has finally returned. Yes, it’s nice not to feel sick all the time, but now you’re craving sweets and junk food instead. Those three pieces of 8-layer red velvet cake you ate yesterday after lunch certainly weren’t good for you and your baby. We know, it can be really hard to resist these cravings. But if you do, you and your baby will be happy and healthy through all nine months of your pregnancy. To help you with this goal, we’ve assembled a list of the 10 best ways to curb pregnancy cravings and keep sugar and sweets out of your head.
1. Snack On Healthy Foods
You’re going to get hungry between meals and you’re going to crave sweets and sugar. It’s inevitable. But you can outsmart these cravings by keeping plenty of healthy snacks on hand. We recommend setting healthy snacks like fruit, nuts, and raw vegetables out on your counter or desk within easy reach. That way, when you have visions of cupcakes dancing in your head, you can grab an apple instead. We know that an orange isn’t as exciting as a peanut-butter-filled candy bar, but it is much, much healthier for you and your baby.
2. Drink More Water To Curb Pregnancy Cravings
Drinking at least 8 cups of water every day is very important when you’re pregnant. Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration. This dehydration can trick your body into thinking that it needs a dozen chocolate chip cookies when all it needs is a big glass of water. That’s because the symptoms of dehydration—sleepiness and low energy—are similar to those of hunger. We suggest that before you give in to a craving, try drinking a cup of water and waiting 10 minutes. Filling your stomach—even with just water—is often enough to kick those pregnancy cravings to the curb where they belong.
3. Eat Breakfast Every Day
We’ve all suffered from those cravings that creep in around 10 a.m. and plague us until lunch. What’s the solution? Starting your day with a healthy, well-balanced meal. This will keep you from feeling the need to snack on unhealthy foods between meals.
A healthy breakfast can take many forms, but we recommend a small bowl of oatmeal, a hardboiled egg, an orange, and a glass of milk. You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen making all kinds of fancy dishes. Keep it simple and you’ll be more likely to eat breakfast everyday.
4. Distract Yourself With Exercise
If cravings typically rear their ugly head around 3 in the afternoon, try distracting yourself with light exercise. We recommend scheduling a short walk for the times when your cravings become most intense. It doesn’t have to be a long walk by any means, just long enough to get your blood moving and get your mind off the chocolate mousse pie in the fridge.
6. Get Emotional Support
A good support network of Moms who’ve been through the pregnancy-craving minefield can help you get through it too. When you feel the need to stuff your face with a bag of snack-size candy bars, call or text a friend instead. Just talking to someone else about their craving experiences can get your mind off your own need for junk food.
7. Don’t Shop For Groceries On An Empty Stomach
Eating a healthy meal or snack before grocery shopping is a good idea for pregnant and non-pregnant women alike. We’ve heard countless stories of women giving in to their pregnancy cravings at the sight of the cookie aisle. We recommend always eating at least a healthy snack before you go to the market. That will keep you from snacking on a candy bar as you shop.
8. Indulge With A Small Craving Once In A While
You don’t have to deprive yourself all the time. We suggest indulging your cravings once or twice a week as way to help you cope. If you do, try a small dish of ice cream instead of the whole tub. Or try a small square of chocolate instead of the whole bar (or two). Sometimes all you need is a taste to satisfy the craving that’s been pestering you for the past few days. Give in to that craving but do it in a controlled way and you and your baby will be happier.
9. Don’t Tempt Yourself
If we had to look at that box of cream-stuffed pastries every day, we’d start to crave them too. We’re going to guess that you’re no different. Avoid the temptation altogether by getting rid of all the junk food from your cabinets. Out of sight, out of mind may not always work, but it’s a great place to start. Couple that with having plenty of healthy snacks on hand, and you can fight back those cravings like the warrior-princess that you are.
10. Nap Through Cravings
Getting plenty of rest is an easy way to combat cravings. Chances are, when you’re tired or run-down, the first thing you’re going to do is reach for a bag of cookies to get recharged. To help you steer clear of this craving, we recommend taking a nap when you start to feel the need for junk food coming on. Even just 20 short minutes can renew your energy levels and curb pregnancy cravings for a few hours.