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How to Satisfy Hunger During Pregnancy.
Many pregnant women struggle with hunger and cravings.
While it is acceptable to indulge in cravings occasionally, what you eat nourishes your child, too.
Thus, it is essential that you eat healthily to benefit both you and your baby.
Having a balanced diet will also help you gain the appropriate amount of pregnancy weight.
Developing Healthy Habits
Speak with your physician about healthy weight gain.
Underweight women will need to gain more pounds during pregnancy.
Women with higher body mass indexes (BMI), will need to add fewer pounds.
General guidelines suggest:
If you possessed a BMI of less than 18.5 before becoming pregnant, you should gain 13 to 18 kilograms (28 to 40 pounds).
If you had a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 pre-pregnancy, aim to add 11 to 16 kilograms (25 to 35 pounds).
If you had a BMI between 25 and 29.9, you should gain 7 to 11 kilograms (about 15 to 25 pounds).
If you had a BMI of more than 30, you should add 5 to 9 kilograms (about 11 to 20 pounds).
If you are carrying twins, the general recommendation is 16 to 20 kilograms (35 to 45 pounds).
If you are carrying triplets, you may need to gain between 23 and 27 kilograms (50 and 60 pounds).
Speak with your doctor about healthy weight gain if you are having a multiple pregnancy.
Plan your calorie intake.
You do not need to “eat for two.” Rather, if your pre-pregnancy BMI was in the normal range, you should eat 300 extra calories daily during your second trimester.
In your third trimester, up this amount to 452 extra calories per day.
Always eat breakfast.
Eat small healthy snacks (yogurt, trail mix, fruit) between larger meals to ward off binge eating.
Keep snacks handy at home, at work, and in your purse or car.
Limit access to junk food.
While there might be days when you are craving dill pickles covered in dark chocolate, generally speaking, you should avoid binging on junk food.
The extra calories should not come from junk food, but from nutrient-dense foods
Try to limit the amount of potato chips, sugary cookies, and sodas in your house.
Everything you eat goes to your baby so keep that in mind.
Avoid emotional eating.
Although your hormones can cause mood swings, try to avoid using food as a comfort device.
Rather if you are feeling blue, try taking a walk or hanging out with a good friend.
Alternatively, reach for “happy” snacks like bananas, which contain amino acids that lead to the production of the mood-enhancing neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.
Other foods that may improve your mood include walnuts, dark chocolate, mushrooms, and green tea.
If you eat too quickly, your body doesn’t realize you are full.
If you eat more slowly and pause between each bite, digestive hormones have time to tell your brain that you are full.
Enjoy your food and avoid eating while watching TV and not registering your food intake.
Cut or break your food into smaller pieces so that you have more pieces to eat.
Eating from a smaller plate can make you feel like you are eating more food.
Eating slowly also helps prevent heartburn.
Listen to your body’s cues.
If you are craving something sweet, you might be lacking certain vitamins found in fruit, for instance.
Similarly, if you are craving something salty, perhaps your sodium levels are off balance.
While you should not follow every craving, be sensitive to what your body is saying.
Covering Your Main Food Groups
Incorporate grains into your diet.
You need carbohydrates to keep your energy levels up.
Whole grain foods are healthy choices and approximately 50% of your grain intake should be from whole grains, whether pasta, rice, or breads.
Consider purchasing breads and cereals with added vitamins, iron, fiber, minerals, and folic acid.
An example of a day’s worth of grains could be breakfast cereal, a sandwich for lunch, and whole grain pasta for dinner.
Eat fruits and vegetables.
You need to eat sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables so that you are well-nourished with plentiful vitamins, minerals, and fibers.
Seek dark green vegetables like spinach as a source of fiber, folate, and Vitamin A.
Citrus fruits provide you with Vitamin C. Aim for five portions of fruits and vegetables daily.
Salads allow you to combine many food groups.
Starting with leafy greens (romaine, spinach, kale, arugula, Swiss Chard), add accompanying vegetables (carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, cabbage, mushrooms, celery).
Top off your salad with mandarins and some sliced chicken breast, chickpeas, or salmon for protein.
Healthy options include a fruit smoothie made with low-fat yogurt and fresh fruits.
Vegetable pizzas or submarine sandwiches also are great choices.
Avocado is a great choice because it has needed healthy fats.
You can create a trail mix filled with nuts, banana chips, raisins, or dates.
Watch the amount of fruit juice you drink.
Because of its high sugar content, it can lead to added pounds.
Get sufficient protein.
For your baby’s development, make sure to include plenty of protein in your diet.
Meat, fish, beans, eggs, and poultry are key sources of protein.
Fish particularly boast fatty omega-3 acids — key to helping your baby’s brain grow.
Aim for 5.5 – 7 oz. of protein per day.
Start your day with protein and fiber.
Scrambled eggs with vegetables or whole grain toast with peanut butter set the right tone for the day and help you feel full and satisfied.
Try omelets with fresh vegetables, salmon fillets, rice and black beans, or edamame.
Avoid eating liver.
Fish with high mercury levels can be dangerous.
Avoid swordfish, tilefish, shark, and king mackerel.
Incorporate dairy products into your diet.
Calcium is a key mineral found in milk and is essential for bone and teeth development.
Consider adding Greek yogurt to your daily diet which is a nutrient-dense food and great source of protein and calcium.
Milk with cereal is also a great combination.
3 cups of dairy products (e.g. 1 cup milk, 1 cup yogurt, 1 cup shredded cheese) are recommended per day.
Goat milk products are a fantastic lactose-free alternative.
You also can purchase juices with extra calcium if you have trouble with lactose.
Incorporate good fats into your diet.
You do need to have fat as part of your prenatal diet.
Try to stick to healthy fats and reduce your intake of saturated fat and hydrogenated fats.
These fats are found in non-lean meat, butter, and processed foods like crackers or chips.
Instead, focus on:
Monounsaturated fats found in nuts, olives, avocados, almond or peanut butter.
Polyunsaturated fats contained in sunflower, flaxseed, and soybean oils.
Aim for 10 cups of liquids daily while you are pregnant.
Although all fluids count towards this total, you should avoid alcohol during pregnancy.
Try to keep your caffeine levels limited to one cup of coffee per day or two cups of tea.
Keep a bottle of water with you at all times.
If you’re not a huge water fan, consider infusing your water with cucumber, lemon, or lime for added, nutritious flavor.
Water helps your digestive system to work well.