It’s a well known fact that pregnancy cravings are a common symptom of pregnancy.  From chocolate and ice cream to brussel sprouts and anchovies (mine were bread sauce and cherry tomatoes!!), there’s no telling what will flick your pregnancy switch, but what should you do if you’re craving something that isn’t healthy?

Dr Rana Conway, a Registered Nutritionist and leading expert on nutrition in pregnancy, wants help mums-to-be enjoy good food during their pregnancy, with simple and practical advice at every stage, and delicious, healthy recipes for each trimester – and once baby is born.

Mums-to-be often develop a sweet tooth or crave salty snacks during pregnancy, but there is no evidence that your body needs what you crave.

Dr Rana Conway says,

“The problem with eating more junk food is that you end up eating less of the good stuff.  Plus, when mums-to-be eat a high Glycaemic Index (GI) diet – and most junk foods are high GI foods – babies in the womb are exposed to slightly higher levels of glucose, as well as causing your blood glucose to spike rapidly and then plummet, leaving you feeling hungry and looking for a quick fix. Low GI foods take longer to digest so levels rise and fall more gently, so you feel fuller for longer.

Low GI snacks – under 200kcal

  • A slice of granary toast with mashed avocado, black pepper and lemon juice
  • Two oat cakes with cheddar cheese and a handful of grapes
  • A small handful of mixed nuts, seeds and dried fruit
  • Sliced apple with almond butter for dipping
  • 40g of bran cereal with semi-skimmed milk and a few sultanas
  • Try a junk food swap to help keep cravings under control …

6 Junk Food swaps to keep cravings under control:

  1. Chocolate. SWAP WITH: strawberries dipped in a good quality dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids.
  2. Ice cream. SWAP WITH:  sliced banana with natural yogurt, a swirl of honey and some flaked almonds.
  3. Crisps. SWAP WITH: plain or lightly salted popcorn.
  4. Cake. SWAP WITH: toasted wholemeal bagel with mashed banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  5. Fizzy drinks. SWAP WITH: Pure fruit juice mixed with sparkling water.
  6. Chewy sweets. SWAP WITH: a small handful of dried apricots or raisins.

5 Top Tips to help avoid food cravings:

  1. Eat a hearty breakfast to prevent you reaching for a mid-morning muffin.
  2. Eat low GI carbs, like wholegrain bread, and protein-rich foods like nuts, seeds, Greek yogurt and hard boiled eggs, along with lots of fruit and veg to help you feel fuller for longer.
  3. Eat regularly – two to three snacks a day, in addition to three meals, will help ensure blood sugar levels never reach rock bottom.
  4. Have healthy snack foods ready at work and home, so you are not tempted by a quick fix.
  5. Get an early night – being tired can make you eat more and often choose the wrong types of food.

6 Common misconceptions – the facts:

  1. Avoiding peanuts doesn’t reduce the risk of your baby developing an allergy to them, and oddly might increase it.
  2. Ginger is a good cure for morning sickness – but you’ll need more than you think!  Include ginger in drinks or food 3 or 4 times a day to reap the benefits. Try ginger tea and adding grated ginger to soups and stir-fries.
  3. Eating a hot curry won’t bring on labour!
  4. Fruit juices and smoothies are not as good for you as whole fruit – they contain less fibre and the fruit sugar is easily absorbed and can quickly cause blood sugar levels to spike.
  5. Be extra careful about washing fruit and veg – when you’re pregnant, changes in your immune system mean you’re more susceptible to food poisoning.
  6. Carrots are very good for pregnant women – they’re rich in beta-carotene, a form of Vitamin A that’s needed for the development of your baby’s skin, eyes and lungs, and also helps ensure you both have a healthy immune system.