During pregnancy, experiencing food cravings is natural and effectively managing these urges is crucial for both your well-being and the healthy development of your baby. However, when it comes time to celebrate the holidays with friends and family, it might be a bit more challenging. We hear you! Mindful eating can be a great tool to help you find the right balance.
Here are our top five ways you can manage your pregnancy cravings during this winter holiday season.
1. Make sure to meal plan
Meal planning can be highly beneficial in organizing your daily or even weekly food choices. Having nutritious meals and snacks readily available can help you resist giving in to your food cravings.
Additionally, when you start to sense your cravings approaching, write down in a notebook the time and observe if any patterns or trends emerge in the timing of specific cravings. For example, do cravings tend to arise in the afternoons?
Once you figure out the patterns, plan to have a balanced snack about an half an hour to an hour before your food cravings start. Some examples of some balanced snacks include: Greek yogurt with some berries, homemade trail mix, hummus with whole grain pitas or crackers.
2. Find healthy alternatives to fulfill your needs
When you sense a craving, redirect your focus by engaging in enjoyable or relaxing activities that don’t involve eating, such as indulging in a warm bath or starting a new art project. Identify activities that effectively shift your attention away from food cravings, and make an online list so you can refer to in the future. This way, when your cravings strike again, you have a go-to list of activities to turn to instead of reaching for food.
3. Stay well hydrated
Surprisingly, sometimes feelings of hunger or cravings may be attributed to thirst. Ensure you maintain adequate fluid intake, with water making up at least 50% of your daily fluids. And don’t worry, indulging in some alcohol-free eggnog this holiday is perfectly fine! Hydration is particularly crucial during pregnancy, particularly in the colder winter months when our natural response to thirst tends to be less noticeable.
4. Find an enjoyable activity routine
Ensuring that you are getting enough exercise into your routine can be instrumental in managing pregnancy cravings. Simple exercises, such as a 10-15 minute walk around the block on warmer winter days or walking around in your house, can effectively reduce cravings and divert your attention away from them. It’s good practice to consult with your doctor or your health professional to determine which exercises are safe for you during your pregnancy.
5. Create a support system!
Especially during the holidays, consider sharing your feelings about cravings with your partner, friends, and family. Establishing a support system allows you to communicate your challenges and can provide assistance in managing cravings and making healthier choices.
Don’t forget: it’s perfectly acceptable to indulge in your cravings every now and then, especially during the holidays. However, it’s a good idea to do so in moderation to help maintain a balanced approach to meeting your pregnancy nutrition needs. If you feel that you’d like support in finding this balance, book a complimentary meet & greet call with our registered dietitian today.