Archive for the ‘ Cravings ’ Category

Those Pregnancy Chocolate Cravings: Mental, or Physical?

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Early in my pregnancy, I was casually strolling the aisles of Lowe’s Home Improvement with my husband. With the cash register impulse buys, I spied a packet of Red Vines. My reaction caught me off guard: I have never, ever wanted any single food item so badly. I needed it. It was a downright visceral, bodily urge.

And if you’ve ever experienced a pregnancy craving too, you know that it can feel about as physical a need as thirst in a desert. But are they? I was fascinated to read in New York magazine that new research suggests pregnancy cravings may be indeed be mental.

The study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, focused on chocolate. Instead of craving chocolate, say, as a biological response to needing more calories to support a growing fetus, or as a result of fluctuating hormones, or out of a desire for caffeine during a period of flagging energy — the research showed that women may be drawn to chocolate during the one time in her life it’s “socially acceptable” to indulge in such consumption.

The study found that during pregnancy, “women take on a more functional view of their body, which legitimizes divergence from cultural ideals of thinness and restraint.” Few women, according to the research, even report efforts to battle their cravings.

Apparently, we figure if we’re ever going to settle in for some Netflix binge-watching with a spoon in a bucket of rocky road—pregnancy’s the time.

But let’s hear from the mamas out there: Do you buy the idea that your pregnancy cravings are all in your head?

Are you interested in healthy pregnancy meal plans? Take this quick survey and let us know what you want!

Pregnant? Sign up for our pregnancy newsletters to give you the inside scoop, every step of the way. And don’t forget to like Everything Pregnancy to keep up with the very latest in pregnancy news.

How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy:Decoding Pregnancy Cravings
How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy:Decoding Pregnancy Cravings
How to Eat Healthy During Pregnancy:Decoding Pregnancy Cravings

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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Pregnancy Weight Gain: Too Much OR Too Little Could Lead to Childhood Obesity!

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

File under Pregnant Women Just Can’t Catch a Break! It seems pregnant women need to follow the message from Goldie Locks and the Three Bears: You don’t want to be eating too much food or two little food, you want to be eating just the right amount—unless you want your kids to be overweight.

You probably already know that research says that if you gorge yourself on junk food while you’re pregnant, your child has a bigger chance of getting addicted to junk food, and to grow up to be obese. But now a new study in American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which observed 4,000 pregnant women and their children, says that eating too little while pregnant can have the same effect. So as much as it is important to curb your crazy pregnancy cravings (but do let yourself indulge in some!), you don’t want to overdo it with a restrictive diet while you’re pregnant either.

Not only do you need to make sure you’re getting all of the nutrients you need to have the energy to carry your baby, but he or she needs a healthy diet in utero as well. Otherwise, there could be long-lasting consequences to the child’s metabolism, appetite control, and fat storage. So you could be contributing to childhood obesity before you even have your baby!

According to the study, children of women who were a healthy weight before getting pregnant ended up being affected the most by what their moms ate while pregnant. A slim woman who ate too much in pregnancy was 80 percent more likely to have a heavy child than one who ate the right amount. That may not surprise you. But a woman who was a healthy weight before pregnancy, who ate too little, was still 63 percent more likely to have an overweight or obese child. Say what? It seems virtually impossible to know how much to eat!

Talk to your doctor about what is the right amount of weight gain for you, as each woman is different, but here are some general guidelines. If you were a normal weight before pregnancy, a 25-35 pound weight gain is best. If you were underweight, you should gain 28-40 pounds. If you were overweight, you should only gain 15-25 pounds. If you were obese, 15 pounds is sufficient, and if you are carrying twins, aim to gain 35-45 pounds.

How much will you gain? Check out our pregnancy weight gain calculator!

Pregnancy weight gain: What’s normal, what’s not?

TELL US: How much weight did you gain while pregnant?

Image of child on scale courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Try This Pregnancy-Safe Sushi Recipe

Friday, February 28th, 2014

One of pregnant women’s major food cravings is always sushi! Even though there is evidence that having sushi during pregnancy is safer than you think—and that eating fish while pregnant actually helps lower anxiety—so many pregnant women still don’t want to risk it (no pressure, ladies!). So, in honor of Foodie Friday, here is a fish-free alternative from the creative chefs at SUSHISAMBA that will satisfy your sushi pregnancy cravings while packing in tons of potassium, fiber, magnesium, iron, B-6 (with all-important folic acids), vitamin A, and protein.

Yasai Temaki Recipe
serves 1 (but can be multiplied to make larger batches)

2 pieces sweet potato tempura (approximately 1.4 oz.)
0.1 oz. sweet soy (bottled)
2 slices avocado, ripe/freshly sliced (approximately 0.7 oz.)
2 pieces pea shoot
1.2 oz. red quinoa, cooked
.5” soy paper (half cut)
tempura batter

Quinoa ingredients:
1 cup red quinoa (100% organic)
2 cups water

Method: Heat water with quinoa in a medium sized pan. Cover and keep heat on high until water is boiling, then turn heat to medium until water is absorbed. Total boiling time is roughly 15 minutes.

Temaki preparation:
Step 1: Prepare sweet potato tempura
Slice sweet potato in half lengthwise. Lightly coat in tempura batter and cook (as per instructions on tempura batter box). Then, slice the sweet potato into fries (1 fry equals 1 piece).

Step 2: Prepare avocado
Cut the avocado in half lengthwise and twist the two halves until they separate. Cut the half into quarters. Cut off the ends, remove the skin and slice lengthwise into ¼ inch slices. Set the slices aside.

Tip: You can include whatever vegetables you like—scallion, carrot, zucchini, radish —to customize your temaki to your own personal taste.

Step 3: Prepare the soy paper
Tear or cut the soy paper sheets in half. Hold a ½ sheet of soy paper with one side down in the palm of one hand.

Step 4: Press quinoa into soy paper
Moisten your other hand with a little water and ball up the 1.2 oz. of prepared quinoa. Press it into the left side of the soy paper.

Step 5: Add filling
Lay vegetable filling alongside quinoa.

Step 6: Wrap into cone
Tightly wrap the opposite right-hand edge around, using a folding and tucking method to create a cone shape with the filling on the inside.

Step 7: Secure edge
Use a dab of quinoa on the corner to secure the inside edge of the soy paper to the outside of the cone.

Step 8: Place on plate, garnish, and enjoy!

SUSHISAMBA has locations in London, Las Vegas, New York City, Chicago, Coral Gables, and Miami.

How well do you know your favorite celebrity’s pregnancy cravings? Find out here!

TELL US: What is your biggest pregnancy craving? Are you eating fish and sushi while pregnant? Why or why not?

Image courtesy of SUSHISAMBA.


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Is Your Unborn Child Already a Junk Food Junkie?

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Put down those Doritos and read this! The foods you’re eating during pregnancy and while breast feeding are shaping the way that your unborn child will eat for years to come, according to a new study. That’s right—bad eating habits form in utero.

Researchers at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, a nonprofit research organization in Philadelphia, found that babies’ taste buds are directly linked to what their moms ate while pregnant with them. So if you’re eating a diverse and varied diet, your child will eventually be a less picky eater, who is open to trying new things. Your good habits are being passed down to them, and that will show in how they eat as toddlers and later on as adults.

But your bad habits are being passed down as well. A study conducted at the University of Adelaide in South Australia found that if you are eating sugary or fatty foods, your child will actually have cravings for those foods and form an emotional attachment to them. Moms who ate Froot Loops, Cheetos and Nutella during pregnancy had children that built up a tolerance for those foods, so that they needed more of them to get the same gratification from eating them. That is how researchers believe the US’ obesity epidemic all started (70 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese).

According to the New York Times, “researchers believe that the taste preferences that develop at crucial periods during infancy have lasting effects for life. In fact, changing food preferences beyond toddlerhood appears to be extremely difficult.” So when you tell people you’re “eating for two,” you really are—not the amount of calories for two people, but you are choosing what your baby will be eating for the rest of his or her life. Just think about that the next time you have a craving! Of course it’s fine to indulge every now and again (here are some ideas for doing that the smart way), but know that your eating habits do have long-term effects on your little one, so choose your meals wisely!

Test your Pregnancy Nutrition IQ here.

TELL US: What foods have you cut out while you’re pregnant? What are your healthy indulgences?

Image of pregnant woman eating a salad courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Unpasteurized Cheese While Pregnant? Don’t Do It!

Friday, October 11th, 2013

When you’re pregnant, your OB tells you all of the things that you can’t eat—and soft, unpasteurized cheeses are right at the top of the list. As my doctor was running down the list of noshing no-nos, I wondered, How bad could cheese really be for you? But being the goody-goody, by-the-books type I would never break the rules if it could possibly harm my little peanut. So I said buh-bye to my beloved Brie, Feta and Queso Fresco.

Now after reading this horrifying piece in The Daily Mail, I’m so glad I didn’t take the risk. Twenty-five-year-old mom-to-be Vanessa White from Las Vegas is thought to have contracted tuberculosis after eating unpasteurized cheese from abroad, which caused her to go into premature labor. And now for the really sad news: She and both of her daughters ended up dying. Because. Of. Cheese!

How could someone die from dairy? It sounds impossible, mind-blowing even. Well, it truly is dangerous. Unpasteurized soft cheeses may contain dangerous bacteria including the one that can cause fatal tuberculosis, and another one called Listeria, which can cross over into the placenta and lead to infections or blood poisoning in the baby, or even miscarriage.

If you don’t know much about listeria, get educated now! According to the FDA, symptoms of Listeriosis can take days or even weeks to appear and may include fever, chills, muscle aches, diarrhea, headache, stiff neck, and loss of balance. Often the pregnant women who are infected don’t even feel sick, so they are passing the infection on to their unborn babies without even knowing it.

While Listeriosis is still pretty rare in the US (The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 1600 illnesses and 260 deaths occur annually in the US due to Listeriosis), the sad fact is that it really does happen, and it wouldn’t seem all that “rare” or “unlikely” if it happened to you or one of your loved ones. Plus? Research has shown that pregnant women are 10 times more likely to get Listeriosis than other healthy adults, and an estimated 14 percent of Listeria cases occur in pregnant women.

No matter how fantastic a creamy cheese is (and, boy, do I love ‘em!), it’s obviously not worth risking yours or your baby’s life over. But after the baby’s born, you can let loose and fill those cravings with a much-deserved girls’ wine and cheese night!

TELL US: What is the hardest food or drink for you to give up while pregnant?

Image of cheese plate courtesy of Shutterstock.

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