Sweet, salty, sour, spicy — cravings during pregnancy can run the gamut. While certain cravings may indicate a nutritional need, many can be attributed to the amped-up hormones coursing through your body. So what types of food (and non-food items!) do pregnant women crave the most? Check out our interview with Dr. Chloe Zera and our slideshow to get the scoop on pregnancy cravings.
Some believe that a chocolate craving is attributed to a pregnant woman's increased caloric needs. If you're craving chocolate, pass over the milk chocolate and reach for the dark stuff — it will help satisfy your craving better, plus it's been shown to help improve heart health and is loaded with antioxidants.
Pickles (along with olives and potato chips) are a typical craving culprit. Increased blood volume raises a pregnant woman's need for sodium, making these salty foods a common go-to.
Eggs are a fantastic source of protein, which is one reason they might be a commonly craved food. No matter how you eat them, just make sure the yolk and white are thoroughly cooked to reduce the risk of salmonella.
It could be the body's need for calcium that has pregnant women reaching for the cheese. Although it isn't a bad food to indulge in, too much of it can (sadly) lead to extra weight gain. Load up on calcium-rich veggies like leafy greens and broccoli to help balance it out.
The combination of protein and fat is what some believe makes bacon a crave-worthy food. We think it's the simple fact that it's delicious! Increasing healthy fats and lean protein might combat this craving, but in the meantime — bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich, anyone?
Who wouldn't use an ice cream craving as an excuse to indulge? Milk products in general usually top the pregnancy craving charts, most likely because of their high calcium content. If you find your ice cream consumption getting a little out of control, try switching to chocolate milk, sherbet, or low-fat frozen yogurt.
Some think this craving could signal a need for vitamin C; others think it's the body's way of trying to get some natural, healthy foods in your diet. Either way, it's a good craving to have! Just keep in mind that too much can lead to a spike in blood sugar, so try to balance it out with some protein.
Spicy foods, such as chili peppers, salsa, and cuisines known for fiery entrees are a typical craving for many pregnant women, even those who aren't normally a fan of foods that bring a tear to their eye. It's fine to indulge this craving, just be aware that heartburn and indigestion might be an unpleasant side effect.
A peanut butter craving could signal a need for vitamin B or protein. If you can't get enough, pair it with a healthier food (like apples) to help satisfy your need without eating the entire jar.