Many surrogate mothers have experienced cravings during pregnancy for foods that they couldn’t have cared less about before. Some of these cravings are healthy for you and good for the baby, but not all of them – sometimes they can be actively dangerous.
To deal with the cravings, you need to remember to choose healthy options that resemble any unhealthy food you might be craving – you need to integrate some of those cravings for salty, sweet, sour and spicy foods into a nutritionally-balanced diet.
Here are some suggestions for healthier alternatives to commonly-craved food.
1. When you want ice-cream, go instead for non-fat frozen yogurt. This meets your calcium needs while containing far fewer calories.
2. Instead of chocolate, try drizzling some non-fat chocolate syrup onto fresh fruits.
3. Instead of candy, take dried fruits like apricots, or fresh tropical fruit such as mangoes or pineapple.
4. Instead of salty snacks, opt for popcorn sprinkled with herb blends. Sesame breadsticks with spicy mustard dip are also a good substitute.
5. When you’re craving something sour, try squeezing some lemon on your fish, or into a salad. This ensures regular but moderated intake without empty calories. Sugary lemonade can also help meet this need.
Occasionally, pregnant women crave non-food items such as paper, laundry starch and chalk. This is known as ‘pica eating’, and these desires are always best to resist – they can be harmful to you and your baby’s health.
Do your best to keep these pica cravings out of your mind – reward yourself with other treats for resisting them, possibly even unhealthier treats like chocolate.
Occasionally, these cravings can be a sign of other problems – if they persist and become bothersome, see your doctor.
Remember, food cravings are normal during pregnancy. It’s entirely possible to satisfy them while still providing your baby with the nutrients they need to grow. But don’t give in too much to your desire for high-calorie foods – they may translate into excessive weight gain, which in turn increases the risk of gestational diabetes and unhealthy blood pressure.
Instead, make sure your diet is balanced – it should include lean sources of protein, reduced-fat dairy foods, whole grains, fruit, vegetables and legumes. If your diet is generally good, a little bit of unhealthy food won’t crowd out the nutrition you and your baby need.
Keep these simple substitution tips in mind, and you can be sure that your surrogate baby will get all the nutrients it needs to properly develop.