Cravings during pregnancy are a common and completely normal occurrence, especially while your body undergoes all of the changes that come with growing a human. Carby foods are often one of these common cravings, so how do you stay healthy and make the best choices when they do strike?

Carbs themselves are often demonised. However, it’s more about the type of carb you’re consuming rather than carbs themselves. In fact, the right type of carbohydrates are our body’s preferred source of energy. So, let’s distinguish between the good and the bad. Refined and processed carbs are those considered to be the unhealthy option, while unrefined carbs, also known as complex carbs, are perfectly healthy and an important part of a balanced diet.

Refined carbohydrates and processed carbs (the ones we want to minimise and avoid where possible) are found in white bread and wraps, unhealthy cakes, muffins and biscuits, processed cereals, potato chips and so on. However, complex carbs that have minimal to no processing can be incorporated into meals and snacks, especially when those carby cravings hit. Complex carbs are found in wholegrains, vegetables and legumes. Fruits also come under the category of a good carb, in moderate amounts.

So, when the carby cravings hit, you can still go for a snack or meal to satisfy this, though it’s advised you choose the less processed and unrefined versions. Craving potato chips or fries? Try some roasted potatoes instead. Feel like a piece of cake? Why not go for a healthier homemade version, with less refined ingredients and maybe some added fruit or vegetables. Want to have some toast? That’s totally fine, go for some wholemeal sourdough bread and enjoy a couple of slices with a topping of your choice. Definitely don’t feel like you need to scrap the carbs altogether.

When it comes to cravings, it’s always best to have some healthy snacks and options on hand. This will help you reach for a nutritionally superior choice, rather than going for a quick food out of a packet that is likely to be processed.

Some of our carby food ideas for when these types of cravings strike include:
- Wholemeal sourdough toast with your choice of topping.
- Homemade veggie chips (e.g. potato or sweet potato).
- Roast vegetables (pumpkin, potato, sweet potato, beetroot, carrot, etc.).
- Homemade veggie bread, choc zucchini loaf or carrot cake.
- Porridge made with rolled oats.
- Homemade muffins (sweet or savoury).
- Cakes using wholemeal ingredients.
- Cheesy toastie with wholemeal sourdough.
- Sweet potato brownies.

One of the best ways to prevent cravings in the first place is to ensure you have healthy balanced meals throughout the day. This will help to keep you full and satisfied and generally means that your body is less likely to crave other foods. Of course, pregnancy is a bit of an exception and this technique won’t always work, but it can’t hurt to try. Plus, this is beneficial for your overall health regardless.

Including sources of protein, healthy fats and fibre into all of your meals and snacks is also beneficial for reducing cravings, as these are all things that help our body feel satisfied. When our body is full and satisfied, it means we’re less likely to get hungry or experience cravings of these sorts.

With that said, don’t feel like you can’t ever reach for an ‘unhealthy’ option. It’s all about doing the best you can the majority of the time and allowing yourself to enjoy a guilt-free indulgence when you need one. This will be more sustainable in the long term and is a more balanced approach to health.

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