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Pregnancy Craving: Why Do Pregnant Women Crave Pickles and Other Kinds of Food?

Pregnancy Craving: Why Do Pregnant Women Crave Pickles and Other Kinds of Food?

Weird pregnancy cravings: the source of thousands of jokes and many late-night trips to the grocery store. The most stereotypical pregnancy craving is pickles and ice cream, but pregnant women have reported craving just about any kind of food you can think of. Around half of pregnant women in the U.S. have at least one craving, which can be as standard as the pickles and ice cream cliché, or as strange as eggplant or Cheese Whiz [1] sandwiches. Other foods become repulsive to moms-to-be—sometimes food they loved before pregnancy.

Why do pregnant women crave pickles and other kinds of food?

These cravings and aversions occur for a specific reason—the influx of hormones [2] can cause both biological and neurobiological imbalances. Pregnancy hormones impact a woman’s senses of taste and smell, which can cause major shifts in what she wants to eat. Some scientists also believe that some food cravings can indicate a deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals. The bottom line though? It’s not totally clear why women have cravings and aversions during pregnancy.

Although many women give into their cravings with no problems, food cravings can become severe, causing problems during pregnancy. In these cases, neurocounseling can be effective [3] for reducing or eliminating cravings.

Incorporate cravings into a pregnancy diet for healthy fetal development

Interestingly, some experts have noticed that cravings often change during different stages of pregnancy [4]. For example, many women start becoming hypersensitive to bitterness during the first two trimesters—possibly to prevent the consumption of harmful substances during fetal development.

It’s important to incorporate cravings into a pregnancy diet, since they can be an indication of what the mother or baby needs for healthy development. The catch is that many of these cravings consist of junk food, which should be limited during pregnancy. Too much junk food won’t help the baby’s development, and may cause excess weight gain. Balancing unhealthy cravings with a healthy diet (and healthy cravings) is key for a healthy pregnancy.

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Coming up with alternatives for unhealthy cravings is a good way to ensure you’re getting the nutrition you need without compromising your health. Of course, every once in a while, nothing will do but the specific food you’re craving, and it’s okay to indulge once in a while, as long as it won’t be directly harmful to the baby.

10 Common cravings pregnant women have

1. Chocolate

    One of the most-craved foods among pregnant women is chocolate. Some believe that this is due to an increased caloric need during pregnancy. Research shows that it’s also the most-craved food [5] in the United States. While indulging in a chocolate craving isn’t harmful, it’s better to choose dark chocolate and limit the amount.

    2. Milk & Ice Cream

      Dairy connects to an increased need for calcium during pregnancy. Ice cream is an especially powerful craving, because it is sweet and caloric. If you’re eating too much ice cream, try these recipes [6] for chia pudding for a healthier alternative.

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      3. Steak Fat/Red Meat

        Because of the iron, protein, and vitamin B6 contained in red meat, many women crave steak [7], specifically steak fat during pregnancy. This can be very distressing for vegetarian and vegan women, but some have successfully overcome this craving with daily massages—a treatment that can also help address postpartum depression [8].

        4. Pickles

          Salty pickles are the quintessential pregnancy craving among American women. A greater volume of blood during pregnancy can explain a desire for salty foods, as this increases sodium requirements.

          5. Spicy Food

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            Some women develop strong cravings for spicy food during pregnancy, which is thought to be tied to perspiration. Spicy food can help the body release sweat [9], cooling the expectant mother down.

            6. Fruit

              Fruit is both sweet and nutrient-rich (including vitamin C). Fortunately, this craving is okay to indulge in on a daily basis, preferably using fresh, whole fruit, or cut up into a fruit salad.

              7. Potato Chips

                Just like pickles, potato chips can be a powerful craving because of their salt content. They should be limited during pregnancy because they are quite unhealthy.

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                8. Eggs

                  A need for protein could explain the common craving for eggs, which also contain iron, phosphorous, and B-vitamins. Eggs are a healthy protein choice for women, but should be prepared with hard-cooked yolks to avoid the risk of salmonella. Hard-boiled is a good choice.

                  9. Lemons

                    Specific cravings for tart foods [10] like lemons are more common during the second and third trimester. It’s thought to be linked to both “shocking” the tastebuds, and encouraging a more varied diet. Luckily, lemons can be added to many recipes or just plain water, adding a healthy dose of vitamin C and B-complex vitamins.

                    10. Peanut Butter

                      Peanut butter is a good source of B vitamins and protein, which could explain why this is a common pregnancy craving. Natural peanut butter contains no added sugar, and pairs well with apples.

                      Reference

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                      Last Updated on May 25, 2019

                      20 Spaghetti Squash Recipes For Anyone Who Is Looking For Delicious, Healthy Comfort Food

                      20 Spaghetti Squash Recipes For Anyone Who Is Looking For Delicious, Healthy Comfort Food

                      Spaghetti squash is similar to cucumber. It has a shell which is difficult to pierce and this hard flesh surrounds a hollow cavity filled with seeds. When you cook this vegetable, the squash flesh falls away from the inner cavity and only the reminiscent of spaghetti remains. You can get surprised and delighted to see how this vegetable transforms with cooking.

                      It can act as a great substitute to pasta. It tastes as delicious as the traditional pasta and is equally satisfying but healthier. It is gluten free and contains many nutrients like vitamin A, potassium and folic acid.

                      This incredible vegetable can be boiled, baked or steamed. And, a lot of recipes can be prepared with spaghetti squash as the chief ingredient. I’m sure the following recipes will make your mouth water.

                      Breakfast

                      1. Spiced Coconut Squash Breakfast Porridge

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                        This unconventional porridge, prepared for breakfast, is a perfect dish to start your day. The ingredients include spaghetti squash, organic coconut milk, ginger, coconut flour, maple syrup, cinnamon, sea salt and vanilla extract. It has a comforting and creamy texture and is best served with fresh fruit topping. (Click here for recipe)

                        2. Egg and Avocado Spaghetti Squash Boats

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                          If you’re looking for a light, healthy, gluten free, vegetarian breakfast then avocado spaghetti squash boats is the best option. Besides chopping the squash, breaking the egg and slicing the avocado, this recipe doesn’t require much effort in its preparation. It tastes amazing with egg yolk and salsa and has a rich decadent texture. (Click here for recipe)

                          3. Spaghetti Squash Frittata for One

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                            This frittata, if prepared perfectly, can be an excellent choice for a healthy meal. It is a combination of lots of spaghetti squash, a few white eggs, some red pepper for color and texture, few onions and garlic for flavor, and some fresh herbs for brightness. This dish is usually served large in size and tastes great with tomato sauce and bean balls. (Click here for recipe)

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                            4. Ingredient Spaghetti Squash Brunch

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                              It’s a fast and easy breakfast that contains a poached egg and feta on a pre-roasted pile of spaghetti squash bed. The yolk from the egg floods through the scraps of squash underneath. It almost tastes like an Italian pasta and the light crumble of feta adds more calcium and protein. (Click here for recipe)

                              5. Spaghetti Squash Hash Browns

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                                A very healthy take on hash browns in which spaghetti squash is used in place of potatoes and coconut oil in place of butter. This reduces stress, inflammation and starch, making it healthier than traditional hash browns. It helps lose water weight as well which is helpful for weight loss. The final product is fluffy on the inside but crispy on the outside. It is best served alongside some dippy eggs. (Click here for recipe and image source)

                                Lunch

                                6. Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein

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                                  Spaghetti squash can not only replace Italian pasta but it can also replace the Chinese noodles. They are a delicious, satisfying dish, prepared by stirring and frying spaghetti squash with a rainbow of other vegetables along with a sweet smelling mixture of fish sauce, rice vinegar and soy. They are gluten free and grease free which makes them healthier. (Click here for recipe)

                                  7. Parmesan Zucchini and Spaghetti Squash with Pine Nuts

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                                    This dish is a marvelous combination of garlic, spaghetti squash, parmesan, toasted pine and zucchini nuts. It’s super healthy, gluten free, full of vegetables and delicious. Tossed with olive oil, this dish meets all the dietary needs and is perfect for light lunch. You can also add some chicken to increase protein.  (Click here for recipe)

                                     8. Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms Parmesan

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                                      Though spaghetti squash provides low calories, you can add meaty mushroom and a good amount of parmesan cheese to increase the amount of calories. It’s a healthy, full of flavor, vegetarian dish, and has cheap and easy ingredients which you can find in market. The final product is yummy and satisfying and can make your lunch, perfect.  (Click here for recipe)

                                       9. Spaghetti Squash with Vegan Fire-Roasted Tomato Cream Sauce

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                                        A pile of roasted squash is flavored with a sauce made from five ingredients. The vegan fire-roasted tomato cream sauce is made from the mixture of tomatoes, cashews, basil, salt and water. This spicy sauce makes it more delicious and some small amount of basil adds fresh green color and flavor. (Click here for recipe)

                                         10. Thai Peanut Spaghetti Squash

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                                          Most of the dishes listed here are either Mexican or Italian. This recipe however will give you a fresh Asian feeling. To prepare this, all you need are spaghetti squash and peanut sauce, then by adding some ginger, lime and vinegar you’ll get one of the most delicious recipes. The texture of this dish reminds you of heavenly beaches in Thailand. (Click here for the recipe)

                                          Dinner

                                          11. Spaghetti Squash Comfort Bowl

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                                            This is the perfect kind of bowl that you want to have on a cold evening, sitting on a couch and watching TV. You’ll enjoy its lightly steamed veggies, allspice beans, and the strands of squash as well. It feels creamy but doesn’t seem too heavy. It’s a great dish with intense indulgence, with our best spaghetti squash, the warm beans, and the comforting steamed veggies. (Click here for the recipe)

                                            12. Spaghetti Squash Crust Pizza

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                                              As you already know, spaghetti squash is a great substitute for pasta, but this dish here shows how these chewy shreds can make a great stand-in for pizza. You can add anything like meat or veggies to the base which is bound with egg whites and flour. The end product is a great gluten free dish. (Click here for the recipe)

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                                              13. Spaghetti Squash Fried Rice

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                                                Spaghetti squash works as a good substitute to the cauliflower as the base of a fried rice. This recipe includes almost all of the usual ingredients of a fried rice. With green onions, eggs, peanut oil, and some garlic, this dish gives a unique texture that you can never find in your local restaurants. (Click here for the recipe)

                                                 14. Roasted Garlic Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats

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                                                  If you’re looking for something delicious for the winter evenings, you’ll get fond of these cheesy spaghetti squash boats. To lighten it up, it is filled with tomato sauce, cheese, chicken sausage, parmesan and ricotta. You can easily complete its arrangement ahead of time and bake it before dinner. (Click here for the recipe)

                                                  15. Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

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                                                    This Mexican inspired dish has spaghetti squash as a serving bowl and inside it goes enchilada sauce, chicken, cheese, black beans and other veggies wrapped inside a corn tortilla blanket. You can also use spinach in place of the corn and black beans. Topped with sauce galore, this dish can be served as a family fun meal.  (Click here for the recipe)

                                                    Dessert

                                                    16. Sweet Spaghetti Squash Kugel with Apples and Raisins

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                                                      If you can afford spaghetti squash, coconut sugar, some eggs and few other ingredients, then this dish must be your cheapest choice. This noodle is a delight in all seasons. The addition of some apples and raisins results in its fruity freshness. (Click here for the recipe)

                                                      17. Spaghetti Squash Coconut Custard Pie

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                                                        With the fine sweetness from vanilla extract and coconut, this dessert can be a great hit among guests. The spaghetti squash drowns in an egg batter to make it lighter than a cream pie. You can play and experiment with the ingredients and see surprising results.  (Click here for the recipe)

                                                         18. Spaghetti Squash Cake With Cream Cheese Glaze

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                                                          This desert will be a delicious treat to those who are a fan of carrot cake. Spaghetti squash is a vegetable with pleasant taste, lending fiber, potassium and vitamins. So, if you drape it in cream cheese frosting, you will end with this mouth- watering cake. This dessert has so many health benefits and is also great for a Thanksgiving dinner. (Click here for the recipe)

                                                           19. Spaghetti Squash Kheer

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                                                            Kheer is a rice pudding made by boiling rice with cow milk and sugar. But this type of kheer replaces boiling rice with noodles swapped out of spaghetti squash and cow milk with coconut milk. By pouring some ghee, you can add necessary richness in it. It is healthier than traditional kheer and can act as a great dessert for your evenings. (Click here for the recipe)

                                                             20. Cinnamon Spice Spaghetti Squash Cake

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                                                              By now, you must be surprised by the versatility of spaghetti squash. But your best surprise will probably come after you finish preparing this cake. This cake is a game changer. You’ll have the taste of lots of veggies like cinnamon, allspice maple syrup and ginger, all inside a single cake.  It’s a perfect treat for picky eaters. (Click here for the recipe)

                                                              Featured photo credit: Spaghetti Squash with Fire Roasted Tomato, Olive and Baby Spinach Sauce via commons.wikimedia.org

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