Thursday, December 13, 2012

Paleo Pregnancy - Craving Swaps

I spoke a bit about cravings in my last pregnancy post, but today I wanted to get a little more in depth with some healthy (sometimes healthy-ish) craving swaps. Some say that that cravings could be hormone induced, but others believe it is your body's way of crying out for some nutrient it is missing. For example, if you crave a Big Mac, maybe you really just need some sodium or protein. I am not sure which I believe, but I definitely believe that our minds and bodies have been so confused by all of the fake foods out there, that it is entirely possible our brains are sending us some pretty confusing messages.

It is important to remember that you are in control and as long as you are eating a variety of healthy, whole foods, your baby is getting everything he or she needs. My cravings were strongest early in the first trimester when my hormones were raging and so many foods sounded unappetizing. Below are a few better-for-you ideas when those cravings hit. Fair warning - they can hit hard!

  • Swap Ice Cream for Banana Soft Serve - If you have not had banana soft serve, you are missing out! With a base of bananas and a little bit of coconut milk you can make a tasty soft serve with tons of flavor options. I like to mix in cocoa powder and sometimes frozen strawberries or blueberries. If you Google Banana Soft Serve, you will find hundreds of results, but here is a tasty looking chocolate version from Fast Paleo.

  • Swap Chocolate Candy for a few square of Dark Chocolate - Dark chocolate has a host of health benefits because of its high antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory properties. There are many options out there, but the best we have found is the Lindt Excellence 90% Cocoa bar. It can be found at most grocery stores and has only five ingredients - chocolate, cocoa powder, cocoa butter, sugar and vanilla. You can enjoy the yummy taste of chocolate without all of the added ingredients. Another great option is Green & Black's Organic 85% Dark Chocolate bar. I love the organic ingredients, but it isn't as easy to find.

Photo Credit: Paleo on a Budget
  • Swap French Fries for Roasted Potatoes or Roasted Sweet Potatoes - A lot of french fries (especially from a fast food joint) can be more sodium and oil than actual potato. A better choice would be to whip up some homemade, oven-roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes. We consider white potatoes a treat in our house as they do not have the same health benefits as sweet potatoes, but they are definitely not off limits. Preparing potatoes or sweet potatoes this way could not be easier! Here are a few recipes from Paleo on a Budget to help get you started.
                   Paleo on a Budget - Roasted Sweet Potatoes
                   Paleo on a Budget - Roasted Potatoes

  • Swap Apple Pie, Brownies, Banana Bread and Cookies for Grain-Free Paleo Treats - Seriously, there is a Paleo substitute out there for EVERYTHING! If you can dream it, someone has created a grain-free, refined sugar-free option. In my opinion the best place to find these treats  is DessertStalker because you can type in the treat you are searching for and view pages of results that match your craving! Fast Paleo is another great online resource and there is also a Paleo Indulgences cookbook that includes goodies such as Ginger Peach Scones and classic Vanilla Cupcakes.

  • Swap Milk Shakes for Fruit-Filled Paleo Smoothies - Milk shakes can be full of chemical sweeteners, colors and flavors. For a healthier option, blend up one of my tasty fruit smoothie recipes. There is even a chocolate cherry version!

  • Swap Fast Food for a Flavorful Homemade Burger - Burgers are SO much yummier when you make them at home and know exactly what is going into them. The same definitely cannot be said about any burger you pick up at a fast food joint. I like taking a basic beef, lamb or turkey burger and adding flavor with herbs, spices and homemade toppings. There are endless Paleo burger recipes out there, but I am going to share a few of my own! :)
                   What I Gather - Greek Stuffed Lamb Burgers
                   What I Gather - Hatch Green Chile Burgers with Fried Egg


If you would like to learn more about following a Paleo lifestyle during pregnancy, check out my first book, The Everything Paleo Pregnancy Book. I cover everything from which healthy, Paleo foods to focus on to get the most important nutrients for pregnancy, how certain foods can alleviate common pregnancy ailments, how to modify your workout plan during pregnancy and over 100 healthy recipes! The book is available in both paperback and Kindle versions through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.