From pickles and ice cream to cookies and peanut butter, pregnancy cravings run the gamut. While they’re a totally normal part of pregnancy, some cravings can get in the way of healthy eating habits.
Too much salt during pregnancy can contribute to edema, or swelling, and high blood sugar levels can increase the risk of gestational diabetes. But it’s entirely possible to satisfy your cravings while getting the nutrition your body needs to fuel your baby’s development. Here are five healthy substitutes for pregnancy cravings that are low in salt, fat and sugar.
If you’re craving: Ice cream
Try: No-churn banana cinnamon ice cream (refined sugar-free)
This healthy homemade gelato uses only five ingredients and is sweetened with just maple syrup. Blend frozen bananas, Greek yogurt, some vanilla extract, cinnamon and maple syrup until you get the ice creamy texture you desire. To make this recipe dairy-free, simply omit the yogurt!
If you’re craving: Salty chips
Try: Baked carrot chips (gluten-free)
In addition to the salt, a chip craving also includes the crunch factor. And these carrot chips bring the crunch. Slice your carrots into chip-thin pieces using a knife or slicer. Then toss them in some olive oil, sea salt, and whatever other spices you’re craving. Pop ‘em in the oven, and let ‘em bake until they’ve reached peak crunch.
If you’re craving: Donuts
Try: Healthy homemade baked donuts (gluten-free, soy-free, sugar-free)
These homemade baked donuts are just as satisfying as good old-fashioned fried dough. You can make these fat-free by replacing the oil with applesauce or mashed bananas, and sugar-free by substituting xylitol for regular sugar. Best part is you can make your own glaze, too, using jam or the frosting of your choice!
If you’re craving: Cookie dough
Try: Chickpea cookie dough (nut-free, naturally sweetened)
You can eat this straight out of the bowl with no guilt. Just blend some chickpeas (or white beans), nut butter, rolled oats, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup. Once you’ve got your dough-y texture, feel free to toss in some optional chocolate chips. If you manage to not eat all of the dough, you can take the next step and bake it into chewy chickpea cookies. This recipe is super adaptable and can be made nut-free by swapping nut butter for Greek yogurt or applesauce, and can be “veganized” by omitting the chocolate chips or using vegan-friendly ones.
If you’re craving: A burger
Try: A sweet potato black bean burger (gluten-free, vegan, naturally sweetened)
Nothing is as satisfying as a classic cheeseburger, except maybe this healthy sweet potato and black bean substitute. The recipe uses sweet potatoes, black beans, and rice (or quinoa!) to make the patty, while spices and nuts add the flavor and texture. Plus, you bake these bad boys so there’s no added oil. Top with your favorite fixings, and you’ve got yourself a burger that satisfies with every bite.
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