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Recipes to Satisfy Common Cravings

Giving in to cravings is one of the most fun aspects of pregnancy. Revel in the joy of fulfilling your every culinary whim and desire while you can.

But if you find high-fat, empty-calorie foods are causing your weight to creep up faster than the recommended rate, look for healthier alternatives that will still satisfy your cravings.

I notice that my cravings are usually directly related to the lack of certain vitamins and nutrients in my system?most notably calcium, vitamin C and lycopene. For the first three months of my pregnancy, I wanted nothing but pizza and milkshakes. After keeping the local pizza shop and ice cream parlor in business for several months, I came up with some easy-to-prepare, at-home alternatives.

Old-Fashioned Egg Cream

If I?m craving dairy products, first I take two Tums calcium supplements and wait a half hour. If the craving persists, it?s time to break out the pint glasses and whip myself up an egg cream.

Pour eight ounces of non-fat milk into a 16 oz. glass. Add about a tablespoon of Hershey?s chocolate syrup (or vanilla or strawberry, if you prefer). Stir well. Top with club soda or seltzer for a tasty, calcium-rich treat with less calories than a milkshake. The bubbles in the soda also help eliminate gas pains, if you have one of those annoying burps that won?t come out.

Quick & Healthy Pizza

For a low-cost, healthy alternative to pizza (especially frozen pizza), make your own with this recipe.

Take 2 one ounce whole wheat pitas or a whole wheat / whole grain English muffin (split). Do not split the pita bread?keep it whole. Read labels carefully to make sure that whole, unbleached wheat flour is the first ingredient, and that the bread is not made with high-fructose corn syrup.

Cover the top with pasta sauce. I like Ragu Fresh & Simple Vegetable Sauce in a pouch.

Add spices to taste: oregano and basil, pizza seasoning or minced garlic tastes great!

Add about 1 to 1.5 tablespoons low-fat or nonfat shredded mozzarella cheese.

You can also get creative and add diced peppers, baby spinach, olives or other veggies.

Bake on baking sheet on middle rack at 450 degrees for about five minutes.

Broil an additional minute or two, until cheese melts completely. (Watch carefully so it doesn?t burn!)

Orange Juice

Orange juice, packed with Vitamin C, is a common pregnancy craving. (Or maybe it?s just memories of that scene in Baby Talk where Kirstie Alley pours gallons of the orange stuff down her throat.) Instead of drinking calorie-laden, sugar-filled store bought juice, squeeze your own. Leave lots of pulp for extra fiber. Just be sure to drink it immediately. Fresh-squeezed juice isn?t pasteurized or loaded with preservatives that will allow it to keep for weeks in your fridge.

Oatmeal Cookies

If you?re craving something sweet, these oatmeal cookies made with whole wheat flour and brown sugar are packed with 6 grams of fiber, making them a healthy indulgence.

Or try these 5-grain cereal cookies, which include loads of cranberries and raisins for a fruit-filled treat.

It?s more than okay to indulge your cravings with the real thing every so often. But nightly milkshakes and giant slices of New York pizza can empty your wallet and expand your waistline quicker than you can say ?baby fat.? Try these tasty treats for a change once in a while.

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