Healthy Eating During Pregnancy

If you're pregnant, chances are, you're craving chocolate and chips instead of veggies and lean proteins. But there are ways you can eat healthy and satisfy your cravings too. Nutritionist Sophie Pachella has some tips.

First, understand your cravings. Some people think that they crave chocolate or starchy foods because the baby needs them. In reality, Pachella says that we probably just need the quick energy boost that these foods provide. "Most pregnant women say that they're often tired, they feel under the weather," says Pachella. "They're looking at these foods to give them that energy pick-me-up."

Many pregnant women also turn to junk foods because they are turned off by certain healthier choices, like vegetables. Pachella suggests hiding these foods within other foods that you enjoy, like soups or brownies. "When we're pregnant, we have a very heightened sense of smell. So, all of a sudden, vegetables, which you might have actually found appealing before you got pregnant, seem to be such a turn-off," says Pachella. Try pureeing bland veggies, like white beans or pumpkin, and mixing them in with your favorite recipes.

Also, try to curb your unhealthy cravings. Have a healthy snack first, like cheese or fruit, but promise yourself that afterwards, you'll give in to your craving. This helps you control your portions. So, instead of eating an entire bag of potato chips, you may only have a few because the healthy snack will fill you up first.

Another problem many pregnant women encounter is that classic proteins, like meat or fish, make them nauseous. If you can only stomach small amounts of these foods at a time, try getting protein from other sources instead. "These days, most carbohydrate based foods come with protein alternatives. So, you can get protein pasta, protein bagels, protein muffins," says Pachella. Other foods, like nuts and yogurt, contain protein as well.

Remember that perfection is not the goal. If you're hungry, eat! It's okay to have some ice cream or a cheeseburger every so often. Just try to balance these cravings out with other, healthier foods to get the nutrition your changing body needs. "So many of us become so worried about doing the right thing. We think that everything that we do is going to affect the baby, and at the end of the day, the baby is going to be okay," says Pachella.

For more information on this and other American Baby articles, click here. If you'd like to visit Sophie Pachella's website, click here.

By Erin Petrun