Five tips for beating pregnancy food cravings

With pregnancy comes a whole world full of new cravings, some of which you might not expect. Have you always hated peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? How about mint ice cream? You may love them when you're eating for two!

Many women find themselves itching to try new foods during this special time in their lives. Hormones may be why you may start feeling the urge to chow down on certain snacks, and pregnancy experts have a few tips to offer moms-to-be on how to curb these cravings throughout the nine months of baby development.

1. Know what your body needs.
Many people speculate that certain cravings can be linked to what your pregnant body needs. For example, if you can't stop reaching into the cookie jar, this might be because your body has low blood sugar. By identifying what type of nourishment you need, you may find ways to quell your urges without immediately reaching for a bag of chips.

2. Replace junk food with healthier options.
When you're hunting for ice cream to fulfill your cravings, nothing will likely get between you and the carton in your freezer - but thinking before snacking can help you avoid putting on more baby weight than necessary. Is there something frozen in your refrigerator that's just as sweet as ice cream? Could you see yourself finding satisfaction through a fruit popsicle or sorbet instead? Take a few seconds to explore your options before diving right into the first piece of junk food you see. You'll be happier after the nine months are over and you start working out to lose those extra pounds.

3. Practice self control.
Needless to say, it can be difficult to fight off hormones that are naturally speeding through your body during pregnancy, but patience is a virtue. Listen to your body's cravings, then do something productive with them rather than allowing the urges to control your actions. For example, come up with a task or a hobby you can do whenever you're feeling the need to chow down. Take a few deep breaths and step away from the freezer or the cookie jar. Remind yourself that there are other options that don't involve stuffing your face with junk food!

4. Make note of your cravings.
As unusual as it may seem, some women experience the urge to eat items that aren't food during their pregnancy. Anything from laundry starch to clay may be craved - all of which should not be consumed, whether or not you're pregnant.
These type of rare urges are called pica cravings. They may be an indicator that your body is missing a key nutrient, such as iron, which is why it's looking to non-food items for nourishment. This should go without saying, but it's important to avoid indulging in these cravings and speak to your doctor as soon as possible. When you talk to your physician, you can work together to make sure your body is getting the proper nutrients and vitamins it needs for you and your baby.

5. Practice portion control.
Portion control is something that can help you have the best of both worlds - you'll be indulging in the treats you want without taking on too many extra calories. If you decide to give in to your desire to munch on some chocolate-covered pretzels or salty potato chips, put a limit on yourself to maintain a healthy diet. Once you give birth, portion control is something that can continue to help you sustain your overall well-being.

How have you handled pregnancy cravings in the past? How do you lose your baby weight? Leave feedback in the comments section!