Everything You Need to Know About Food Aversion During Pregnancy:
Pregnant women are prone to dislike certain foods. There are many reasons why they may have such a strong aversion towards certain foods.
Some of them include;
1) They feel discomfort from eating certain types of food.
For example, if they like spicy food then it might cause pain or discomfort in their stomach area.
2) They have a fear of food which is unknown to them.
For example, if they don’t eat any vegetables but they do not like green leafy things then it could cause discomfort in their stomach area.
3) They have a feeling of disgust at something which is unfamiliar to them.
For example, if they don’t like sweet things then it might cause discomfort in their stomach area.
4) They have a sense of being full after eating certain foods.
For example, if they like salty food then it might cause discomfort in their stomach area.
5) Their body does not respond well to certain types of food.
For example, if they don’t like fatty foods then it might cause discomfort in their stomach area.
It is important to remember that food aversions can be caused by several factors. Some of them are mentioned here:
1) The smell of the food may be the reason why they do not wish to eat it.
For example, they may dislike the smell of fish or the smell of meat cooking.
2) They may have had a bad experience with a particular food in the past.
For example, they may have become sick after eating a particular food.
3) They may be on a diet and wish to stick to that diet.
For example, they may be on a weight loss diet and wish to lose even more weight.
4) Other people around them may be influencing them not to eat certain types of food.
For example, their friends or family may be on a diet and wish to stick to that diet.
5) They may have ordered a meal in a restaurant or café which they did not enjoy.
For example, they may not like vegetables or fruits and wish to avoid them.
6) They may have tried a new recipe which didn’t go as planned.
For example, they may not have cooked the recipe properly and it cause stomach ache or pain.
Whatever the reason is, if you are pregnant and you feel averse to eating certain types of food then you should listen to your body and follow its signals.
The following are some of the foods which you may have an averse to during your pregnancy:
1) You may dislike certain types of meat such as lamb, beef or pork.
2) You may dislike oily fish such as salmon or tuna.
3) You may dislike cooked vegetables such as carrots, peas or sweetcorn.
4) You may dislike uncooked vegetables such as salads or celery.
5) You may dislike bread or wheat products.
6) You may dislike milk or dairy products.
7) You may dislike spicy food and prefer mild food instead.
8) You may dislike acidic foods such as lemons, oranges or tomatoes.
9) You may dislike fried foods such as chips or fried eggs.
10) You may dislike sugary foods such as sweets, chocolate or ice-cream.
You may also have cravings for certain types of food during your pregnancy.
The following are some of the foods which you may have a craving for during your pregnancy:
1) You may crave bread or wheat products.
2) You may crave milk or dairy products.
3) You may crave fruits such as apples, oranges or bananas.
4) You may crave vegetables such as peas, carrots or corn.
5) You may crave spicy food and prefer hot food instead.
6) You may crave acidic foods such as lemons, oranges or tomatoes.
7) You may crave sugary foods such as sweets, chocolate or ice-cream.
If you feel that you have a food averse or a food craving then it is best to eat what your body is telling you. Obeying these signals helps to prevent an upset stomach, heartburn and other health complications.
Chapter 6.2- Healthy Eating In General
As well as eating foods which are good for you during pregnancy, it is also good to consider eating foods which are healthy in general. It is much easier to maintain a healthy body if you have good eating habits and this will also have a positive impact on your baby’s health and development.
Some of the foods which are good for you in general include:
1) Fruits and vegetables.
It is best to eat a mixture of different types of fruits and vegetables every day. Some examples of these include apples, bananas, oranges, broccoli, carrots, peas and sweetcorn.
You should try to eat fresh fruit and vegetables rather than canned or frozen varieties as these contain more nutrients.
2) Wholemeal bread, pasta, rice and oats.
Eating these types of food instead of their white alternatives will keep you feeling fuller for longer and also provides more energy.
3) Low fat or skimmed dairy products.
Milk, cheese, yogurt and fromage frais are all good sources of calcium, protein and other nutrients. Try to choose low fat or skimmed options where possible as these options contain less calories but the same amount of nutrients.
4) Beans, lentils, chick peas and other pulses.
These are high in protein plus they are also a good source of fiber. Try to opt for dried beans and pulses which do not contain any added salt or sugars.
Soaking these beforehand will help to make them easier to digest.
5) Lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds.
These are good sources of protein which keep you muscles strong and your energy levels up. Try to opt for lean meats such as turkey and chicken instead of red meat which contains more fat.
6) Oily fish such as sardines, mackerel, trout, salmon and tuna.
These fish are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids which are good for your brain and your baby’s brain.
The following are some examples of healthy meals which provide you with a good mixture of nutrients:
1) Oatmeal made with skimmed milk and topped with banana, chopped apple and a handful of almonds.
2) Wholemeal pita bread stuffed with mashed peas, grilled tuna and lettuce with a slice of watermelon for dessert.
3) Couscous noodles topped with shredded chicken, mixed beans in bbq sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
4) Vegetable fried rice with tuna and sweetcorn sprinkled on top.
5) Roast chicken stuffed with leeks, carrots and apricots with roasted new potatoes and steamed broccoli.
6) Tomato soup topped with grated cheese and slices of onion and ham toast.
7) Green Garden Salad with tuna, sardines and pine nuts sprinkled on top.
8) Grapes, apple and slices of melon.
Chapter 6.3- Cravings
It is quite common for women to experience a strong desire to eat certain foods during their pregnancy. This is called a ‘craving’.
Some women have a craving for a certain food item all the time whereas others have cravings which come and go. There are even some women who do not experience cravings at all.
The most common craving is typically something sweet such as ice cream, cake, chocolate or fruit. Other common cravings include things like pickles, ice cubes, chalk and even dirt!
It is believed that these cravings are the body’s way of telling you that it needs particular nutrients which it is not receiving from the foods you are eating. If you eat the food which you are craving you should feel a lot better.
Most cravings pass within a few hours or at least go away temporarily. If they go on for several days or you feel absolutely desperate, you should speak to your doctor or midwife about what you can do to relieve the craving. It may be that you need to change your diet slightly to incorporate more of the food which you are craving. They will also be able to offer some advice on how to stop the cravings from returning again in the future if need be.
There is absolutely nothing dangerous about having cravings. It does not mean that you are going to binge on the food you are craving or even that you are going to eat the whole day’s worth of calories in one sitting!
It is a biological drive which you need to follow for a short while. If you try to ignore it, it can actually make you feel quite sick and if it is really bad, it can cause some physical pain in your stomach.
Most of the time, once you have satisfied your craving and eaten the food, you feel much better. In fact many women report that once they have satisfied their cravings, they don’t even want the food anymore!
There is some controversy over whether or not a pregnancy craving actually exists or whether it is all in a woman’s mind. Some researchers believe that when a woman craves a food, her body is lacking certain vitamins and minerals contained within that food.
When she eats the food she gets a rush of these nutrients which makes her feel better. This means that the particular craving will go away once she has eaten the food as her body has now received the missing nutrients.
Other researchers take the opposite view and believe that it is all in a woman’s mind. They argue that pregnancy cravings are nothing more than a psychological trick played on a woman by her mind.
They suggest that a craving is the mind’s way of expressing a desire for something which it believes will benefit the baby.
Whatever the reason behind cravings may be, one thing is certain and that is if you feel a strong desire to eat something, you should follow your instincts and eat it!
(Feel free to include some of these foods in your diet whilst pregnant)
Apples are very healthy and a great snack food. It is also one of the most popular pregnancy cravings.
Bananas are a great source of easily digestible energy and are also one of the most popular pregnancy cravings.
Carrots are another popular pregnancy craving and again are very healthy food. They come in especially useful at the times when your eyes are so swollen up with pregnancy hormones that you feel you are going blind!
Sources & references used in this article:
Innate food aversions and culturally transmitted food taboos in pregnant women in rural southwest India: Separate systems to protect the fetus? by CD Placek, P Madhivanan, EH Hagen – Evolution and Human Behavior, 2017 – Elsevier
Morning sickness and salt intake, food cravings, and food aversions by SR Crystal, DJ Bowen, IL Bernstein – Physiology & behavior, 1999 – Elsevier
Food aversions of normal and neurotic males. by R Wallen – The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1945 – psycnet.apa.org
Dietary change during pregnancy and women’s reasons for change by LE Forbes, JE Graham, C Berglund, RC Bell – Nutrients, 2018 – mdpi.com
Eating Down in Pregnancy: Exploring Food-Related Beliefs and Practices of Pregnancy in Rural Nepal by P Christian, S Bunjun Srihari… – Ecology of food and …, 2006 – Taylor & Francis