Use these 5 tips to have a healthy pregnancy and keep your pregnancy cravings in check while still allowing yourself treats and indulgences {from someone who has lost 100 pounds}!

****This post is written about my experience with pregnancy cravings using tools we’ve taught to hundreds of women to help them lose weight too. Every body and every pregnancy is different!****

Pregnancy cravings - pregnant belly with one hand holding an apple and the other a donut

I am no stranger to food cravings.

For many years, on any given night, you could find me hidden in my bedroom downing boxes of Little Debbie Nutty Bars, family size bags of chips, and endless packages of fruit snacks.

Now, I’ve lost 100 pounds and I’ve been maintaining that weight loss for years…and then I got pregnant (you can read our pregnancy story here and see our gender reveal party here!).

Becky holding up her pregnancy test at 4 weeks pregnant

I honestly wasn’t sure how pregnancy cravings would affect me!

My mom never really had any cravings. Same for my sister. But I’ve always been more food-focused than they are, so it didn’t surprise me at all when I experienced pregnancy cravings differently than they did!

I never craved anything too crazy (no pickles and ice cream for me), but the pregnancy cravings were definitely real for me!

Food Cravings In My Pregnancy

During my first trimester, I’d have cravings for random foods (Sonic chili cheese tots, cold beef burritos, the cheap kind of cookies & cream ice cream, etc).

I’d eat a bite or two and then it would sound/taste terrible to me, so I’d pass the rest to my husband (that honestly felt so surreal to me…passing up the chance to eat foods I know I loved!).

At one point, I overheard him talking to his best friend on the phone telling him, “Yeah, her cravings are amazing, but I’m really going to need to start watching this pregnancy weight…” 😂

It’s such a weird feeling to crave food at the same time as food sounds terrible (thank you, first trimester nausea!).

Sonic chili cheese tater tots

My second trimester was the biggest challenge when it came to cravings because I was starving all. the. time.

I did my best to eat a foundation of healthy foods first, but, man, it was tough to have pregnancy cravings on top of never feeling full. I felt like a bottomless pit!

My main second-trimester craving was french fries (especially the carne asada fries from a little local Mexican restaurant near us), but, I’m telling you, every junk food sounded good during that time!

Chips, candy bars, frozen tater tots, ice cream sandwiches…I just wanted to eat everything!

container full of french fries

My third trimester was probably my strongest craving of all with the Slurpees!

I wasn’t ravenous anymore (though I did get more hungry again around 35 weekds!), but I wanted a Slurpee every minute of every day. There were nights when I’d be up at 2 am wanting Slurpees!

On my weekly pregnancy updates on Instagram, every week, I’d mention how I just wanted all the Slurpees.

But that’s where it stayed 95% of the time – the desire.

pregnant belly with a Slurpee and a dog in the background

There was one week where I think I had 3 Slurpees total, but most weeks, it was more like one or two. Considering how constant that strong craving was, I’m pretty proud of that!

I will say, one of the things I am most proud of this pregnancy is that I never once binged on junk food.

Every time I read about a pregnant woman eating an entire box of cookies in one sitting, downing full bags of chips, or single-handedly eating a full box of tacos, it was tempting to give myself permission to binge.

Even though I haven’t binged in years, it’s still very familiar to me. I know exactly how it feels to let myself slip into autopilot and just eat and eat and eat (because junk food tastes so dang good!).

But every time the temptation to binge hit, I would just ask myself, “How are you going to feel afterwards? Are you going to feel any more satisfied?”

And the answer was always, “no.” Binges never leave me feeling satisfied. Just bloated, regretful, and guilt-ridden. So, I successfully avoided all binges this pregnancy!

It took years of practice, but now, I’m okay with feeling a desire and NOT jumping to fulfill it.

And I’m proud to say that the exact same tools I practiced in my 100-pound weight loss journey for my food cravings work just as effectively on pregnancy cravings.

5 Ways To Respond To Pregnancy Cravings

#1 – Don’t Forbid Any Foods

Of course, there are foods you should avoid eating while you’re pregnant for baby’s safety (alcohol, sushi, etc), but I’m talking about not forbidding treat or junk foods for the sake of being “good.”

On my weight loss journey, making foods off-limits was just a recipe for binge-eating. Every time I’d ban a certain food from my diet, it instantly became all I could think about.

I’d be “good” for awhile, then the buildup of that craving would be so strong that I would end up, not only giving in and eating it, but waaaaay OVEReating it.

I already know that approach doesn’t work for me (you can read more about why I don’t believe in forbidding foods to lose weight here), so, when I got pregnant, I knew all foods would be fair game with my pregnancy cravings.

But, I also knew I didn’t want it to be a free-for-all (because I know firsthand where just following every food craving would lead me!).

#2 – Use The 3 Ps

With every craving I had during my pregnancy, I’d let myself have that food…but not immediately. Usually, I planned it for the next day or a weekend treat.

I have a whole blog post written about the 3 Ps because they are the very BEST way to respond to food cravings.

The basic steps are:

There is a whole lot more to it, so I hope you check out the full post, but the most helpful part of the steps for me is the delayed gratification.

The answer to a food craving is always “no”…but it’s not a forever no! Just really more of a “not right now.”

Think about it! Cravings (especially pregnancy cravings!) have a LOT of urgency behind them, convincing you that you NEED to eat that food and you need it NOW!

Pregnant or not, I am very careful in how I think and speak about food cravings, even in the middle of the strongest cravings.

I don’t say, “I need french fries.” Because, let’s be real…even in pregnancy, our bodies and our babies don’t need junk food. But I would say, “I really want some french fries.” And sometimes, I’d say that again and again and again! 😂

#3 – Plan Your Meals

I always plan my meals, but when I was pregnant, it was even more important.

In my second trimester, I would have survived on junk food alone without my meals planned!

If I’d just depended on my pregnancy cravings to shape my diet, I’d have gained a lot more weight, gotten sick more often (I actually didn’t get sick at all during my entire pregnancy!), experienced a lot more heartburn, and I’m convinced I wouldn’t have felt nearly as good as I did.

I was fortunate that I didn’t have any major food aversions, but even in my first trimester, I planned healthy meals.

A table full of meal prep containers full of healthy food for the week

I wanted to make sure both the baby and I were getting the nourishment we needed BEFORE I added treat foods into the mix, so I made sure our meals had lots of veggies and lean proteins.

And filling up on those healthy foods really did make it easier to resist the cravings when they hit.

It’s SO much harder to put off a craving when you’re starving!

While I was pregnant, I made a LOT of really simple one-pot meals (you can see a lot of those meal prep recipes in this post).

#4 – Keep Lots of Healthy Snacks Around

This was most important during my second trimester when I was starving all the time.

If I have healthy options around and easy to grab, I will absolutely eat them, so I was really intentional about making sure we had lots of these filling, low-calorie foods around and other healthy snacks.

Some of my favorite go-to pregnancy snacks were:

Healthy snack - rice cake topped with almond butter and strawberry slices

Just like I planned my meals, I also made sure to intentionally have healthy snack options in the house and available every week.

#5 – Make Junk Food Hard To Get

Part of the reason I was able to use that delayed gratification that I was talking about earlier is because I don’t keep tempting foods in easy-to-reach places.

We don’t have candy sitting out in bowls or bags of chips sitting out on the kitchen counter.

I know myself and I know that, even if I wasn’t craving a food before, if I see it, I’m probably going to want it! It’s just too easy to grab a few chips or a candy bar every time I walk by.

Becky's baby bump at 35 weeks pregnant

Fortunately, my two biggest cravings (french fries and Slurpees) weren’t things I could keep in the house making them inconvenient to get anyways, which really worked in my favor!

But, even the junk foods that weren’t super intense cravings but just sounded really good (Kit-Kats, chips, dark chocolate sea salt caramels…) needed to be out of sight and out of reach for me to more easily resist grabbing one every time I saw them.

  • I kept chips in the basement on the top of a high shelf, behind boxes of other food.
  • I kept candy in a box on top of my kitchen cabinets that requires me to stand on my very tiptoes to reach.
  • I kept ice cream in the very back of our freezer, behind a bunch of frozen meat and vegetables.

But What If You DO Give In To A Craving?

But, please know that I DID give in to cravings. I am nowhere near perfect.

I did use the 5 tips above MOST of the time, but I didn’t use them flawlessly (and these are things I’ve been practicing and teaching for years!).

I mean, there was one night at week 35 where I ate 2 slices of frozen pizza and then convinced my husband to go out and get me a Wendy’s double-stack, 1/2 a large french fries, and a small Frosty for dinner (and, for the record, I did not feel very well afterward).

But that’s another thing I’ve learned on my weight loss journey – how to move on after I make a mistake.

One of the core parts of our FFL 2.0 Christian Weight Loss program is the process we teach to trade your guilt for grace and that’s exactly how I respond to my overeating now.

Instead of beating myself up, replaying my mistake over and over in my head, or berating myself when I step on the scale afterward, I:

  • Check in with how I’m feeling. Stressed? Uncomfortably stuffed? Sad? Overwhelmed?
  • Look at my choices with curious, judgment-free eyes. Why did I choose to do that? Did it accomplish my purpose? Do I feel better than I did before?
  • Ask for forgiveness where necessary. Did I turn to food to fix a problem that I should have brought to God?
  • Brainstorm ways I can do better next time. Should I have eaten a snack to prevent myself from getting overly hungry? Did I leave tempting foods out in plain sight? Have I been planning in regular treats or did I feel deprived?
  • Move on. That’s right. I let go of the guilt and shame from my poor decisions. I did what I could do. I have a plan to try to do better. That’s all that needs to be done!

I love that mistakes don’t feel like a death sentence anymore. They no longer send me into guilt-ridden food binges. They don’t make me want to just throw up my hands and give up because I’m such a failure.

Mistakes are part of the process. I try to learn from them and do my best to move forward.

And you can, too.

I know you care about taking care of your baby by taking care of yourself. All of the pregnancy hormones and stressors and hunger can feel really overwhelming.

And it’s okay not to be perfect.

Just keep moving forward, one step at a time, doing the best you can.

It’s the best any of us has to offer!

So, now you’ve read about my experience with pregnancy cravings, but now I want to hear about yours!

What was the strangest pregnancy craving you’ve had?

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5 Tips for Dealing With Pregnancy Cravings with a picture of a pregnant woman wearing a pink shirt


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