It is quite natural to develop an uncontrollable urge to eat one specific food during pregnancy. About 50 to 90 percent of pregnant women experience food cravings during pregnancy. Some women want something sweet, while others crave saltyfoods while pregnant. If you wake up in the middle of the night with a strong urge to eat something salty, you are certainly not alone. So, what should you do when you actually experience this situation? Let's find out more.
Craving Salt While Pregnant, Is It Harmful?
Salt craving in pregnancy is usually nothing serious. A large majority of pregnant women crave for something salty during pregnancy; in fact, up to 80% of women experience the same in pregnancy. Before you indulge yourself, it is important to discuss everything with your doctor. If your doctor says it’s okay, then you can go ahead and enjoy something salty in moderation. A little extra sodium is not likely to hurt you or your baby.
Why It Occurs?
So many theories are there to explain this phenomenon. Many experts are of the view that craving salt while pregnant is your body's way to tell you to increase your salt intake, which is necessary to retain more water. Moreover, you may lose more sodium in your urine during your first trimester, and that happens due to a spike in the levels of progesterone. Your sodium levels may also go down if you experience morning sickness during pregnancy.
Does It Indicate Anything about Your Baby's Gender?
A common misconception is that you are going to have a boy if you crave salty, sour, spicy, or protein-rich food in pregnancy. It is also thought that you may have a baby boy if you become a meat lover or enjoy sucking on lemons while pregnant. There is no scientific evidence to prove that this way of telling the gender of your baby is accurate.
Cravings do not occur due to the gender of your baby, but you experience them because of a change in hormones and your nutritional needs. They may also occur because of psychological changes. The only reliable way to predict the sex of your baby is to undergo an ultrasound exam when you are 20 weeks pregnant.
Healthy Options to Satisfy Your Salt Cravings
It is usually fine to enjoy the food your baby craves for, so long as you eat in moderation. You should, however, be a bit careful if your doctor has advised against it. When craving salt while pregnant, you need to bear in mind that not all sodium sources are alike. Some may be healthier. For instance, it is better to enjoy vegetable soup and pickles to satisfy your cravings for salt because you will also be getting other essential nutrients with sodium.
Potato chips may also provide you with a salt fix, but you are not going to get enough nutrition. Similarly, processed meats, such as bacon and luncheon meats, are also rich in sodium, but they are never considered particularly healthy during pregnancy. Here are a few healthy snack ideas to try when you are craving salt while pregnant.
1. Wheat Crackers with Olive Spread
You get about 200 calories from these low-fat whole-wheat crackers. The crackers help satisfy your craving for salt, but the addition of olives is a plus-point, as it provides you with healthy fats.
2. Edamame with Sea Salt
Another interesting option to satisfy your craving for something salty is edamame with sea salt. Just get a cup of steamed edamame and enjoy it with a dash of natural sea salt. Not only will it help satisfy your craving, it will also provide you with fiber and protein. The snack provides you with only 190 calories.
3. Sea Salt and Sunflower Seeds
You can also try some garlic and sea salt flavored sunflower seeds to get a salt fix in a healthy way. You get 20% of your recommended daily intake of thiamin from one-third of the package. It also provides you with vitamin E and folate – you get only 160 calories from this snack.
4. Watermelon with Balsamic Vinegar and Cheese
If you are into Feta cheese and like it in your salad, you will certainly love this snack. Simply mix ¼ cup of crumbled Feta cheese with a cup of diced watermelon, and 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to make a perfect snack in no time. The good thing is that it provides you with only 165 calories.
5. Mozzarella Cheese Stick and Olives
You can always have some olives when you’re craving salt while pregnant, but add some mozzarella cheese to the mix and you will get a perfect protein punch. You are also going to get some additional calcium with no more than 148 calories.
6. Potato Chips and Sour Cream
You may be thinking that potato chips are not all that healthy, but the idea is to try baked potato chips only with fat-free cream. You can also add some chopped chives to the cream for added flavor. All this will provide you with about 175 calories.
7. Kosher Dill Pickles
If you are looking for a classic low-calorie snack, look no further than pickles. You get about 48 calories from six medium dill pickles. They are free of fat and help you get a perfect salt fix.
8. Feta with Olive Oil and Tomato
In place of chips and pretzels, try crumbled feta mixed with olive oil and tomato to go past your craving. Mix an ounce of crumbled feta with a cup of cherry tomatoes and add a teaspoon of olive oil for taste. You can also add some sea salt to make things saltier.
9. Instant Miso Soup
There is no need to go out to enjoy some salt miso because you can always try an instant miso soup at home. It provides you with only 90 calories.