If you experience food cravings during pregnancy, you fit in with about half of all pregnant women, reports Judith Brown, author of "What to Eat Before, During, and After Pregnancy." Many women crave unhealthy sweets and salty snacks, but others may crave healthy vegetables and fruits. If you are only craving vegetables while pregnant, indulge that craving, but do try to include additional healthy foods to ensure a balanced diet.
Although many researchers have explored food cravings and pregnancy, no one knows for sure why they happen. They may be a result of hormones that are out of whack, especially during the first trimester. Hormones can impact the way your body interprets foods’ tastes, smell and texture. Cravings may also be a way that your body communicates what it needs. You may crave salty snacks because your increased blood volume increases your need for sodium, for example. If you crave vegetables, it may be your body’s way of asking for more potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, K or A or even folic acid.
Craving vegetables should not be a cause for concern. Vegetables are generally low in calories and high in water content, which can help you meet your fluid needs. Vegetables can also help with pregnancy-related constipation by providing you with adequate amounts of fiber. Leafy greens can help you meet your needs for vitamin K, A and folate. Orange vegetables provide you with vitamin A and the antioxidant beta carotene. Leafy greens, especially when eaten with vitamin C, can also help you meet your iron needs, which increase during pregnancy.
Indulging vegetable cravings can be healthy, but make an effort to continue to eat a balanced diet. Go for a variety of veggies -- including purple, green, orange and yellow varieties to ensure that you get a wide range of nutrients. Include vegetables such as beans, as well as lean meats and fish, to help you get enough protein. Leafy greens provide some calcium, but try to include dairy products as well to help you get enough calcium to keep your bones healthy. Grains, especially enriched varieties, are a source of certain B vitamins that also contribute to your and your baby’s health.
When you are pregnant, you are vulnerable to episodes of bloating and gas. If you greatly increase your vegetable intake due to cravings, you might experience even more gas because of the fiber and certain sugars. They may be all you want to eat, but try to add larger servings into your diet slowly so your body can adjust.
- What to Eat Before, During, and After Pregnancy; Judith Brown
- KidsHealth: Eating During Pregnancy
- American Pregnancy Association: Pregnancy Nutrition