Most women experience cravings for certain foods during pregnancy. Food cravings are likely caused by the hormonal changes your body goes through while you are pregnant. Depending on how you prepare it, a grilled cheese sandwich can be a nutritious food you can safely eat on a regular basis. In addition to the taste you crave, you will also get a healthy dose of certain nutrients you need to support a healthy pregnancy.
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A food craving is defined as a sudden desire for a specific food, often an unusual food. Your pregnancy hormones might play a role in what foods you crave. What to Expect, a website based on the popular parenting book series with the same name, reports that you might also crave certain foods because your body knows what it needs to grow a healthy baby. No scientific evidence suggests that your body craves what it needs, however, BabyCenter reports. If you crave healthy foods, such as fruits or whole grains, feel free to give in because these are nutritious. If you crave donuts or candy, restrict how often you eat them because they do not provide any nutrition.
A grilled cheese sandwich can be a healthy pregnancy craving, depending on how you prepare it. Cheese is a good source of calcium, which your unborn baby needs to support healthy growth and development of his bones and teeth. Fortified bread can provide you with iron, which supports your increased blood volume and helps prevent low birth weight and premature delivery. Your sandwich also supplies you with protein, a nutrient that encourages proper production of amino acids. A grilled cheese sandwich can have a significant amount of fat if you use butter and full-fat cheese. While some fats are healthy, butter and cheese contain saturated fat, which might elevate your cholesterol level. Instead, focus on unsaturated fats from foods such as olive oil, fatty fish and avocados. Unsaturated fats support your own health and also support the growth of your unborn baby.
Make your grilled cheese with the most nutritious ingredients possible so you can give into your cravings more often. Use whole-wheat bread, which is often fortified with iron. Whole-wheat bread also contains fiber and vitamin B-1, a vitamin that helps regulate your baby's nervous system. Use low-fat cheese to get a healthy dose of calcium without all the saturated fat in regular cheese. Go easy on the butter you use to grill your sandwich or switch to nonstick cooking spray. This will also reduce the saturated fat content of your sandwich. Add sliced tomatoes, red bell pepper strips or onions to add vitamin C to your sandwich. Layer spinach leaves into your sandwich for a healthy dose of iron as another way to boost the nutrition.
Choose hard cheeses, such as cheddar or mozzarella, for your grilled cheese sandwich. Most soft cheeses are not safe during pregnancy because they might contain listeria, a dangerous bacteria that can cause miscarriage. Soft cheeses, such as feta, brie and queso fresco, are often not pasteurized, a process that kills listeria. Include a variety of other foods in your pregnancy diet. While grilled cheese sandwiches can be a part of your healthy diet, you might miss out on key nutrients if you do not also eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and lean meat.
- BabyCenter: Food Cravings and What They Mean
- WomensHealth.gov: Stages of Pregnancy
- What to Expect: Food Cravings During Pregnancy and Pregnancy Food Aversions
- American Pregnancy Association: Essential Nutrients and Vitamins for Pregnancy
- FoodSafety.gov: Checklist of Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
- BabyCenter: Dietary Fats in Your Pregnancy Diet