Bolanle Adekoya: How I Keep My Food Portions & Cravings In Control During Pregnancy

Eating for two is a common pregnancy myth some mums sadly buy into. Couple this with the infamous cravings for ‘unhealthy bites’ and selected types of foods only due to food aversions and you’ll arrive at a major cause of nutrition flaws and excessive weight gain during pregnancy. So, how do I handle this challenge?

The truth is with each pregnancy, I have improved with nutrition and portion control. One of the things that helped me is learning that medically, you actually do not need extra food calories in the first six months of your pregnancy and you only need say 200 to 250 extra calories after this as long as you are eating a balanced diet. So, I became more committed than ever to making varieties of nutritious foods readily available. While one may have aversions for some, others will definitely work.

Personally, I have a menu plan filled with the varieties I love and others I can tolerate combined in a balanced form. Yes, I have special treats sometimes, but the thought of how hard it takes for me to shed the excess weight post-pregnancy keeps me in check. So, I’d say the basic factor to portion control, no matter what you crave or eat, is self restraint. You just have to be disciplined!

As a working mum, I’m always on the go, so, to curtail yearning for whatever I see without thinking about what’s healthy or not or what quantity I should eat, I pack my meals and snacks. I keep snacks ranging from bananas, red grapes, cereal bars, granola bars, crackers, dried fruits and nuts (I stay off peanuts because I found out they are high in fat and may cause allergies) in my bag. This helps me avoid hunger pangs and ‘naughty’ cravings as well as eat in guided portions. Snacking also helps with regulating blood sugar which may also trigger those cravings.

I’d say packing my meals to work means I rarely have to walk into a food joint, go through menu lists that may elicit fresh cravings and place orders I feel must be at least sizeably consumed to prevent wasting money. It’s also likely that if I like what is served, visiting to eat that particular order in outrageous portions becomes a habit. So, curb eating out and if you must, I’d say take away so you can control how much you eat.

In addition, drinking water is key to starving off cravings. Sometimes when you feel hungry again after eating not too long ago, it could actually be a sign of dehydration. So, instead of reaching for a fresh bowl of food, drink some water and see if you feel refreshed. Drink water when you don’t feel thirsty or hungry as well. If you find water a bit bland and boring, there are different ways I jazz up my water. I sometimes take fizzy water and squeezed lemon, could take a bit of black currant juice and dilute with water, drink weak tea, and so on. All these help with water intake without adding copious amounts of sugar or caffeine.

A lot of us say to ourselves, ‘This is my time to indulge myself. Pregnancy is not a time to watch my weight, my body has a lot going on,’ and so on, but trust me, there are several healthy ways to indulge yourself and overeating is not one of them. It only helps you pack on extra pounds which may be difficult to shed post-pregnancy.

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