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How Carb-Crazy Jenna Wolfe and Other Pregnant Moms Can Manage Their Cravings

Pregnant moms with odd cravings isn’t news; the two go together like newborns and sleep deprivation. As much as we’d like a cold, hard reason for why we crave things completely out of the ordinary when we’re pregnant, that research doesn’t really exist. It is what it is. Some have said that a craving can be linked to a deficiency, your body’s way of raising a red flag and saying “give me some iron,” but the science to back that up hasn’t yet been found.

So why has Jenna Wolfe, a correspondent for the TODAY Show, been so carb crazy during her pregnancy? Mary Hartley, RD says, “My best guess is that Jenna is craving more calories from carbohydrates relative to her former diet, which may have emphasized protein and only enough calories to maintain a svelte figure.”

Prior to becoming pregnant, Wolfe admits on her TODAY Show blog that she maintained an incredibly healthy diet. Just look at her – that’s all the proof you need! “Yogurt, fruit, nuts, eggs, salad, protein, veggies, grains, protein,” she wrote about the way it was.

Today, her pregnancy diet doesn’t look much different than other moms: “Cold cereal, bagel, order a salad for lunch (good), only eat the croutons from that salad (yeesh), pasta, pasta, a pickle, pasta, dessert.”

“Carbohydrates provide energy, and now Jenna needs enough energy to run two bodies,” commented Hartley. Sure, one body is very little, but it is growing fast! Pregnant women need to eat enough calories to support the baby’s weight gain. ”

But like a lot of moms, Wolfe is feeling the unfair pressure of judgment by other moms. She wrote, “I’m battling the pregnancy pitfalls and am struggling to stay on the fitness track. But please know I’m trying.”

When I was pregnant, I was committed to my healthy eating habits and my weekly yoga class. It made me healthier and stronger, and my baby, too. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t eat Nacho Cheese Doritos for breakfast (twice) and swear that the only cure for my debilitating morning sickness was a burger, fries, and custard from a local shop. I wanted it. The baby wanted it. Someone wanted it and they couldn’t be hushed!

Wolfe isn’t alone and she shouldn’t be made out to be the bad guy (or mom) because she’s giving in to a nearly all-carb diet. Pregnancy does some weird stuff to our bodies, but Wolfe and the rest of us can overcome them with a few healthy craving management tips.

Carb Cravings: Stick to whole grains. Have the bagel, but only half of a whole grain. Have the pasta, but stick to a 1 cup serving of whole grain noodles. Eat the croutons (and the salad, too)!

Salty Cravings: Choose the low-sodium potato chips; they are still plenty salted but have a little less. Drink plenty of water with these salty snacks to avoid dehydration.

Chocolate Cravings: TODAY’s own dietitian Joy Bauer has said one ounce of 70% or darker chocolate is totally acceptable, so go ahead and indulge.

Crunchy Cravings: Try crisp, fresh vegetables like carrots, peppers, and celery. Make your own crunchy kale chips. Pop your own homemade microwave popcorn.

image by Heidi Gutman/NBC

April 10th, 2013

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