Guest post with Allison Martineau of Sweetpea Nutrition!
I am so pleased to be able to share the advice of my friend Allison.
Allison has been working as a nutritionist with new families for over 10 years and is a mom of two. This lady has so many nutritional tricks up her sleeves!
This post is all about what to do about sugar! Here’s Allison:
One of the questions I ask when meeting new clients is which foods, if any, they are craving. Without fail, the majority of people highlight sugar and carbs as their number 1 craving. Surprisingly, no one is having uncontrollable urges to eat broccoli…hmm, I wonder why not?
Hard truth: we love sugar. So why is this addiction to carbs so strong and how can we successfully manage it? And most importantly, why should we care?
To start, controlling blood sugar during pregnancy has countless benefits for both you and your baby. In the short term excessive sugar intake can cause headaches, nausea and irritability and in the longer term can increase ones risk for gestational diabetes, lead to a larger baby, increase your risk for labour complications and lead to unhealthy weight gain.
This doesn’t have to mean completely eliminating sugar, but limiting it and keeping ourselves in control. Sugar cravings are not a novel concept; sugar tastes good and when we eat it it stimulates the release of dopamine in our brain, which makes us feel good. The brain recognizes and likes this feeling and begins to crave more. So the more sugar you eat, the more you will want to eat, which thus begins a vicious cycle and the start of the dreaded blood sugar roller coaster.
So what can you do?
- Get some sleep (easier said than done sometimes…I know!) However, if you’re pregnant and are suffering from insomnia or have leg cramps or other issues keeping you awake at night, let us know and there are things we can do (both nutritionally and otherwise) to help. Sleep is so vitally important and not something to lightly dismiss.
- Eat more chromium rich foods. Chromium has been shown to be effective in curbing sugar cravings, as it works to balance our blood sugar levels and keep energy stable. Include chromium rich foods in your diet such as broccoli, grapes, barley, oats, brewer’s yeast, tomatoes and romaine lettuce.
- Choose healthier snack options that won’t spike your blood sugar before indulging in a sweet craving (good options include hard boiled eggs sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper, veggies and hummus, fruit, nuts and yogurt or an apple with nut butter).
- Add cinnamon to your meals. Cinnamon has been shown to curb blood sugar by lowering insulin resistance. Simply sprinkle some cinnamon on various dishes (if you enjoy it).
- Drink water, as often thirst can be mistaken for hunger.
- Take a vitamin D supplement. Recommended intake for most individuals is 1000 IU. However, if you have had your levels tested and are deficient, then a higher dose may be required.
- Don’t eat carbs by themselves. When you do eat carbohydrates, make sure you pair them with protein, fibre and/or fat to keep your blood sugar levels more stable. Examples of healthy pairings can be dark chocolate mixed with nuts, oats topped with fruit and chia seeds or pasta paired with veggies and some chicken.
- Eat regularly. This is helpful in making sure your blood sugar never gets too low. You can also eat smaller portions, so your blood sugar doesn’t spike too high. This also helps you avoid that ravenous feeling you get when you haven’t eaten in a long time. Poor choices generally happen when we are famished. Aim to avoid that feeling.
And if you are looking to indulge a craving, here are some of my favourite go to treats:
- Dark chocolate- 1 to 2 oz paired with some nuts
- Fruit and full fat yogurt
- Banana “Ice Cream”- Simply blend frozen bananas with a splash of milk until creamy consistency. Can add a scoop of nut butter for some added fats and protein.
1 ripe banana
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup of your preferred milk
1.5 oz melted dark chocolate (or ¼ cup of maple syrup)
- Melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave (if using).
- Combine all ingredients in a blender of food processor and blend until smooth.
Have more questions? Need additional support? Get in touch to find out how we can help you overcome sugar cravings!
Bio: Allison Martineau has over 10 years experience working in health and nutrition. She has a passion for sharing her nutritional strategies with expectant and new families to make cooking and eating for health during the preconception, pregnancy and postpartum periods simple and convenient.