Are you in your 2nd trimester of pregnancy and already hungry 30 minutes after leaving the table? It’s normal, you’re pregnant! Your body is demanding more energy. Fortunately, there are some tips that can help you increase your satiety and limit the urge to snack. To find out more about this phenomenon that affects many mothers-to-be, we met Emilie Galy, Naturopath specialising in maternity support and mother of two young children.
Emilie Galy: “Don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal to feel hungrier during pregnancy, the body’s energy requirements are increased from the 2nd trimester onwards, so we need more calories. However, this does not mean that you have to snack excessively and binge eat. It is important to pay attention to the quality of food and its nutritional properties.
Why is it important not to snack all day?
Digestion takes up 30% of our available energy. If we spend the whole day snacking we will waste a lot of energy, which will end up tiring the body. It is also essential to give our digestive system time to rest. Time to assimilate, to eliminate and finally time for the regeneration of cells which is essential!
So limit yourself to 3 meals a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and 2 snacks maximum (one in the morning and one in the afternoon).
Good chewing: essential for assimilating nutrients and delaying the feeling of hunger
Chewing well facilitates digestion because the food will be partially predigested and you will limit bloating and digestive discomfort. Chewing also allows better assimilation of nutrients. Finally, it will reduce the feeling of hunger. The satiety message will arrive after 15 to 20 minutes, so you will automatically eat less and feel fuller than if you had swallowed your plate in 5 minutes. Also avoid eating while doing something else at the same time, concentrate on your plate and your sensations and chew, you will feel less hungry afterwards!
How to compose your plate so as not to be hungry 2 hours after the meal?
The foods that will give you lasting satiety are proteins and starchy foods/cereals with a low glycemic index. The latter will allow you to limit the glycaemic peak that follows the meal and you will not feel hungry for a few hours.
The ideal plate for pregnant women: start your meal with a small starter of soft raw vegetables, then compose your plate as follows: quality proteins (red meat (once a week) or white meat, fish, eggs), cooked vegetables (almost half the plate, including raw vegetables) and low-glycemic index starchy foods or cereals: steamed potatoes, sweet potatoes, basmati or wholemeal rice, quinoa, legumes, etc.
Avoid raw fruit for dessert, which can disturb your digestion: opt for a compote with no added sugar or cooked fruit: baked apples with cinnamon for example.
As your pregnancy progresses, increase the quantities (reasonably!)
Breakfast, an essential meal for a good start to the day
To start the day well, a nutritious and filling breakfast based on slow sugars helps to
to avoid the ten o’clock craving. Here are a few ideas for healthy breakfast recipes adapted to pregnant women taken from the blog La fabrique des mamans :
- A granola rich in oatmeal, seeds and oilseeds
- A chocolate granola with no added sugar
- Fresh fruit porridge
- Overnight Porridge
Making breakfast the night before is a good habit to get into during your pregnancy. It makes it easy to improve your diet and avoid eating the first thing you see when you wake up.
Nutritious drinks and smoothies
Sometimes pregnancy sickness and nausea prevent you from eating anything at breakfast. In this case, you can turn to nutritious drinks and milkshakes:
- Vitality vegetable juice
- Citrus shake
- Strawberry banana cream
- Kiwi apple smoothie
Special snacks for pregnant women
During pregnancy, the feeling of hunger can be particularly persistent. Indeed, cravings are common, especially during the first trimester. This is one of the symptoms of pregnancy! If you feel the urge to devour the packet of cakes, first ask yourself a question: am I really hungry? or do I just want to eat?
If you are really hungry, opt for a piece of fruit (red fruit has arrived and is not too sweet), a handful of oilseeds, a square of 70% dark chocolate or a LA FABRIQUE DES MAMANS bar.
If you have the opportunity to prepare your own snack, try recipes using fruit and dried fruit:
- Fruit Yum
- Chia pudding with chocolate and coconut
- Kiwi, pear and apple compote
Natural appetite suppressants adapted to pregnancy
For pregnant women, it is not a question of suppressing their appetite, but of favouring satiating foods with a strong satiating power.
Fruits and vegetables rich in pectins.
Soluble fibres of plant origin, pectins swell in water and give the impression of being full. You will find them in grapefruit, oranges, apples and pears, as well as in carrots, tomatoes and potatoes.
Psyllium is an effective natural appetite suppressant. It can be added to a juice, a drink, or mixed directly into water. Psyllium also has beneficial effects on the transit of pregnant women.
Finally, can you give us some tips on how to avoid cravings?
If it’s not time for a snack or a meal, then try to disconnect yourself from that food craving:
- Inhale a mild essential oil that is permitted during pregnancy: dilute a few drops of lavender or sweet orange essential oil in a small bottle of vegetable oil, for example. This way you can breathe in a soothing scent without danger.
- Do not inhale pure essential oil bottles
- Use your hands to do other things than eating: colouring, drawing, knitting, sewing, giving yourself a foot massage…
- Do breathing exercises such as cardiac coherence or meditation
- Drink a glass of flavoured water (with some chopped fruit or herbs: lemon/mint, orange/rosemary) or a strong herbal tea (cinnamon, ginger, etc.)
If this is too frequent, you can also try taking chromium which will help you to regulate your eating urges, ask your doctor, pharmacist or naturopath for advice.
Photo credit: Xavier Mouton