Health Choice & Cravings during Pregnancy & Breastfeeding 

It is quite a common phenomenon for mums to have cravings during pregnancy and breastfeeding stages. Mothers should not feel guilty of having such behaviors as the body is trying to expend energy for more than one person. Common cravings go for food rich in protein, fats, and calcium. It is sort of a natural instinct for the body to want things that support growth, but most times, those snacks are in unhealthy formats. Since snacks can make up to 25% of your caloric intake in a day, it is important to plan ahead so that they are actually nutritious and filling. Today, let us look at a couple of helpful tips to make better pregnancy and breastfeeding meal plan snacking choices.1, 3, 4

  • Eat nutritionally dense mains: the more filling and satisfying your main breakfast, lunch, and dinner are, the less cravings you will have in between.1, 2, 3
  • Five food groups to remember: Whole grains for fiber and carbs, vegetables for vitamins, Fruits for antioxidants, dairy for fats and calcium, and Protein as an energy source. At least include 2 food groups in every meal. This is important as a well rounded diet provides a better ability for thriving.1, 2, 3
  • Car, purse or fridge: Whole wheat crackers in portions, whole fruits to prevent spoilage, low-fat yogurt, low fat cheese, or nuts. Only bring perishables once you leave the house, don’t leave them in hot cars. Portioning out food will prevent cravings and overeating. Have pre-made shakes of fresh fruits or nutritional supplements (eg. Similac MUM powder can be pre prepared and chilled) if time and location are restricted.1, 2, 3, 4
  • Plain Water on Hand: Remind yourself to stay hydrated often. Water improves digestion and the forming amniotic fluids. A well hydrated body functions better and drinking water when stress appeases it faster. It is recommended to consume about 10 of 237ml glasses of water a day.1, 2, 3

Other ways to Make healthy food the convenient choice

It may take some time to get used to one making better choices, but those choices benefit not only you the mother, but for your child most importantly. Take about one day a week to plan out days for easy assembly eats, which fruits to pre-cut, when to shop for vegetables to ensure freshness, and storage to reduce spoilage. Always pick the healthy alternatives when eating out. No matter how good those fried food platters look, go for the tomato or papaya salad. Things to avoid are undercooked meats, some cheese (which type depends on your Obstetrician), uncooked sprouts, and herbal teas (talk to your Obstetrician of which ones are safe for you).2, 3

If you are unsure if certain drinks or foods are not suitable for you, you can always consume specialized nutritional supplements for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. According to findings in a Malaysian Recommended Nutrient intake study, Similac MUM is recommended as its scientific formulation provides an efficient amount of Vitamin E & Lutein, DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid, for supporting brain health) and is low fat to top off where nutrition is missing with regular food.1, 3, 4

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  3. Huynh DTT et al. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2017 May 7: 1-9 –