While it is normal to experience food cravings during pregnancy, you might be wondering if a craving for fried foods is healthy and what causes it in the first place. How should you handle it if you find yourself craving fried things during your pregnancy?
Expecting moms can have many different food cravings during their pregnancy, and fried foods are some of the most common. This could be your body’s way of telling you it needs more salt, fat, or filling foods. If you’re craving fried foods, make sure you’re using a good quality oil such as olive or coconut oil and limit total consumption.
Read on for more information about food cravings while pregnant, what these cravings could mean, and how to get your fried food fix in the healthiest way possible.
Is it normal to crave fried food during pregnancy?
It is very common to have food cravings during pregnancy. In fact, as many as 90% of pregnant women will experience at least one type of food craving during their pregnancy. Cravings typically peak during the second trimester before tapering off later in the pregnancy.
From anecdotal evidence online, it seems that craving fried foods during pregnancy is pretty common. Many moms have commented about these cravings on forums like BabyCenter.
On the other hand, some women may experience the opposite of food cravings, known as aversions. Fried foods can be a very common culprit for food aversions as well.
How to satisfy fried food cravings
The first step is to identify whether you crave a specific fried item, such as chicken or French fries.
You may need to add more complex carbs to your diet or consider eating more protein even if you don’t typically eat meat. If you want to indulge your fried food cravings in the healthiest way possible, it is best to avoid fast food.
There are also ways to make fried foods healthier by using the right oil and using a low oil cooking method such as an air fryer. Keep reading to find out the best oils you can use to fry.
Is it okay to eat fried food during pregnancy?
The dietary recommendations for fat in the United States indicate that no more than 20 – 35% of your total calories per day should come from fat. Ideally, it should be far less than this. In fact, The American Heart Association recommends this number be less than 5 to 6% of your caloric intake. In addition, some types of fats are recommended more highly than others.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the official guidelines are:
- Monounsaturated fat – 15% to 20%
- Polyunsaturated fat – 5% to 10%
- Saturated fat – less than 10%
- Trans fat – 0%
- Cholesterol – less than 300 mg per day
As long as you don’t have them at every single meal, it is generally okay to eat fried foods during pregnancy. As always, check with your doctor for any dietary restrictions unique to you and your pregnancy.
Keep in mind that your developing child will require your body to consume more calories and nutrients than usual during pregnancy, and this includes fat. As long as you remember to eat them in moderation, it should be just fine to indulge in some fried foods once in a while.
During pregnancy, you can eat much closer to the 20 to 35% of calories number, and this will typically mean consuming approximately 40-90 grams of fat each day.
Which fried foods are best to eat while pregnant?
When you’re craving fried foods while pregnant, some options are better than others.
Some of the healthier things you can eat, even when fried, include:
- Fried chicken
- Fried fish
- Fried plantains
- Stir-fried vegetables
- Fried potatoes
What is the healthiest oil for fried foods?
When food is cooked in oil, it absorbs the fat and calories of the oil, which can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and unwanted calories.
Here are 10 of the most common frying oils, ranked from the most healthy to the least:
- Olive oil – Versatile and healthy. Look for extra virgin olive oil.
- Coconut oil – High in saturated fats and stable at high heat for frying.
- Avocado oil – Unrefined and chock full of plenty of Vitamin E, good flavor.
- Sunflower oil – High in vitamin E and Omega-6s but can cause inflammation.
- Peanut oil – Flavorful and cooks well even at high heat, high potential for allergies.
- Soybean oil – Perfect for frying, has heart-healthy fats, some women avoid soy products.
- Palm oil – Fatty oil, perfect for deep frying, some sustainability concerns.
- Canola oil – Highly processed but has the least amount of saturated fats versus other vegetable oils.
- Vegetable oil – Highly processed and refined, lacks nutrients.
- Grapeseed oil – Very high in “bad” fats, typically processed using chemicals.
Craving French fries while pregnant
Potatoes are full of fiber, starch, vitamins, and minerals.
If you’re craving French fries, your body may be telling you that it needs more salt, or it could be craving something more filling than what you’ve been feeding it.
Other options for filling foods would include complex carbs like beans, brown rice, and whole grains. Making your French fries at home and using a healthier oil is another way to make your potato craving healthier.
Craving fried chicken during pregnancy
Don’t be surprised if you find yourself craving fried chicken when you are pregnant, even if you are normally vegetarian. It could be your body’s way of letting you know that you need more nutrients.
Chicken is obviously a good source of lean protein, and it makes sense that your body would be craving it while pregnant.
To avoid fatty and greasy fast-food chicken, consider making homemade fried chicken by using an air fryer.
What does it mean if you crave fried foods while pregnant?
There are some myths and old wives’ tales around pregnancy cravings and one theory about cravings that may actually have some truth behind it.
Does craving fried foods while pregnant mean it’s a boy or girl?
Parents have tried to figure out the sex of their unborn baby for centuries, coming up with all sorts of ways to try and determine their odds before birth. Although most of these old wives’ tales are unproven, it can still be interesting and fun to see if the predictions come true.
When it comes to food cravings, the general consensus is that craving salty and savory foods, such as fried foods, indicates that you are having a boy. On the other hand, desiring sweet foods (fried Oreos, anyone?) could mean you are having a girl.
Does craving fried foods mean I lack nutrients?
Many times, food cravings during pregnancy point to a specific vitamin or mineral that you may lack.
While some cravings are easy to figure out, at first glance, it seems difficult to determine what nutritional deficit fried foods could be filling. However, a craving for fried foods could indicate that you need more fat or that your body is craving something more filling.
Although many pregnant moms are scared of gaining weight, all those extra calories go towards growing the baby. So don’t be afraid to indulge your fried foods craving every now and then!
If you want to learn more, I have a HUGE list of the most common pregnancy cravings just for you!