This week, we talked about the crazy, complicated relationship that we women have during pregnancy and the postpartum period. We also talked about cultivating good eating habits with our children; and how we can encourage them to make healthier, better choices on their own. 

Food Cravings

Nutritionists believe that food cravings; and the crazy combinations we come up with (Beyonce craved bananas with ketchup!) are either signals from our bodies to get more nutrients, or a means for the body to get “high”. 

Satisfying your cravings triggers the release of dopamine, the “happy” hormone. When your body knows that getting a certain food will provoke a certain reaction; and it feels you need some stress relief, it triggers those cravings. These cravings often come along when the body is struggling to regulate the hormone fluctuations that come along with pregnancy and post-delivery. 

If you’re struggling with your cravings because of your personal values, diet or religion, you can try to manage this by helping your body produce dopamine naturally. Make sure you have enough sleep, do some light exercise, listen to music, meditate and spend time in the sun.

Alternatively, your body could be screaming for some essential nutrients that may be missing in your diet. Salt cravings may indicate a magnesium deficiency, dairy cravings may indicate a calcium deficiency, fat cravings a fatty acid deficiency, while sweet cravings could mean a calorie or carbohydrate deficiency. 

Read more about cravings and how to address any nutritional deficiencies in your diet in our guide here

Mood Boosters

Being pregnant … or being on your period, or being hormonal, is all part and parcel of being a woman. What food can you eat to improve your mood?

Examples of mood boosting food are: salmon, bananas, dark chocolate, oats, berries, coffee and fermented foods such as kimchi, yoghurt and miso, due to their probiotic properties.

We discussed how researchers have conducted studies on the positive effects that probiotics have on individuals suffering from depression, stress, exhaustion and chronic fatigue. Participants also reported improved cognitive function with improvements in memory, focus and problem solving-skills.

In addition, probiotics has been proven to reduce reactions to food allergies and eczema. 

Cultivating Good Eating Habits

We talked about how we take care to stock our pantries with healthier choices, so our kids eat healthily at home.

We also shared how we used our children’s natural curiosity to spur their interest in their food. For example, we talked about eating the rainbow; and Ruth shared her little rhyme that she uses with her kids:-

Red is for your heart and skin
Orange is for your eyes,
Green keeps you healthy and full of energy,
Blue and purple fight the baddies,
So eat the rainbow with me!

Children enjoy learning how and what food does to their bodies; and making them aware of this early on encourages them to make conscious choices when selecting their own food. 

Another method is to engage your child – either in picking the ingredients out in the grocery store, or helping out with preparing the meal. When the child is interested in the process, they’re naturally more interested to eat, which is sometimes essential because healthy food sometimes doesn’t look as pretty as their junk food counterparts. 

We’ve got a fun little worksheet for you here to learn more about the food all around us.

The Spillover Stress Parents Experience

Are you a mummy who has had to deal with unwelcome comments from relatives, parents, friends or healthcare professionals on the diet and weight of your child?

We’ve been there and we shared our own experiences of the stress of feeling like an inadequate parent, while dealing with a seemingly uncooperative child who just doesn’t seem to have any interest in eating. How does it reflect on our own parenting? 

We also talked about how our speech and behaviour can shape our children’s perception of food; and their relationship with it. 

Are you really full?

Can we trust our kids? We talked about how we sometimes struggle with accepting when our child says they’ve had enough. As adults, we sometimes forget that children are still developing and have an immature gut. They may have issues digesting certain foods, or be at a certain stage of development where their appetite has dropped.

Allowing your child to eat intuitively will help them learn to listen to their body’s signals, which sets the foundation for healthy eating habits later in life. 

In addition, we discussed the benefits of allowing indulgences once in awhile, rather than forbidding them entirely from unhealthy food choices.

Talk to us!

Questions? Comments? Hit us up in the comments below, or hop on over to our Facebook Page or Instagram.

Or share a healthy recipe or two with our mummy community!

Next week, we’ll be talking about the struggles of managing meals with infants and toddlers, as well as the impact that screen time during mealtimes has on our children’s relationship with food.

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