While some women crave for out of the ordinary food combinations during pregnancy, there are others who can’t even stand basic food items such as meat, eggs and vegetables. If you suddenly can’t stand even the smell of your favorite yogurt or cheese, then you are having a food aversion. Food aversions may not get the hype as compared to food cravings, but it is a symptom that is as common and even as bothersome.

Some experts theorize that food aversions are caused by our body’s inherent mechanism to protect itself from any perceived threat. If your body finds a particular food repulsive, it will act in a protective way, which explains the nausea and vomiting associated with food aversions. However, this strong reaction towards food is largely attributed to hormonal changes as your body is getting attuned to pregnancy.

For some women, food aversions only last through the first trimester of pregnancy, but there are others who have it through the different stages. Some women are lucky to have mild food aversions, but there are others who have strong reactions, such that they could not stand even the sight and smell of a well-loved food. Finding some food items unappealing or even disgusting is totally harmless, but when these food aversions get in the way of healthy eating, you need to do something about it.

First, you need to learn how to substitute.

If you find meat offensive, you can use soy-based products such as tofu, soy pasta, soy based milk, yogurt, among others. You can also get protein from nuts, beans, legumes, and high-protein grains such as quinoa and couscous. Common food items such as cheese and peanut butter are also tasty substitutes.

If you can’t get yourself to eat green leafy vegetables, don’t force yourself. Choose fruits instead because they are generally easier on the palate and they also contain the same nutrients found in many vegetables. Popular choices include cantaloupe, papaya, apricots, and mangoes because they generally contain more nutrients as compared to its green counterparts. To make it more delectable, you may also make fruit smoothies for a refreshing and healthy drink.

If you think you can handle it, you may also try having any vegetable juice of your choice. Try to snack on carrot sticks or yam because they are packed with nutrients comparable to what you can get from having a fresh green salad. If you can’t stand drinking milk, you can always rely on high-calcium dairy products as tastier alternatives. Yogurt and cheese are good substitutes as well as calcium-fortified juice drinks.

Second, sneak it in.

If you have strategized clever ways on how you can sneak in vegetables or even fruits to your child’s favorite dishes, then it’s about time to do the same for yourself. A good way to avoid tasting any vegetable flavor is to steam and puree them before adding to a mixture or a dish. Meatballs, pasta and pizza sauces, spring rolls and even dessert choices like brownies and cupcakes can do a great job in concealing any unwanted flavor. You may also conceal vegetables or fruits in breakfast favorites such as omelets, pancakes or waffles. If you have an aversion for milk, add it to soups, smoothies, pasta sauce and other dishes.

Third, never forget to supplement.

Eating healthy during pregnancy can be challenging especially when your hormones are not at all helpful. And sometimes even with a healthy diet, you may still miss out on essential nutrients that are necessary for your growing baby. Hence, take your prenatal vitamins regularly because it is intended to fill in any nutritional gaps.

Did you have any food aversions during pregnancy? How did you deal with it?