Can Pregnant Women Eat Ice Cream?

Can Pregnant Women Eat Ice Cream

Pregnancy often leads to some wild food cravings, doesn’t it? Some food cravings can be related to nutrient needs or deficiencies, while others are totally random. Cravings are said to happen to 50–90% of people who are pregnant in the US. There are many popular cravings like spicy food during pregnancy, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

But as much as we’d all love to indulge in our wildest cravings 24/7, being pregnant also means being mindful of what we’re putting into our bodies. After all, the foods we consume go towards nourishing our growing child, too. The good news is that most cravings during pregnancy are normal and fine to enjoy.

With that said, when those ice cream cravings hit, lots of mamas-to-be wonder: Is it really okay to dig into that pint of ice cream? Is ice cream completely off-limits during pregnancy, or can you permit yourself a little treat here and there?

In this post, we’re diving deep into all things ice cream and pregnancy. We’ll touch on sugar cravings during pregnancy and how to satisfy those cold, creamy cravings safely. Let’s get into the scoop!

Can Pregnant Women Eat Ice Cream?

Navigating nourishment during pregnancy can be difficult, especially when you experience food aversions and cravings. Most of the time, you are encouraged to listen to your body and eat the foods you’re craving – yes, even ice cream! 

Ice cream can be a safe treat for pregnant women to enjoy in moderation alongside a well-balanced diet. However, there are a few food safety precautions and items to remember when consuming ice cream while pregnant. 

the prenatal nutrition library search bar

It’s rare to find ice cream made with unpasteurized milk, but if you stumble upon a local farmer’s market with raw milk ice cream, this would be best to skip during pregnancy. Unpasteurized dairy carries an increased risk of potentially causing foodborne illnesses like listeria. Listeriosis can be very serious during pregnancy. 

Why Do Pregnant Women Crave Ice Cream?

Why Do Pregnant Women Crave Ice Cream?

As mentioned, food cravings during pregnancy aren’t fully understood in science. Some cravings are totally random and have no rhyme or reason. But there are, of course, theories and some intriguing physiological processes happening that could be causing pregnancy cravings. Let’s dive into some of these below.

Let me start with the hormonal changes that pregnant women undergo. We undergo a great deal of hormonal changes during pregnancy. This roller coaster of hormone changes may contribute to food cravings during pregnancy. 

Sometimes, cravings are related to a particular food being a good source of a specific nutrient or a nutrient deficiency. For example, when it comes to milk and ice cream, it could be due to the iodine. Dairy is a good source of iodine. Our need for iodine increases substantially during pregnancy. Ice cream also offers some protein and calcium!

Interestingly, some cravings are thought to be related to feelings of nostalgia. Perhaps you crave a food you had a lot of during childhood or have a fond memory of.

Then, there are the senses of taste and smell. Suddenly, you realize that certain tastes and textures you didn’t fancy before are now making your mouth water. Also, is there anything more satisfying than ice cream melting in your mouth?

Cravings are, for the most part, totally normal. However, if you’re craving non-food items like dirt or laundry detergent, please speak to your doctor and do not consume them. Additionally, if you always crave sugary foods, this could be a sign that we need to take a deeper dive and work on blood sugar balance.

How To Eat Ice Cream During Pregnancy

How To Eat Ice Cream During Pregnancy

With a few food safety points in mind, enjoying your favorite ice cream during pregnancy is absolutely okay! Keep these tips in mind while satisfying those cold and creamy desires. 

Here’s the scoop on how to enjoy ice cream safely during pregnancy:

Choose Pasteurized Milk Products

As mentioned, we want to choose ice cream made from pasteurized milk and cream, not raw, unpasteurized dairy. Pasteurization helps to kill potentially harmful bacteria and pathogens that could be lurking in raw dairy. Finding raw milk ice cream is rare, and most big-name ice cream brands have already gone through this process, but it never hurts to double-check the label.

Eat It After a Meal to Support Better Blood Sugar Balance

To keep your blood sugar levels from having a big spike, eat ice cream after a meal with plenty of protein. This will help to support better blood sugar management. Frequent big spikes and dips in blood sugar can lead to increased sugar cravings, energy crashes, and an increased risk of developing gestational diabetes. 

Check the Ingredients

Reading food labels is a good skill to develop. Some ice cream brands have better-quality ingredients than others. I encourage choosing a brand free from artificial sweeteners like sucralose whenever possible.

Add In Nutrient-Dense Toppings

Ice cream fulfills a different need than uber nutrient-dense food, but if you like it, top your bowl with fresh fruit, nuts, nut butter, shredded coconut, or seeds. It’s one easy way to take extra fiber, vitamins, minerals, and quality fats.

Pay Attention to Portion Size

Ice cream is traditionally higher in sugar. Again, it is okay to enjoy during pregnancy. However, being mindful of portion size and enjoying ice cream in moderation helps support healthy blood sugar levels and leaves room for plenty of other nutrient-rich food and beverage choices. 

Be Cautious of Soft-Serve Ice Cream

The soft-serve ice cream itself is not harmful, but the machines are notoriously difficult to clean and not always cleaned well. Not cleaning them well can potentially harbor bacteria and harmful pathogens. For this reason, there have been cases of foodborne illness linked to soft-serve ice cream. Whether you feel comfortable with the place and its cleaning practices is ultimately a personal decision. 

Best Ice Cream To Eat When Pregnant

Best Ice Cream To Eat When Pregnant

If you’re searching for a pregnancy-safe ice cream option that includes a few extra nutrients, here are a few examples. Remember, when those pregnancy ice cream cravings hit, feel free to enjoy your favorite brand and flavor! It’s usually better to choose the food you actually enjoy to truly satisfy your craving, i.e., it is okay to eat regular ice cream and move on! 

Nightfood Inc. Ice Cream

Nightfood is a totally unique ice cream made with those nighttime ice cream cravings in mind. It’s crafted with ingredients like peanut butter, honey, and oats to deliver that yummy, crave-able flavor and texture. It also has a bit more protein and fiber than traditional ice cream. 

the prenatal nutrition library app

Halo Top Ice Cream

Halo Top is oh-so-popular and is seriously tough to beat. Their dairy-based flavors pack a protein punch with around 14-20 grams of protein per pint, depending on the flavor! There are also so many flavor options. 

Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars

These frozen treats use relatively simple ingredients like Greek yogurt, milk, and fruit to create a tart, tangy indulgence that offers a boost of gut-friendly probiotics. They also offer a variety of flavors and about 4g of protein per bar. 

Straus Family Creamy Super Premium Ice Cream

Straus offers a variety of flavors of organic traditional ice cream for that classic tasty treat. The options have a handful of ingredients with no artificial sweeteners, colors, or dyes. There’s even 4-6 grams of protein per 2/3 cup serving, depending on your chosen flavor. 

Tillamook Ice Cream

This ice cream brand is available in most states across the country. It offers many flavors and sizes and does not add artificial sweeteners, flavors, or high fructose corn syrup to the ice cream. 

Pregnancy doesn’t mean all fun and enjoyable treats must go out the window.

Shunning all your pregnancy cravings is not a realistic goal. We generally encourage satisfying cravings such as ice cream. You can enjoy treats like ice cream in moderation and still have a pregnancy diet that is full of nourishment and nutrient-rich foods for you and your baby. 

I also know navigating nutrition during pregnancy is not a walk in the park. That is why I have created The Prenatal Nutrition Library (TPNL)! It is your one-stop shop for all the prenatal nutrition information you need to nourish for two before and during pregnancy confidently!

It’s an app available at your fingertips and will give you complete peace of mind. You’ll find answers to every question in the “Can I eat/drink this…” category during pregnancy! Whether you’re wondering about food safety or prenatal vitamins, want to boost your nutrient intake, or even learn how to deal with morning sickness, I’ve got you covered.

But wait, there’s more. The Prenatal Nutrition Library also contains tasty recipes and yummy trimester-specific pregnancy meal plans, so eating right while pregnant isn’t a chore. To give you a feel for what is in store, I have provided a Free 1-Week Sample Meal Plan that our pregnancy dietitian nutritionists expertly crafted. They are healthy and mouth-watering meals to nourish you and your little growing baby.

the prenatal nutrition library

the prenatal nutrition library feedback

get started here