Why Do Some People Crave Peanut Butter When Pregnant?

We've all heard of pregnancy cravings before. Part of the reason why everyone knows about pregnancy cravings is because having a hankering for an unusual food or food combination during pregnancy is extremely common (via Healthline). Research in Frontiers in Psychology shows that up to 90% of pregnant people in the U.S. find themselves having cravings for certain foods at some point during their pregnancy. What makes someone crave something during pregnancy isn't just a love of snacks — it's science. Why you crave what you crave differs from person to person. It could be because the food you crave contains nutrients that your baby-to-be needs. Sometimes, on the other hand, your cravings come from your influx of hormones. 


If your pregnancy craving of choice is the sweet and salty staple, peanut butter, you are definitely not alone (via Healthline). A study in the National Library of Medicine shows that expectant mothers frequently go for peanut butter when they are in the mood for a salty food. If you are one of the many people who's craving peanut butter during your pregnancy, you may wonder what's causing this craving and whether or not it's safe to indulge. 

What makes peanut butter so crave-able?

While peanut butter may feel like a guilty pleasure food, it's actually full of valuable nutrients (via Healthline). If your body is in need of the nutrients that peanut butter contains, you're likely to get a craving for it. Peanut butter is high in antioxidants, which are an important part of any diet, and you may be craving peanut butter when your body is looking for an extra boost. As a low-carbohydrate food, peanut butter can be a great snack for folks with gestational diabetes who need to keep their carbs in check.


Peanut butter is a great way to get plant-based protein which makes it a perfect choice for pregnant folks who don't eat meat or dairy (via Cary OB/GYN). In addition to protein, it's also a source for healthy fats, and peanut butter is a high-fiber food. Since many pregnant folks struggle with constipation, the fiber in peanut butter can be an easy way to keep those symptoms at bay. 

Should you indulge your pregnancy craving?

You may be wondering whether peanut butter is a safe option to eat during pregnancy. It probably goes without saying, but if you have a nut allergy, a pregnancy craving for nuts isn't your body's way of telling you to throw caution to the wind (via Healthline). If you're allergic to peanuts, don't use your pregnancy as the time to test out if your allergy has gone away. Rather, fulfill your peanut butter craving by snacking on something that contains similar nutritional value to the food you crave. You can give your body what it's looking for without putting yourself in danger.


If you don't have a peanut allergy, feel free to indulge your craving (via Cary OB/GYN). Just make sure to grab a jar of peanut butter that has the smallest amount of added ingredients. One great thing about indulging a peanut butter craving is that it's a versatile food. From adding peanut butter to your fruit smoothie to spreading it on veggies or even whipping up a good old fashioned PB&J, maximize the health benefits by enjoying your peanut butter paired with other nutritious options.