A recent survey by Kelton Research (Los Angeles) tallied the opinions of 600 American moms aged 18 to 40 and found some interesting facts about their cravings during pregnancy. Some 72% of them reported cravings while they were pregnant, with 33% saying they had these cravings “all the time.”

What foods do they crave? Ice cream took the top spot with 33%, well ahead of second-place Mexican food's 14%. Interestingly, while 70% of the respondents recognize the importance of nutritious snacks during pregnancy, only 8% sought a healthful substitute once the cravings hit. To offer a healthful snack choice for moms-to-be, the Ross Products Division of Abbott Laboratories (Abbott Park, Ill.) is launching Ensure Healthy Mom Shakes and Snack Bars, formulated with at least 20 vitamins and minerals, including protein and calcium for the mom-to-be and other nutrients for the baby, i.e., iron, folic acid, and vitamins D and E.

While the Ensure product is a step in the right direction, developers might want to consider adding omega-3 fatty acids to products geared to women of childbearing age. Research by Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, La.) finds mothers consuming foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy and while nursing, and who continue to feed their babies such a diet after weaning, may dramatically reduce their daughters' risk of developing breast cancer later in life. The benefits of omega-3s were found regardless of whether the acids were delivered through food or supplement form.