“Everyone keeps telling me what I can’t eat”, moaned a newly pregnant Yinova patient, “but no one is telling me what to eat instead”. This blog is for anyone who would like some help making healthy food choices when pregnant.
Fear not! I know we’ve asked you to limit the coffee and cut the sushi but there are plenty of alternatives that mean you won’t end up feeling too deprived for the next nine months.
We ask our pregnant Yinova patients not to eat hot dogs, deli meats (such as turkey, ham, salami, and bologna), refrigerated patés or meat spreads because of the risk of listeria which can cause miscarriage or premature birth.
So what to eat instead? If you’re really craving a hot dog you could try a nitrate-free brand such as Applegate Farms or a veggie dog. Just make sure you heat them thoroughly. Are you jonesing for a turkey sandwich with all the fixings? We advise against the kind of deli meats that stand in a cooling cabinet all day, but cooking and slicing a chicken or turkey breast is no problem. For a paté substitute, we suggest hummus which is delicious in a whole grain wrap with lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber.
What about coffee? We ask our pregnant patients to either cut out coffee or limit themselves to 1 small cup a day. If you’re having trouble giving up your daily coffee, have a look at this article. In it, we talk about breaking up with your daily cup of coffee and offer suggestions that could help you replace coffee with something less acidic and less caffeinated.
Pregnant people are told to avoid raw fish, shellfish, and smoked fish. Fish is a topic we’ve covered recently on the blog. If you’re eating in a Japanese restaurant you can make a meal of veggie sushi, seaweed salad, and edamame. As for smoked fish, the risk is negligible if the fish is cooked, so if you are missing smoked salmon you could try baking it into a quiche or in a creamy pasta sauce.
Because of the risk of listeria, you should avoid soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk such as brie, camembert, feta, Roquefort, queso blanco, and queso fresco. However many soft kinds of cheese are pasteurized and therefore safe to eat so check your labels carefully. If you are looking for a soft cheese alternative try making yogurt cheese by draining pasteurized yogurt through cheesecloth. Cottage cheese is also a safe choice and delicious if you dress it up with some chopped fresh herbs.
Alcohol is something that most pregnant women give up completely. Some of you tell me that you have trouble finding a grown-up drink for festive occasions. Personally I like to mix a small amount of fruit juice with lots of sparkling water for an alcohol-free spritzer.