Pregnancy: Healthy Holiday Eating
It’s the most tempting time of the year. Traditional dishes, desserts and holiday delicacies abound, whether at work, home or beyond. But when you are trying to stick to a healthy eating plan for your pregnancy, how do you enjoy holiday treats without going overboard or putting yourself at risk for food that may be unsafe to eat?
Having a plan in mind is an important start. First item on the plan: Don’t celebrate on an empty stomach. (Pun somewhat intended.) You will feel less-famished if you eat a small meal – with a lean protein, complex carbohydrates, fruits and veggies – before going to a holiday party. You then can focus on having fun at the party and stick to an eating plan that lets you enjoy small bites in moderation.
Here’s a baker’s dozen of tips especially for moms-to be from Lehigh Valley Health Network. Food-borne illnesses are especially serious when you are expecting. With care, you can enjoy holiday munchies during your pregnancy.
- Hydrate the low- (or no-) calorie way. Drink plain water or water flavored with mint or fresh fruit like orange, lime or lemon. Water will fill you up and keep you hydrated during winter’s cold chill.
- Sidestep liquid calories. Calories add up quickly when they are full of sugar (like punches, soda and juices).
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol is never safe for pregnant women – avoid it in all its forms.
- Unpasteurized drinks are on the naughty list. Homemade apple cider and homemade eggnog aren’t pasteurized. Stick to pasteurized store brands to avoid the risk of illness and limit yourself to one serving since both are loaded with sugar and calories.
- Say cheese. Safer choices are hard cheeses or cheeses made from pasteurized milk.
- Non-pasteurized cheeses are a no-no. Soft cheeses like Brie, Camembert, goat, feta and queso fresco cheeses are often unpasteurized, and may put you (and your baby) at risk for listeriosis, a food-borne illness caused by a bacterium called Listeria monocytogenes.
Omnivores, pick this:
- If you eat fish: Make sure you only eat fully-cooked fish or seafood, and only select fish and shellfish that are mercury-safe.
- If you eat meat: Instead of rare meat, choose medium or well-done cuts.
- There’s something fishy about raw fish. Pregnant women should always avoid raw fish, shellfish and sushi, and skip smoked fish too.
- Caution at carving stations. Undercooked and rare meats are a breeding ground for bacteria.
Treat yourself to this:
- Cookie time. A holiday cookie is a fun indulgence. Stick to one cookie and enjoy every bite.
- Fruit bar. Feed your sweet tooth with whole fruit instead of a second cookie!
- Say no to raw cookie dough. It’s a temptation most people should avoid. Pregnant women should never eat raw cookie dough due to the risk of Salmonella contamination.
And when you are at a holiday event, treat yourself to small portions of your favorite foods and savor the flavor. When you’re mindful of your eating, you will enjoy it more.
Talk with your doctor if you have questions about nutrition during pregnancy. If you need a primary care provider, visit LVHN.org/find_a_doctor or call us at 888-402-LVHN (5846).