Pregnant and Missing Your Old Favourite Foods?

Nutrition // Jenelle Croatto

Pregnancy is an exciting time – but it does come with its fair share of challenges! Along with rollercoaster hormones and fatigue, you’ll also need to pass on some of your favourite foods (and drinks!) for nine months.

Yes, compromises will be needed, but it’ll be well worth it once your bundle of joy arrives. To help your survive the next nine months, here are our top tips to enjoy life while navigating the foodie ‘dos and don’ts’ of pregnancy.

Alcohol

Just because alcohol is a pregnancy no-no, this doesn’t mean you need to pass on a celebratory toast or your next ladies’ night out.

The Safer Choice

Alcohol-free bubbles, cider and sparkling juice make for a great alternative – particularly during those early weeks when news of your pregnancy is still under wraps! So although it’s time to say goodbye to your favourite alcoholic bevvie, be sure to maintain your festive flare with a swanky mocktail – little umbrella and all!

Caffeine

If the idea of cutting out your morning latte seems like mission impossible, the good news is – you don’t need to! While you needn’t quit caffeine, it’s with good reason to cut back, as excessive intake may increase the risk of premature birth, low birth weight and even miscarriage. What’s more, too much caffeine can interfere with your ability to absorb iron – an essential mineral that many pregnant ladies fall short on.

The Safer Choice

Keep enjoying your favourite brew, but play it safe by limiting caffeine to around 200mg1 a day – e.g. two to three cups of instant or one café coffee.

PRODUCT CAFFEINE CONTENT

SERVE

 

Instant Coffee

60-80 mg

250 ml cup (1 tsp.)

 

Café Coffee (e.g. latte or cappuccino)

113-282 mg

250 ml cup

 

Iced Coffee (commercial)

30-20 mg

500 ml bottle

 

Tea

10-50 mg

250 ml cup

 

Coca-Cola

58 mg

600 ml bottle

 

Hot Chocolate

5-10 mg

250 ml cup

 

Milk Chocolate 20 mg

100 g bar

Feeling zombie-eyed and it’s only 10am? Just remember you’re pregnant – and feeling tired is completely normal. To help energise your day, eat regular meals and snacks to prevent dips in blood glucose (energy) levels, and keep well hydrated – as even being slightly dehydrated can leave you feeling tired and sluggish! A brisk walk is also a great natural energy booster and if you can, squeeze in a power nap to reboot and put some pep back in your step!

Soft Cheeses

You can thank (or not thank) hormonal changes that suppress your immune system for needing to say au revoir to your beloved cheese platter.

Frustrating – yes! – but it’s with good reason, as soft and semi-soft cheeses (e.g. camembert, brie, blue, feta and ricotta) can harbour dangerous bacteria that can make you and your baby sick. The exception here is cottage cheese (if consumed within two days of opening), cream cheese and cheese spreads, which are all A-OK.

The Safer Choice

Hard cheeses like cheddar, tasty and parmesan have the thumbs-up, as do soft cheeses if they have been heated to above 75 °C, and served while hot – think Spinach, Ricotta & Pumpkin Cannelloni, or cheese topping on pizza.

Also read: Why is Dairy So Good for You?

Deli Meats

Pre-pregnancy, a simple ham sandwich may have been your go-to lunch, but now that you’re a mum-to-be, steer clear of deli meats (pre-packaged and deli), to reduce your chance of being exposed to harmful Listeria bacteria.

The Safer Choice

Thoroughly cook (no visible pink) and slice your own meat to use in sandwiches, wraps and salads. To be extra safe, it’s best to eat any leftovers within a day of cooking.

But, if pregnancy cravings having you pining for cold cuts or packaged sandwich meat, just heat until steaming hot before tucking in. Okay… so microwaved ham doesn’t sound appealing, but if you use it to make your favourite toastie, I’d say that’s a pregnancy win!

Sushi

All pregnant women should avoid raw fish – so it’s a no (sorry!) for ready-made sushi. Even if the sushi looks fresh it’s impossible to know if its safe to eat, as some types of bacteria can only be killed by cooking.

The Safer Choice

Try making your own – without the raw fish. Grab some nori rolls, tinned tuna (or salmon), avocado, thinly sliced fresh veggies, sushi rice or quinoa for a ‘smart carb’ choice and ENJOY!

Salad-to-Go

You’re probably getting the gist that ready-to-eat deli foods are off limits and we’re sorry to say that it’s the same deal for salad bars. They may be super trendy and are one of the few fast-food options that feature fresh vegetables, but they are best avoided during pregnancy. Why so? It’s those pesky bacteria again… 

The Safer Choice

Pregnant you and salad can still be friends – just make your own from freshly washed ingredients so you know exactly what you’re eating.

Also read: Top 10 Snacks to Have in Your Desk Drawer

Runny Eggs

Poachies may be out – but scrambled, boiled and baked eggs are still on the menu! The bottom line here is to thoroughly cook eggs (no runny yokes) to kill off any Salmonella bacteria that may be lurking around. Try our 12WBT Hazelnut & Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes.

Be sure to also keep an eye out for sneaky sources of raw egg, e.g. chocolate mousse, aioli and homemade mayonnaise (try yoghurt dressing instead) – and if you’re baking a cake that contains eggs… please don’t lick the spoon!

References

1 NSW Health (2013). Caffeine. Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Office.

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