Holiday Foods to avoid while pregnant
Friday, December 23, 2022
Many conscientious expecting mothers are very careful about their diets while pregnant, as they understand the impact it has on their developing babies. If this applies to you, you’ll find that it’s much more difficult to avoid indulging over the holidays.
Enjoying some of your favorite holiday treats for a few days or a week won’t undo all of the hard work you’ve done in maintaining a healthy diet for months, so go ahead and partake.
The main reason for concern when it comes to holiday pregnancy eating is the same as it is all year round: our immune systems are weaker when we’re pregnant. We’re at an increased risk for foodborne illnesses caused by microscopic villains such as E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, and Toxoplasma gondii. These are all bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can grow in undercooked foods. This can lead to serious issues for you and your baby, including miscarriage, premature delivery, birth defects, and death in newborns. But have no fear, with the right information you can enjoy holiday meals without running into these risks.
Here are a few holiday foods to avoid during pregnancy:
That’s because it is often made with raw or undercooked eggs that may contain salmonella bacteria.
Fresh Apple cider
Bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella can be present in unpasteurized juices, so avoid “homemade” ciders like the ones found at apple orchards, fruit stands, and farmers’ markets — unless, of course, the juice is pasteurized.
To zap bacteria and parasites like E. coli, trichinella, and toxoplasmosis, roast your turkey until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Always use a meat thermometer to check because you can’t tell just by looking at whether or not it’s been fully cooked.
The same goes for any meat that’s been grilled — those grill marks don’t necessarily mean the food is heated to the appropriate temperature. Digital thermometers give an instant, accurate reading. Ask your host if the stuffing was prepared inside or outside of the turkey. If it was inside, again make sure it reaches 165 degrees F.
Raw dough or batter
Dough and batter made with flour or eggs can contain harmful germs, such as E. coli and Salmonella. Do not taste or eat raw dough or batter that is meant to be baked or cooked. This includes dough or batter for cookies, cakes, pies, biscuits, pancakes, tortillas, and pizza. Although it is tempting, beware of licking the spoon of uncooked batter of holiday treats.
Imported soft cheeses — think Brie, Camembert, feta, and blue cheese — are staples of the holiday food buffets. But unless you saw the packaging and read the word “pasteurized” on it, there’s no guarantee these cheeses aren’t made with raw milk, which may contain listeria, disease-causing bacteria that can be problematic for pregnant women.
it can be easy to forget a vital one: washing your veggies. Make sure to wash all the produce before you eat it. This is actually very important whether you are pregnant or not.
Raw seafood — like oysters, ceviche, smoked salmon, and sushi — should be off-limits during pregnancy since they can contain listeria and other bacteria. The same goes for undercooked fish, which could also be harboring parasites.
As for cooked seafood, it’s a good idea to stick to low-mercury varieties like crab, shrimp, wild salmon, and lobster.