Last year during the holidays, I was 8 months pregnant with my second child. I remember being super excited to indulge in the holiday foods because I was always so hungry and wanted to eat everything! However, I did know that I needed to exercise caution because of my growing baby. Here is a quick list I put together of 5 BEST and 5 WORST Holiday foods for pregnancy:
- Dark Chocolate
Mamas can go wild this Holiday Season with dark chocolate! It is a very rich source of iron which is one of the most important minerals pregnant women need, especially in the second and third trimesters. Good iron levels contribute to the baby’s heart and lung health, as well as the mom’s energy level. Enjoy it on its own and/or warm up with a nice cup of Hot Cocoa by the fire.
Cranberries are traditionally known for curbing UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections), a common infection in pregnancy as the growth of the uterus presses on the bladder, blocking some drainage in the urinary tract. But did you know that cranberries are also filled with antioxidants and vitamin C? Helping as a natural form of treatment during cold and flu season. Before you load up on the cranberry sauce with your turkey though, the benefits are most beneficial with low sugar content. Be sure you consume a diluted non-concentrated cranberry juice if you want to enjoy as a beverage, or make your own homemade cranberry sauce where you can control the amount of sugar within.
Mamas, rejoice!! You can happily indulge in your turkey this Holiday Season. Turkey is not only a great source of protein, needed for a healthy baby’s development, but it is also a good source of B vitamins such as B6 and B3. Vitamin B6 is known to curb nausea, so say goodbye to morning sickness!
- Apple Cider
Drink up! Apple cider can help keep pregnant women hydrated, as the fibre from the apples help keep pregnant women regular. Constipation and haemorrhoids have and will always be a pregnant woman’s worst enemy. Be sure to drink pasteurized versions, as unpasteurized apple cider may contribute to bacterial infections.
Other than roasting on an open fire, chestnuts serve as a great pregnancy food. It contains a good source of folate, which is a critical nutrient for pregnant women, and it helps with the brain and nervous system development of the fetus.
- Sugar cookies
While they taste delicious, they are only serving as empty calories to mama and baby. Avoid eating these in large consumptions if you want to avoid gaining more weight than needed and maintain a strong immune system.
Sorry mamas! I know this is a staple for the Holiday season, but as a pregnant woman, it unfortunately can be dangerous (non alcoholic included) as it is often made with unpasteurized and raw egg, which can carry bacterial diseases such as Salmonella. Although commercialized (store bought) eggnog is safer, it is not serving much purpose for mama and baby other than satisfying your craving.
In general for pregnant moms, it is not advised to eat many leftovers as the bacteria count increases each day it is in the fridge. Sadly, this same rule applies for the Holidays. Any foods leftover in the fridge for more than 24 hours should not be consumed to avoid any food poisoning.
- Soft cheeses
Brie, feta and blue cheeses are best to avoid during the Holidays (and always) for pregnant women. These soft cheeses tend to be made with raw milk, increasing the risk of bacterial infection for the developing baby.
Before you get too upset, know that stuffing made separately from the turkey is perfectly safe. For stuffing that was cooked inside of the turkey, be sure that the turkey was heated thoroughly to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Otherwise, you increase your risk of contracting bacterial infections.