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What Not To Eat When Pregnant

What Not To Eat When Pregnant
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You know about avoiding smoking and alcohol during pregnancy — but what about food? Many women worry about what kind of diet is best for them and their baby during this critical time. Below are basic guidelines on what not to eat when pregnant.

You Need to Avoid Some Dairy Products

Dairy, in general, is good for pregnant women because it gives you — and your baby — important nutrients like calcium and protein. However, there are some particular dairy products you should give a miss. Mostly, what you need to avoid are cheeses that have not been made from pasteurized milk. These can include brie, camembert, feta, roquefort and other blue cheeses, queso blanco, queso fresco and paneta.

The reason? Cheese made from unpasteurized dairy can harbor listeria bacteria. This can cause listeriosis, the condition which can lead to miscarriages, stillbirths and other serious health issues if women get this infection while pregnant.

You Should Also be Careful of Your Eggs

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Fresh multi-color farm eggs on the table.

    Again, eggs in general are okay — as long as they are completely cooked. They will provide you and your baby with protein and vitamins D and E, among others. However, raw or undercooked eggs can harbor the bacteria salmonella, which can cause food poisoning (salmonellosis) and other complications during pregnancy.

    The real danger here is eating raw eggs without realizing it. There are many food products that do, or may, contain raw eggs, including sauces like béarnaise or hollandaise, condiments like homemade mayo and desserts like raw cookie dough, homemade ice cream and mousse.

    You Should Avoid Some Meats as Well

    assorted raw meats

      When it comes to meat, there are a lot of no-no’s to keep in mind — and some might surprise you. First off, any fresh meat that you eat must be thoroughly cooked. You need to use a food thermometer and make sure that whole cuts of meat reach at least 145 degrees, ground meat 160 degrees and chicken breasts 165 degrees. This is because raw meat contains a parasite called toxoplasma, which can give taxoplasmosis to you and your baby.

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      You should also avoid deli and processed meats like hot dogs as well as pâtés and smoked, refrigerated meats like smoked salmon. All of these can harbor the listeria bacteria which, like unpasteurized dairy, can give you listeriosis.

      And the one meat you should avoid no matter how thoroughly it is cooked is liver. Yes, it’s high in iron but it also contains high amounts of vitamin A in the form of retinol. Too much vitamin A during pregnancy has been linked to birth defects.

      You Need to Be Cautious with Fish and Seafood

      pieces of salmon with spice on wooden plate

        Fish is good for you and your baby — as long as it is within limits. It is recommended that women limit their fish intake to two portions a week, however, because of the possibility of mercury in the fish. Mercury is a neurotoxin, which means it can do damage to the baby’s nervous system and brain. Fish that are highest in mercury include king mackerel, shark, tilefish, swordfish and marlin. The best choices — which tend to be lowest in mercury — are catfish, cod, salmon and canned, light tuna.

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        Raw fish or shellfish, such as sushi or raw oysters, should never been eaten during pregnancy. They can harbor both parasites and bacteria and are a common cause of food poisoning.

        You Need to Know about Unsafe Preparation of Fruits and Veggies

        set of different fruits and vegetables isolated on white background

          Fruits and veggies are great to eat when you are pregnant. But you need to know about unsafe preparation habits that you need to avoid.

          Firstly, never eat unwashed fruits or vegetables when you are expecting, because this, too, can put you at a higher risk for toxoplasmosis. Do not use soap to clean: instead, use water and a small scrubbing brush to gently cleanse and rinse the surface of the fruits and vegetables.

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          Another thing to be aware of is unpasteurized fruit juices, such as those made fresh in health food stores, health-conscious restaurants and fruit juice bars. Yes, these juices are loaded with nutrients – but they can also be loaded with salmonella and E. coli, neither one of which you want in your body, especially while pregnant!

          Lastly, do not eat any kind of raw, sprouted grains such as alfalfa or clover. These can harbor bacteria as well.

          You Should Watch What You Drink as Well

          Drop falling into a cup of coffee. On a wooden background

            What you drink while you are pregnant can be just as important to your baby’s health as what you eat. To begin with, of course, no amount of alcohol is considered safe during pregnancy, due to the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome. And it is recommended that women limit their caffeine intake to around 200mg a day. Excessive caffeine can increase the risk of miscarriages and stillbirths.

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            You Can Get More Information about What Not to Eat When Pregnant

            This may seem like a lot to remember — but there are printouts to help remind you. For even more information on this topic, the Department of Health and Human Services has a wonderful printout about what specific foods are best to avoid. Basically, though, if you stay with thoroughly cooked eggs and meats, pasteurized dairy, and properly prepared fruits and veggies, you will be on track to keeping you and your baby healthy.

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            Published on July 22, 2021

            20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week

            20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week
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            It’s 5 p.m., and you’re exhausted. The kids are hungry, but no one knows what they want to eat for dinner. With very little energy, you force yourself into the kitchen and look through every cabinet, hoping for a spark of inspiration. Eventually, you toss a few ingredients together and hope for the best. It won’t win any prizes and falls short of what you consider “healthy,” but it fills everyone’s stomachs.

            Feeding a family can be stressful, even tiresome. It’s hard to find the energy and creativity needed to cook healthy but simple family meals. It’s easy to fall into the “anything goes” mentality. When you’ve got a busy lifestyle, meals become more about survival and less about nutrition.

            Here are 20 quick and healthy—but tasty—recipes followed by tips on making these family meals more nutritious. These recipes can help you have a healthy family meal on the table in an hour or less. Remember, swap ingredients out if someone in your family has dietary restrictions or if you avoid certain foods.

            1. Mini Meatloaves With Green Beans and Potatoes

              These miniature meatloaves come together quickly and cook faster, too. You can have a family favorite on the table, paired with seasoned potatoes and fresh green beans, in just 40 minutes.

              Get the recipe here.

              2. One-Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta

                This classic will taste like you spent hours cooking, but the preparation and clean-up couldn’t be quicker. One-pot cooking makes this dish practical, while fresh basil, parmesan, and garlic add a special touch.

                To try this recipe, go here.

                3. Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas

                  Skip the restaurant and make fajitas at home. The ingredients go on one sheet pan, meaning you won’t spend all night cleaning. Zesty chicken, bell peppers, and warm tortillas can be on the table in 40 minutes. Add sour cream, salsa, guacamole, lettuce, diced tomato, and any other favorite toppings.

                  Check out the recipe here.

                  4. Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

                    Lose the carbs but keep the cheesesteak flavors with this quick family meal. Kids will love the pepper “bowls,” and you’ll love giving them a meal full of veggies and protein to keep them healthy.

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                    Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                    5. Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl

                      This veggie-packed meal adds an extra boost by using the superfood quinoa instead of rice. Flavorful yet simple, this meal makes an excellent packable lunch or dinner for your whole family.

                      Find the recipe here.

                      6. Spinach and Chicken Skillet With Lemon and Parmesan

                        The complex flavors of lemon and parmesan come together nicely in this gourmet-like dish, but you don’t have to exert the effort or spend as much as a gourmet meal.

                        Get the recipe for this dish here.

                        7. Oven-Fried Fish and Chips

                          Fish and chips can also sometimes be healthy as evident in this oven-fried version. You won’t miss the calories with this favorite family meal.

                          You can find the recipe here.

                          8. Pineapple-Teriyaki Chicken

                            Tangy pineapple and sweet teriyaki will have everyone coming back for seconds. Frozen vegetables make this simple family dish even easier to make and enjoy.

                            Find the recipe here.

                            9. Mozzarella, Basil, and Zucchini Frittata

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                              This egg dish is usually served for breakfast, but a frittata can make a fantastic dinner, too. High in protein, packed with zucchini, and delicious, there’s no reason to wait until morning.

                              Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                              10. Chicken and Sweet Potato Grill Packets

                                Skip the pans and throw everything into foil with this fun family recipe. Kids will love loading ingredients into their pack, and you’ll love its versatility and simplicity.

                                The recipe for this meal can be found here.

                                11. Chicken and Spanish “Rice”

                                  Cauliflower takes the place of rice in this low-carb family meal, but it’s so flavorful and filling, no one will miss it.

                                  Find the recipe here.

                                  12. Honey Chicken Stir Fry

                                    This honey chicken stir fry is the healthier version of a restaurant favorite that can be served up quicker than you can order it.

                                    Find the recipe here.

                                    13. Chicken Skewers With Tzatziki

                                      Greek chicken and tzatziki sauce will have you yearning for the Mediterranean, but you can make this recipe at home for your family to enjoy.

                                      This easy recipe can be found here.

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                                      14. Healthy Walking Tacos

                                        Traditional walking tacos are a party favorite, but they’re not usually healthy. However, this recipe keeps it fun while making it more nutritious.

                                        Find out how to make it here.

                                        15. Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

                                          This classic comfort meal can be ready when you walk in the door. All you have to do is add noodles, and it’s ready to serve.

                                          The recipe can be found here.

                                          16. Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

                                            This usually takes a little over an hour, but the preparation time is only 30 minutes. You’ll love how easy it is, and the cheesy rice is sure to please.

                                            Find the recipe here.

                                            17. Crockpot Rotisserie-Style Chicken

                                              Skip the checkout line and have a rotisserie-style chicken ready at home. A staple in many quick meals, you might find this family meal recipe among your most-used.

                                              Get the recipe for this flavorful chicken here.

                                              18. Santa Monica Street Tacos

                                                Named after a simple taco found on the streets of California, you’ll be surprised that something with only a few ingredients can be so flavorful. Your kids will surely enjoy them.

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                                                Find the recipe here.

                                                19. Pizza Pasta Salad

                                                  Enjoy the flavor of pizza without the hassle of making a crust. Use a fun pasta shape to make this even more appealing to your family, especially kids.

                                                  Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                                                  20. Slow-Cooker Lasagna Soup

                                                    Everyone loves lasagna, but it can be time-consuming and messy to make. However, this soup version has the taste you want but with the ease of a crockpot.

                                                    Get the recipe here.

                                                    Bonus: 3 Simple Ways to Make Meals Healthier

                                                    Eating healthy doesn’t have to take a lot of money, time, or thought. Any improvements are a big step in the right direction.

                                                    Here are three easy ways you can make meals healthier for your family.

                                                    1. Lose the Sugar

                                                    Are you looking to improve your health? Cut processed sugars from your diet—the more, the better, and that includes artificial sweeteners.[1] Why? Studies show that sugar increases the risks for weight gain, heart disease, acne, type-2 diabetes, depression, cancer, fatty liver disease, cellular aging, and low energy levels.[2]

                                                    2. Avoid Highly Processed Foods

                                                    Many processed foods are fine to eat. Even fresh fruit and vegetables go through some processing to stay fresh longer. However, highly processed foods have added salt, sweeteners, saturated fats, preservatives, and artificial colors. These types of food have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.[3]

                                                    3. Replace Simple Carbs for Complex Carbs

                                                    Lowering daily carbs can do wonders for your health. Studies show that low-carb diets lead to lower insulin levels, lower bad cholesterol levels, visceral fat loss, weight loss, reduced appetite, and can be therapeutic for many brain disorders.[4]

                                                    When eating carbs, choose complex carbs over simple carbs. Simple carbs, such as white flour, rice, and degermed cornmeal, lack nutrients and spike blood sugar levels. Complex carbs, such as sweet potato, brown rice, and oats, are usually more nutritious and aren’t digested as quickly, giving more sustained energy and less of an insulin spike.[5]

                                                    Enjoy Family Meals With Less Stress!

                                                    Dinner can be enjoyable again now that you’re armed with simple and nutritious recipes for your family. These healthy and tasty family meal recipes can help you feel even better about what you serve. Best of all, you’ll have the extra time and energy you saved from cooking and spend more time with your family.

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                                                    More Healthy Eating Tips

                                                    Featured photo credit: Jimmy Dean via unsplash.com

                                                    Reference

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