The amount of women I hear moaning about how much they “miss eating prawns, smoked salmon, Camembert, Brie, Stilton” is incredible! There are so many foods that pregnant women seem to think they cannot eat which are perfectly safe if prepared correctly.
If you have a quick look at the NHS website, you will be able to read the current guidelines on what foods pregnant women should avoid.
If you cant be bothered to trawl through the website, here is the important information in a nut shell…
Smoked Salmon and Prawns are FINE to eat, but of course be sensible about their source and preparation. If you suspect that the prawns have been left un-refrigerated or badly cooked then avoid them.
Even Sushi is OK to eat because food safety regulations require shops and restaurants to freeze raw fish used to make sushi at -20C for at least 24 hours meaning any harmful bacteria should have been killed. Again, be aware of who has prepared this fish and if in doubt, do not eat. If you find yourself craving Sushi, you can make your own at home by first freezing your fish for 24 hours to ensure safety.
Do NOT eat Raw Shellfish like Oysters.
Hard Blue Cheeses such as Stilton are fine to eat according to the NHS website, soft Blue Cheeses are NOT, such as Roquefort
Mould ripened cheeses such as Camembert and Brie can only be eaten if cooked.
Many other types of cheese are OK to eat if they’re made from pasteurised milk. This includes cottage cheese, mozzarella, feta, cream cheese, paneer, ricotta, halloumi, goats’ cheese and processed cheeses such as cheese spreads.
Check out this easy recipe for baked Camembert- which should take care of any gooey cheese cravings!
The jury seems to be out on the subject of Cured meat. Some countries advise pregnant women to stay away from it, whilst in other countries like Spain and France, women eat it throughout their pregnancy. The Spanish Jabugo ham website says that it is positively GOOD for pregnant women because of its nutritionally exceptional components. The NHS website states that the risk of listeria in cured meats is low and suggests that if you feel concerned about eating such things, then avoid them.
The main foods to avoid, which, no doubt you will find yourself craving, are;
- Raw or Runny Eggs – look out for this in fresh mayonnaise
- Rare or Undercooked Meat
- Unpasteurised Milk
- Raw Shellfish
- Shark, Marlin and Swordfish
- Unwashed Salad
- Unpasteurised Cheese
- Limit the amount of Tuna to no more than 4 cans a week or 2 tuna steaks a week.
- Limit the amount of oily fish such as Mackerel, sardines and trout to no more than 2 portions a week.
So there are not that many things to avoid for the duration of your pregnancy, we would just advise that you be mindful of who has prepared your meal and make sure that you wash any fruit and veg before eating.
When reheating food make sure that you heat it until it is piping hot.
Eat a balanced diet and eat for ONE, not TWO! Current advice says you do not need to consume any extra calories during your pregnancy. If you are hungry, by all means, eat more, but if you are not hungry, then do not be concerned as your baby will take the nutrition it needs from you.
If you want a Macdonalds, have one! Having a Cheese Burger and Chips or a Kebab every week will not harm you or the baby, but you must make sure that you are eating enough fruit and vegetables and other healthy items too!