This is one of the most asked questions nutritionists get from pregnant mammas. I know it was high on my list to get very familiar with when I became pregnant. We want to be clear on what we can and cannot eat so we can keep ourselves and our bub safe.
That is why I asked the beautiful Kim from Nourish Bump, a certified Nutrition Consultant specialising in pregnancy, to write this blog post for you beautiful mammas-to-be!
This list is not exhaustive, you should always make your own informed choice, and I would always suggest talking to a nutritionist or health care provider if worried or need extra information on foods and your diet.
Believe it or not, many foods carry risks which are particularly prevalent during pregnancy. But do not worry there are ways to reduce the risk profile and still consume most foods safely. Get a cuppa and have a good read of the below….
With any fresh food you buy (think leafy greens, fruit, vegetables etc) from the supermarket to make it safe for you to consume follows these steps:
Wash your hands thoroughly before prepping the leafy greens
Soak for 15 mins in baking soda and water (ratio: 1tsp baking soda to 2 cups of water)
Ensure knives and food prep surfaces are cleaned thoroughly before use.
Consume once prepared.
Leafy greens and salads
Leafy greens play an important role in our diet and something we should be having one serve of per day. It is best to avoid pre-made salads and if you buy packet salad leaves follow the above steps and make your own nutritious salad. Your body will thank you!
Raw vegetables / Fresh fruit
Ideally buy organic and prep and cut all vegetables and fruit yourself at home, avoid the pre-cut fruits and veggies in packets. (If you do buy something pre-cut, ensure you cook this food thoroughly prior to consumption.) Cut out any nicks or puncture damages and cook thoroughly if applicable, and consume immediately.
Yes we can eat them! Just follow the above steps and cook at heat to kill off harmful bacteria.
We need lots of eggs in our pregnancy diet (they are great to top up our iodine levels) so it’s best to buy organic which lowers the risk of salmonella and also pasture raised as chickens raised in more space are less likely to spread disease. Be sure to cook eggs thoroughly so that the yolk and the white is firm – sorry no more runny eggs! Avoid raw and undercooked eggs found in foods such as Hollandaise sauce, Caesar salad dressing, cookie dough and raw cake batter, and homemade eggnog.
Yes, you can eat raw fish BUT there are pretty strict guidelines on this see below! Sometimes is best to just to avoid raw fish and stick to cooking it for the next 9 months. Your first meal after bub can be sushi!!
If cooking or eating raw buy wild fish to lower the risk of contaminants, and ensure fish is low mercury, particularly if eating 2-3 times per week. Buy from a reputable establishment, this is particularly important if you wish to eat it raw. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after prepping. Ensure knives and food prep surfaces are cleaned thoroughly before and after use. Consume immediately once prepared or once purchased if eating out.
Raw fish for cooking: Cook fish through fully so the flesh is opaque. Ensure any shellfish shells are open for cooking - discard of any that are closed.
Raw fish not for cooking (eg: sushi, sashimi): Ensure the fish has been flash-frozen before purchase or before it is served, to ensure any parasites have been killed off. Based on the different country guidelines, this includes being stored at less than -35°C for 15 hours or at less than -20°C for 7 days. Once it is prepared to eat, consume immediately - do not consume fish which has been left out, such as at a buffet.
Meat / Poultry
Try when you can to buy organic, pasture raised, grass fed where possible. If eating at home, wash your hands thoroughly before and after prepping. Ensure knives and food prep surfaces are cleaned thoroughly before and after use. Cook well at heat, ensuring it is cooked through fully - or if eating out, order well done. No rare steaks for a while, sorry!!
Now I am happy to learn this one as I thought Deli meat was a no no but if you follow these guidelines then yay! Buy organic, pasture raised, grass fed where possible and ensure produce has been refrigerated at 4 degrees Celsius, no higher, from place of purchase, transport and at home. Yes you can totally ask the counter this I certainly will!!
Purchase freshest produce (going off use by date), and consume quickly once purchased to limit the duration at which it has been refrigerated. Limit consumption (either quantity or frequency) to reduce risk. Ok so this is a special treat but one I am excited we can still enjoy.
Soft / Unpasteurized cheese
Another one I am excited about!! If you love your soft cheeses then yay you can still enjoy a few!! Buy organic where possible, and from a reputable source and ensure the cheese is stored in a dry, refrigerated environment until consumption, then consume quickly once served - do not leave out at room temperature then eat, such as at a buffet. Ideally cook cheeses (eg: ricotta) until steaming. Choose pasteurised where possible, (albeit cases of listeriosis exist in pasteurised products too), and consider avoiding certain Mexican soft cheeses, in particular queso fresco, which is an identified source of listeriosis.
I am slightly addicted to Kombucha so this is definitely worth being aware of! Kombuca can be consumed in ‘moderation’ if you previously drank kombucha without any adverse detox reactions. Moderation recommendation: diluted with 1-part kombucha to 2 parts sparkling water. However, there are several things to check prior to consuming:
Test acidity and alcohol levels if home-made, or check the label contents if store bought;
Check the sugar content on the label equates to 2-6 grams per 8oz if store bought, or if home-made, do not add sugar or juice once fermented (even if it improves the taste);
Be mindful of how you feel during and post consuming kombucha: it has 10mg/8oz of caffeine on average (1/10th of coffee).
Caffeine is not just present in coffee and tea but also chocolate and various drugs so here is the lowdown on all types of caffeine:
Ideally consume no caffeine, or minimise consumption to 150mg or less per day, with the absolute maximum being 300mg per day.
150mg equates to:
Coffee 1 cup (100-200mg per 8oz cup);
Black tea 2.5 cups (60mg per 8oz cup);
Caffeinated soda 1-3 whole cans depending on brand and type (40-80mg per can);
Dark chocolate dependent on brand and type (5-35mg per 1 oz);
Headache medicine to be checked if compatible with pregnancy first, then limit depending on brand (65-130mg per pill);
Energy drinks 1-2 whole serves depending on brand and type (75-85mg per 240g serving).
Be mindful of how you feel during and post consuming caffeine, if you have a slow caffeine metabolism, consider eliminating it altogether. Additionally, eliminate if you feel anxiety or insomnia, or are diagnosed with pre-eclampsia/hypertension, anemia, or if foetal growth is restricted. Avoid drinking at the same time as consuming iron.
Ideally buy organic, and ideally make your own at home (including soaking and cutting all vegetables and fruit yourself at home as per guidance listed above for vegetables and fruit). Ensure juicer is cleaned thoroughly before use. However, if store or cafe bought, the following steps are recommended:
Fruit and vegetables to be properly washed prior
Cut out any nicks or puncture damages;
Ensure juicer is cleaned thoroughly before use to remove residual pulp;
Consume immediately after juicing.
As Kim says 'Proper nutrition is essential for both you and your baby, but figuring out what to eat during pregnancy can be very confusing. The nutrients that are supplied to your baby must come from the foods you eat, otherwise, they will be taken from your own body.'
Kim can help support you through this demanding time and give you all the information you need to provide your body with the proper nutrition to ensure your baby has the best start possible, and help you feel strong and healthy during your pregnancy.
Kim has just opened the opportunity to work with her, and if you would like to book in a consult check out her insta page @nourishbump
Kim is one of my all-time favourite people and she has given me and my mammas endless support, love and information. I feel incredible lucky to have her in my village! Get her in your village too!!