Thanksgiving is fun until you remember you have dietary restrictions while pregnant. Uh oh, what do you do? Here are the do’s and don’ts for your Thanksgiving feast so you can eat stress-free.
Don’t Eat Undercooked Foods
Consuming undercooked foods can lead to food-borne illness, like salmonella poisoning, E. coli infection, or toxoplasmosis. In order to avoid this, make sure meats and other foods on the menu are thoroughly cooked. The internal temperature has to be a safe 165 degrees, eliminating the bacteria that can cause sickness. This applies for turkey, ham, and even stuffing. To make sure the stuffing is cooked, it may be best to cook it separately outside of the turkey.
Don’t Eat Unpasteurized Foods
Some foods like soft cheeses, some ciders, and homemade creams or sauces do not go through the pasteurization process and could contain listeria. Check to make sure these kinds of food and drink have been pasteurized; typically speaking, store-bought ciders and eggnogs are safe. If you’re unsure, don’t risk it.
Don’t Eat Raw Foods
Though it can be tempting, it’s best to not sneak bites of raw batter, like cookie dough, while baking. Raw dough consumption is another way to get infected by E. coli or salmonella. We might not immediately think of it, but raw vegetables can also contain harmful bacteria. In this case, make sure to wash the veggies thoroughly before you eat them, so that there is no chance of infection.
Don’t Drink Alcohol
You can’t drink any other time during pregnancy, and the holidays are not an exception. Instead, stick to something non-alcoholic, like a sparkling cider. Don’t drink anything spiked or homemade either, as you truly don’t know the alcohol content in such beverages.
Do Keep Everything Clean
Think as though you’re cooking for someone with extreme food allergies! Making sure the counter tops, utensils, plates, anything included in the cooking space, are kept separate from each other and cleaned thoroughly after use will cut the chances of cross-contamination down. Even foods can contaminate each other, like the stuffing inside the turkey–so take caution during the cooking process.
Do Eat the Healthy Stuff
As tempting as it is, try to eat more of the healthy parts of dinner than the tempting dishes. If you load up on anything, load up on the veggies! A seasonal favorite may be pumpkin pie; while best not to overindulge on the pie itself, pumpkin is a great source of nutrients important to pregnancy like vitamin A, iron, calcium and fiber.
Do Pace Yourself
Take. It. Slow. You’re already prone to heartburn during pregnancy, and Thanksgiving meals can accelerate your risk. Pace yourself when you eat, and try to eat less of the dishes you think will give you heartburn. Sticking with a pace will allow you to catch up with your stomach and not overeat. Drinking water before the meal can also help keep your food consumption under control, making you feel fuller before you eat. If you absolutely have to have more of your favorite dish, try making a plate and saving it in the fridge to enjoy later!
Do Bring Yourself Appropriate Food & Drinks
Your Thanksgiving meal may need to be different than everyone else’s. If the thought of food makes you sick, or if you just want to avoid the possibilities of unsafe consumption altogether, consider providing yourself the appropriate food and drink. Put aside a meal for yourself when cooking for everyone if you’re hosting. If you’re traveling for the holidays, bring something with you, just in case.
Being pregnant during Thanksgiving can mean a different routine and meal from past years. With the right preparation and caution, the stress can be taken out of dinner and you can focus your energy on your loved ones. To discuss any holiday meal concerns, make an appointment with one of our doctors today.