Charcuterie boards, cheese trays, sushi boats and oysters abound during the holiday season and sadly, as a pregnant woman you are very limited in what you can have of these fancy indulgences. Then there’s also the giant turkey complete with all the sides you could want (and then some because everyone tells you you’re eating for two). But what should you really be eating this holiday season and which indulgences are safe versus those which can be potentially dangerous? In this two part guide I’ll help you set yourself up for a wonderful, happy and healthy holiday season!
Gearing up to the Holidays
I love food. Like, really really love it. And being pregnant didn’t change that (well, apart from a serious aversion to poultry). However, being pregnant did make me very careful in my choices because I knew that what I ate wasn’t just feeding me anymore and I wanted to make sure I was making the best choices possible. I did have days when I needed more comfort foods that weren’t necessarily the healthiest, but I’m human and when you’re pregnant you should never feel deprived. Eat what you need, when you need to so long as you are making conscious decisions about your health (or consciously deciding to ignore those choices for that day!). The point is to be mindful of what you are eating and not to believe the hype about “eating for two”. When you are pregnant you really only need an extra 200-400 calories per day which is less than you’ll need for breastfeeding!
Foods to Avoid
When it comes to high risk foods, you really want to stay away from anything that may be contaminated with parasites or dangerous bacteria that may not be so harmful to a healthy adult but is definitely able to cause complications for a pregnant woman or her growing baby. Raw or Processed foods such as sushi, raw oysters, tartars, salami, unpasteurized cheeses, etc. are all foods to avoid to ensure that you and your baby stay healthy throughout the holidays.
The temptation is real, especially since you aren’t able to partake in any of the holiday beverages containing alcohol (which is pretty well most of them). Will power is definitely essential, but so is finding the things you can have and savouring them! Other charcuterie or cheeseboard items like crackers and jellies, fruits and veggies, dips and the hard cheeses are safe options that can give you something to munch on while you chat with your colleagues about their holiday plans.
3 Keys to Nutrition Success Over the Holidays
- Stay Hydrated– While you don’t need to eat for two people, you should try to drink enough water for two people. Due to the increased blood volume in pregnancy you want to do your best to stay hydrated so that you feel your best. Often we mistake thirst for hunger so if you’ve had enough water chances are that you won’t feel the urge to binge as much!
- Try to Have Small Snacks – Rather than having an empty stomach leading up to a giant meal, try to snack frequently. This will ensure you have lots of energy, that you aren’t tempted to eat too much junk and that you are getting the nourishment you and baby need! For some easy snack ideas, check out this post.
- Supplements – Sometimes we overindulge, it’s human nature so don’t beat yourself up about it. Just try to be mindful of what you are eating and ask whether it is nourishing you and your baby. If you feel like you haven’t done your best then at least you have supplements you can fall back on to ensure you have met at least your daily minimum for nutrition. Your prenatal vitamins are a MUST during this time of year, along with those I would recommend you include a probiotic to aid your digestion and immune health and keep some ginger chews or fennel pieces/tea on hand in case you have any digestive upset!
Stay tuned for Part Two which will help you navigate the big show of the holidays: Christmas Dinner, or in my family’s case: Dinners!!
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