Pregnancy-Friendly Alternatives To “No Go” Foods
Tis the season for indulgence, unless of course, you’re pregnant, in which case it’s the season for sacrifices and sideways glances! Unlike your Aunt Margaret, you won’t find us casting judgement on what you do or don’t eat. After all, you’re a grown woman (and the advice seems to change from year to year). That being said, we know how awful it feels to be craving food you don’t feel safe eating, especially at Christmas time. So, we’ve collated some of the top black-listed foods you’re advised to avoid, and alternatives you might want to try in their place.
Alternatives to: Wine
Who needs wine when there are so many delicious soft drinks to choose from?! Ok, we like sparkling grape juice as much as the next person, but sometimes you want to sip on something that isn’t found on the children’s table. Whether for toasts or sipping in front of a roaring fire, if the occasion calls for wine, you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of options.
Tesco currently sells no less than a dozen alcohol-free wines, including chardonnay, shiraz and even prosecco. So, when the occasion calls for something special, make sure you have a bottle of your favourite on hand.
Many supermarkets have increased their range of non-alcoholic drinks.
Alternatives to: Cheese
Is there any time of year where cheese plays more of a role than at Christmas? From stinky gorgonzola to creamy brie, we know many of you will be missing your fave soft cheese treats this festive season. And, while nothing will quite fill that gap, there are some pretty good alternatives on the market if you want to scratch that itch.
Vegan cheese has come a long way over the years, with most supermarkets now stocking a good range of flavours. But, if you have the time to spare, nothing compares to a homemade soft cheese made using cashew nuts and nutritional yeast. If all else fails, most unpasteurised cheeses are considered safe to eat if cooked until steaming hot, so add baked camembert to your Christmas menu and snack away!
Alternatives to: Coffee
Caffeine is one of the big grey areas in a pregnant diet, with the recommendations regularly fluctuating between total abstinence and moderation. If you’re a coffee fiend and are trying to cut down, you may want to try chicory root coffee, which tastes surprisingly close to the real thing and is totally caffeine-free. Not only that, but chicory is also a prebiotic, so it’s great for your gut health too.
If the taste of chicory isn’t to your liking, you might also want to consider trying a turmeric latte or switching to herbal tea. Make sure to do your research before choosing a tea though, as some aren’t safe in pregnancy and others are high in caffeine.
Alternatives to: Poached Eggs
There was once a time when pregnant women were advised to avoid eggs unless they were fully cooked, but this is one area where the advice has changed over the years. For expectant mothers in the UK, the NHS guidance is that as long as your eggs have the lion stamp, they’re safe to eat partially cooked or even raw.
So, enjoy those eggs however you eat yours, you deserve them.
Alternatives to: Salmon
Smoked salmon is a Christmas and New Year favourite, and the great news is that it’s back on the ok-to-eat list. In fact, current guidance says that it’s safe to eat smoked fish as well as cooked shellfish, such as mussels, lobster, crab, prawns, scallops and clams as long as you stick to no more than two portions per week.
While sushi isn’t a stereotypically festive food in this part of the world, the umami flavour of sushi is such a common craving in pregnancy that it felt only right we give it a mention on our list. While fresh sushi is a “no go”, it’s ok to eat if the fish has been frozen first. Many supermarkets and restaurants pre-freeze the fish that is used in their sushi. Check with your local sushi supplier and get your hands on some of that savoury goodness! Sushi made with cooked fish and shellfish or vegetables is also safe.
The general advice is that it's ok to eat sushi if the fish has been frozen first.
Want to read more about eating well in pregnancy? Try Nutrition Tips For Expectant Mums.
Originally from New Zealand, Sarah is a mother to two boys and has lived in the UK for the past 10 years. She is a home educator, freelance writer, Netflix-binger and has a penchant for strong black coffee.