Holiday Eating: A Pregnancy Cheat Sheet

As we all know, eating well is essential during the nine months of gestation. The growing baby needs a wide and consistent array of vitamins and minerals to encourage the healthy growth of brain tissue and muscles and bones  – and certain foods are on the no-go list (think: runny unpasteurized cheeses, sushi, and raw eggs), but mama needs some pleasure!  And she’s going to get it. I may miss out on the joys of spiked egg nog and raw salmon sushi rolls during the holiday season, but I know that it’s still possible for us pregnant ladies to happily eat our way  to the new year.

Here’s how:

Skip the homemade nog in favor of the pasteurized alternative. Real egg nog is made with raw eggs, which  can lead to salmonella, a seriously unpleasant condition that can be extra dangerous for those carrying a growing human. Thankfully, most store-bought egg nog varieties are made with pasteurized eggs – safe for preggy consumption. Sprinkle a little nutmeg on top, toast under the mistletoe and you may not even miss the rum that’s spiking everyone else’s glass.

When it comes to the cheese tray, choose hard over soft. I adore stinky, soft cheeses – the runnier the better. I find myself often day dreaming about drippy Camemberts and silky Bries. But pregnancy – at least in America – asks me to set down my cheesy desires and focus on safe alternatives, which are pasteurized and free from dangerous bacteria like listeria. To calm my urges for a satisfying fromage this holiday season, I will set my sights on flavorful hard cheeses like manchego, parmesean, feta, Swiss, and gruyere.

Raw fish is a no, but sushi is a yes. Raw fish may be at the top of the pregnancy no-consume list, but that doesn’t mean that sushi is completely knocked out. If there’s a sushi tray at your office holiday party, look for items that are veggie-exclusive or those made with cooked seafood. Cooked shrimp and crab are often common components of sushi rolls. I love rolls made with avocado and pickled veggies – perhaps notas satisfying as a hunk of raw toro, but dipped in soy sauce and wasabi, they definitely scratch the sushi itch.

You can lick the spoon. Explore the wonders of eggless cookie dough. Cookie making is a huge part of my family’s holiday festivities. And while most of the raw dough ends up in the oven, a part of it definitely ends up in my stomach (how else do I ensure that it’s tasty?). Pregnancy and its strict “no raw egg” rule – salmonella and all that — used to limit my cookie dough consumption. Until now! The advent of eggless cookie dough has revolutionized pregnant cookie dough eating. Check out this awesome recipe. I’m definitely going to have a batch of this within easy reach while I bake the family cookies this year.