Monday, June 2, 2014

Baby Prep: Eating for Pregnant People | Part 2


I'm here to give you some very good news: You don't have to sacrifice EVERYTHING you love to eat just because you have a bun in the oven.

It always bothered me that Moms-to-be get a list as long as their arm as soon as they conceive, all filled with "don'ts" and "cannots". That just puts a damper on something that's super exciting, and we all know that preggos are already somewhat fragile when it comes to their mood during the course of their pregnancy.

As all food-loving folks probably would, I felt punished by all these restrictions. I knew they were all for the health of the baby, and was totally on board with that, but I thought, "Certainly, there have to be ways to make pregnant eating more fun."

And there are! I've found "hacks" to most of the restrictions and so far haven't felt like I'm missing out all that much.

So here are the things that you'll be told to avoid, and ways to feel like you're still eating like you used to:

Alcoholic beverages

Sorry to tell you this, sister, but there's really no way around this one. You will not be able to continue your wine habit as you did before baby happened... BUT, you have options. Some doctors will tell you that a glass of wine here or there is most likely safe and will not hurt the baby. I've chosen to abstain completely because it's only 9 months, and truthfully, I'd rather consume my "splurge calories" in ice cream form these days.

But if you're craving something to sip on while everyone else is clinking glasses, there are so many fun "mocktail" options you can try that you won't even miss the buzz. {And you definitely won't miss the hangover.} I've been loving homemade flavored lemonades mixed with sparkling water.

Caffeinated beverages {i.e. COFFEE... GASP!}

This was probably one of the hardest things for me because I have a little love affair with my morning cup of coffee, so before I even thought about getting pregnant, I started to wean myself from caffeine so it wouldn't be as rough when it was time to go cold turkey. Decaf and caffeine-free coffees and teas can help ease you into the thought of a hot beverage sans the jolt.

Again, some doctors and books will tell you that a minimal amount of caffeine is still ok throughout pregnancy. I simply switched to decaf {which, by the way, has trace amounts of caffeine, so be aware}, and all has been well with the world. Some women immediately develop an aversion to the taste and smell of coffee at the start of pregnancy, so you may not even want your morning cup. {Hard to imagine, I know!}

All the good cheese {brie, stinky cheeses, etc.}

If you are accustomed to buying your cheese at a fancy cheese store, then you may have to make some changes to your cheese consumption. The problem with these cheeses is the fact that they are often made with unpasteurized milk. However, in the U.S. you have to look pretty hard in most grocery stores for any cheese that is unpasteurized. Most cheeses will be just fine -- just be sure to read labels.

If you can't spend 9 whole months with out imported brie, then know that as long as the cheese is heated until melted and bubbly, the bacteria that it could harbor should be dead and you're welcome to enjoy it.

Cold cuts

Lunch meat can be questionable preggo-fare for several reasons: 1. It can be contaminated with a harmful bacteria called Listeria that can hurt the baby, and 2. It often contains nitrates which aren't good for either of you. But sometimes, you just want a sub or a ham and cheese, so what's a girl to do?

Heat it up. Just like the cheese I mentioned above, the bacteria in deli meats are killed when they're heated until steaming. So make it a pressed sandwich or a hot sub just to be on the safe side. Also, look for nitrate-free brands such Applegate Organic & Natural Meats to ensure that you and the baby aren't getting any chemical preservatives with your lunch.

Raw Shellfish, Raw Fish {Sushi}, Raw or Undercooked Meat

So maybe you can't have oysters on the half shell for a little while, but it doesn't mean you can't enjoy cooked versions of the ocean's treasures. Well-cooked seafood is actually very good for you and filled with nutritious things -- especially those Omega-3-rich fish like salmon. For meats, just make sure that they are cooked all the way through to be safe. {I'm a stickler for this sort of thing anyway. Major meat paranoia.}

 Don't miss out on sushi dates with your hubby or the girls, just change up your order -- California rolls, "Tempura" Rolls, and other cooked versions of sushi are still ok. No sake to wash it down, though. ;)

Raw or undercooked eggs {No more "put an egg on it"?!?}

Well, you've known for a long time that you shouldn't be eating that cookie dough containing raw egg, but you did it anyway and you've most likely survived to tell the tale. Now that you're looking out for 2 of you, it's time to be a little more cautious about what you're consuming.

However, here's a little hack that might make your day: "Pasteurized" eggs such as Safest Choice Eggs do not contain the risk of salmonella! That means you can make yourself a delicious, runny egg and not have to worry about contamination, which is music to my ears. Just make sure that the brand you purchase is, indeed, pasteurized and safe for pregnant folk.

Unwashed fruits and veggies

My thoughts on this are very simple: EW. You should always thoroughly rinse your fruits and veggies! Even organic produce can contain bacteria and other yuckies that cause illness, so just use common sense and enjoy your salads, smoothies and big bowls of fresh fruit and veggies as usual. 

See, ladies? It's really not so bad! I never wanted to be one of those picky, "Oh, I'm pregnant, I can't eat that." kind of people, and I really haven't had too many situations where I've had to be so far. {Except for one time when I was dis-invited from a pairing party that included wine tasting because of my delicate state.. haha.. couldn't believe it, but it happened!}

My mother-in-law always tells me that she never enjoyed food more than when she was pregnant, and I can see why! Some things just taste so much more delightful, and being "choosy" is actually a great opportunity to try some things you've never thought to eat before! So, enjoy every bite of these 9 months and know that soon enough, you'll be back to ahi tuna and triple shot lattes. :)

Here are some other things you can add to your "yes" list during pregnancy!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor and don't have a medical background. This is simply advice that helped me personally feel better in the beginning of pregnancy. If you have any questions or doubts, seek guidance from your doctor, of course.

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Now that you know that you can still meet with your girls over coffee, you'll need a little snack to go with your cuppa joe! These "Coffee House Bars" remind me of something you'd find in the bakery case at Starbucks --  minus the guilt.


Made with ground almonds {i.e. almond flour. I just like to make my own.}, these tasty bars are packed with healthy fat, folate and all kinds of good stuff for you and baby! {Or just you if there's no baby to feed. They're delicious for everyone!} They have a hint of coffee flavor from the coffee extract and are just sweet enough from the honey and coconut sugar combo. The semi-sweet chocolate chips melt and create sweet, gooey pockets that make them seem like a bakery treat. {If you're trying to keep things dairy-free, you can buy Enjoy Life non-dairy chocolate chips.}


I promise these will take the focus off of the things you're missing from your "can't eat" list, and they'll top the list of things you can!

Healthy "Coffee House" Squares
Inspired by these bars at Tasty Yummies
Makes 9 squares

2 1/2 cups almond flour {I just grind my own almonds}
1 teaspoon baking soda
A good pinch of salt
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil {they will taste more coconutty if you use coconut oil}
2 eggs
1 tablespoon almond milk {or your preference milk}
1 1/2 teaspoons coffee extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips {non-dairy are great if you're trying to keep it dairy free}

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 inch baking ban with foil and lightly grease.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together almond flour, baking soda, salt and coconut sugar. Add honey, melted butter or oil, eggs, almond milk and extracts. Stir together until well combined.

3. Add chocolate chips to batter and stir well. Pour into greased baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center doesn't come out gooey.

Remove from oven and cool for about 10-15  minutes for easier cutting.

6 comments:

Christine at Cook the Story said...

The flavors of coffee and chocolate... oh yes, please!

Dianna M. said...

@Christine - So good, right? I also turned this same recipe into Banana Bread and it was amazing! So versatile. :) Thanks for stopping by!

bmayer said...

Just made me happy I had my (perfectly healthy) kids in the 80's before all these "restrictions". I avoided alcohol....that's it.

Dianna M. said...

@bmayer - It's funny how that works, huh? I'm pretty sure my mom didn't follow any of these things either (except she was never a drinker and I'm fairly certain she's never even tried sushi) and I'm ok, too. Knowledge = power, but it can also = neuroses! haha! As in everything I think balance and common sense is key!

Allie BakingAMoment said...

Love these yummy bars, and love this series! I was very much like you are, when I was pregnant. Just common sense!

Annie @Maebells said...

These look fantastic! I love they are already gluten free so I don't have to adjust anything! Coffee flavored goodies are our favorites!

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