Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy and Alternative Recipes

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy and Alternatives

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy and Alternative Recipes

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy and Alternatives

Pregnancy is filled with a lot of no’s. No vigorous exercise, no junk food, and most unfortunate of all, no wine. The list of foods to avoid during pregnancy is longer than any of us would like, but there are delicious alternatives that are even healthier than their counterparts.

Sushi

During my pregnancy, I had intense cravings for uni. My friend and I decided to go to a sushi restaurant for my birthday and I was stoked to finally get a taste of that creamy umami flavor. But of course, uni had to be the one thing on the entire menu that wasn’t flash frozen.

Sushi has been given the thumbs up by a lot of doctors, mainly because restaurants flash freeze their fish, which kills off parasites. While it’s generally safe for pregnant women to eat sushi, the mercury levels in fish is dangerous for a developing fetus.

Fish, cooked or uncooked, should be limited to 2-3 servings a week. Larger sized fish such as tuna, should be limited to 6 ounces a week.

Cooked fish rolls, ikura (salmon eggs), cooked crawfish and shrimp rolls, cucumber rolls, and California rolls are safe for pregnant women to eat. Tamago, Japanese omelet roll, is another healthy alternative.

Alternative: Pregnancy Friendly Sushi – Avocado and Smelt Egg Roll

AuthorGigiDifficultyBeginner

Yields3 Servings
Prep Time20 minsCook Time10 minsTotal Time30 mins

Sushi Rice
 3 cups sushi rice
 3.60 cups water
 ½ cup rice vinegar
 2 tbsp sugar
 2 tsp salt
Sushi roll
 nori (seaweed paper)
 2 sliced avocado
 smelt egg
 1 sliced cucumber (optional)

1

Wash the sushi rice under running water and rub it between your palms to remove excess starch. Pour out the starch water and repeat until the water is clear.

2

Add water and cook the rice on high heat, stirring every few minutes. Once it reaches a boil, cover the pot and reduce the heat.

3

Allow the rice to cook for 6-8 minutes. The rice will be ready once the water has evaporated.

4

Combine rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a pot on medium heat until fully dissolved. Add to rice and mix evenly. Allow the rice to cool to room temperature. DO NOT refrigerate the rice.

5

After the rice has cooled, spread a thin layer over a sheet of nori. Lay the avocado slices along the short side of the nori, keeping it close to the short edge. Using a spoon, lightly spread smelt eggs on top of the avocado slices.

6

With the short side of the nori closest to your body, tuck and roll the sushi. Roll tightly so the fillings stay inside.

7

Cut rolls and serve.

Ingredients

Sushi Rice
 3 cups sushi rice
 3.60 cups water
 ½ cup rice vinegar
 2 tbsp sugar
 2 tsp salt
Sushi roll
 nori (seaweed paper)
 2 sliced avocado
 smelt egg
 1 sliced cucumber (optional)

Directions

1

Wash the sushi rice under running water and rub it between your palms to remove excess starch. Pour out the starch water and repeat until the water is clear.

2

Add water and cook the rice on high heat, stirring every few minutes. Once it reaches a boil, cover the pot and reduce the heat.

3

Allow the rice to cook for 6-8 minutes. The rice will be ready once the water has evaporated.

4

Combine rice vinegar, sugar, and salt in a pot on medium heat until fully dissolved. Add to rice and mix evenly. Allow the rice to cool to room temperature. DO NOT refrigerate the rice.

5

After the rice has cooled, spread a thin layer over a sheet of nori. Lay the avocado slices along the short side of the nori, keeping it close to the short edge. Using a spoon, lightly spread smelt eggs on top of the avocado slices.

6

With the short side of the nori closest to your body, tuck and roll the sushi. Roll tightly so the fillings stay inside.

7

Cut rolls and serve.

Pregnancy Friendly Sushi – Avocado and Smelt Egg Roll

Ceviche

Bear Flag Fish Co. makes a Peruvian style ceviche that’s one of my favorites, but of course pregnancy means raw fish (even ones “cooked” in citrus) is off the table.

Luckily, it’s not difficult to make your own ceviche at home. Plus it’s a heck of a lot more affordable and you’re given the option to add any cooked protein you’d like.

Alternative: Shrimp & Octopus Ceviche

AuthorGigiCategoryDifficultyBeginner

Yields8 Servings
Prep Time45 minsCook Time2 hrsTotal Time2 hrs 45 mins

For boil
 8 cups water
 4 tbsp salt
 1 lb shrimp
 ½ lb octopus
Citrus Marinade
 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
 2 dashes Tapatio
Ceviche
 1 cup diced tomato
 ½ cup diced red onion
 ½ cup diced cucumber
 2 mashed Thai pepper
 1 cubed avocado
 1 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
 3 pinches sugar
 2 pinches salt

1

Combine the water and 4 tbsp salt in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp and octopus. Turn off heat and let cook for about 5 minutes.

2

Drain the shrimp and octopus and allow it to cool on countertop.

3

Mix the ceviche ingredients with the citrus marinade, leaving out the avocado and cilantro.

4

Cut the shrimp and octopus into bite-sized pieces and stir into ceviche mix. Cover and refrigerate for two hours.

5

When ready to serve, mix in avocado and cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips.

Ingredients

For boil
 8 cups water
 4 tbsp salt
 1 lb shrimp
 ½ lb octopus
Citrus Marinade
 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
 2 dashes Tapatio
Ceviche
 1 cup diced tomato
 ½ cup diced red onion
 ½ cup diced cucumber
 2 mashed Thai pepper
 1 cubed avocado
 1 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
 3 pinches sugar
 2 pinches salt

Directions

1

Combine the water and 4 tbsp salt in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Add the shrimp and octopus. Turn off heat and let cook for about 5 minutes.

2

Drain the shrimp and octopus and allow it to cool on countertop.

3

Mix the ceviche ingredients with the citrus marinade, leaving out the avocado and cilantro.

4

Cut the shrimp and octopus into bite-sized pieces and stir into ceviche mix. Cover and refrigerate for two hours.

5

When ready to serve, mix in avocado and cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips.

Shrimp & Octopus Ceviche

Smoked seafood

Smoked fish such as lox can harbor listeria. Always cook smoked seafood thoroughly to prevent food-borne illnesses.

Alternative: Smoked Salmon and Bagel Breakfast Casserole

Raw oysters

Raw oysters and other shellfish contain harmful parasites and should not be eaten unless cooked to an internal temperature of 145 ºF.

Alternative: Butter Fried Oysters

Raw meat and eggs

Although, it’s safe for pregnant women to eat medium rare steak (bacteria on beef is limited to the outer perimeter), it could still be a hazard if the meat was not handled properly and was cross-contaminated. Medium rare burgers on the other hand, are never safe to consume (meat that has been grounded has bacteria dispersed throughout).

Always cook meat to an internal temperature of 145 ºF.

Alternative: Get away with a medium rare steak at a high-end steakhouse.

Deli meat

Deli meat is another infamous carrier for listeria.

Alternative: Microwave deli meat for 30-60 seconds or give it a quick toss in a pan.

Soft cheeses

Unpasteurized soft cheeses present a listeria risk. Avoid Brie, Camembert, Roquefort, feta, Gorgonzola, and Mexican style cheeses, including queso blanco and queso fresco unless the label indicates it has been made with pasteurized milk.

Alternative: Baked Brie

Caffeine

Limit caffeine to 200 mg a day. That’s two 6 oz cups. Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it removes water from your body and leaves you dehydrated. You should avoid caffeine entirely during the first trimester because it holds a higher chance of miscarriage.

Some lesser known foods with caffeine:

  • Chocolate and chocolate products, such as hot cocoa, pudding, cereals, ice cream, and frozen yogurt
  • Coffee flavored products
  • Teas
  • Soda
  • Decaffeinated coffee

Alternative: Water and milk are your best choices for hydration during pregnancy. Drink decaf in moderation.

Discuss food options with your OBGYN. Conservative doctors tend to have more dietary restrictions than those who are more liberal. Use your best judgement when it comes to deciding whether certain foods are safe to eat. Grilled oysters at an iffy restaurant? You might want to pass.

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