|Food Safety Tips for Pregnant Women|
Because during pregnancy it harder for your body to fight off germs, you and your growing baby are at higher risk for illnesses caused by eating improperly prepared, cooked, and stored food. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends some steps to avoid becoming sick with foodborne illnesses (food poisoning).
1. Do not defrost food at room temperature.
In addition to the above steps do not eat foods that have not been pasteurized such as soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk and mayonnaise or sauces like béarnaise and hollandaise made with uncooked eggs. These foods may contain disease causing bacteria such as Listeria or Salmonella. Pasteurized foods have been heated to a temperature that kills these harmful germs without affecting the taste or quality of the food.
Fish and seafood can be an important part of a balanced diet for pregnant women.
Nonetheless, some large fish contain high levels of a form of mercury that may potentially harm an unborn baby's developing nervous system.
The EPA and FDA advise pregnant women or women who may become pregnant to
avoid eating shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish due to high
levels of mercury in these fish. You can still choose from a variety of
fish and seafood low in mercury such as canned tuna, salmon, pollock,
catfish, tilapia, herring ,crab, shrimp, clams and oysters. Just make sure
that these foods are thoroughly cooked. Uncooked seafood may contain
hepatitis A virus, or Norwalk virus.
Soft cheeses or ice cream made from unpasteurized milk aren't the only foods that may contain the bacteria Listeria . Do not eat refrigerated pâtés, meat spreads, smoked fish, deli meats, hot dogs, or raw sprouts (especially alfalfa) . Its ability to grow at temperatures as low as 3°C allows Listeria to multiply in these refrigerated foods.
It is best to avoid homemade eggnog which is usually made with unpasteurized eggs that may containSalmonella. You can make a safe alcohol free version at home with a pasteurized egg product. Pasteurized store-bought eggnog is also available.
Turkey and Stuffing
Whole turkey should be cooked in an oven at 325 degrees F until it reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees F deep in the thickest part of the inner thigh (use a meat thermometer to check it ).
The safest way to cook stuffing is in a a separate baking dish in a 325 °F oven. If you choose to stuff your turkey, fill the cavity just before cooking. Fill the cavities loosely. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the stuffing. The center of the stuffing should reach at least 165°F whether it is in a baking dish or in the turkey.
Refrigerate stuffing and turkey separately in shallow containers within 2 hours of cooking. Use leftover turkey and stuffing within 3-4 days or freeze these foods. Reheat thoroughly to a temperature of 165 °F or until hot and steaming.
Those Other Holiday Meats
Use a food thermometer to determine that meats reach a safe minimum internal temperature. Raw or undercooked meat, especially pork, lamb, or venison may contain the parasite Toxoplasma gondii .
A sip of champagne at midnight on New Year's Eve is unlikely to harm your developing baby. Beyond that it is best to avoid alcohol during pregnancy since the amount of alcohol that will not harm developing baby is not known.
Tips for Pregnant Women with Diabetes or on Diets
If you have diabetes, or have been instructed by your physician to limit your weight gain during pregnancy you may find it a challenge to remain faithful to your diet during the Holidays. Here are some tips to help keep you on track: