Eating Outside- Is it Safe During Pregnancy?
Now that you are pregnant, you should be careful when you plan to eat out. Eating outside can definitely be a pleasure but all that you need to do is take special care of the food served to you. During pregnancy, it is difficult for the body’s immune system to fight organisms, thereby leading to food borne illnesses.
Know these lists of foods that you may need to be careful about:
·Fresh fruits and vegetables – Unclean, raw cut fruits and vegetables can cause food poisoning, diarrhoea or water-borne diseases such as hepatitis or typhoid. They can also contain bacteria called listeria leading to gastro intestinal disorders. Salads may generally contain greens like cabbage, lettuce, coleslaw etc that is considered unsafe specifically during summer and monsoon. Also check if the dressings contain raw eggs and blue cheese which may be a source of bacterial contamination.
Drinks and Beverages - Depending on the restaurant you are in and their hygiene levels, be careful about drinks with raw ingredients such as jal jeera, chaas and aam panna. If you fancy a coffee, bear in mind that you should limit your caffeine intake to less than 200mg a day. You can choose a mint or ginger tea, which is a great digestive.
Fish - Raw fish or uncooked seafood can cause food poisoning. Some types of fish may contain too much mercury or other pollutants to be considered unsafe.
Eggs - Uncooked eggs may carry salmonella bacteria, which can cause food poisoning. Salmonella poisoning will not directly harm your baby, but it'll make you ill. Many restaurants offer eggless preparations, check with the chef or waiter for the dishes to be served be it a desserts or pastries.
Mono sodium glutamate (MSG) - Packaged foods, Chinese restaurants and some fast foods are often made with MSG (commonly called ajinomoto). Although there have been no proven risks of this additive, it is known to trigger headaches and allergies in some people so it is best avoided when pregnant.
Follow the below guidelines while dining out:
· Choose a hygienic restaurant – Choose a restaurant and cuisine that suits your health well during pregnancy. Avoid street foods like pani puris, golas and other chaats.
· Be a picky eater – It is ok if you are fussy about eating outside. Go for foods that are light and healthy like soups, salads without egg dressings, shallow fried dishes, fresh yogurts etc. Make sure to order a healthy appetizer that can fill your appetite paving no cravings for unhealthy ones.
· Watch out for portion size – This is very important when you are being served with delicacies. There is no guilt if you leave some food on the plate. Resist the temptation and check with the waiter if they can serve half the quantity to make no left over or share your meal if the idea suits your companion.
· Choose whole wheat Indian breads – Pick out tandoori rotis, variety paranthas and phulkas instead of naan, and kulchas, as these are made of refined flour.
· Give less room for desserts – As far as possible; ensure that your appetite is filled with the other foods. Substitute pastries, ice creams, fudges etc to fruit salads and top it up with yogurt and/ or nuts and dry fruits. This way you can deliver a healthy mix of nutrients to your growing baby.
· Say no- no to alcohol - There are many studies that have shown the consumption of alcohol to harm fetus. It can also load your calories unnecessarily.
· Cut down on fizzy and caffeinated drinks – This can be great with pizzas and burgers as accompaniments, but choosing fresh juices, aam panna or iced teas or jal jeera may do better for good health.
As long as your stomach is amenable to the spices, Indian restaurants make a particularly nutritious option. If you are fond of continentals, load your plates with fruits, vegetables, greens, soups, nuts, cereals, tortillas, salsas and yogurts. Pasta and pizzas that have combination of all food groups instead of just one!
If you have a problem of heartburn and acidity, it is wise to avoid fatty, spicy foods and the ones that are heavily battered and with sauces.
Play cautious with foods if you are a food freak. Choose foods that are nutritionally dense such as legumes, grains, vegetables and fruits. Don’t forget water, which is a vital detoxifier.