Holidays are times of boundless joy when memories are made with your family members, but there is one other constant that is almost always involved: loads and loads of food. From the dressed-up turkey and spread of rich sides to the delectable homemade candies and sweet treats, all this food can be awfully tempting to anyone.
Unfortunately, when you're doing all you can to maintain a healthy pregnancy, overindulging is not an option, and there are some foods you should simply skip altogether. Here are a few tips to help you make healthy food choices through the holidays while you're expecting.
Avoid Overloading on Carbohydrates
Consider the usual spread of holiday foods and you will find loads of high-carb dishes and foods. Buttery rolls, carb-heavy pasta and pasta salads, sugary desserts–all of these items in unison can have you overloading on carbohydrates with just one plate. Why are carbs bad for an expectant mother? There are a few reasons you should chill out on the carbs, including:
- Excess carbs can contribute to gestational diabetes
- Excess carbs can raise your baby's glucose levels even in utero
- Excess carb consumption can increase your baby's birth weight and contribute to obesity later on
During pregnancy, and even if you are not pregnant, only 45 to 65 percent of the calories you consume should come from carbs, with an overall limit of around 175 grams of carbs a day.
Steer Clear of Long-Distance Transported Foods
Unless they are pretzels from a bag or some other dry grocery product, it is best to stay away from foods on the dinner table that have been brought by relatives that traveled a long way to get to the event. There is a general rule with food safety that must be followed to prevent pathogens from developing that can make people sick: Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
In transit, it can be almost impossible to achieve stable holding temperatures for certain dishes. For example, if someone is bringing along a banana pudding, it should be kept at a refrigerated temperature below 40 degrees until it is consumed because it contains milk. However, refrigerated temperatures are not so easy to achieve inside of a car, so bacteria can quickly develop inside of the dish that would make you and your baby very sick.
Beware of Hidden Alcohol Content in Foods and Candies
It is logical that you should avoid anything with alcohol while you are pregnant. However, steering clear of the champagne during New Year’s or the wine served at the holiday office party may not be all you have to do to avoid alcohol. In fact, there are several foods that are prepared with alcohol that you may never suspect. For example, some types of cake are soaked in alcohol for added flavor after preparation, such as Italian rum cake or fruit cake with a rum glaze. Even though the alcohol content can be low, if you eat several servings of different alcohol-containing foods and desserts, it can be enough to be harmful to your baby.
Just because you are an expecting mother, it does not mean that you cannot enjoy all those delectable holiday treats that you normally would; you just need to be more mindful about your choices. Contact us at Plaza OB/GYN for more information about maintaining a healthy pregnancy through the holidays.