How You Can Still Enjoy Your Favorite Foods While Pregnant

While there are a few foods best avoided when you're expecting, here are a few creative swaps you can make to satisfy your cravings.

Pregnancy is a season fraught with many questions and unknowns. How am I going to feel? How will the delivery go? What will my little one be like? Add to that the myriad of do’s and don’ts, particularly when it comes to what to eat, and safe to say, things can get overwhelming. 

Due to their risk of carrying bacteria that can cause food-borne illnesses, pregnant women are advised to avoid eating raw or undercooked seafood, cold-cut meats, and unpasteurized dairy such as soft cheese. While these diseases are usually rare among the general population, hormonal changes during pregnancy can weaken the immune system, putting expectant mothers at increased risk of disease.  

But don’t worry - this doesn’t mean that you have to press pause on your favorites quite yet. Here’s what to do instead if you do find yourself hankering for food on the don’t-eat list. 

Yes, you can still eat sushi 

Just make sure they’re vegetable or cooked rolls, such as shrimp tempura, eel and avocado, or sweet potato! These can then be dipped in your favorite sauces as normal. In fact, as long as you have no food allergies, pregnant women can (and are encouraged to) eat cooked shellfish throughout their pregnancy. Things like salmon, trout, and tilapia are also safe to consume when cooked. If you’re making them yourself, try drizzling some soy sauce and sprinkling sesame seeds over the tops of these fish before baking in the oven to get that umami flavor. 

Fresh is best (for now) 

We know: deli meats are an easy, inexpensive, and tasty sandwich-filler, but cold cuts are best avoided while you’re pregnant. For the same punch in a sandwich, roast a raw turkey breast in the oven with some spices. Then, thinly slice it, layer on your favorite sandwich toppings, and finish it off with some avocado, hummus, or some spicy yogurt sauce for added creaminess and tanginess. You won’t even know the difference.  

Double check your cheese  

When you’re expecting, indulging in your favorite cheese requires a little more precaution. Many soft cheeses like brie, feta, and queso fresco are usually unpasteurized, meaning that they haven’t been exposed to high enough temperatures to kill bacteria. Instead, try pasteurized goat cheese. It has a creamy texture and a buttery, tart flavor that’s similar to the rind of brie. Top it with fruit preserves or a drizzle of olive oil to balance the tartness. As long as you don’t have an allergy, cheese is a great source of calcium for mother and baby, so continue to enjoy it as long as it’s made from pasteurized milk.