If you're trying to conceive or are currently pregnant, you'll know all about pregnancy safe food. Say goodbye to cured meats, Pinot Grigio and soft sashimi (among many others). Don't worry it's just goodbye for now and a hot tip we learned throughout our own pregnacy when it comes to not-eating the good stuff: don't stop it, swap it.
Yes, there are many pregnancy safe alternatives to your favourite foods. Of course, always consult your health professional about what diet is best for you and your growing bump as every pregnancy is different. Here's a list of some of the awesome alternatives we consumed when we were pregnant:
Non-dairy cheese that tastes like the real thing
Who doesn’t love a good cheese platter? But once bub is in the bun, all of your favourite soft cheeses are a big no-no. Lucky for you, there are so many quality dairy-free and plant-based cheeses on offer at your local supermarket and health food store. The best bit? They taste scarily similar to the real deal. At Babybee HQ, we loved Dilectio's gourmet vegan cheese range, including their locally made 100% dairy-free blue vein cheese, creamy camembert and chevre.
Bring back the sardines
Fish and the pregnancy diet is a bit tricky to navigate. Some fish is highly recommended for its omega 3 fatty acids, while other fish is a no-no because it's high in mercury. Consult your health professional to find out what fish is best for you. While we ditched the raw sashimi, swordish and king mackerel (to name a few), we found new love for sardines. Sardines are the perfect fish to consume while pregnant as they contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and protein with minimal mercury present. Not only do sardines pack a powerful nutritional punch, but are incredibly versatile and easy to prepare! Gourmet Traveller has a wonderful list of sardine recipes (including this delicious sardines wrapped in vine-leaves with brown rice and pine nuts recipe).
Raw fish sashimi and sushi is healthy and delicious but must be avoided when you're pregnant because it exposes you to potential listeria contamination. This doesn’t mean all sushi or onigiri is off limits during your pregnancy, you can instead swap for vegetarian sushi. Just be sure to make sure it's made to order or as fresh as possible and been well refridgerated.
Don’t diss decaf
For many, the idea of a morning without a highly caffeinated drink can be tear-inducing. But health professionals highly recommended reducing your caffeine intake or avoiding it completely when you're trying to conceive or are pregnant. A good substitute that promises the same morning kick is decaf tea or a herbal tea. Decaf coffee has come a long way and similarly to many other things on this list tastes a lot like the real thing.
Non-alcoholic wine and spirits
In recent years there's been a surge of seriously good non-alcoholic drinks that are a great substitute if you're having a booze free period. According to the mums of Baybee HQ, Maggie Beer has some great alcohol-free white wines, while Lindeman’s offers the best not-a-red-but-tastes-close-to. If spirits are your thing, do yourself a favour and check out the Lyre’s range.
Swap the steak for shrooms
If you order your steak medium-rare you may be disappointed to learn experts suggest stearing clear of pinky, rare meat while bub is in the oven. If well-done steaks don't do it for you in the interim, how about make a steak substitute with a big, juice field mushroom? You can cook them the same way on your favourite cast iron pan or over the barbecure. Meaty in texture and taste, mushrooms are high in protein and taste incredible when paired with a zingy salsa verde and salad.
Gelato instead of soft serve icecream
If your household has a serious case of post-dinner McFlurry cravings, you'll have to hold off until after bub arrives. Soft-serve can expose pregnant women to listeria bacteria, so it's best to avoid. The good news is that gelato and ice-cream are safe to consume within moderation - just be sure to check with your health professional that the dairy source is safe to consume while you're pregnant (every pregnancy differs = every diet will have different requirements).