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Healthy holiday eating for two

'Tis the season for tasty treats, scrumptious meals and delectable drinks. Healthy eating can be a challenge during the holidays, especially when you're pregnant. But don't worry, you can still enjoy many foods and recipes that are healthier options for you and your baby.

Beverages:  Pregnant women in mild climates should aim to drink 12 glasses (eight ounces a glass) each day. Try to space out your sips throughout the day rather than gulping a lot at once, which could leave you feeling uncomfortably full. You may want to increase your water intake before, during and after a workout or on a hot day.

  • Drink this:
    • water, and try dressing it up with a squeeze of lime, lemon or cucumbers
    • mocktails, which are the same fun drinks, but without the alcohol
    • pasteurized apple cider or eggnog, but consider diluting with water to cut the calories
  • Not this:
    • alcohol of any kind
    • fresh-squeezed juices, which may not be pasteurized

Cheese:  Avoid raw, unpasteurized food altogether to prevent Listeria infection in pregnancy, which could cause preterm births, fetal demise and newborn infections. Even pasteurized-milk soft cheeses (especially the Mexican-style cheese), have been linked to Listeria as well, which is why soft cheeses are not recommended.  

  • Eat this:
    • hard cheese, like cheddar and Swiss made from pasteurized milk
  • Not this:
    • soft cheese, like brie, feta blue or queso, which may be made from unpasteurized milk

Eggs:  Eggs are a rich source of lean protein that are much lower in calories than other protein sources like meat. You can benefit from adding eggs to your holiday plate, but not all preparations are good for pregnant women. Raw eggs or soft-boiled eggs may be tainted with salmonella, a bacteria that can cause fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. During your pregnancy, eggs should be cooked until both the white and yolk turn solid.

  • Eat this:
    • fully-cooked eggs with hard yolks
  • Not this:
    • homemade Caesar dressing, hollandaise sauce or mayonnaise
    • unpasteurized eggnog
    • uncooked cake or cookie dough

Salt:  The daily recommended intake of salt for an average, healthy pregnant woman is about a teaspoon a day, which is equivalent to 2400 mg of sodium. Excessive salt intake can promote fluid retention, which could further aggravate feet, hand and facial swelling in pregnancy. 

  • Eat this:
    • gravy made with low-salt broth
    • fresh, washed vegetables or frozen vegetables without sauce
    • unsalted butter
  • Not this:
    • turkey injected with salt water or soaked in brine
    • ham


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