Whilst your burgeoning baby bump might preclude too much over-indulgence with party food, recognise that many of those festive favourites are actually good for you!
Turkey is a good low fat, high protein food and is also a useful source of iron, zinc and potassium. A 5oz serving provides almost half the recommended daily intake of folic acid – tuck in and enjoy, it’s a great for pregnancy nutrition!
The chestnuts in the Christmas stuffing are particularly high in folate, essential in preventing neurological defects in unborn children.
Brussel sprouts are low in calories but high in essential pregnancy vitamins, fibre and minerals. They are high in Vitamin C and rich in Vitamin K which plays an important role in bone growth and is essential for coagulation, the formation of blood clots that stop bleeding.
There are some foods you should avoid, shop bought pate for example and pregnant women are advised not to eat soft cheeses such as brie and camembert, or soft blue cheeses such as Roquefort. However, cooking kills the harmful bacteria so an oven baked camembert with cranberry sauce can still be a festive treat.
Be cautious with cold meats from the deli counter, such as salami or prosciutto as the meats are often cured but not cooked. Cooked ham is absolutely fine to eat during pregnancy.
If you really can’t resist it, the amount of sherry in a single portion of sherry trifle is unlikely to cause you or your baby any harm. But if it’s going to make you feel anxious you won’t enjoy it – choose something else instead!
Christmas nuts are a winner – walnuts are packed with omega-3 fatty acids; brazil nuts are bursting with selenium and almonds are high in calcium. They make the ideal snack at any time of the year. Even peanuts are safe in pregnancy unless you know you have an allergy to them – there is no evidence to suggest that eating peanuts will impact on your baby developing a peanut allergy.
Smoked salmon is fine for pregnant women to eat – avoid raw shellfish (sorry, no oysters!) but cooked shellfish are safe to eat, just make sure they are thoroughly cooked.
Christmas pudding is packed with dried fruits, such as raisins, currants, sultanas and cranberries – as desserts go it’s probably one of the healthier options!
Cranberries have a high nutrient and antioxidant content and reputedly have a positive impact on preventing urinary tract infections. A good dollop of cranberry sauce on your turkey is a positive addition to your pregnancy diet!
Make sure your Christmas menu includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, wholemeal bread and cereal to keep your digestive system working smoothly. And don’t neglect to stay hydrated – it’s easy to get out of your normal routine and forget your usual intake of water.
Enjoy the festive season Mammas, eat well and eat healthy!
Try these festive treats as a ‘pick me up’ when your energy is flagging
Festive Figgy Baubles
These little ‘figgy puddings’ perfect for a boost when your energy is flagging over the festive season. Crammed with energy giving dried fruits and nuts they taste delicious and make a guilt-free treat when you’re trying to maintain a healthy pregnancy diet. We gave them a little gold spray for a festive touch – or roll them in icing sugar for a dusting of snow!
1 cup of Brazil Nuts
½ cup of desiccated unsweetened coconut
1 cup of soft dried figs (check to remove any stalks)
½ cup of dried chopped cranberries
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1 dessertspoon of agave syrup
½ teaspoon of sea salt
Additional tablespoon of desiccated coconut and a tablespoon full of cocoa powder for dusting
- Process the Brazil nuts and coconut in a food processor until finely ground. Add all the other ingredients, except for the cranberries, and process until thoroughly mixed into a thick paste.
- Add the cranberries and mix thoroughly.
- Scoop out heaped teaspoonfuls of paste and roll between your hands to form firm, walnut sized balls. Roll the balls in desiccated coconut and dust with icing sugar or use a gold confectionary spray (or both!).
- Place on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment and chill in the fridge before serving.
- Store a jar of balls on the mantlepiece and as eat as required!
Vary the recipe! Use dates instead of figs and ½ cup of ground almonds instead of the coconut.