How to safely enjoy Christmas meals when pregnant

by Loren Muhlmann – Dietitian

Pregnant women are more susceptible to foodborne illness such as listeriosis and salmonella. To protect yourself and your baby you will need to follow food safety guidelines. This can be more challenging at Christmas functions as there are often share plates of food, buffets and a variety of foods prepared by various people. The good news is that there are plenty of delicious options to enjoy. Let’s look at the do’s and don’ts at the Christmas table.

Do enjoy:

  • Freshly, thoroughly cooked turkey, ham, beef, chicken, pork, fish and seafood
  • Washed and freshly prepared salads and vegetables
  • Share plates that contain crackers, hard cheeses (e.g. cheddar, tasty), nuts, dried fruit and freshly washed fruit and vegetables
  • Pasteurized dairy products such as most milks, yoghurt, hard cheeses, plain cream cheese, plain cottage cheese, packaged frozen ice cream
  • Leftovers used within 24 hours as long as the food was cooked thoroughly, refrigerated promptly and then reheated to steaming hot just before eating

To be safe avoid:

  • Anything that is undercooked, raw, smoked or pre-cooked and then served cold such as turkey, chicken, ham, pork, fish and seafood
  • Any pre-cut, pre-packaged fruit or vegetables. Avoid bean sprouts
  • High mercury fish such as shark, swordfish, broadbill, marlin, orange roughy and catfish
  • Soft cheeses such as brie, camembert, ricotta, feta and blue and any unpasteurised dairy products
  • Anything with raw or undercooked egg such as homemade mayonnaise, aioli and custards
  • Stuffing that has been cooked inside the poultry
  • Anything with hidden alcohol such as fruit cake, mince pies and sauces
  • Leftovers that have been cooked more than 24 hours ago, that may have sat on the bench for too long or that are not served steaming hot when reheated.

Remember to drink plenty of water and find the time for your 30 minutes of exercise amongst all the festivity.

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