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Eating out during pregnancy

Eating out during pregnancy is the main concern with many pregnant women would be dietary in nature. While you are concerned about eating right, you are also inclined to want to let go a bit. Eating out during pregnancy also depends on the trimester you are in because your moods and taste buds will determine the food choice and how much of it you can eat. With a little planning you can obtain the necessary nutrients when you eat out.

General Pointers

  • Be picky when it comes to choosing an eatery. Whenever possible pick one that offers healthy food choices.
  • When uncertain about any dish on the menu, don’t hesitate to ask the server what the food contains or how it is prepared. If the server seems uncertain get him to double check.
  • If eating normal portions is a struggle, opt for a couple of starters instead or a starter sized portion of a main meal. Share meals if that idea suits your meal companion.
  • If heartburn is a tendency with you avoid fatty and spicy foods. Deep fried foods e.g. are not the preferred choice in your pregnancy months.
  • Eating wisely doesn’t have to mean boring meals. But you have to play cautious. Choose foods that are nutritionally dense such as legumes, grains, vegetables and fruits.
  • Avoid foods that are prepared in heavy batters or sauces.
  • Choose broiled, grilled, baked, steamed, poached or roasted seafood and meat over crispy, fried, creamed, pan-fried, and buttery versions.
  • Play it safe by requesting that the sauces, gravies and dressings be served on the side as this may help you control the calories.
  • Remove skin from poultry and trim off all visible fat.
  • Be certain no raw eggs and unpasteurized dairy products are being used. This is especially true in dessert foods such as soufflés, mousses and tiramisu.
  • Do not force yourself to empty your plate. Many times you start off with a big appetite but find that you are not able to finish what you started. That is normal as restaurant portions tend to be large. Either you leave some behind or you arrange to pack the balance for later.
  • Avoid raw fish such as sushi and oysters and go for grilled seafood instead. If you feel like a steak opt for one that is well done with the juices running clear. Raw meat and seafood dishes are potential danger areas you would want to avoid.

First trimester

  • Eating or dining out is often not high on your list during the early weeks of pregnancy because of the fatigue and nausea. Besides, small portions and snacking seems more appropriate now.
  • You may not feel like having salads. In any case salads may not be the ideal choice because it can upset stomachs during this time. Go for some grilled veggies like broccoli or spinach instead.
  • Soups are nutritious. Look to lentil, bean, vegetable soups and broth-based soup. Avoid creamy soups which can upset your tummy.
  • The tendency to go for plainer foods such as pasta, rice or baked potato with a little flavoring (a bit of butter or cheese on the side) makes a good choice. Red meat and fish are not ideal choices for many pregnant women during this phase.
  • Avoid oily, deep fried foods that can contribute to your nausea.
  • Keep your dessert portions small; ideally opt for fresh fruit over fresh cream.

Second Trimester

  • The middle trimester is the best time to go back to your usual foods and/or experiment with bolder flavors. Do not totally ignore your cravings as it is your body's way of alerting you on what it needs. Now your taste buds are ready for fish and red meat. Salt and spice is another craving you may experience and this may continue into the final trimester.
  • Because of your improved taste buds and your stomach being able to handle the mix of greens, salads make a good choice. Request that dried foods and nuts be added into your salad bowl to make it more interesting and nutritious. Dressings should be on the side and use only what you need.
  • Pizza is nice but choose whole-wheat crust and preferably with vegetarian toppings.
  • Salmon is a pregnancy superfood and it is safe because of the low mercury levels. The method of cooking is important – broiled is better than panfried for example.
  • If you feel like a sandwich, choose chicken or roast meat over processed lunchmeats such as salami. Deli meats should be hot and steaming to avoid listeria, a bacterium known to contaminate deli meats. Romaine lettuce is crispy and goes well on sandwiches, besides providing calcium and folate to your growing baby.

Third Trimester

  • Back to the fatigued days, eating out becomes more of a once-in-a-while treat instead of the frequent affair you looked forward to in the previous trimester. Backache and fatigue plus not being able to eat large portions can make eating out more of a chore. When eating out make it an early one, especially the evening meals.
  • Choose light simple meals such as soup, salad, rice dishes or simple pasta. Heavy food will not settle too well during this period.
  • Choose to dine out at places that provide prompt services and have comfortable seating.
  • The key to comfortable eating only as much as you need and so the best bet would be small, frequent meals and snacks. Often you will feel hungry but have a hard time finishing your meal. Like in the first trimester, it is best to eat small high quality portions of food in proper intervals.
  • Avoid refined carbs by making suitable substitutions. For instance choose brown rice over white, sweet potato over white potato, and wholewheat pasta over the regular white ones.

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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