Eating Out During Pregnancy

6 min read

Written by Pradeep

Pradeep

There will be many occasions when you would be eating out during the course of your pregnancy. Eating out during pregnancy is not unsafe, as long as hygiene standards are met and the food is nourishing to the fetus. Hitting a restaurant is not a problem, however, remember that some things are not safe for consumption during pregnancy and may harm you and your unborn baby.

Read below to gain an insight on which foods should be prohibited during pregnancy and which must be welcomed. This is followed by a few healthier eating options when you trouble your partner demanding junk food!

pregnant woman and husband in coffeeshop

In This Article

Choosing a Safe Restaurant During Pregnancy

Make your own choice whenever you can when it comes to choosing a restaurant to dine out. Choose a place that has good hygiene standards, and serves a variety of healthy dishes. The restaurant should also be able to carry out special requests – like skipping the mayo or thoroughly cooking the meat.

Do not opt for places that offer a limited choice and do not entertain special requests. The restaurant should also be well ventilated and is not a stuffy place. Also, focus on the sanitation needs – you will take a break for sure. If you are traveling or are out for some work, pay attention to where and what you eat.

Keep a Watch on the Portion Sizes

This is an absolute must. However tempting that paneer tikka is, keep your portion sizes somewhat limited – there are good chances that you will end up suffering from heartburn and acidity. Eating too much may as well lead to indigestion.

Quit eating when you feel full, and carry leftovers if you want. The best way would be to ask to be served half portions that will not put you in the pressure of finishing and overeating.
woman eating in restaurant

Safe Eating Out During Pregnancy

While dining during pregnancy following some safety rules helps you to eat healthily.  Following are 10 safe dining rules during pregnancy:

  1. Sip on branded cold drink, if you must! Empty the contents of the can or bottle in a clean glass to make sure there are no ugly surprises!
  2. Order only branded mineral water!
  3. Caffeine intake should be limited to the minimum (200 mg per day) to avoid digestive problems and harm to the fetus.
  4. You can enjoy stuffed parantha with your favorite stuffing of paneer or coconut and jaggery!
  5. Enjoy the aromatic lamb biryani, chicken malai tikka and paneer tikka! Only make sure they are thoroughly cooked and don’t smell foul in any way.
  6. Hog on salads from a known place that has no hygiene issues.
  7. Opt for whole grain breads and brown rice. These are far more healthy and low on fats.
  8. Nothing beats the soups – order a bowlful and relish it. However, avoid bisques and other cream soups unless they’re made with milk or yogurt instead of being laced with heavy cream and butter.
  9. Go South! Idli, appam, nariyal chutneys, etc.,  not only taste delicious, but aid digestion. And they are far more nutritious than burgers!
  10. Consuming paneer and cheese is safe during pregnancy, as long as the paneer is hygienic and the cheese has not mould-ripened or blue veined.

What to Avoid When Eating Out During Pregnancy?

Eating out once in a while cause no harm to a pregnant woman. However, there are some things you should avoid while eating out during pregnancy.

1. Street Food

As you pass those street chaat corners ,the aroma surely brings water to the mouth, but beware! It’s neither hygienic nor healthy. Being pregnant puts you at a high risk of infection, so steer yourself clear of street food.

  • The puris are deep fried, you cannot be sure how the aloo masala has been prepared
  • The water may not be clean and carry bacteria causing diarrhoea, dysentery and typhoid.
  • Dahi Bhalle and papdi chaat would appeal to your senses, but the curd could be contaminated. So either have them cooked well, but without the curd or chutneys and just go with a dash of tomato sauce.
  • Avoid raw food topped with delicacies such as pav bhaji with finely sliced onions and pre-cut lemons.

2. Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

The Chinese takeaways use MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) or Ajinomoto to enhance flavor. Cheap oil and food colors are also used sometimes which are not good for anybody’s health.

Ajinomoto is known to cause headaches and allergies and is best avoided during pregnancy. Being high in sodium, it can also cause water retention. If buying packaged foods, do check the labels for MSG content.

pregnant friends in coffee shop

3. Raw Ingredients

Say no to sushi, soft-boiled eggs, and mayonnaise for those nine months as raw ingredients may contain bacteria and cause diseases.

  • Prawns, mussels, salami, mackerel or crab, whatever you wish to have, make sure it’s completely cooked and fresh. However, exercise caution on intake.
  • The creamy and silky mousse and feather-light soufflé can be skipped as they may contain raw eggs.
  • Uncooked meat of any kind is to be avoided. Make sure that kebabs, tikkas, and chops should be thoroughly cooked. You must insist that you want it done well!.

4. Ditch Alcohol

An occasional glass of wine is considered safe, but there has been no proven study on the subject. It is best to go alcohol-free during your pregnancy. Remember, alcohol may affect the growth of your fetus, so decide for yourself.

5. Street Drinks

Nimbu Pani, sugarcane juice, aam panna – they are the utmost enticing, but are made from raw ingredients and therefore should be avoided.

6. Spicy Food

Leads to stomach upset, heartburn, and acidity. Best avoided.

7. Excessive Fatty Food

Do not pave way for obesity in your baby. Eat healthy, live healthy!

8. Excessive Sugary Food

Sugary and sweet foods are loaded with calories and are processed. Chuck those canned juices and motichoor laddoos!

9. Masala Teas

Avoid Masala tea as it is loaded with spices which may increase your body temperature.

10. Herbal Teas

Opt for ginger tea, cardamom tea or cafe latte instead!

pregnant woman with cotton candy

Healthy Options To Opt For When Eating Out

It may be surprising to know that even eating out can be healthy. Here are a few options for eating healthy outside.

  1. Raw or uncooked eggs can cause food poisoning. Go eggless when eating out. Order eggless cakes, pastry for pies! In fact, when it comes to desserts, try Indian ones.
  2. Instead of mozzarella, opt for cheddar cheese or simple processed cheese. They are less fatty as well as a good source of calcium.
  3. Try baked options. They taste good and come in varieties.
  4. Try a glass of freshly squeezed juice from a hygienic place.
  5. Coconut water may be a better option. This natural water provides essential minerals to the body and cools down as well.
  6. Order brown rice and not white polished rice which has been stripped off its nutrients.
  7. Opt for multigrain bread for breakfast and sandwiches.
  8. For junk cravings try Oat noodles or Masala oats – they are enriched with the goodness of oats and contain minimum maida.
  9. Try packaged Greek Yogurt with fruit compotes and flavored yogurts instead of deep-fried gulab jamuns and rich brownies.
  10. Lassi, chaach, etc can soothe and relax your cravings and fill your tummy as well.

Verdict

It is always wise to carry fruits such as apples, bananas or oranges, in case there is no dining joint nearby! Also, frequent meals will limit the food intake you have outside. As you bask in the glory of untimely hunger pangs and unexpected food cravings, your family might be ready to satisfy your food urges in another instant.

With the decreasing number of joint families and people migrating abroad, we not only miss the moral support of our elders but their valuable guidance particularly during pregnancy is also lost.

During those months, it’s advisable to eat safe, healthy, home-cooked food. If possible, carry your own food around. Otherwise, you can always try the healthier options outlined above! Rest well, have frequent small meals, and drink plenty of water. This will keep you fuelled and dream about the new family member!

Happy Healthy Eating!

FAQ’s

1. Is it Safe to Eat Outside Food When Pregnant?

Yes it is. Ensure you eat only well cooked foods. Also opt for a hygienic and well ventilated place to dine at.

2. Can Eating Out Regularly During Pregnancy Hurt my Baby?

No it cannot, as long as you are being safe. if you are eating street foods, etc that are not hygienic, you could get infections that affects the baby. Very oily and spicy foods can cause indigestion and discomfort too.

3. How Often Can I Eat Out When am Pregnant?

You can eat out once a fortnight, to be cautious. If you have to travel or eat outside food for more days at a stretch, it is perfectly fine. Don’t panic, just order right.

4. Can Outside Food Cause Heartburn if Pregnant?

Yes it can. The reason is, outside foods use a lot of oil and spices in preparation. This can cause indigestion or heartburn in a pregnant woman.

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