Healthy dining out while pregnant

After you’ve delivered your bundle of joy, there will probably be a span of time where you’re too preoccupied to go out to eat – all the more reason to enjoy that luxury now! Of course, you’ll need to be a little bit more cautious about what you order when dining out, because some foods are ‘off the menu’ during pregnancy.

Before going out to eat

Try to check the menu online before you commit to make sure you’ve got some options to work with. And if you see a dish that looks good but that you aren’t sure is safe during pregnancy, you can look it up ahead of time and come to the restaurant prepared.

While you’re at the restaurant

Let the waiter or waitress know that you’re pregnant, and don’t be afraid to ask them questions about any of the dishes. If you commonly get heartburn, try to avoid anything overly spicy as it could make for an uncomfortable evening! And if rare meat is usually your preference, make sure that for now you order your meat more well done to help kill all the germs.

Keep an eye out for common restaurant foods that pregnant women are advised to avoid. These include:

  • Cold cuts (because of listeria, unless cooked until steaming hot)
  • Tuna, shark, swordfish, and marlin (for their high mercury content)
  • Raw sprouts (because of their bacterial content)
  • Unpasteurized dairy, which can be in some cheeses
  • Raw egg, sometimes found in egg-based sauces like hollandaise, béarnaise and aioli – so make sure to ask if you order something that includes those delicious sauces and in desserts with uncooked egg whites such as mousse, meringue, tiramisu, and homemade ice cream
  • Pre-prepared salad items like coleslaw

Also, it’s best to avoid dishes with an overly high sodium content, as well as highly sugared items. Foods that you make at home tend to have a lot less sugar and salt than what you’d order out, and during pregnancy, it’s important to keep your blood sugar levels stable and your sodium intake low.

After the restaurant

If you finish the night with some food on your plate, you might decide to take some leftovers home with you. Compliments to the chef! This is fine as long as it doesn’t take you longer than about 2 hours to get home to your refrigerator. Don’t let the leftovers sit out in the open either, because they could very easily grow bacteria.

It’s a great pleasure and a great relief to dine out during pregnancy. Just take extra caution to make sure that the delicious meal on your plate is safe for you and your bun in the oven.

  • “Ch. 17: Nutrition During Pregnancy.” ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Apr 2015. Web.
  • “Guideline: Food Safety for Pregnant Women.” FDA. USDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service, HHS, Food and Drug Administration, Jan 18 2017. Web.
  • Taylor Wolfram, MS, RDN, LDN. “Top Tips for Eating Right During Pregnancy.” EatRight. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2017. Web.
  • “Pregnancy and Nutrition.” MedlinePlus. Dept of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health, NIH, HHS, Jan 2017. Web.
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