When you're expecting a new baby, there's a lot to think about. Are you and your little one getting the nutrients you need, as well as thinking about food safety?
On one of my first visits to my obstetrician, he gave me a booklet on the food that is unsafe to eat during pregnancy, and it seemed daunting at first. The trick is to focus on what you can safely enjoy!
Often, figuring out a healthy lunch can be a big challenge for pregnant ladies, especially during the workweek. Here are some lunch tips that work quite well and apply to most everyone.
1. Make your own lunch.
No matter how good the safety practices are at your favourite lunch spot, there's no way it can be as safe as when you're preparing food for yourself. You can also take this as an opportunity to save some money AND eat healthier by developing the habit of making your own lunch.
And don't feel like you need to be super organised, you don't necessarily need to be. I'm a big fan of 'cooking' your lunch at work during your lunch break. I recommend keeping cans of tuna, chickpeas, beans or other good shelf-stable essentials in the office, if possible.
2. Invest in some good quality lunch containers.
Crappy plastic containers that spill your lunch in your bag aren't going to inspire you to make your own lunch. A new collection of Pyrex glass containers with plastic lids made me feel completely different about my work lunches. Plus microwaving plastic isn't the healthiest for you or your little one.
3. Keep it chilled.
Temperature is one of the biggest factors of food safety. Chilling your food asap and making sure it stays chilled is the biggest thing you can do to keep food is as safe as possible. If you have a long commute or you don't have fridge access, it's best to invest in a cooler bag and some 'ice bricks'. Or freeze a bottle of water the night before to use.
4. Serve hot things hot.
The other part of the food safety/temperature spectrum is making sure hot food is reheated properly before serving. Microwaves can be problematic because you get uneven heating - make sure you take the time to stop and stir and keep going until everything is piping hot, even if there's a queue of people waiting.
5. Try and focus on what you can eat.
Seeing all the things you shouldn't eat during pregnancy was a bit overwhelming. Again, the secret is to focus on what you do get to enjoy.
Here are a few ideas to inspire interesting lunches:
No soft cheese = Hard cheeses and feta (see recipe below).
No champagne = Sparkling water (better than nothing).
No salami or prosciutto = Crispy grilled or pan fried salami and prosciutto.
No soft poached eggs = Hard eggs with commercial hollandaise.
Quinoa, Feta & Avocado Salad Recipe
Enough for two
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
200g packet feta
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped
1. Bring a medium pot of water to the boil. Rinse quinoa and add to the pot simmer for 12-15 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Drain well.
2. Whisk vinegar with three tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Toss in quinoa and parsley.
3. Crumble over feta and scoop chunks of avocado on top. Season mostly with pepper and leave the feta to provide the salt.