You finally get your jeans on — fully buttoned, or not — and you’re ready to go. Normally, holiday foods are your favorite, so you’re thinking how great it will be to get to eat for two this year! Well, while you definitely deserve to enjoy your dinner, you likely want to put some additional thought into your choices.
Some of the typical holiday fare can contain bacteria or toxins that could put you and your baby at risk. Certain foodborne illnesses (like listeriosis and toxoplasmosis) can affect your baby, even if you don’t feel sick! (1) That’s why we suggest that you check out our quick guide below.
5 Festive Foods to Avoid While Pregnant
- Undercooked Turkey or Meat. A trusty meat thermometer is key here. Cook turkey and poultry until it reaches an internal temperature of 165° F, ground beef/pork/lamb until it reaches an internal temperature of 160° F, and beef/pork/lamb steaks, roasts and chops until it reaches an internal temperature of 145° F with a 3 minute rest-time. (2)
- Stuffing. The USDA says it’s safest to prepare your stuffing outside of the bird to avoid possible foodborne illness. If it was inside, make sure it reaches 165° F. (3)
- Beverages. Watch out for eggnog unless you know it was made without alcohol and with pasteurized eggs, otherwise it could contain salmonella. Cider (and other unpasteurized juice or milk) – may contain listeria or E. coli, so steer clear unless you know it’s pasteurized. (2)
- Soft Cheeses. Think cotija, queso fresco, blue cheeses, brie and camembert. Unless it’s labeled as “made with pasteurized milk,” the CDC and healthcare providers recommend that it should be avoided, as unpasteurized milk can contain the bacteria listeria monocytogenes. Listeria contamination is rare, but expectant mothers are 10 times more likely to develop an infection from it. (2)
- Leftovers. The holidays are a time to sit back, relax and enjoy one another. Oftentimes, this can mean that the holiday spread is left out for extended periods of time. The USDA recommends avoiding all foods that have been left out at room temperature for more than two hours. (4)
Some general tips for food safety. (2)
- Clean: wash hands and surfaces.
- Separate: keep raw meat and poultry separate from ready-to-eat foods.
- Cook: cook foods to the proper internal temperature.
- Chill: get leftovers to the fridge within 2 hours of being cooked.