Pregnant? Ideas for What to Eat and Drink Instead of the Stuff You’re Not Supposed To

It’s kind of cruel, really. When you’re pregnant, there’s an expectation you’re going to eat more, but a lot of stuff you really love is now off-limits.

Before you feel completely deprived, there are a number of ways to still indulge in your favorites or find alternatives that can take their place in the meantime.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite “banned” foods and how I’ve been making do.

  • Coffee. Full disclosure: I still drink coffee. Most experts agree one cup per day is fine, but if you’re concerned about caffeine (which is really what you’re trying to avoid) at least try to go without during your first trimester, when you’re most at-risk for miscarriage. My problem isn’t sticking to the one cup, it’s what to drink in place of the second or third, or okay, sometimes fourth cup I was used to. Decaf herbal teas are my new best friends when it comes to having another steaming hot beverage after I’ve savored every last sip of that one cup of joe. Some teas do have herbs that are problematic during pregnancy, so definitely check in with your doctor to make sure your tea is safe. I’ve also found a great decaf chai latte mix I can add to milk, which also boosts my protein intake for the day.
  • Deli meats. I’m not a big sandwich person in general, but tell someone they can’t have something and suddenly it sounds like the most delicious thing ever. The concern over deli meat is tied to listeria (bacteria that can cause food poisoning), which can pose a miscarriage risk for pregnant women. The good news here is that heating the meat typically kills the problematic bacteria, which means you can feel free to fix yourself a grilled sandwich or better yet, order a hot panini at your favorite lunch spot.
  • Cheese. The stinkier the cheese, the more I like it. Blue cheese is one of the only reasons to have a salad, in my opinion. Kidding of course, but there’s a sliver of truth there. With my first pregnancy, I avoided all soft cheeses such as blue, goat, Brie and Feta because of concerns over listeria contamination. I’ve since learned that as long as you choose cheese made with pasteurized milk, you should be in the clear. My salads are complete this time around thanks to a little label reading. If you’re really worried about it, stick to hard cheese such as cheddar or Parmesan – the aged nature of those cheeses naturally kills bacteria.
  • Alcohol. I thought giving up the occasional beer or glass of wine would be difficult, but that hasn’t been the case. Whenever I think about a tiny baby drinking, I just can’t go there. (That’s just me). Still, you are allowed to have a social life while pregnant, which means you’re likely going to be around others who are imbibing. If we’re going to a party, I’ll pick up some sparkling juice to bring along so I have something festive in my hand. At restaurants, I’ve ordered lemonade with club soda and have been impressed that most places are happy to whip up some sort of mock-tail when I feel like something more exciting than my tenth glass of water for the day.

These are just a few of the ways I’ve adjusted my eating and drinking habits during pregnancy. It all goes so fast and making a few sacrifices for the sake of a healthy baby is completely worth it.

Author’s Note: All pregnancies are different and your doctor is the best person to give you advice on your specific health concerns.   

What did you miss most when you were expecting? Tell us how you satisfied your cravings in the comments.

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Photo credit: Jules Morgan

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  1. Completely agree with #4 (alcohol)! I’m doing that right now as I’m on my 2nd trimester, got prego with the help of conceiveeasy. I don’t really have problems with coffee since I’ve stopped taking it for about 4 years now. Milk and teas are my best friend. 🙂

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