What You Can & Cannot Eat During Pregnancy

Your appetite is all over the place, we know. One minute you’re too nauseous to eat, the next craving a comfort food you haven’t fancied since childhood — and you must have it, right now. While your diet shouldn’t have to change too much during pregnancy, you may have to strike off a few favourites and tweak your shopping list here and there to make sure you and your baby are getting enough of the good stuff and skipping the risky foods.

Eat a balanced diet

You’re probably already doing this, so no change there, right? But if you do feel a wobble from time-to-time (and don’t we all?), just remind yourself that it’s all in the name of keeping your body well-fuelled for growing your baby. You know to pack in the fruit and veg, but don’t forget nuts, seeds, lentils, and eggs are all good additions to your plate too.

Avoid raw eggs and some soft cheeses

It’s unlikely you’re drinking raw eggs Rocky-style but don’t be caught out by partially cooked eggs either, as these are also not considered safe during pregnancy. Don’t skip out on eggs altogether because they’re an easy way to pack in the protein — just make sure they’re thoroughly cooked. Most soft cheeses are going to be fine (mozzarella, cream cheese and feta, NHS England allows) but it’s the unpasteurised ones that you should avoid.

Eat breakfast every day

An empty stomach can induce nausea and morning sickness and always seems more likely to hit, well, in the mornings. Wholemeal toast with peanut butter or overnight oats are both good ways to start the day by keeping your digestive system ticking over and warding off any mid-morning toilet hugging antics. Stock up on oatcakes, peppermint sweets and lemon water to be ready if nausea strikes.

Avoid alcohol and limit caffeine

Cutting out wine isn’t going to be as hard as you think. In fact, some women find they just don’t fancy alcohol at all. If you do, just assure yourself that it’s only nine months and not worth the risk. Caffeine is allowed in moderation, think one flat white a day but no more. That’s fortunate because caffeine can be hard to avoid, especially when it’s in chocolate.

Eat the things you crave

Providing they are not on the ‘avoid’ list, allow yourself to go with your cravings, most of the time. Don’t deny yourself those pickled onions or chicken-flavoured Pot Noodles, just don’t go overboard if it’s something super unhealthy. If it’s blueberry and carrots you’re hankering for, get stuck in.

Avoid raw or cured meat and fish

Say goodbye to salami, chorizo and pepperoni for a while, as they all fall into the cured meat category. There are exceptions here but if you’re out at a restaurant and not sure on how the meat has been prepared, it isn’t worth chancing it. Raw fish is another ‘no’ but you can still go in for sushi with fully-cooked fish or the veggie avocado California roll variety, hallelujah.

Avoid fad or extreme diets

Since now isn’t the time to take up extreme sports, nor is it the time to go on an all-meat or fat-free diet. Eat normally, get in all the key food groups and be kind to yourself.