Eating safely has never been as important now that you are pregnant. Most women are extremely cautious about what they eat. More and more women are switching to organic foods that are devoid of harmful chemicals and pesticides.
However, what we often neglect are safe eating practices that start from within the home. We do not mind cutting an apple on a chopping board used to cut raw chicken. This board now harbours millions of bacteria and parasites that can play havoc with your system.
These parasites can cause severe illness on top of the heartburn and morning sickness that you may be suffering. Here is a low- down on shopping, preparing and eating with care.
Throw Stale Food
In pregnancy, avoid eating leftovers. If in doubt, throw the food rather than taking the risk of consuming something contaminated. This also holds true for foods that have crossed their expiry date.
Shopping for Frozen Food
When you are buying poultry, eggs, fish and meat, make sure the same has been well refrigerated and kept on ice. You can find out by touching the meat. If the chicken has thawed, it may not have been stored at optimum freezing temperatures. This could spoil the meat and make you sick.
Make sure you do not buy misshapen, swollen and leaky cans. Wash the top of the can thoroughly before opening the seal to prevent dirt and microbes from getting into the food.
Always wash your hands before handling food especially meat. Also, wash your hands after chopping chicken and meat. If you have a cut, wear protective gloves before handling food. Wear disposable gloves.
Kitchen Sponges and Counters
Keep the kitchen counters clean with a suitable disinfectant and cleaning agent. The same goes for kitchen sinks and chopping boards. Change scrubs and sponges frequently, at least once a week. Scrubs and sponges harbour the maximum amounts of bacteria.
Serve hot food hot and cold foods cold. Frozen foods once thawed, should not be put back in the freezer. Leftovers should only be used once. Never re-heat foods repeatedly. Make sure your fridge and the freezer are working at optimum temperatures to prevent food spoilage.
Thaw foods in water or in the lower shelf of the refrigerator. Never thaw food at room temperature where it can host bacteria.
Once you marinate chicken and fish, put it back in the fridge until use. Do not leave it at room temperature. Discard unused marinade as it can harbour bacteria. Never eat raw, undercooked meats and chicken when you are pregnant. This can cause you to have food poisoning.
Do not eat runny eggs. Make sure they are well cooked or hard-boiled. When making cake, avoid licking your fingers as the batter may contain raw egg and raw egg can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
Wash all raw fruits and vegetables with potassium permanganate to ensure that all pesticides and bacteria have been eliminated. Never drink unpasteurized milk and diary. Buy only pasteurized milk from reputed dairies.
Avoid Roadside Food
This is a strict no-no. One should not eat roadside food as it can be severely contaminated. This is especially true for chaat, ice-lollies and juices brought from roadside vendors.