Chicken is one of the best forms of meat that you can get. Traditionally known as one of the white meats, chicken is lean, meaning less fat consumption, carries almost no germs after it has been cooked, and is full of fiber and proteins. If you are an avid meat eater, chicken should be the way to go most of the time. However, things change when you are pregnant, and you might find yourself wondering whether it would be prudent on your part to consume all that high protein, which might, after all, have some adverse consequences for the pregnant woman. In this article, let us find out whether it is alright for the pregnant lady to consume chicken, and the amount in which to eat, if at all.
Yes, in moderation
The good news is, there is no reason why you should stop eating that delicious chicken because you are pregnant. In fact, it is highly recommended that you include some chicken in your diet, thanks to the act that the bird’s meat is loaded with a wide variety of essential nutrients and fatty acids. You need to keep in mind, however, that you intake should be moderate; your body will undergo myriad changes in pregnancy, including changes to your metabolic system, and it might not be able to process the heavy protein as well as it usually would. So, if you usually eat around four helpings a day, cut down to two moderate portions.
Like any other animal product, and any organic produce, in fact, chicken needs to be very well cooked if it is to be consumed during pregnancy. Raw or undercooked chicken will have hordes of bacteria and different kinds of parasites living on it, and only thorough cooking will get rid of them. You are especially at risk from listeria, a kind of parasite that affects the mother’s immune system first, and can travel through the nutrition to the baby, compromising its immunity. Listeria causes listeriosis, which is a rare but deadly disease leading to hindered development, premature births, miscarriages, and even stillbirths. Therefore, it is imperative that the chicken you eat is thoroughly cooked; overdone meat is the most acceptable form of meat during pregnancy.
There are two ways of doing this. First, get your chicken from a trusted source only, so that you are sure that you are getting the meat off freshly slaughtered birds and not the meat that has been sitting on the shelf for some time. Early morning visits to the farmer’s market will get you fresh meat. Also, once you get the chicken home, do not keep it in the freeze for days before taking it out and thawing it. Buy in small batches, cook them immediately and eat warm. The meat must be piping hot when you begin eating. The longer you keep meat in the freezer- cooked or otherwise- the more chances it has of bigger colonies of parasites growing on them, and even thorough cooking will not kill all of them.
Cook at home
You might not feel much like cooking during the nine months of your pregnancy, but it is best if you cook your chicken at home instead of ordering from a restaurant. First of all, you have no control over the freshness of the meat used in an eatery, and, equally importantly, you have no clue about the cleanliness adopted in the kitchen. Both are crucial factors in your meat consumption, and you will be able to monitor them only by cooing in your own home.
Apart from restaurants, it is also best to avoid cured and processed meat like salami and sausages. Cured and processed meat contains a considerable amount of sodium, and a couple of sausages a day might cause some upheaval in the salt content in your system. Buy raw chicken only to be safe, and wait till after the delivery to indulge in your love for sausages.
Also read: Can I eat fish during pregnancy?
There are so many ways in which you could eat chicken. Eat them braised, in a curry, salted and cured in a sandwich, as part of a salad, or simply boiled in salt and butter. For the days when you are feeling particularly down, some chicken soup will surely pick you up. There is no end to at you can do with the chicken pieces; keep in mind, however, that if any feeling of nausea sets in on seeing or smelling the chicken, steer clear of it. It is your body’s way of saying that it doesn’t need this particular protein for the time being.