So before becoming pregnant, I was a massive foodie. I love my sushi, love my food cooked in wine, my steaks medium rare and my eggs over easy. Obviously many of these things are not allowed in pregnancy. (Granted the cooked in wine one is a bit of a stretch, but I know many sites that say that you should stay away from it).
Before becoming pregnant, I knew I would also have to give up a bunch of these things in order to keep the baby safe, but the one thing I wasn’t really prepared for was the restrictiveness of the pregnancy diet when you go out to eat. You might be saying, well, Elle, come on. There’s always bound to be something, but when you’re on your holiday and having to eat out most of the time, you come to realize just how little there is for us a to safely and confidently eat in various restaurants… ESPECIALLY in the higher end ones.
I was actually in America visiting my family recently when I came to this sort of sad conclusion. First world problems, I know, but after you’ve scarfed down your 3rd burger in a week (which is a rarity in my diet), your dining experience becomes a tad tarnished and you eventually begin to dread going out at all.
In spite of this, I’ve come up with a little way of easing myself into future dining experiences which I’d like to share with you all so that hopefully you don’t have to spend your night at a restaurant googling every freaking ingredient listed on the menu:
- Choose the Restaurant Before You Leave
May seem like a no brainer, but by choosing the restaurant beforehand you can prepare yourself a bit better. For instance, if your friends are thinking of taking you out to the new japanese restaurant that opened up down the street, you can at least have time to suggest an alternative if you’re feeling uncomfortable with the choice.
- Scan the Menu Like There’s No Tomorrow
Once you have the restaurant sorted, you can then suss out what you can and can’t eat from the menu. This will also help you to make fast decisions when your waiter comes round to order. It might even help you decipher whether or not you want to go to the restaurant at all, because if you’re anything like me, going to a restaurant and being confined to a plate of fries is just not fun.
- Try to Avoid Restaurants where you don’t understand the language
This is particularly hard with expensive restaurants as it’s always quite posh to go into a restaurant where the menu is all in French or Italian. But if you’re not fluent in either of these languages and your partner/friend is not either, it could prove difficult to decipher what the menu items actually are. Sometimes you can get by with google translate if you prepare beforehand, but it can only get you so far.
- Try to Avoid the Salad Bar/Salads in General
This is more of a personal thing mainly because my husband’s had food poisoning from salads at cafeterias in the past. Not saying every where can’t be trusted, but you never really know how long salads have been sitting out for in restaurants. I know when I was a waitress, the salad was only ever changed once something ran out which was a bit gross if I’m honest. So just to be on the safe side, I say ditch the salads and go for something that’s cooked.
- Try to Avoid Restaurants that don’t list their ingredients
Now this doesn’’t mean they have to list out every single nutritional fact, but if they literally just have the menu item names and no pictures or listings of the ingredients, it’s probably just best to save yourself the trouble and find somewhere else to dine.
- When in Doubt Ask the Waiter
It’s part of their job to know the menu inside out so see if they might be able to help you. Even if they don’t know, chances are they’ll go speak to someone who does. I remember when I worked in a restaurant it was definitely expected of us to know the menu and we even had little tests on the menu and could earn badges.
- Know it’s always a risk, but it’s not worth going crazy over
Really anywhere you go, the worst can happen. I’ve heard stories of people coming down with food poisoning in new establishments, old establishments, even on airplanes. You really can never know when food poisoning will strike. But all I can say is that you need to take deep breaths and just hope for the best. Use your better judgement when choosing a place to eat. If it seems like a well managed restaurant and is clean, chances are you good to go. If anything you could probably just try to host dinner parties if you’re too frightened, but all in all pregnancy should not be a restaurant prison sentence.