The holiday season is upon us and that means time to enjoy all of our favorite holiday foods!
But can I eat sweet potato casserole while pregnant?
You are not alone if you have been wondering that.
Sweet potato casserole is a staple dish on most holiday dinner tables.
I have to confess I didn’t like sweet potatoes until a few years ago.
But now I’m addicted to sweet potato casserole.
So let’s jump in and find out if sweet potato casserole is safe to eat during pregnancy.
Can I eat sweet potato casserole while pregnant?
Yes according to our OB/GYN Dr. Doug Penta, MD you can eat sweet potato casserole while pregnant as long you do not have any allergies to any of the ingredients.
He also said that women who have gestational diabetes or pregnant women who need to watch their weight gain during pregnancy should not eat sweet potato casserole.
Sweet potato casserole is usually made with baked sweet potatoes, cream, eggs, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans, and marshmallows.
There is a reason this dish is a holiday favorite!
It is important to enjoy this dish in moderation during pregnancy.
It is high in fat and calories.
A small serving of sweet potato casserole is about 1/2 cup.
This dish can be easily made vegan by substituting dairy products for vegan alternatives.
If you are looking for a healthier version of sweet potato casserole you can enjoy during pregnancy we love Ambitious Kitchen’s healthy sweet potato casserole recipe.
It is made with roasted sweet potatoes, almond milk, maple syrup, and spices, and no added sugar.
Give it a try if you crave sweet potatoes and sweet potato casserole but would love a healthier version.
Healthier topping ideas for sweet potato casserole:
- Coconut flakes
- Dried cranberries
- Chopped pecans
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
Is sweet potato good for pregnant women?
Yes, sweet potato is good for pregnancy and should be part of a healthy pregnancy diet.
Sweet potatoes are a root vegetable filled with essential nutrients, loads of fiber, and folic acid which is necessary for your baby to develop their nervous system and for brain development.
Sweet potato can help you keep your energy level up during the first and third trimesters when pregnancy fatigue kicks into high gear.
Benefits of eating sweet potato while pregnant:
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene.
Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body and is important for a baby’s growth and development, including vision and immune function.
Sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber which can help with constipation during pregnancy.
Sweet potatoes are a nutrient-dense food which means they are packed with vitamins and minerals essential for pregnant women such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron.
Sweet potatoes can be enjoyed cooked in a variety of ways such as roasted, mashed, or pureed.
Eating boiled sweet potato during pregnancy may help ease symptoms of morning sickness.
Boiled sweet potatoes are a bland easy-to-digest food.
Be sure to wash them thoroughly before cooking.
How to eat sweet potato during pregnancy?
Sweet potatoes are so good for you during pregnancy.
They are jam-packed with nutrients, but they are bland enough to be well tolerated in the first few months of pregnancy when morning sickness is most common.
There are many ways to enjoy sweet potatoes during pregnancy. One way is to roast them. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cut the sweet potatoes into small pieces and toss with olive oil and sea salt.
Spread them out on a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes.
Another delicious way to enjoy sweet potatoes is mashed.
Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into small pieces.
Boil in water for 15-20 minutes or until they are soft.
Mash the sweet potatoes with some butter, salt, and pepper to taste.
You can also add in some cooked apples for a twist on traditional mashed potatoes.
Lastly, sweet potatoes can be pureed and added to soups or stews.
This is a good idea to try if you are suffering from a lot of morning sickness or all-day sickness during your first trimester of pregnancy.
This is a great way to sneak in some extra vitamins and minerals!
Nutritional information for Sweet Potato:
1 cup (200 grams) of baked sweet potato with skin contains:
- Calories: 103
- Fat: 0.2 grams
- Saturated fat: 0.0 grams
- Unsaturated fat: 0.1 grams
- Sodium: 16 milligrams
- Potassium: 564 milligrams
- Carbohydrates: 23.6 grams
- Fiber: 3.8 grams
- Sugar: 4.2 grams
- Protein: 2.3 grams
- Vitamin A: 377% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin C: 31% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 11% of the RDI
- Folate: 20% of the RDI
- Manganese: 14% of the RDI
- Pantothenic acid: 7% of the RDI
- Copper: 10% of the RDI Iron: 4% of the RDI
- Selenium: 3% of the RDI
Can I eat raw sweet potato during pregnancy?
No, it is not safe to eat raw sweet potato during pregnancy or at any time.
Raw sweet potatoes can contain harmful bacteria that can make you sick.
Always cook sweet potatoes thoroughly before eating them.
How much sweet potato is safe in pregnancy?
You can enjoy 1-2 cups of cooked sweet potato a day during pregnancy.
This will give you the nutritional benefits of beta-carotene and other essential nutrients without overdoing it.
Be careful adding fats like butter, cheese, sour cream, nuts, and marshmallows as toppings when eating sweet potatoes
It is best to use fatty toppings sparingly during pregnancy.
A good fat you can add to your sweet potato is mashed avocado.
Can a pregnant woman eat yam and egg sauce?
Yes, a pregnant woman can eat yam and egg sauce.
Yam and egg sauce is a traditional West African dish that is safe to eat during pregnancy.
The sauce is made with cooked yams, eggs, onions, and tomato paste.
It is important to cook the sauce thoroughly to avoid any foodborne illness bacteria.
Yam and egg sauce is a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals for pregnant women.
Foodborne Illness and Pregnancy
We need to talk briefly about food-borne illnesses and pregnancy.
You are more susceptible to food poisoning during pregnancy.
Our immune systems are slightly suppressed during pregnancy which helps us carry our babies to term, but does put us more at risk of contracting illnesses from viruses, bacteria, and molds.
It is important that before you eat sweet potato casserole this holiday season that you make sure it is being served hot.
Do not eat sweet potatoes or casserole that has been sitting out and is at room temperature.
That is the danger zone for food temps and the perfect temp for bacteria to grow on the food.
Eating sweet potatoes warm to hot is the safest way to enjoy them during pregnancy.
Most Common Food-Borne Illnesses:
- E Coli
These pathogenic bacteria are often found in foods that are not kept at the proper temperature, stored improperly, or that are undercooked.
To reduce your risk of foodborne illness during pregnancy you want to pay close attention to how you prepare, cook and store the foods you eat.
List of foods not to eat when pregnant:
- Foods that are not pasteurized- certain types of cheese like soft cheeses, Brie, Blue Cheese, etc.
- Certain types of fish- shark, swordfish, anything high in mercury, undercooked shellfish, raw oysters.
- Raw eggs including homemade mayo, hollandaise sauce, and eggnog.
- Undercooked meats – lunch meats.
- Hot foods that are not “hot”, avoid hot foods that have been sitting out without a warming source. Same for foods that should be eaten cold. If there is no ice or refrigeration source keeping the food cool, take a pass.
- Caffeine- soda, chocolate. (Limit your caffeine to less than 200 mg a day)
- Herbal Teas (There are so many ingredients in herbal teas so it is best to simply avoid them. Green tea is OK.)
What should a pregnant woman eat daily?
Pregnant women require a variety of nutrients every day to support both her own health and the development of her baby.
Protein is essential for building new tissue and can be found in meat, poultry, fish, legumes, and eggs.
Calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth and is especially important during the third trimester when the baby’s skeleton is rapidly developing.
Pregnant women should aim to get 1000 mg of calcium per day from low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese.
Iron is also important for the formation of new blood cells, and pregnant women need about 27 mg of iron per day.
Good sources of iron include lean red meat, dark leafy greens, and fortified cereals.
Hacks for healthy eating during pregnancy:
Eating healthily during pregnancy is essential to the development of your baby.
Here are some tips to help make sure you are getting the nutrients you need:
- Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. This will help ensure you get the vitamins, minerals, and fiber you need.
- Limit processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of caffeine. These can all lead to unhealthy weight gain and other problems during pregnancy.
- Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is important for both your health and the baby’s health.
- Don’t skip meals. Eating small, frequent meals will help to keep your energy up and prevent you from overeating later on. Eating small frequent meals can help decrease morning sickness and heartburn