Jennifer Luddy, Lead Nutritionist at Aptaclub, shares her top tips for mums-to-be this Christmas.

When it comes to a classic Irish Christmas, food is central to the celebration and no Christmas Day is complete without a decadent spread of firm favourites – the golden roast turkey, honey-glazed ham and even those controversial sprouts! 

While mums-to-be all know that alcohol is a no-no, there are lots of new temptations at Christmas that they may not know if they should avoid or not. This handy checklist makes it easy to navigate the shopping aisles and the Christmas Day spreads.  

Meats 
With meat being the hero of the day, mums-to-be will be glad to hear that turkey and ham get a big thumbs up. However, it's vital to ensure that meat is cooked right through, is piping hot and isn’t the slightest bit pink.

Cured meats, however, should be avoided. The likes of salami, prosciutto, chorizo and pepperoni are not actually cooked, just cured, and so there's a risk they contain toxoplasmosis-causing parasites.

Patê
A Christmas favourite, Patê, is definitely off the cards. Put simply, mums-to-be should avoid all types of pâté, including vegetable pâtés, as they can contain listeria.

Certain Soft Cheese 
Mould-ripened soft cheese (cheeses with a white rind) such as brie, camembert and soft goat’s cheese are not permitted in pregnancy. You should also avoid soft blue-veined cheeses such as Danish blue, gorgonzola and Roquefort. All of these cheeses are only safe to eat in pregnancy if they've been cooked. However, some cheeses that can be enjoyed include cheddar, parmesan, feta, cottage cheese, halloumi and cream cheese. 

Homemade Ice-cream and desserts 
If you’re a whizz in the kitchen or are being hosted by someone who usually pulls out all the stops, it’s worth remembering that the raw egg in homemade ice-cream and some other egg-based dessert recipes like custard can be dangerous for expectant mums. Be sure to check or stick to shop-bought! 

Brandy butter 
Sticking with desserts, it’s worth remembering that brandy butter is a no-go as the alcohol hasn’t evaporated. 

Leftovers 
Great news! Leftover turkey, as long as it’s been well stored in the fridge and used within two days of cooking it, is safe during pregnancy. If reheating be sure it’s piping hot right through. 

Mums-to-be can still get stuck into lots of Christmas must-haves like fibre-rich sprouts, cranberries which are packed with Vitamin C, nuts, fruit cake, chocolates and more! If you’re hosting a mum-to-be this Christmas, why not consider buying some non-alcoholic cocktails or sparkling wines so she feels part of the special toasts too? 

For more information on foods to avoid during pregnancy, visit HSE.ie.