Pregnancy cravings are real! Have you ever craved for Beef jerky during pregnancy? But is it safe to consume it while pregnant? Let’s find out!
Protein Consumption During Pregnancy
The amino acids present in proteins are the building blocks of your cells and your baby’s cells as well. Protein helps in the development of the skin, hair, fingernails, and muscles of the baby. It also plays a significant role in the balance of body fluids, which helps regulate blood pressure and prevents pregnancy edema. It’s vital to consume an adequate quantity of protein during the second and third trimesters. The protein requirements for pregnant women range from about 60 gms to 100 gms per day, depending on the trimester, weight, and level of physical activity.
Beef Jerky During Pregnancy
Beef jerky, a simple, delicious snack, is high in protein, but it is important to consume it sparingly during pregnancy because jerky isn’t cooked completely but dried and cured. Cooking meat at high temperatures (165o F/ 74o C) helps eliminate bacteria, while dehydrating and curing the meat may not help. Commonly used meats for jerky products are beef, turkey, and pork. It also contains high amounts of sodium, which results in dehydration and worsening morning sickness. Overeating jerky can raise your blood pressure to dangerously high levels, which can also increase the risk of preterm labor and preeclampsia.
Besides, consumption of undercooked animal products increases the risk of food poisoning and Toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis caused due to the bacteria Toxoplasma is a common infection that is not serious for a healthy individual. Still, it can lead to congenital disabilities, so, significantly, you do what needs to be done to keep Toxoplasmosis away during pregnancy. Including thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables before consumption, washing your hands after handling undercooked meat, and yes, avoiding meat jerky.
Alternative Protein Sources
It is never too late to replace processed foods with more nutritious options. Animal products have complete proteins with all the nine amino acids which plant sources usually lack. A balanced diet ensures that you get all the necessary amino acids which include:
- Lean meats like cooked poultry, fish, red meat, and turkey.
- Egg whites
- Pasteurized milk and other dairy products
- Fruits, and leafy vegetables
- Freshly squeezed fruit juices
- Peanut butter
Vegan Protein Sources
Vegetarian and vegan moms-to-be can get sufficient protein and other significant nutrients without animal products, but it needs more planning. Plant-based or vegetarian jerky made from ingredients like eggplant, tofu, jackfruit, and mushrooms may not taste like meat jerky, but you might find it delicious and satisfying. A balanced Vegan diet must contain sufficient amounts of the following foods:-
- Tofu, Seitan and Tempeh. These soy products are rich in protein and can replace meat in various recipes.
- Beans, Peas, and lentils are rich in fiber and plant-based protein.
- Nuts and seeds like walnuts and hemp, chia, or flax seeds.
- Whole grain bread, cereal, and rice.
- Yogurt and Plant-based milk.
A healthy and balanced diet is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle at any time, but particularly important if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Healthy eating and drinking plenty of water will hydrate you and give the baby all the essential nutrients they need in the womb.