Salmon is a great choice for the first course on the big day. ‘Smoked salmon is a popular Christmas lunch starter, and as long as it’s been kept cold and is fresh, it’s safe to eat when you’re pregnant,’ says nutritional therapist Henrietta Norton. Salmon is full of high-quality protein, and packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, which help build your baby’s brain and neurological system.
1) Pick your starter
Cold cooked meats, such as ham, are considered safe, but avoid cured meats, such as Parma ham, as they carry a risk of toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that can harm your baby and lead to miscarriage or stillbirth. Also leave paté off your plate. Even vegetable paté can contain listeria, whilst liver paté has very high levels of vitamin A, which could prove harmful to your baby.
Turkey is low in fat, has loads of protein, and is a good source of iron, particularly the dark meat. If you have a large bird, make sure it’s properly cooked. To check, cut a few slits around the breast, close to where the leg joins the body, and press above the slits with the flat of a knife. If the turkey is cooked, the juices will be clear.
2) Check the turkey
If there’s the faintest tinge of pink, put it back in the oven and test again in 20 minutes. The same applies to sausages wrapped in bacon and other meat accompaniments. All should be steaming hot out of the oven, with no trace of pink in the middle.
7) Know your cheese
There’s plenty you can raid on the cheeseboard. Hard cheeses such as Cheddar or Emmental are fine, as are blue cheeses such as Stilton. But steer clear of mould-ripened soft cheeses, such as Camembert and Brie, and soft blue-veined cheeses, such as Gorgonzola or Roquefort.
Also avoid cheese made with unpasteurised milk. ‘These can contain listeria and can cause an infection that affects your baby’s health and leads to prematurity,’ explains Henrietta.