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Yes! You Can Eat Chinese Food During Pregnancy

Hannah Chow | 2, March 2015


Yes! You Can Eat Chinese Food During Pregnancy

Chinese food restaurants in the United States have become more Americanized with fifty percent or more of the menu fried with kitchen grease and various ingredients matching those found in homemade hair masks. As an expectant mother, specifically in the last trimester, your stomach might growl like a gray wolf prowling for food. The baby needs to be fed. Doctors counsel expectant mothers on the side effects of devouring fast food, regardless of cravings. Instead of opting for the grease, think about organic and nutritious green veggies and complex carbohydrates that take just a few minutes to cook on your stovetop: chinese broccoli, bok choy, and napa cabbage.

Now, do not confuse these Chinese delicacies with MSG contaminated, fat saturated, and sodium drenched Chinese takeout that Americans order when they do not want to cook dinner. Ask your doctor, "No greasy hamburgers, but what about Chinese food?" Your body will thank you later when you have enough energy for nightly feedings because you took care of yourself during those precious nine (actually ten) months of pregnancy.

After substituting those regular trips through Chinese takeout windows with cooking the finest Chinese culinary delights at home, your body may start craving bok choy with wonton noodles, Chinese broccoli with brown rice, and napa cabbage in chicken broth. These commonly served dishes are providing tons of nutrients to your unborn child, helping prevent excess weight gain, gestational diabetes, and more. Bok choy, Chinese broccoli, and napa cabbage are calcium rich veggies and vital for your babies bone development. Brown rice is a rich source of vitamins like B6 and magnesium, helping reduce nausea and vomiting while pregnant. Napa cabbage is a great source of folic acid and rich in vitamin K.

There are always healthier versions of what you are craving. Chinese takeout menus may offer beef and broccoli. Why not cook your broccoli at home and simply add salt, pepper, and olive oil, providing those veggies with the right amount of fat and sodium to flavor your food, while maintaining the nutritious value. Traditional Chinese food is not over salted. Be careful when cooking at home that you are not contaminating meats and veggies with too much salt. Table salt has 2,000 milligrams of sodium per teaspoon. Too much during pregnancy can cause fluid retention, swelling, and calcium loss. MSG (monosodium glutamate) is typically observed as safe for pregnant women to consume, but using too much of it in your food adds no nutritional value and adds unnecessary salt to your diet. Try to avoid food additives that altar or enhance the flavor of food. The last thing an expectant mother needs is to light her taste buds on fire with flavor enhancers. Learn to enjoy the organic taste of your food with no additives.

During winter months, some expectant mothers crave hot meals and comfort food. Out of other ethnic culinary choices, Chinese food is the best gamble because the vegetables are not overcooked. Raw or lightly cooked vegetables promote a leveled pH (hydrogen potential) balance in the system. Humans have natural pH levels in the body, scaling from acidic to alkaline. If the body maintains the correct pH arrangement, a bit more alkaline, the body remains healthy.

Consumption of more vegetables versus meat or grains in your diet prevents the body from becoming too acidic and brings back the alkaline balance. Americans treat vegetables as side dish whereas traditional Chinese food has vegetables as the main dish. Start your meal preparation by adding twice the amount of Chinese broccoli or bok choy than meat, noodles or rice. Eat the vegetables first and save the yummy noodles for the end. You can also mix it all together to get the flavor of meat and carbohydrates while feeling confident that you are consuming the right amount of vitamin B6, magnesium, and folic acid.

If you have already been pregnant for a few months, you may be asking, "Why now?" According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010, the United States has more children born in September than any other month. That means, that many women are in their fourth month of pregnancy right now. This is a crucial time for expectant mothers to start eating healthy while satisfying those powerful cravings. Also, women tend to gain more weight in the second and third trimester than the first. Now is the time to start tracking your trips through Chinese takeout windows and balancing those cravings by cooking your own beef, broccoli, and rice at home.

Healthy diet and exercise is obviously the first thing to consider when your pregnancy test reads positive. Don't over think it though. Consider all the warnings about unhealthy diets, lounging around, and reaching for salty snacks, and then ask yourself, "What kind of Chinese takeout do I want tonight?" After consideration, head to the kitchen, pull out all of your Chinese ingredients, and whip up the best tasting, most nutritious Chinese meal you have ever had. After consumption, lick your lips and smile, knowing you have serviced your body with healthy ingredients and satisfied those gray wolf pregnancy cravings at the same time.

Hannah Chow is a lifestyle blogger who resides in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband, Allan Chow, and their pug, Brutus. Hannah has a B.A. in English from the University of Missouri in Kansas City. She takes all things in good humor and has pride in being perceptive and communicative.

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Shauna Mar 2, 2015 03:57:53 PM ET

This gray wolf wants some Chinese NOW! Great article!! I'll definitely be whipping up some guilt-free bok choy in the very near future. Thank you for the information!

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Guest Mar 2, 2015 02:58:37 PM ET

I have so many friends that rarely visit the Asian market. Many are intrigued by the products there when they tag along and not sure what to do with them. Baby bok Choy, Chinese broccoli and Napa cabbage are among a few of a large variety of greens that are available at a reasonable price. It's a good variety to have besides the greens at your neighborhood grocery store to continue to be inspired to cook at home. Thank you Hannah for the ideas and inspiring us aspiring cooks:-)

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RB06227 Mar 2, 2015 02:29:58 PM ET

What a refreshing article even for those of us that are no longer expecting. I wish I had this valuable and encouraging food consumption info during my pregnancy. I may not have gained 50 lbs! But happy to know now for myself and my little one. Thanks Hannah!

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