Tips for Cooking Meat this Holiday Season: Baby Bump Edition
December 23, 2016
With the holidays in full swing women will be preparing meals for friends and family in the coming days. However, pregnancy puts both mom and baby at risk for food-born illnesses. Expecting moms must be extra careful when preparing meats and ensure that they are cooked to the proper temperature. Protein is an important part of a proper pregnancy diet. But it’s also an ideal environment for some harmful bacteria. Below we’ve complied a quick reference of proper cooking temperatures for a variety of foods you may be preparing this holiday season.
You can tell fish is done when it turns an opaque or milky white color. It should also flake easily with a fork. Look for an internal temperature of 145° F.
Shrimp, Lobster, Scallops
It’s not as easy to use a thermometer to test the internal temperature of shellfish. So the change in color is a good indicator of doneness. Like fish, the internal flesh of shrimp, lobster and scallops turn an opaque, milky white color. The outer flesh of shrimp and lobster will turn pink with red tails. They will also start to naturally curl into a C shape as they cook. Scallops will become firm in the center when cooked to the proper temperature.
Clams, Mussels, Oysters
Pregnant women should only eat fully-cooked clams, mussels and oysters. The shells will open when they are done. Discard any clams, oysters or mussels that did not open. They may not be cooked properly and are more likely to contain harmful bacteria.
Beef, Pork, Lamb: Steaks, Chops & Roasts
It’s best to use a clean food thermometer to test these foods. Insert the thermometer straight into the meat. Be sure it doesn’t come out of the other side or touch the pan. Look for an internal temperature of 145° F. It’s important to let steaks, chops and roasts rest for at least three to five minutes. This allows the juice to remain in the meat and allows for additional cooking.
Ground Meats: Beef, Lamb & Pork
Ground meats should be cooked to 160° F at a minimum. Beef, lamb and pork are safe to eat at this temperature. But if you are cooking ground poultry (chicken or turkey) be sure that you cook it to 165° F.
Poultry: Chicken, Turkey, Duck
At a minimum all poultry should be cooked to 165° F. However, higher heat may be desirable for the sake of taste or appearance. Cooking poultry to 165° F destroys Salmonella, a common concern in raw poultry.
Pregnancy Diet & Nutrition
These tips can help reduce the risk that mom and baby are exposed to food-born illnesses. Following cooking temperature guidelines is part of a healthy and safe pregnancy diet. A daily prenatal vitamin is also an essential part of a pregnancy diet to support both mothers and babies. Designed for the needs of both moms and babies, Prenate® Vitamin Family helps fill nutritional gaps. Talk to your doctor to see if Prenate® is right for you.