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What Expecting Women Who Deserve to Be Moms Can and Cannot Eat

Pregnant young woman at refrigerator choosing healthy food
Photograph by Getty Images

Congratulations! There’s a precious, burgeoning life inside you that is fueled only by the morsels you place in your mouth. Now’s the time to think carefully about what you’re eating because, remember, you’re eating for two.

But, remember, you’re not actually eating for two. Research shows that eating for two grown humans will make you obese. And, Mama, you’re only allowed 25 to 35 pounds of weight gain or your Ob-gyn might body-shame you before signing you up for an additional glucose test. Cheers to your second sugary orange drink.

So onward: you are simultaneously eating for two and not eating for two.[1] How will you do that? It turns out, eating while pregnant is mostly about what not to eat. So don’t eat:

  • Hot dogs. They have sulfites. Sulfites will give your baby cancer.
  • Brie cheese. It could have Listeria. Listeria will make your baby die.
  • Deli meat (see Listeria & sulfites).
  • Unwashed lettuce (again, Listeria).
  • Runny eggs (indeed, Listeria. You have a .005 percent chance of contracting it. Is this about you or is this about a healthy baby?)
  • Anything fatty (see above body-shaming from Ob-gyn)
  • 50 grams of sugar in one sitting (unless you are being tested for diabetes, in which case, lift your sugary orange drink and bottoms up!)

Beyond that, feel free to eat whatever you want, other than:

  • Fried foods (because you’re pregnant, Mama. It’s time to feel the pressure to be perfect so that, when baby arrives, you will be well prepared for the cultural practice of shaming mothers who show any hint that they live in an imperfect world.[2])
  • Breaded foods (for reasons this manual will not make clear, although it might be due to some outdated Paleo trend from 2004. Check copyright of book.)
  • Pasta (see above.)
Are you crazy, a tablespoon?! Of pure fat? Absolutely not (do you even deserve to be a mom?).
  • Dipping sauce (because when you’re nauseous, vomiting, constipated or experiencing restless leg syndrome the likes of which will cause you to kickbox your loved one in your sleep, what the hell? Why not deprive yourself of additional pleasures.)
  • Red meat (see above, unless you’re vegetarian who thinks eating red meat is a special brand of torture, in which case, please, for the love of your child and his/her red blood cells, pile prime rib onto your plate. You might be dying of anemia.)
  • Japanese food (because have you forgotten? You’re pregnant, which we consider to be a unique and pitiable version of crazy, and we just don’t trust you to keep raw fish out of your mouth.)

RELATED: What Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

Soon-to-be-lactating Mama, you might now wonder, what can I eat? That’s easy.

  • Organic, free-range chicken cooked to 300 degrees and served flaming.[3]
  • Roasted vegetables ...
  • ... and quinoa. So much quinoa.
  • Also kale. Don't stop with the kale.
  • Also almonds, but not too much, because of fat content.
  • Also cottage cheese, but not too much dairy, because of fat content.[4] [5] [6]
Don’t be one of those bikini-wearing women whose materna-belly is protruding like a 2-foot-wide shelf. What kind of mother risks burning the skin covering her unborn baby?

Now you’re thinking, how can I make a good breakfast from organic chicken, roasted vegetables and quinoa? The answer is simple. Smoothies!

How to Make a Smoothie for a Pregnant Woman

  1. Toss kale into the blender.
  2. Open this pregnancy manual to page 105, where we offer you sex advice. Draw a heart around the part that says, “Think positive.” Tear that page out. Drop it into the blender.
  3. Turn to page 228, where we begin offering detailed instructions on how to order food at various restaurants. Lick the paragraphs for the following: Italian, French, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Mexican, Cajun, Southern, Greek, German, Jewish and Russian. Remove all pages and drop into blender.
  4. Turn to page 337, where we begin listing every single problem that might occur during labor and delivery, starting with “meconium” and ending 20 pages later with “forceps and vacuum extraction.” Tear all 20 pages out. Drop them in the blender.
  5. Add a tablespoon of coconut oil.
  6. Are you crazy, a tablespoon?! Of pure fat? Absolutely not (do you even deserve to be a mom?). Season with a teaspoon of prenatal yoga.
  7. Add charred chicken breast, blend and enjoy.


[1] This is how this pregnancy manual will go. We will tell you to do something, and then we will tell you the opposite. We will advise you to exercise, because without it you could harm your baby, and then we will tell you to be wary of exercise, because too much could harm your baby. We will leave you gobsmacked in the center of indecision, baffled as you struggle to find the razor-thin line of our perfect golden mean.

[2] Recall the 2016 Cincinnati Zoo incident, in which a toddler snuck into a gorilla exhibit, which sparked a police investigation of the parents and some hearty online shaming, including a petition, signed by half a million people, insisting that Child Protective Services be called.

[3] Do not eat flaming food. It will burn your mouth, and your baby will know it and think you are an unsafe mother, possibly aborting itself in fear and despair.

RELATED: 8 Thoughts I Have In the Final Days of Pregnancy

[4] The brain is made mostly of fat, and you’re growing an additional brain inside you as we speak, but we like to concern ourselves with fat-intake because we, the authors of this manual, were probably overweight in middle school and shamed relentlessly for it.

[5] Perhaps you’ve noticed: mostly this book is about not feeling shame.

[6] FYI: Don’t be ashamed of that pregnant belly. Flaunt it in cute tops! But be sure to cover up your stomach at the beach. Don’t be one of those bikini-wearing women whose materna-belly is protruding like a 2-foot-wide shelf. What kind of mother risks burning the skin covering her unborn baby? I tell you what kind of mother: A mother who loses her child in the gorilla exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo, that’s who.

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