Can Pregnant Women Eat Clam Chowder?
Across the United States and the UK, clam chowder is known for its refreshing briny flavour. It comes in competing varieties since every region across the world has its own take on this popular soup as some people prefer the cream based version while others the tomato based version. Although clam chowder can be eaten in any kind of weather, you may ask yourself if it is safe for you to eat it while you are pregnant. So, can pregnant women eat clam chowder?
Although there are many versions of clam chowder depending on which part of the country you come from, the most common ingredients are clams, potatoes, onions and some pork.
Is It Safe For You To Eat Clam Chowder While You Are Pregnant?
Clam chowder is ideal for expectant mothers. The main reason why pregnant women are not sure whether it is safe for them to eat clam chowder is that clams are in the class of seafood and seafood is considered to have moderate amounts of mercury that can cause harm to you and your baby.
However, clam chowder is considered safe for you to eat while you are pregnant because it is a rich source of iron. In fact, 3 ounces of clam chowder will supply your body with 23.8 milligrams of iron. During pregnancy, your body’s demand for iron increases since the body needs extra iron to make the extra blood for your baby.
Lack of enough iron during pregnancy will lead to a condition of too few red blood cells in your body that will make you feel fatigued all the time. Iron deficiency causes anaemia and will also result in your baby being born prematurely and with a low birth weight.
The tomatoes in the clam chowder will also provide your body with vitamin C, which will help to boost your body’s iron absorption so that you will be able to absorb the iron in the clam more effectively.
However, The American Dietetic Association recommends that pregnant women should avoid eating raw shellfish such as oysters. This is because raw seafood has high levels of mercury that may cause harm to you and your baby. Additionally, you should ensure that when you are eating clams, they should be fully cooked. You should also avoid cooking slams until their shells open.
Clam chowder is also a good source of vitamins A and D and the essential omega-3 fatty acid. These nutrients are great for your baby’s brain and eye development.
How You Can Prepare Your Clam Chowder At Home?
If you didn’t know, clam chowder is easier to make than you think. I am going to show you how you can make your own unbelievably creamy and flavourful homemade clam chowder. All you need is some few pantry ingredients, and you are good to go.
You can choose to use either fresh clams or canned clams, but I always prefer to use canned clams due to the following reasons:
- It’s easier since all you have to do is open up the can.
- It is budget friendly as compared to buying fresh clams that cost more per pound.
- Using canned clams and juices brings in a lot of flavours as compared to what you will get when you order out.
What I love about preparing the clam chowder on your own is that you will always have absolute control over the creaminess of the soup. Here is the list of the ingredients you need to have:
- 4 Sliced bacon, sliced.
- 2 Tablespoon of unsalted butter.
- 1 Onion, diced.
- 2 Cans of clams, chopped, juices reserved.
- 1 Tablespoon of chopped fresh parsley leaves.
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- 1 Cup of milk.
- 3 Tablespoon of all-purpose flour.
- 2 Russets potatoes peeled and diced.
1. Using a large Dutch oven heated to medium heat, add the bacon and cook until brown for about 6 minutes. Transfer it to a paper towel-lined plate once cooked.
2. Melt the butter in the stockpot. Add the garlic and the onion in the butter and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the onions are translucent.
3. Whisk in the flour until it is lightly browned. Gradually whisk in the milk, clam juice and the parsley leaves for about two minutes until the soup is slightly thickened.
4. Stir in the diced potatoes and let it boil for 12 to 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
5. Stir in the clams until heated through, usually for around 2 minutes. You can then season it with salt and pepper to taste.
You can then serve immediately, garnished with bacon and parsley if you like.
It is safe for pregnant women to enjoy clams if they are seafood lovers. However, doctors recommend that you should avoid eating raw or undercooked clams since they are more likely to contain parasites and bacteria. The Food and Drug Administration also recommends that you limit the amount of clams you take since seafood is known to contain certain amounts of mercury.
So, can pregnant women eat clam chowder? The answer is a big yes. You can, therefore, go ahead and enjoy your clam chowder with a peace of mind.