You don't have to avoid hawker food just because you're pregnant! Ms Kellie Kong, Dietitian from the Department of Nutrition & Dietitics, KK Women's and Children's Hospital, share some healthier hawker choices you can make.
Continued from previous page.
Being pregnant does not mean that you have to cut out hawker food completely. After all, Singapore is known for its variety of hawker foods. Ms Kellie Kong, Dietitian from the
Department of Nutrition & Dietetics,
KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), a member of the
SingHealth group, shares her thoughts on some of our local favourites, and how pregnant women can still enjoy them.
Lunch and dinner options at the hawker centre when you're pregnant
Fishball noodles can be served either in a soup or dry with the soup on the side. There may also be toppings such as sliced black mushrooms, minced pork, fish cake, pig liver, lettuce and bean sprouts.
Dry fishball noodles often contain oil to prevent the noodles from sticking, as well as added salt in condiments such as soya sauce, chilli or tomato sauce. Dry fishball noodles may not be excessively high in calories (1 bowl contains about 370 kcal), but it is low in fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals.
When you’re pregnant, you can make this option healthier by asking for more vegetables, and requesting for no oil.You may also try brown rice beehoon (vermicelli) instead of yellow mee, as brown rice beehoon contains wholegrains, which is good for heart health, and contains added fibre, which keeps you feeling full for longer.
Sliced fish soup
For optimal nutrition, you should not only drink the soup, but eat the fish meat, as it is a good source of protein that pregnant women need more of.
Although sliced fish soup is one of the healthiest examples of Singapore hawker food, it is best to eat a variety of foods when you're pregnant.
In Singapore, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) monitors the mercury levels of fish imported into Singapore, so the batang fish (Spanish mackerel) used in sliced fish soup is safe to eat. However, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends pregnant women limit intake of Spanish mackerel to only one serving per week (approximately 4 ounces), with no other fishes consumed in the same week. This is because Spanish mackerel is still higher in mercury levels compared to other fishes.
So, instead of eating sliced fish soup every day, you may have other dishes such as yong taufu bee hoon soup, steamed rice with meat and vegetables or shrimp dumpling noodles.
Like store-bought salads, rojak contains mainly uncooked fruits and vegetables (e.g. raw turnip, cucumber, apple, pineapple) and condiments that are left at room temperature. So, it is best to avoid rojak when you’re pregnant to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses such as listeriosis, caused by eating food contaminated by the Listeria bacteria. Listeriosis in pregnant women may result in miscarriages, premature birth or even stillbirths.
Oyster omelette and laksa
Oyster omelette and laksa are local hawker centre dishes which contain oysters and cockles respectively. In these dishes, the oysters and cockles are often half-cooked. So, it is best to avoid them during pregnancy to prevent food poisoning.
Sambal kangkong, grass jelly and other “cooling” foods
There is no scientific evidence that pregnant women should avoid “cooling” foods.
Furthermore, there is no documented case of miscarriage from eating these foods. Having a healthy and well-balanced diet with foods from all the food groups (including fruits and vegetables) is the best way to obtain optimal nutrition during pregnancy.
healthier breakfast options at the hawker centre, see previous page.