Canned foods can be a lifesaver for busy weeknights, for making fewer trips to the store, and meal prepping. They’re conveniently packaged goods that have an extended shelf life and can be stored outside of the fridge or freezer until opened. This makes canned foods including fruits and vegetables a convenient long-term option to fresh or frozen produce. Plus, all kinds of food and drinks comes in a can these days, proteins, veggies, beans, fruit, and more. Check out my other post on what not to drink during pregnancy to learn more about canned beverages. So you can stock up on them when you have limited time to prepare a meal at home!
However, pregnancy comes with many dietary changes to better fit the needs of the growing baby. So, is canned food safe to eat for pregnant women? Well, there are definitely some risks. If you’re asking the question, is canned food safe for pregnancy, don’t worry. Today’s post is dedicated to unpacking the subject of eating canned food during pregnancy. So, keep reading to get all the details on eating canned food during pregnancy!
Is Canned Food Safe For Pregnancy?
Here’s the deal. Pretty much all canned food contains an epoxy liner that has the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) as part of its composition. This chemical is an endocrine disruptor known for causing reproductive, cognitive, and behavioral issues in children. Some studies show that pregnant women’s consumption of BPA can transfer to the growing fetus and have negative effects on the baby’s future development. BPA exposure in-utero has been associated with child obesity, reproductive complications, early puberty in girls, depression and anxiety, diabetes, and heart disease.
Of course, pregnant women should avoid high levels of BPA, if possible. Unfortunately, this includes the convenient range of canned food available. Unless the can specifies that the product is BPA-free, it won’t be 100% free from this toxin.
So, as a bottom line, steer clear from canned foods as much as possible when expecting, or do your best to pick BPA-free cans which are now more available than ever for some products. And, fear not if you already rely on them a bit too much. I’m sharing my best tips on how to avoid eating canned foods during pregnancy!
How To Avoid Canned Foods
Buy fresh or frozen instead of canned.
Fresh food is, of course, a great option, so try to get as many goods, including fruits and vegetables, as fresh as possible. This will ensure your meals are made with the most real food ingredients and minimal preservatives as well. Frozen is the next best option, and sometimes better than fresh foods since it lasts longer. Frozen produce doesn’t require the same additives and chemicals, like BPA, as canned foods. A lot of food nowadays is available frozen and is just as convenient as canned goods!
Choose alternative packaging.
Produce comes in many different packages, not just canned. While this might be the most affordable option, the risks don’t make it the best bang for your buck! The most popular alternative packaging is glass. You can see milk, juices, tomato paste, olives, fruit compote, and many other goods come in this format. Paper goods might not be as available as glass, but it’s a fantastic choice whenever you can find it. Plastic (when free of BPA) is a more widely available option with soups, beans, and even pasta meals ready to buy at the nearest store.
Go shop at the local farmer’s market.
There’s nothing like picking your own food right from those in charge of making it! Farmer’s markets are a fun activity and convenient, allowing you to get the best of both worlds. Enjoy lots of socializing, great prices, local foods, and peace of mind regarding what’s feeding you and your growing baby. You can ask any questions about how the food is grown and avoid canned goods while doing it!
Cook most of your meals at home.
Many pregnant women already cook their meals at home to avoid food poisoning or because of other dietary restrictions, however, cooking your meals at home also ensures that canned goods aren’t being thrown into this mix without you actually knowing. Some restaurants may use canned foods to save money on their end. Cooking at home ensures you are in charge of the whole process from the grocery store to your plate. To further avoid exposure to BPA, buy fresh or frozen produce and put together healthy dishes at home! If you are looking for easy to cook pregnancy approved meals, check out our trimester meal plans inside The Prenatal Nutrition Library (use code 50ff, for 50% off your first month!)
Try a meal subscription service.
Don’t feel like cooking every night? A meal kit service will allow you to get everything you need to prepare a home-cooked meal while saving you the trouble of going grocery shopping for the millionth time because you forgot an ingredient. You can pick your dietary preferences and any allergies/components you wish to avoid. Plus, all elements are usually included in the price and the instructions are fool-proof. It might just be what you needed!
Grow your own food at home.
This one might sound a bit overwhelming or time-consuming, especially if you don’t have a green thumb. But growing your own food can be truly rewarding. Not to mention it’s fun, super healthy, seriously fresh, and allows you to avoid canned goods and potential food safety issues. And remember, you don’t need to go crazy. It doesn’t have to be the entirety of your pantry and produce stash. You’ll be fine with starting a small fruit and vegetable plot and growing a few seasonal foods, or even just fresh herbs and leafy greens. With time, you’ll gain experience and be able to grow your selection plus maybe a new community,
Buy BPA-free canned food.
The good news is, many companies are now making BPA-free cans, and they typically advertise this right on the label. Why didn’t I say this sooner? Because I still believe canned food is not an everyday option for a pregnant person! Buying fresh and frozen will be your safest choice for both you and your growing baby. Still, you can check the labels of different brands of canned food to see if they have BPA-free alternatives.
What is your take on eating canned foods during pregnancy?
So, that’s all on eating canned foods during pregnancy! As you can see, it’s not the best to eat canned goods routinely during pregnancy, but there are many alternatives to these kinds of foods! At the end of the day, it’s all for the health of your growing baby.
It’s more than worth the change of lifestyle or diet for your precious babe. If you need more advice on prenatal nutrition, feel free to check out our app, The Prenatal Nutrition Library, and the rest of our blog! Our content is always here to decrease the anxiety and make you feel confident in your food choices for two!