While being pregnant is one of the most miraculous times, it can also be one of the most confusing nine months of your life. Let’s face it, there’s a lot to wonder about.
How should you pick a baby name? Is it safe for you to travel? What can you eat during pregnancy? Can pregnant women eat Quark?
Although you may require between 300 – 500 extra calories a day, this doesn’t mean you can indulge in whatever food and drink you desire.
Instead, it’s super important to stick to a healthy diet during these nine months.
The truth is, week by week your body requires more than just additional calories. For a healthy pregnancy you need extra nutrients in order to take care of yourself and your unborn baby.
Many pregnant women find it tough to balance food cravings with healthy meals. In turn, it’s helpful to know which foods provide empty calories and which offer the nutrients you need as baby develops and grows.
What’s the deal with dairy products?
You’ve probably heard all sorts of advice about whether or not to steer clear of dairy products when pregnant.
With all of the mixed messages, it’s hard to know what’s really considered off limits and what’s safe in pregnancy. For example, is cheese safe?
Here’s the deal: don’t completely rule out dairy. Most dairy products are packed with vitamins and minerals that you need to maintain a healthy pregnant body. There are safe cheeses. And that includes Quark cheese!
Vitamins you get from Quark and other dairy products
- Vitamin A is necessary for healthy skin, bones and eyesight.
- Vitamin D is necessary to absorb calcium.
- Vitamin B6 helps to create healthy red blood cells and utilizes protein, fat and carbs.
- Vitamin B12 promotes a healthy nervous system.
- Calcium is necessary for healthy bones and teeth. (A 6 oz. serving of Quark has 20% of the recommended daily amount of calcium).
- Protein is what gives us energy and helps us to build muscles. (A 6 oz. serving of Quark has 17 g of protein compared to 6 g in yogurt)!
Other benefits of Quark
Low amounts of salt and sugar
Want to know another reason why Quark is considered a smart cheese to eat when you’re pregnant?
It’s because it has very little sugar and salt. In fact, no sugar at all is added to plain Quark; the small amount that exists occurs naturally during the production process.
Certainly, our bodies need both sugar and salt in order to function at our best, but there’s no cause to increase the amounts during pregnancy. That’s why it’s wise to avoid processed foods that tend to go overboard when it comes to additives like sugar and salt.
Rest assured that Quark is a safe bet since it’s made without synthetic ingredients.
Quark is low in calories
While you’ll need to put on extra pounds during your pregnancy, there is such a thing as too much weight gain.
In other words, even though you’re “eating for two,” you shouldn’t make a habit of eating twice as much food as usual! In fact, professionals say it’s best not to add more than 300 – 500 calories to your daily diet.
The good news here is that Quark is low in calories. In fact, it has fewer calories than Greek yogurt or cottage cheese! (Keep in mind that plain Quark will have fewer calories than the flavored varieties.)
Quark has an abundance of probiotics, otherwise known as good bacteria that will promote a healthy gut. This is particularly helpful if your digestive system is extra sensitive during pregnancy or if you suffer from morning sickness.
What’s more, probiotics may lower the risk gestational diabetes and vaginal infections.
As you can see, Quark is an excellent addition to any pregnant woman’s diet because of its incredible nutritional profile. All you need to do now is whip up a batch at home (it’s super easy, by the way) or grab a container at the store.
So is all cheese safe?
It would be too good to be true if all types of cheese were considered a healthy addition to a pregnancy diet. Unfortunately, there are exceptions. Basically, what it comes down to is whether or not the cheese is made from pasteurized milk.
Pasteurized vs. unpasteurized
“Pasteurized” means the milk has been exposed to high temperatures to keep it from fermenting. It also means that the heat has destroyed harmful bacteria like listeria bacteria. It’s because of this process that certain cheeses, like Quark, are safe to eat – even when you’re expecting.
Dairy items that are made with unpasteurized milk are also called “raw milk” products. These can host a bad kind of bacteria, especially listeria (which can lead to pregnancy, labor and birth complications). As a result, it’s best to avoid milky food that is labeled “unpasteurized” or “raw.”
If you insist on sampling a raw milk cheese, go for one that’s been heated the longest (like mountain or Alpine cheese) or aged for an extra long period of time. With these precautions you’ll have less of a chance of encountering listeria bacteria.
Hard cheese vs. soft cheese
The majority of hard cheeses are made with pasteurized milk.
This means the milk has been heated at a high enough temperature to allow the curds (the solids) to fully separate from the whey (the liquid) to create a firm, “hard” texture. It’s this process that makes hard cheeses a safe to eat cheese.
Popular hard cheeses that are safe to eat when pregnant include:
- Pecorino Romano
Soft and semi-soft cheeses are trickier to figure out.
Generally, it’s wise to avoid eating soft types unless you know for sure that they’re made with pasteurized milk.
Cream cheese, like Quark, is always a safe bet (plus it’s readily available at local grocery stores).
The soft blue veined cheeses or anything with a white rind are also ones to avoid during pregnancy (for example, Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Danish Blue, and goat’s cheese like Chevre).
Since the softer varieties (including white rind and blue-veined cheese) aren’t as acidic as hard cheese and because they contain more water, they create an ideal breeding ground for bacteria listeria.
The only way to safely consume soft cheese made with unpasteurized milk is to heat it above 165 F.
Although cottage cheese, cream cheese and Quark are soft, they are pasteurized cheeses that are safe to eat during pregnancy.
Popular soft cheeses that are safe to eat when pregnant:
- Cottage cheese
- Cream cheese
- Feta goats cheese
The problem with processed cheese
There is very little risk in contracting listeria from a processed cheese (for example, Laughing Cow, Velveeta, Kraft, American and some cheese spreads).
However, since processed cheese doesn’t offer much in the way of nutritional value, it’s best to think of these as foods to avoid while you’re pregnant.
Unlike nutritious Quark, processed cheese is nothing more than empty calories!
The cheese controversy
The do’s and don’ts of pregnancy are enough to get anyone down. New research about what’s considered safe in the day and life of a mom-to-be is available daily, or so it seems.
That said, top resources have established some hard and fast rules about food and drink safety that you can count on and should learn even before getting pregnant, such as whether or not it’s safe to eat Quark and other cheese during pregnancy.
The cheese controversy is actually pretty simple.
Hard cheeses are your best bet and you’ll do the right thing if you stay away from unsafe cheeses like Danish blue and other soft varieties. And above all, dairy that’s unpasteurized is NOT ok to eat during pregnancy.
Month by month, how will you control your dairy cravings?
Now you know that eating cheese is not out of the question.
You also know that, in terms of optimal, pregnancy health, you’d be doing yourself (and your baby) a favor by enjoying a container of Quark!