Discovering that you are expecting a baby is one of the most incredible emotions a woman can imagine. It is a unique moment that fills the heart and has an aspect of concern linked to one’s health, which must be protected twice as much and to which one must pay great attention.
Eating with balance and taste is the categorical imperative, and choosing the right foods and proper nutrition can make a difference in terms of health and psychophysical well-being.
Some foods must be abolished to protect against the onset of diseases, but there is no cooked ham, one of the few cured types of meat you can also enjoy during pregnancy.
How much does cooked ham ‘weigh’ in the diet?
Cooked ham is, therefore, a precious ally for our diet during pregnancy, a functional food, especially if we buy it in a vacuum-packed tray, ready for consumption: we can certainly prepare to enjoy it without too many thoughts.
By eating it, we have the opportunity to supply our body with an excellent source of protein, essential for the development of the organism and therefore suitable for this particular period.
But how many calories does it have, and how many nutrients does cooked ham bring to our body? Cooked ham has 215 calories per 100 grams: taking this into account, we can certainly add it to our diet, maybe a couple of times a week.
But it has some contraindications for those suffering from high blood pressure due to its sodium content: those with this pathology should pay attention and limit its consumption.
For each package of 100 grams, this food provides 15 g of fat, 1 g of carbohydrates, and 20 g of protein, which we said are very important in a woman’s life.
Can cooked ham be eaten when pregnant?
What are the main risks of consuming certain foods during pregnancy? By eating certain ingredients in the nine months, it is possible to contract some infections, very dangerous for the unborn child.
These diseases are three: toxoplasmosis, salmonellosis, and listeriosis.
How do you get these diseases? Mainly through the ingestion of raw, undercooked, or contaminated foods. So also through some cured meats, which, if not cooked, have a high risk.
Why, on the other hand, does cooked ham give problems? Precisely because cooking ensures the elimination of any bacteria, which are the leading cause of these dangerous infections.
Therefore, we can choose cooked ham for our diet during pregnancy without any fear for our well-being and the baby. Indeed, the proteins present make it a precious ally to be enjoyed when we desire something delicious, perhaps combining it with a vegetable source, such as salad or cooked green or orange vegetables.
For a wellness regime and to guarantee a healthy and balanced diet, you can accompany the ham with a small wholemeal sandwich, complete the meal with a plate of vegetables, and include a fruit salad or fruit in the diet, to be enjoyed between one meal and the other.
What other cured meats can we enjoy during pregnancy?
Unfortunately, many of the much-loved cured meats, of which the Italian tradition is rich, cannot be eaten during pregnancy because they are not cooked, an essential feature to make them compatible with the diet of future mothers.
The name itself says that you cannot eat raw hams, but neither can salami, pancetta, speck, or bresaola, produced according to a maturing process and not cooked.
Mortadella, on the other hand, is allowed because it is cooked in the production process. It is possible to eat coppa cooked in the oven (a delicious cured meat produced with the same ingredients like ham and steamed). Cotechino, zampone, cappelletto del prete, cooked shank or chicken, and salami turkey, also cooked—finally, the frankfurters, if well cooked.
There is one exception to this mandatory rule: if you have already contracted toxoplasmosis in the past, you are now immune to the disease, and all these recommendations do not concern you because even if you take raw cured meats, you will not be able to contract it again.
You can check your immunity to the disease with a blood test, typically done in the first month of pregnancy. It is better not to take risks and wait after birth to eat the cold cuts that you miss so much in all other cases!
Recipes with cooked ham
After discovering all the characteristics of taste and well-being of cooked ham, let’s move on to find the recipes to be made with this salami also suitable for pregnant women and very tasty. Combined with vegetables and fruit, it is the protagonist of delicious dishes, straightforward to make and perfect to share even with your guests at the table.
“Il Goloso” Sandwich
Difficulty: 2 out of 5 – Preparation time: 10 min – Rest: minimum 2 hours
Ingredients for 2 people:
- 2 slices of Genoese focaccia
- 100 gr cooked ham
- 4 slices of edamer cheese
- 100 gr of fontina DOP
- 60 grams of whole milk
- 8 gr of butter
- 1 egg yolk
For the fondue:
- Remove the PDO fontina crust and cut it into thin slices.
- Place the fontina in a rather tall and narrow container and cover it with milk for at least two hours, even overnight (the longer it is immersed, the better).
- When preparing the fondue, put the butter, egg yolks, and fontina macerated with milk in a saucepan and cook everything in a bain-marie, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon. The fontina will initially join in a stringy block. Then it will gradually dilute with the milk and egg until it becomes a smooth and thick cream.
For the finishing:
- Once the fondue is ready, cut the focaccia in 2 with a bread knife and open it.
- Season both sides of the focaccia with the fondue using a spoon.
- Fill with 2 slices of edamer and 50 g of cooked ham.
Cooked Ham Patè
Difficulty: 1 out of 5 – Preparation time: 20 min
Ingredients for 6 people:
- 200 gr cooked ham
- 150 gr of fresh ricotta
- juice of fresh lemon
- fresh basil leaves
- sandwich bread with cereals
- Bake the slices of bread for about 10 minutes until you get a golden crust.
- In the meantime, put the cooked ham, ricotta, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a blender and chop until you get a creamy mixture without lumps.
- With the help of a pastry bag (you can also use a spreading knife), cover the slices of toast with pate and decorate with a leaf of fresh basil.
- Pate can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days without any problems in an airtight container.
Arancini with cooked ham and mozzarella
Difficulty: 4 out of 5 – Preparation time: 1h
Ingredients 10 people
- 500 g of superfine rice
- 3 eggs
- 100 g of grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 knob of butter
- 150 gr of cooked ham
- 100 gr of mozzarella
- 50 gr of bechamel
- breadcrumbs to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil to taste
- flour (6-8 tablespoons)
- pepper as needed.
- Salt to taste.
- Cook the rice in a not excessive amount of (salted) water so that it is as dry as possible at the end of cooking.
- Once ready, mix it with butter, salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan. Then add three egg yolks and mix them well, stirring vigorously. Arrange the seasoned rice in a large tray or pan to cool.
- Cut the mozzarella and cooked ham into small cubes and set them aside.
- Then prepare the breading: take the breadcrumbs and put them on a plate; beat two eggs with a fork in another dish.
- Then take the rice, which has cooled in the meantime, and place a little ham. A few mozzarella cubes and a teaspoon of bechamel in the center of a handful of rice are spread over your hand. Close the arancino with another handful of rice by pressing so that the filling does not come out and the arancino is compacted well; the ball shape is the simplest and fastest to make.
- For the double breading and, therefore, to make the crust more crunchy, prepare a small bowl with high edges with a bit of flour and a few tablespoons of water to create a thick and sticky batter that is not too fluid but with a consistency of tempura.
- Dip the arancino and make sure that it is covered with all the batter.
- Each arancino is then breaded in breadcrumbs and lined up in a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- For frying, choose a saucepan with high sides to fry 2/3 pieces at a time in abundant peanut oil (oil at a temperature of about 175 °). You can evaluate the perfect temperature by dipping a toothpick. If it fills with bubbles, it is ready!
- Dip the rice arancini in boiling oil and cook for about 2 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper when they are golden brown.
Conclusions on Cooked Ham in pregnancy
Now we know everything about cooked ham and pregnancy: it will be easier for all future mothers to make the right decisions regarding their diet, and to be able to combine this salami in the best possible way even during the nine months of maternity, without fear and surprises, but with lots of taste.