Are you pregnant and craving chicken salad but wondering can I eat chicken salad while pregnant?
We are going to answer all the questions here.
In this article, we will discuss all the positive and negative sides of having a chicken salad while pregnant.
Chicken salad is made from chopped chicken meat mixed with some vegetables and fruits. It also has a binder like salad dressing or mayonnaise.
It’s a meal that seems fresh and healthy but there can be some problems when having it during pregnancy.
In the case of pregnant women, you aren’t eating for yourself only. You also have to fulfill the needs of the baby.
That is why you always have to keep an eye on what you are eating.
Let’s take a deeper look into the question of can I eat chicken salad while pregnant?
Can I Eat Chicken Salad While Pregnant?
There are some facts that you should keep in mind while having a chicken salad in pregnancy.
According to Foodsafety.Gov US, “don’t consume premade meat salads such as deli chickens. It is because it may contain Listeria”.
The germ Listeria monocytogenes causes listeriosis, a serious infection.
The most common cause of listeriosis is eating contaminated food. People with weakened immune systems, pregnant women, newborns, and older adults are at the risk.
There is a specific temperature for the dairy products to be considered safe for consumption.
According to the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA), you must heat the meat until its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit or 74 °C.
The safety factor also depends on how you prepare your chicken meat for the salad. Is it partially or fully cooked?
It is highly recommended for pregnant women to have fully cooked meat whether it is chicken, seafood, or dairy meat.
As a pregnant woman, try not to consume stored chicken. Whether it is canned, prepacked, or stored.
Do not take the risk to include it in your salad. If you are in a restaurant, ask them about the ingredients in your chicken salad.
Also, ask whether the chicken and vegetables are fresh or not, and are properly washed or not.
It is your right to ask and their responsibility to tell you. The raw eggs may cause various infections like salmonella.
According to research, consumption of poultry is one of the most common causes of salmonella infection.
It is an intestinal infection and could be very serious for pregnant women.
Pregnant women should avoid consuming raw eggs and they are a part of homemade mayonnaise.
Using commercial mayonnaise is safer than homemade because it contains pasteurized eggs.
1. Risks To Consume Chicken Salad During Pregnancy
According to research, some disease outbreaks from 1992 to 2006 were due to Listeria monocytogenes infections.
It was estimated that 4% of total outbreaks were due to such infections.
The growth temperature of L. monocytogenes ranges from -1.5 to 45°C, with 30 to 37°C being optimal which is room temperature.
That is why it is risky to use canned or frozen raw chicken for your chicken salad.
There must be some serious precautions while preparing a chicken salad for yourself if you are pregnant.
All the vegetables and chicken must be washed thoroughly. All ingredients including chicken and vegetables must be fresh.
Pesticides are sprayed on the vegetables, which must be washed before they can be eaten.
Similarly, fresh chicken meat contains blood which has to be eliminated through proper washing.
A chicken salad is a safe option for pregnant women if it is prepared fresh. But high consumption of the poultry product isn’t advised.
The main reason not to consume the premade or raw meat is the bacterial infections.
Chicken meat contains nine essential amino acids and a high amount of proteins.
It is considered high nutritious food. Both the above mentioned molecules are the building blocks of muscles.
Therefore consuming chicken in early pregnancy is necessary for the nourishment of the baby.
As a pregnant lady, you need different essential nutrients. About 100g of chicken meat can fulfill 50% of your daily protein requirement.
2. Chicken Salad Brands That Are Not Safe For Pregnant Women
Numerous brands offer chicken salad But all of them are not suitable for pregnant women.
Why? Because most of the brands use canned or stored chicken meat and vegetables.
So, always select brands that offer freshly prepared chicken salad. Below is a list of brands to consider or avoid.
Costco Chicken Salad: Costco chicken salads are premade chicken salads. Once packaged, these chicken salads go into refrigerators. That is why they are not safe to consume during pregnancy.
Walmart Deli All White Meat Chicken Salad: Unfortunately Walmart deli is also premade and pre packed chicken salads that are also stored in refrigerators.
As we have discussed earlier, premade and stored deli chicken is not advised for pregnant women.
Chick-fil-A Chicken Salad Sandwich: Chick-fil-A claims that its chicken salad sandwiches include at least two servings of vegetables or fruit, and contain between 180 and 430 calories (without fat).
They also claim their chicken salads are prepared freshly in restaurants nationwide. You can ask if it is fresh before buying.
Panera Bread: According to their website, they use refrigerated salad dressing and ingredients. That is why you have to avoid their salads too.
If you want to have a chicken salad just try to prepare one at your home.
Homemade fresh food is best for your health if you are pregnant but if you want to add mayonnaise, it’s best to use a store-bought product.
3. How to Prepare a Chicken Salad for Pregnant Women
As you know there are some food safety criteria you have to follow while you are pregnant.
These food safety criteria involve proper cooking, the temperature of food, storage, and time duration.
You must keep in mind all the above things while preparing a chicken salad for pregnant women.
First thing first, buy a lump of fresh chicken meat for the salad. Now rinse the meat thoroughly.
Do the same with the vegetables. Now it’s time to boil. Take a pot with 2 quarters of water and add one tablespoon of salt to it.
Put that pot on medium heat. Always keep a thermometer while boiling. As we have discussed earlier, the minimum internal temperature of chicken must be 74°C minimum.
Always use 1 to 2 inches of chicken breast meat. They boil fast and small pieces are easy to digest.
After boiling for about 15 minutes, until it’s completely cooked, turn off the heat. Place the pot for 15 minutes to cool down.
You can use grilled or roasted chicken, but they are not as tender. Now cut the well-washed vegetables into cube-like pieces.
You can use green olives, red bell pepper, red bell pepper, and salad leaves. Add the vegetables to the bowl.
Now it’s time for the salad dressing. You can use canned or bottled mayonnaise as it is pasteurized completely.
4. Nutrition Value of Chicken Salad
Chicken salad is a protein-rich food that also contains essential amino acids and a tremendous amount of vitamins.
All of these are the best combination to have during pregnancy. A new developing baby needs complete nutrition including all the above mentioned nutrients.
That is why selecting food for yourself requires a nutritional strategy.
Chicken salad contains more than 400 calories. With other vegetables and sandwiches, this value reaches up to 600 calories.
It also contains 15 to 25 grams of fats which is also necessary.
Chicken salad mixed with edible seeds like boiled kidney beans increases the nutritional value.
With 24 grams of proteins per 100 g servings, kidney beans fulfill the protein requirement of pregnant women.
6% Vitamin A and 9% iron are in a chicken salad. Iron is one of the most essential components for a newly developing baby.
The red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen to your tissues.
Your body needs more iron during pregnancy due to an increase in blood volume. Iron helps your body make more blood so that your baby can receive oxygen.
Omega-3 and Omega-6 are also found in chicken breast. A normal breast without skin contains 40 and 170 mg respectively.
While a chicken breast with skin contains 120 and 1740 mg of omega-3 and omega-6 respectively.
So do not be afraid to have a freshly prepared chicken breast salad during pregnancy.
As you can see here, there are many great benefits of a chicken salad not just for women but for anyone.
It’s a good idea to incorporate it into your diet as long as you take safety precautions.
Learn more from a similar post: Can You Eat Octopus When Pregnant
Eating chicken salad is safe for pregnant women if it is prepared through a proper process following the safety guideline.
Not only that but chicken salad is a brilliant meal for pregnant women due to the high nutritional value that it has.
If you want to have a chicken salad, then it’s best to make it at home using fresh ingredients.
While that’s true, fresh mayonnaise is best avoided as it contains raw eggs.
If you follow these simple guidelines then the answer to can I eat chicken salad while pregnant is a yes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should pregnant women eat salad?
The salad contains an enormous amount of nutrients and essential molecules.
Having a bowl full of salad in a day may fulfill most of your protein, vitamin, and other nutritional needs.
In the case of pregnant women, you just have to be careful about some points. Always use freshly prepared salad with well-washed vegetables.
If you are consuming a chicken salad, always include completely cooked meat. Following these safe tricks, pregnant women can have a salad.
What foods should be avoided in pregnancy?
No doubt, there is a long list of food items that you must avoid during pregnancy.
According to the Food Safety department in the US, these items include sushi, sashimi, raw oysters, raw clams, raw scallops, ceviche, raw chicken, etc.
All these food items have one thing in common. Their raw form is the host for many infectious bacteria like listeria and toxoplasma.
Both these bacteria may cause serious illnesses including vomiting and high fever which may affect the baby too.
It’s also best to avoid any food places which may have questionable hygiene standards.
Food poisoning is also dangerous in pregnancy so it’s best to be cautious about where you’re eating your food.
Can you eat mayonnaise when pregnant?
You may be shocked to hear that for a pregnant woman, canned or bottled mayonnaise is safer than freshly prepared mayonnaise at home.
It is because the bottled mayonnaise is always stored after complete pasteurization.
On the other hand, fresh mayonnaise contains raw eggs that are harmful to consume during pregnancy.
Raw poultry products are the source of many infectious diseases. So you may eat canned or bottled mayonnaise as a salad dressing as they are bacteria-free.
Iesha is a loving mother of 2 beautiful children. She’s an active parent who enjoys indoor and outdoor adventures with her family. Her mission is to share practical and realistic parenting advice to help the parenting community becoming stronger.
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