Eating Salad at Restaurants when you’re Pregnant
This is likely the most frequent query regarding eating out from pregnant women. A salad seems like the natural decision because you should be eating healthfully and deciding on nutrient-dense foods when you’re pregnant, right? Unfortunately, if you’re eating a salad that someone else made for you, that’s not always the case.
Salad that has been poorly washed, pre-bagged, or packaged has a modest but significant risk of listeria, which can cause listeriosis, one of the most severe foodborne infections. Salads are frequently delivered to restaurants, especially chains, already chopped or wrapped.
The risk of listeria still exists if the salad hasn’t been properly washed, even if they’re making it themselves in-house. Pre-bagged and packaged salads can experience listeria outbreaks, and this has led to numerous recalls (source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention).
The dangers associated with pre-prepared salads still apply to salad bars and buffets at restaurants, but there is also the additional risk of cross-contamination with other salads, meats, or other items that should be kept separate.
In light of this, it is preferable to prepare your own salads and vegetables at home rather than ordering them at a restaurant (though if they are cooked, that is OK too). Women who are pregnant should avoid eating at salad bars and buffets in particular.
Which Restaurants Should I Avoid when Pregnant?
Instead than advising you to avoid any particular restaurant, this is a general guide. After carefully reading the menu, you should be allowed to dine at any restaurant while pregnant as long as you follow the safe food recommendations. However, there are a few restrictions when dining out:
Pay attention to food inspections, food hygiene requirements, and other signs that a restaurant has sound food safety procedures. This gives you the best idea of the level of hygienic standards because many kitchens are behind closed doors, where you can’t see them. You can inquire with your state department of health or use the website Yelphas, which started to incorporate food inspection ratings on reviews of restaurants in the USA. In the UK, it’s much simpler because you can visit either the official Food Standards Agency website or Scores on the Doors to find out how well (or poorly) a restaurant handled its food.
When pregnant, stay away from buffet-style eateries. Although the food is typically freshly prepared, the buffet system’s open design makes it susceptible to cross-contamination. This has less to do with the restaurant’s mistake and more to do with how individuals use the buffet, where food and cutlery can easily be mingled. Buffet food is also held at a warm temperature rather than being served at a scalding hot temperature, which is more likely to promote the growth of bacteria. An average, healthy adult won’t be harmed by a little amount of bacteria, but pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems should exercise particular caution and stay away from buffet-style dining. Order from the menu if there is one.
Eating Chinese Food or dining at Chinese Restaurants in Pregnancy
When you’re expecting, you should treat Chinese restaurants just like any other establishments: be on the lookout for things you’d ordinarily avoid, and make sure the food is delivered quickly and hot. Regarding Chinese food in particular, a few things to keep in mind are:
Be warned that monosodium glutamate is frequently found in Chinese food (MSG). Although some eateries don’t employ it, they typically tout this as a selling element. MSG naturally occurs in a wide variety of foods, however it is regularly added to Chinese food as a flavoring agent. MSG is categorized as a food additive that is “generally accepted as safe” despite the fact that scientific research have been unable to determine why certain people react to it differently (source:FDA). There is no reason to avoid MSG during pregnancy if you don’t typically have any special reaction to it. It is advisable to choose food without it if it doesn’t agree with you.
Chinese food occasionally has a lot of additives, such as colorings or taste enhancers, and is frequently high in salt or sugar, depending on the sauce. Even though these aren’t dangerous in moderation, you can reduce the salt by, for instance, omitting more soy sauce or similar condiments. Choose leaner options like stir-fries or omelets instead of dishes with sauces, which can contain more sugar than you might realize.
Some deep-fried Chinese meals are frequently greasy and heavy in fat (such as won tons, spring rolls, prawn crackers). If they have been freshly prepared, there is no need to avoid them; nonetheless, try to consume them in moderation.