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Can Pregnant Women Eat Pepperoni?

2 years ago4 min read
Last updated: Jan 20 2023

If you’re a fan of America’s favorite pizza topping, you might be wondering, can you eat pepperoni pizza while pregnant? Is pepperoni a food that’s safe to eat during pregnancy?

Can Pregnant Women Eat Pepperoni?

Well, good news pizza fans: when it’s on a piping hot pizza pie, pepperoni is perfectly safe to eat while you’re pregnant.

Read on to discover why, along with its ingredients, nutritional benefits, and when you should avoid pepperoni during your pregnancy.

In this article 📝

  • Is it okay to eat pepperoni while pregnant?
  • When is eating pepperoni during pregnancy risky?
  • Pregnancy and pepperoni – is pepperoni nutritious?
  • Can pregnant women eat pepperoni pizza?

Is it okay to eat pepperoni while pregnant?

Yep! Pepperoni is safe to eat while pregnant – as long as it’s thoroughly cooked.

Making sure it’s cooked through (like on a pizza) gets rid of any harmful bacteria and minimizes the risk of food poisoning and all the unpleasantness that brings.

What’s pepperoni made from?

Pepperoni is made using ground pork and beef and is seasoned with garlic, paprika, and cayenne pepper.

The word pepperoni actually means “large peppers” in Italian.

In addition to its paprika seasoning, the reason for its reddish color is because it’s processed and preserved with nitrates and nitrites.

So, is it safe to eat out of the packet when pregnant?

While there’s no conclusive evidence as to whether these preservatives are bad for you during pregnancy, there are other reasons why eating cold pepperoni while pregnant is not recommended…

When is eating pepperoni during pregnancy risky?

When it’s uncooked.

Cured deli meats, such as pepperoni, aren’t cooked with heat, but rather dried with salt to remove moisture, preserve the meat, and reduce the growth of bacteria.

And while in most cases cured meats are safe to eat, they’re not entirely risk-free.

They can still host nasty bacteria and parasites such listeria and toxoplasma which can result in food poisoning or more serious conditions, such as listeriosis or toxoplasmosis.

Given your fluctuating hormone levels and stretched-thin immune system, developing these conditions could be potentially harmful for both you and your baby.

Always check the label to see whether the pepperoni you’re buying is uncooked and needs to be cooked first, or avoided altogether.

Pregnancy and pepperoni – is pepperoni nutritious?

Aside from making sure it’s well-cooked, the other aspect to consider when choosing to eat pepperoni during pregnancy is its nutritional value.

Spoiler alert: it’s not exactly a superfood.

In terms of its nutritional content, one 28g (1 oz) serving of pepperoni contains:

  • 12g of fat
  • 4.5g of saturated fat
  • 6g of protein
  • 0.4mg of iron

Can pregnant women eat pepperoni pizza?

We’ve come full circle to answer the most pressing question.

If those pregnancy cravings have taken hold and you’re dreaming of a steaming hot pepperoni pizza, should you give in and grab that takeout menu?

Well, first, the important part: it’s highly recommended that you aim for a nutritionally diverse diet during pregnancy, including lots of lean protein and iron.

And because pepperoni contains high levels of salt and fat, it’s not something you’ll want to eat a lot of while you’re expecting.

That said, so long as it’s cooked properly and from a source you trust, you can definitely enjoy the occasional pepperoni pizza slice (or slices, let’s be honest).

And if you’re wondering about alternative toppings, here are a few FAQs to ponder:

  • What deli meats can I eat while pregnant? Just like pepperoni, many deli meats aren’t cooked, but rather cured. It’s best to avoid deli meats, luncheon meats, and cold cuts during pregnancy as bacteria can continue to grow on them even when refrigerated.

  • Can you eat bacon on pizza when pregnant? Same deal as your fave spicy pepperoni, bacon is fine as long as it’s cooked thoroughly. However, it’s also quite salty and fatty and should be saved for the occasional slice instead of a regular serving.

  • Can I eat sausage while pregnant? Yes, but it needs to be cooked properly. If you’re doing it yourself, follow food hygiene guidelines, always wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces, and make sure you’re cooking your sausages to an internal temperature of between 160°F (71.1°C) and 165°F (73.8°C).

More on pregnancy foods:
Can Pregnant Women Eat Hot Dogs?
Can Pregnant Women Eat Pork?
Can Pregnant Women Eat Deli Meat?
Can Pregnant Women Eat Bacon?
Can You Eat Medium Rare Steak While Pregnant?
Can You Eat Seafood While Pregnant?
Can You Eat Beef Jerky While Pregnant?

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