Can You Eat Chicken Salad While Pregnant? Is it Healthy?


There are so many possibilities for complications in pregnancy that it is only natural that one would want to make sure nothing goes wrong. A big part of a healthy pregnancy is the food choices one makes. With so many foods available, one cannot risk eating something bad which might have a negative effect on them or their babies. A commonly asked question is, “Can I eat chicken salad while pregnant?” 

Chicken salad, be it homemade, from a cafe, or served to you at a diner, requires a few inspections for you to be certain it’s safe to eat, especially when you are pregnant The location and method of preparation are particularly meaningful. There are many different types of chicken salads and meals. Obviously, whether or not pregnant women can eat chicken salad depends on the ingredients involved and the method of preparation. Foods that are considered unsafe to eat while pregnant include pre-packaged fresh vegetables, raw chicken, and salad dressings made with raw eggs or unpasteurized milk.

Foods eaten by the mother affect the unborn baby. It is important to get professional medical advice regarding which foods have a higher risk of causing problems for the baby and which food choices are good. Knowing which foods are good to eat can improve the baby’s health and can even ease the entire process of pregnancy.

Is Chicken Salad Healthy for Pregnant Women?

Just like with many other foods in pregnancy, it depends on a number of factors.

If you’re preparing your salad with cold chicken (prepared at home), such as a Caesar salad or a green leafy one, increase the number of fresh vegetables in your salad and add some dried fruit (like cherries) or fresh ones to make it more filling and appetizing. Choose herbaceous, light dressings rather than heavier, creamier ones that are comparatively high in fat and calories.

If you’re making your own mayo-style chicken salad, use less mayo or prepare a yogurt-based vinaigrette in its place. Instead of only eating chicken and mayo when having a store-bought chicken salad, consider adding more homemade salad ingredients to your sandwich (cucumbers, cabbage, green beans, and so forth). Overall, if you understand what you should look for and learn where and how the salad was created, chicken salad can be a safe choice during pregnancy.

Types of Chicken Salads You Should and Shouldn’t Eat

Eating the wrong salads can lead to food poisoning and other foodborne illness.

Bistro, Caesar, or ‘Cold Chicken’ Salads

Typically served with additional leaves and vegetables, this chicken salad consists of cold, cooked chicken.

If a restaurant serves this kind of chicken salad:

Ensure that the produce was adequately washed and prepared on-site. This will likely be done by fine dining establishments and will guarantee that the chicken salad ingredients were washed before being served.

Some restaurants have salad ingredients delivered from a centralized delivery facility. The likelihood of listeria contamination increases with pre-packaged salad mix. Ask first before eating this kind of salad if you’re pregnant.

Check the dressings to determine if they include raw dairy, raw eggs, or other items that aren’t healthy for pregnant women, just like when preparing similar kinds of chicken salad at home.

Treating cold-cut chicken like deli meat and asking for the chicken to be fully cooked before serving can lessen the potential of bacterial contamination. If the chicken is provided hot or freshly cooked (grilled chicken breast, for example), then there is no need to worry.

Chicken Salads With Mayo or Other Dressings

Depending on where it comes from and the way it was made, this particular chicken salad may or may not be safe. The most typical ones are given below:

  • Pregnant women should avoid eating salads cooked in-store, such as in a market or deli, since listeria can thrive under chilly temperatures.
  • If you’re pregnant, it’s healthier to eat store-bought, commercially produced chicken salad created in a factory than from a local supermarket. This is because it is often packed and chilled when you purchase it, making it less prone to cross-contamination. These are the labeled salad “tubs” that have been packed and sold in refrigerators. Verify whether they were produced in-store. They are safer if they are produced industrially for the shop.
  • Homemade chicken salad is another option that is risk-free for expectant mothers because you have complete control over the contents. The meal will be safe for you to eat during your pregnancy it contains properly cooked chicken that you may have yourself cooked. However, it is advised to always use store-bought mayonnaise rather than homemade mayonnaise since the eggs will have been pasteurized.

Canned Chicken Salads

While you’re pregnant, you can indeed eat canned chicken salad. Canned chicken has always been safe to consume directly from the can (even if it’s cold) because it’s been pasteurized in the can or tin. When craving chicken salad while pregnant, canned chicken salad is an excellent (and safe) alternative if you don’t want to deal with the trouble of cooking or preparing it at home.

Just confirm the remaining chicken salad items you’re using are safe (for example, mayonnaise produced from processed eggs), and you’ll be fine.

In addition, you don’t need to reheat canned chicken before adding it to a homemade green salad. However, when opened, canned chicken must be kept chilled and consumed within a day or two.

Which Chicken Salad Brands are Safe?

The following brands of chicken salad are widely considered to be safe for consumption while pregnant:

  1. Bumblebee
  2. Hormel
  3. Princes
  4. Swanson
  5. Kirkland

Brands of chicken salad that are unsafe for pregnant women

Many companies sell pre-made chicken salad, however, some of them are not suitable for pregnant women:

Costco Chicken Salad: Premade chicken salad is available at Costco. The chicken salad is packaged and placed in refrigerators. They are therefore unsafe to consume while pregnant.

Walmart Deli All White Meat Chicken Salad: Sad to say, Walmart Deli also sells chicken salads that have already been prepared and packaged and are kept in refrigerators.

Chick-fil-A: According to Chick-fil-A, their chicken salad sandwich is somewhere between 180 and 430 calories and has at least two portions of vegetables or fruits (without any fat component). They also state that their chicken salad is freshly made in restaurants all around the country. Before purchasing, you can inquire about the freshness.

Panera Bread: As per their homepage, Panera Bread uses ingredients, including salad dressing, that must be kept chilled, so because of this reason, you must also try to steer clear of their salads. Simply attempt to make your own chicken salad at home if you’d like to eat one.

If you’re pregnant, it’s preferable to eat fresh, homemade meals, but if in case you are fond of mayonnaise, it’s recommended to choose one that you have bought from a store.

Why is eating chicken meat good for pregnant women?

Why is eating chicken meat good for pregnant women

Chicken has a great deal of protein and nine essential amino acids. It is considered a highly nourishing food. The two mentioned substances serve as the foundation for muscles.

Eating chicken throughout the first trimester of pregnancy is a great plan to provide for the baby’s nutrition. You require many important nutrients during pregnancy. Fifty percent of your daily protein needs can be satisfied by approximately 100g of chicken flesh.

A serving of chicken salad has more than 400 calories. This value increases to up to 600 calories when combined with vegetables or putting it into a sandwich. Additionally, it has 15 to 25 grams of fat, which is also a necessity. The nutritional value of chicken salad is increased when edible seeds such as kidney beans are included.

Can You Get Listeria From Chicken Salad?

According to studies, listeria infections caused illness outbreaks between 1992 and 2006. According to estimates, these illnesses were to blame for 4% of all outbreaks.

L. monocytogenes may grow at temperatures as low as -1.5°C and as high as 45°C, with room temperature between 30 and 37°C being ideal for growth. For this reason, using canned or frozen raw chicken and unwashed vegetables in your chicken salad is dangerous.

How Common is Listeria in Pregnancy?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that there are around 1,600 cases of listeriosis in the US per year. Out of approximately 4 million pregnancies each year, just one in seven cases—or about 200 cases—involve pregnant women. The symptoms can appear any time between a few days and a few weeks after exposure, and they may involve fever, shivers, muscle pain, diarrhea or other digestive problems, headache, neck stiffness, dementia, various infections, and a loss of equilibrium. Listeriosis can even kill the mother in more difficult situations.

How to Prepare a Chicken Salad at Home

As an expectant mother, you must adhere to certain food safety standards.


These requirements relate to food safety and cover adequate preparation, food temperature, storage, and average safe time periods.

When making a chicken salad for oneself while pregnant, one must take some serious safety precautions.

  • The chicken, as well as all the vegetables, must be properly washed. Fresh ingredients are necessary.
  • Vegetables are covered with pesticides which must be removed before eating.
  • The blood in fresh chicken flesh must also be removed by thorough cleaning.
  • Boil the vegetables and the chicken in steaming hot water to make sure there are no harmful bacteria left.
  • If buying raw ingredients from a market, always check for a medical disclaimer to ensure further safety.

If it is made fresh, a chicken salad is indeed a safe choice for expectant mothers. However, excessive eating of poultry products is not recommended. Bacterial infections are the greatest deterrent to eating prepared food or raw meat.

Chicken salad and sandwiches: A good choice for a pregnant woman?

If a chicken salad or sandwich is prepared correctly according to the safety guidelines, it is safe to consume while pregnant. Due to the high nutritional content of chicken salad, it is a fantastic meal for expectant mothers.

It’s advisable to prepare chicken salad and sandwiches yourself with fresh ingredients if you plan to eat them. Fresh mayonnaise, however, should be avoided because it includes raw eggs. To make sure the meat has achieved a minimum recommended core temperature, always use a food thermometer. Just be sure that every ingredient you use in the salad and the sandwich is clean and that it is cooked or processed correctly.

Stephanie Edenburgh

I'm Steph, a mom to 3 beautiful children and lover all things having to do with my family and being a mom. I've learned a lot raising my own children and working in education and healthcare roles throughout my career. Living in beautiful Southern California I enjoy documenting and writing about all of the hard work us mom's do on a daily basis.

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