Is It Safe To Eat Mexican Food While Pregnant?

You’re pregnant and craving some yummy Tex-Mex. But is enjoying your favorite tacos, enchiladas, and quesadillas actually safe for you and your growing baby? Don’t worry, you can definitely satisfy your Mexican food craving during pregnancy, as long as you take the right precautions.

Avoid Raw and Undercooked Meat

One of the biggest risks with Mexican food is consuming raw or undercooked meat, such as in dishes like ceviche or rare steak. Raw and undercooked meats can harbor harmful bacteria like salmonella, listeria, toxoplasma, and E. coli, which can lead to foodborne illnesses. These illnesses can cause serious complications during pregnancy, including miscarriage, preterm labor, and stillbirth.

To keep you and your baby safe, avoid any raw or rare meat and seafood. Make sure all meat and poultry is cooked thoroughly until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Shrimp, lobster and other seafood should be opaque and flaky. Take the same precautions with eggs, cooking them until the yolk and white are firm, not runny.

Say No to Unpasteurized Cheese

Fresh, soft Mexican cheeses like queso fresco have that delicious authentic flavor. But unless they’re made with pasteurized milk, they also carry risks. Unpasteurized cheeses can contain listeria, a bacteria especially dangerous during pregnancy that causes flu-like symptoms and can lead to miscarriage or stillbirth.

To enjoy cheese safely, choose varieties made from pasteurized milk like cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, and carnitas. Check the label to confirm it’s pasteurized. When dining out, ask your server to confirm any cheese used, like in quesadillas, is pasteurized.

Limit Fatty and Salty Foods

As you probably know by now, pregnancy hormones can do a number on your digestion. Common symptoms like heartburn, gas, bloating, and constipation can be aggravated by greasy, fried, and salty foods. Unfortunately, delicious Mexican appetizers like nachos, churros, and flautas tend to be high in fat, while dishes like tacos and enchiladas can pack on the salt, depending on how they’re prepared.

To prevent tummy troubles, avoid or limit fried and greasy foods and request dressings and sauces on the side. Opt for grilled instead of crispy tacos, choose corn over fried flour tortillas, and skip the salty chips and dip. Fill up on fresh produce like tomatoes, lettuce, and avocado. If heartburn strikes, avoid lying down right after meals and eat smaller portions more frequently instead of large meals.

Mind Your Portions

Big plates of cheesy enchiladas, rice, beans, and all the tasty sides…who doesn’t love a delicious Mexican feast! But pregnancy portions are different than your usual fare. Eating too much salty or fatty food at once can lead to indigestion. Downsizing your portions lets you enjoy your favorites sensibly.

Stick to a single taco or enchilada with a salad, not a huge platter. Split appetizers with your partner or take half home for later. Dip your chip once instead of double-dipping. Sipping water between bites also prevents overeating by helping you feel full faster.

Be Wary of Foodborne Illness

Eating out anywhere carries a small risk of foodborne illness, which can be especially dangerous in pregnancy. To minimize the risks, stick to reputable restaurants with high food safety standards. Check inspection scores online if available. Avoid street vendors and food carts, no matter how tasty the tacos look!

At restaurants, look around to make sure kitchen and service areas appear clean, without dirty tables or floors. Ensure hot foods are served hot and cold foods cold. Send anything back that looks or smells questionable. And as always, report any concerning symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea to your doctor right away.

Enjoy the Fabulous Flavors

The bottom line? You don’t have to say “no way” to enjoying mouthwatering Mexican cuisine during pregnancy. With some simple precautions, you can safely satisfy your cravings and get all those fabulous flavors you and your little one love.

A few small changes go a long way. Opt for fresh over fried, grilled over crispy, and easy on the salt. Avoid risky raw foods and unpasteurized ingredients. Take it slow with spicy dishes if they trigger heartburn. And as always, consult your doctor about any concerns related to your diet and symptoms during pregnancy.

¡Buen provecho!

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Bill Kalkumnerd
Bill Kalkumnerd

I am Bill, I am the Owner of HappySpicyHour, a website devoted to spicy food lovers like me. Ramen and Som-tum (Papaya Salad) are two of my favorite spicy dishes. Spicy food is more than a passion for me - it's my life! For more information about this site Click

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