Many women find themselves craving Burger King during pregnancy and likely wonder whether or not they can eat the food and how to fit it into a healthy diet.
Burger King is generally considered safe to eat for pregnant women and there are some options on the menu that are relatively high in protein and low in total calories but all items will be high in sodium and most are high in fat. WHOPPER JR sandwiches, the IMPOSSIBLE WHOPPER sandwich, chicken nuggets, and salads are all reasonably healthy options to choose at Burger King
Let’s answer some common questions about Burger King’s ingredients, burgers in general, and their safety for pregnant women. We’ll also look at modifying menu items and suggest three healthier options to try when you go.
Is it okay to eat Burger King during pregnancy?
Fast food burger joints are never going to be the healthiest option for a pregnant woman but the food is still safe to eat in moderation, especially if you order sensible menu items.
Burger King is safe to eat during pregnancy provided that the food has been stored, handled, and prepped safely, cooked to the required temperature, and then served piping hot. These basic food service steps ensure that there is no dangerous food-borne bacteria in the food once served.
Eating at Burger King as a pregnant women is mostly a matter of checking the macros and ordering items that fit best within your otherwise healthy diet. As most menu items at Burger King will contain lots of fat and sodium, you will need to pay attention to the total amounts and aim to reduce sources of fat and sodium elsewhere for your other meals that day.
Unfortunately, salt is frequently used as a preservative for fast food products as well as throughout the preparation and seasoning processes so overall levels can be high. This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker though, just something to keep in mind!
Are burgers safe during pregnancy?
Stepping back a little, you might first wonder if it is okay to eat a burger in the first place. Perhaps you are worried about red meat, fat content, or simply undercooked beef.
As long as the beef burger patty is cooked thoroughly and the other ingredients are handled properly, it is safe to eat burgers during pregnancy. High fat and sodium content should be noted and avoided for other meals during the day.
In fact, the American Pregnancy Association says that red meat is fine as long as ground meats such as hamburgers are cooked to 160 °F, eliminating the risk of bacteria.
How should you get your burgers cooked while pregnant?
As I just mentioned, burgers are only safe to eat when cooked thoroughly.
As such, pregnant women should always order their burgers cooked well-done which means the burger has reached at least 160 °F and there are no signs of pink inside the meat.
Is Burger King mayo safe during pregnancy?
Burger King mayo is safe to eat during pregnancy as it is made with pasteurized ingredients.
Here are the ingredients in Burger King mayo:
- Soybean oil
- Distilled Vinegar
- Egg Yolks
- Lemon Juice Concentrate
- Natural Flavor
- Calcium Disodium EDTA
- Dehydrated garlic
- Dehydrated onion
Is Burger King cheese safe during pregnancy?
Burger King cheeses are safe to eat during pregnancy as they are made with pasteurized milk and other ingredients.
Here are the ingredients in Burger King’s American cheese:
- Cultured milk
- Sodium Citrate
- Sorbic Acid
- Sodium phosphate
- Artificial color
- Acetic Acid
- Soy Lecithin
The best things to order at Burger King during pregnancy
At Burger King, it is difficult to say that there is a truly healthy menu item to order but there are some options that are better than others.
Generally speaking, you will want to order something at Burger King that fits within your existing healthy diet and includes as many fresh ingredients as possible.
Pregnant women craving Burger King can order the IMPOSSIBLE WHOPPER Sandwich, the WHOPPER JR Sandwich, Chicken Nuggets, or the Garden Chicken Salad with Crispy Chicken depending on their tastes and preferences. Each of these menu items is relatively better than other options and include fewer total calories, fat, and sodium than other items.
Let’s check out these some more details on each of these items.
Note: The information I am presenting below for nutritional content is WITHOUT side items such as fries. You are welcome to add those to your entree and make a meal but keep in mind that you will be adding a lot of extra calories and fat content.
IMPOSSIBLE WHOPPER Sandwich
Here are the basic ingredients of the IMPOSSIBLE WHOPPER Sandwich along with some nutrition info:
- Ingredients: Flame-grilled patty made from plants topped with tomatoes, lettuce, mayo, ketchup, pickles, and onions.
- Calories: 630
- Fat: 34 grams
- Protein: 25 grams
- Carbs: 58 grams
WHOPPER JR Sandwich with Cheese
The WHOPPER JR Sandwich is a decent choice for those really craving a cheeseburger because it is a bit smaller than the normal burgers and comes loaded with at least some fresh vegetable ingredients:
- Ingredients: Flame-grilled beef patty topped with American cheese, juicy tomatoes, fresh lettuce, creamy mayonnaise, ketchup, crunchy pickles, and sliced white onions on a soft sesame seed bun
- Calories: 390
- Fat: 24 grams
- Protein: 17 grams
- Carbs: 28 grams
Chicken Nuggets (4, 6, or 10-piece)
At Burger King they have both regular and spicy chicken nuggets available in 4, 6, 10, or 20-piece portions. I would recommend sticking to the 10-piece or below!
Here is the nutritional information for the 10-piece entree chicken nuggets:
- Ingredients: Breaded white meat chicken
- Calories: 430
- Fat: 27 grams
- Protein: 36 grams
- Carbs: 27 grams
Garden Chicken Salad with Crispy Chicken – no dressing
I know it’s lame to recommend a salad with no dressing but obviously, you will be able to add your own and everyone adds a different amount. To keep things simple, here are the basic ingredients and nutritional information for the crispy chicken salad:
- Ingredients: Crispy regular chicken nuggets chopped, crisp green romaine, green leaf and radicchio lettuce, juicy-ripened tomatoes, buttery garlic croutons, and shredded cheddar cheese
- Calories: 440
- Fat: 25 grams
- Protein: 25 grams
- Carbs: 31 grams
Diet and nutrition safety recommendations for pregnant women
During pregnancy, both you and the baby need to get the proper nutrients. You can do this by eating a well-balanced diet, and staying hydrated. It’s equally important to know which foods to limit or avoid to stay healthy.
Foods to avoid while pregnant
Foodborne illnesses are a primary concern during pregnancy. To avoid contamination with harmful bacteria, some foods should be handled with care and others avoided during pregnancy.
Pregnant women are more susceptible to foodborne illnesses. Here are the foods to avoid while you’re pregnant.
- Unpasteurized milk, yogurt, and cheeses
- Brie, Camembert, or blue-veined cheeses can contain the bacteria Listeria.
- Raw or undercooked eggs
- Cookie dough, Caesar dressing, mayonnaise, and hollandaise sauce made with raw or undercooked eggs can contain salmonella.
- Raw fish or seafood
- Including sushi, oysters, sharks, tilefish, king mackerel, and swordfish contain high levels of mercury that can damage the baby’s nervous system.
- Raw/undercooked meat
- Undercooked steak, poultry, and pork can be infected with Toxoplasmosis, Salmonella, Listeria, or E.Coli.
- Contains extremely high levels of vitamin A, which can affect fetal brain development.
- All forms of alcohol
- Excessive alcohol consumption has been associated with several fetal issues.
- Lunchmeat, hot dogs, and other processed meats
- Unless they are cooked until steaming to kill bacteria. They are also high in salt and saturated fat.
- Avoid drinking tea with meals. The tannins prevent the absorption of iron.
- Energy drinks
- These are high in caffeine and not recommended during pregnancy.
Foods to limit while pregnant
The following foods and drinks should be limited during pregnancy to prevent adverse effects on your or your baby’s health.
- Caffeine – How much: limit to less than 200 mg per day.
- Tuna – How much: limit to two cans or two fresh steaks per week due to mercury levels.
- Sugary sodas, juices, and flavored waters – How much: 1 per day or less. These drinks are low in nutritional value and high in sugar or may contain artificial sweeteners, which can be harmful.
Nutrition recommendations for pregnant women
A healthy diet can help reduce some of the more unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy like constipation and nausea. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats will also promote your baby’s growth.
You should also ensure you’re getting plenty of the following nutrients. You can get them naturally through your diet and they can also be contained in prenatal vitamins suggested by your doctor.
- Folic acid – Prevent birth defects
- How much: 0.4mg per day
- Found in: leafy green vegetables, berries, nuts, beans, citrus fruit, and fortified breakfast cereals.
- Calcium – Strengthen bones
- How much: 1,000 milligrams a day.
- Found in: dairy products, broccoli, kale, fruit juices, and some breakfast cereals.
- Vitamin D – Promotes bone strength
- How much: 600 international units (IU) per day.
- Found in: fat-free dairy, skim, or 1% milk, soymilk, juice, eggs, fish.
- Protein – Promotes growth
- How much: 71 grams per day.