Can I Eat Chipotle While Pregnant? (What To Order & Safety Concerns)

Many women crave Chipotle during pregnancy and might wonder if it is safe to eat the food and what they should order from the menu.

Chipotle is generally considered safe to eat during pregnancy and there are sensible options available on the menu that are high in protein and nutrition and low in fat with total calories between 500-1000 but most food is high in sodium. Lifestyle Bowls, Salads, and certain Burrito Bowls made with chicken or steak are the healthiest items to order at Chipotle.

Below we’ll answer some common questions about Chipotle’s ingredients 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 Chipotle during pregnancy?

Chipotle has a strong company culture built around using fresh ingredients and made-from-scratch preparation methods that don’t include artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, freezers, or can openers.

Chipotle is safe to eat during pregnancy as long as the food is stored, handled, and prepped safely, cooked to the proper temperature, and served piping hot. These steps ensure that there are no dangerous food-borne bacteria still in the food once served.

Eating Chipotle while pregnant is mostly a matter of choosing appropriate menu items that fit within a healthy diet. This means emphasizing items that are lower in fat and sodium, higher in protein, and generally include fewer total calories.

The biggest potential issue with Chipotle’s food is really the sodium levels – everything else can be managed with menu choices. Unfortunately, salt is used throughout the preparation and seasoning processes for much of the food so overall levels can be high. This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker though, just something to keep in mind!

Are Chipotle meats safe during pregnancy?

Chipotle got into a little bit of trouble years back when hundreds of people got sick eating at their restaurants and it has left a bit of a bad taste in some peoples’ mouths – literally and figuratively – that needs to be addressed.

Although there was never a definitive answer as to why people got sick at Chipotle, the answer is almost certainly the same as it would be for any other restaurant – improper handling, sanitization, and hygiene. Essentially, a few restaurants were not cleaning produce correctly, cooking ingredients to the proper temperature, or holding food at the proper temperature. It is almost always one of those three things.

Chipotle uses high-quality, never-frozen meats in all of their restaurants which are prepared and cooked fresh each day. As long as Chipotle meats are stored and handled properly, cooked to the proper temperature, and held at the proper temperature they should be safe to eat for pregnant women and everyone else. Food-borne illness normally stems from undercooked meats or meat that has not been held at the correct temperature for long periods of time.

With that said, everyone’s body is different and although you are unlikely to get sick from eating Chipotle it could still disagree with your stomach and digestive system.

Chipotle is remarkably transparent when it comes to their ingredients so let’s take a look at their meats to see how they are prepared.

Chicken

Chicken at Chipotle is prepared with chicken, black pepper, chipotle chili, cumin, garlic, oregano, salt, sunflower oil, distilled vinegar, and water.

Here are the nutrition facts for one serving of chicken at Chipotle:

  • Calories: 180
  • Fat: 7 grams
  • Carbs: 0 grams
  • Protein: 32 grams
  • Sodium: 310 milligrams

Steak

Steak at Chipotle is prepared with beef, black pepper, chipotle chili, cumin, garlic, oregano, salt, rice bran oil, and water.

Here are the nutrition facts for one serving of steak at Chipotle:

  • Calories: 150
  • Fat: 6 grams
  • Carbs: 1 grams
  • Protein: 21 grams
  • Sodium: 330 milligrams

Carnitas

Carnitas at Chipotle is prepared with pork, black pepper, bay leaf, juniper berries, salt, sunflower oil, and thyme.

Here are the nutrition facts for one serving of carnitas at Chipotle:

  • Calories: 210
  • Fat: 12 grams
  • Carbs: 0 grams
  • Protein: 23 grams
  • Sodium: 450 milligrams

Barbacoa

Barbacoa at Chipotle is prepared with beef, bay leaf, black pepper, chipotle chili, cloves, cumin, garlic, oregano, salt, rice bran oil, and water.

Here are the nutrition facts for one serving of steak at Chipotle:

  • Calories: 170
  • Fat: 7 grams
  • Carbs: 2 grams
  • Protein: 24 grams
  • Sodium: 530 milligrams

Is Chipotle cheese and queso safe during pregnancy?

Chipotle cheeses are safe to eat during pregnancy as they are made with pasteurized milk and served fresh.

Here are the ingredients in Chipotle cheese:

  • Cheese cultures
  • Pasteurized milk
  • Vegetable rennet
  • Salt

Is Chipotle guacamole safe during pregnancy?

Chipotle guacamole is safe to eat during pregnancy as long as it is prepared safely and stored at the appropriate temperature.

Here are the ingredients in Chipotle’s guacamole:

  • Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Jalapeno
  • Lemon juice
  • Lime juice
  • Onion
  • Salt

Are Chipotle salsas safe during pregnancy?

Chipotle currently offers 4 different salsas on their menu: Tomatillo-red chili, fresh tomato, roasted chili-corn, and tomatillo-green chili

All of Chipotle’s salsas are safe to eat as long as they have been prepared safely, stored at the appropriate temperature, and served cold.

Are Chipotle’s ranch and mayo safe during pregnancy?

Chipotle does not list ranch or mayo on their menu and does not normally offer it in their stores.

Is Chipotle sour cream safe during pregnancy?

Chipotle’s sour cream is safe to eat as long as they have been prepared safely, stored at the appropriate temperature, and served cold.

The sour cream only lists one ingredient – cultured cream!

The best things to order at Chipotle during pregnancy

So it is a bit tricky to recommend specific items at Chipotle for two reasons:

  • There are lots of good options for pregnant women to eat at Chipotle
  • Every menu item is endlessly customizable

Generally speaking, you will want to order something at Chipotle that fits within your existing healthy diet and includes as many fresh ingredients as possible.

Lifestyle bowls at Chipotle have all been created to provide a sensible meal based around some of the most popular diets in America right now: Whole 30, Keto, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, and a high-protein option. When prepared with lower calorie meat, such as chicken, each of these bowls will be high in protein, low in fat, and under 1000 calories.

Lifestyle bowls represent the easiest way to find healthy and lower-calories options on the Chipotle menu so I will offer up a few of those below!

Whole 30 Lifestyle Bowl

As an example, here are the basic ingredients of the Whole 30 bowl along with some nutrition info:

  • Ingredients: Supergreen lettuce blend, chicken, fajita veggies, fresh tomato salsa, and guacamole.
  • Calories: 500
  • Protein: 27 grams
  • Fiber: 10 grams

Keto Lifestyle Bowl

Here are the basic ingredients of the Keto Lifestyle Bowl along with some nutrition info:

  • Ingredients: Supergreen lettuce blend, chicken, tomatillo-red chili salsa, freshly shredded cheese, and guacamole.
  • Calories: 540
  • Protein: 30 grams
  • Carbs: 17 grams

Paleo Lifestyle Bowl

Here are the basic ingredients of the Paleo Lifestyle Bowl along with some nutrition info:

  • Ingredients: Supergreen lettuce blend, chicken, fajita veggies, tomatillo-green salsa, and guacamole.
  • Calories: 460
  • Protein: 36 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.
  • Pate/liver 
    • 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.
  • Teas
    • 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.