Pregnant women understandably worry about which foods they should or shouldn’t be eating to maintain proper health which can be difficult if you are craving something like pizza!
Pizza Hut is generally deemed safe to eat while pregnant as long as the food is prepared properly and served piping hot. Pizza Hut uses cured pepperoni and pasteurized mozzarella cheeses for all of their pizzas which are also cooked to eliminate the risk of food-borne bacteria. Veggie Lover’s pizzas and various salads are the healthiest choices.
Read on to learn more about what to order at Pizza Hut while pregnant as well as what you should avoid and frequently asked questions about their pepperoni, meats, and cheeses.
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Is it safe to eat Pizza Hut while pregnant?
If you feel silly asking about whether or not it is safe to eat at a fast-food restaurant while pregnant please don’t – there is no shame in trying to determine the healthiest food options for you and your baby!
In general, Pizza Hut is safe to eat while pregnant as long as the foods are cooked to the proper temperature and you receive the food steaming hot. This ensures that all possible food-borne bacteria have been eliminated and you aren’t at risk of getting sick. The biggest potential issue with eating Pizza Hut comes from undercooked chicken, improperly handled lettuce or other salad toppings, and eating pizza that has been left out too long or not properly reheated when consuming leftovers.
As long as you check your food closely before eating and you pay attention to the menu, it is possible to find something reasonably healthy on the Pizza Hut menu that shouldn’t pose any significant risk to you or your baby.
Can you eat pepperoni from Pizza Hut while pregnant?
One of the most frequently asked questions about eating Pizza Hut pizza while pregnant is whether or not the pepperoni is safe.
Pepperoni is considered raw food and, like other cured meats, it should be cooked before eating. Providing that the pepperoni is cooked to the proper temperature and served hot it should be safe to eat while pregnant as all of the food-borne bacteria will be eliminated during the cooking process.
Special care should be taken to ensure that pepperoni pizza is properly cooled and stored if there are leftovers and that any remaining pizza is reheated to the proper temperature and consumed within a few days.
Is Pizza Hut pepperoni pasteurized or cured?
Oddly enough, there is no official answer to this question from Pizza Hut. In fact, there is very little official information at all about their pizza toppings other than a basic ingredient list.
Like other pizza chains and pizza products, Pizza Hut probably uses cured pepperoni in their pizzas which should be cooked before serving.
Here is a complete list of ingredients found within the Pizza Hut pepperoni:
- Contains 2% or less of: spices, dextrose, lactic acid starter culture, natural spice extractives, extractives of paprika, extractives of rosemary, sodium nitrite.
Is Pizza Hut cheese pasteurized?
Pizza Hut uses pasteurized mozzarella, romano, and cheeses parmesan cheeses within their pizza cheese blend and seasoning mixes.
Once cooked, pasteurized cheese is safe to eat for pregnant women and should contain no food-borne bacteria.
Potential issues with eating pizza during pregnancy
As I’ve mentioned before, the biggest potential issues with pizza, in general, stem from improperly prepared or undercooked ingredients.
Here is a brief list of possible issues with pizza during pregnancy:
- Undercooked meats
- Undercooked veggies
- Improperly handled food ingredients, storage containers, and equipment
- Indigestion from acidic ingredients such as tomato sauce
What can pregnant women eat at Pizza Hut?
Let’s face it, a pizza place is never going to be the healthiest option! But, if you are craving Pizza Hut (or other pizza restaurants) while pregnant there are a few things that you can try to get your fix without destroying your diet!
Essentially, you’ll be looking at the salads and the Veggie Lover’s pizzas.
Pizza Hut salads
There are a variety of salad options to choose from at Pizza Hut – Buffalo chicken, grilled chicken caesar, fried chicken caesar, and the zesty Italian. With the exception of the crispy chicken salad, all of these options will be around 290-420 calories before dressing is added and supply a good amount of protein and low levels of fat.
Chicken Caesar Salad
This salad comes with an iceberg and green leaf salad mix, baked chicken, croutons, and parmesan cheese.
Here are the nutrition facts:
- Calories: 410
- Fat: 21 grams
- Carbs: 30 grams
- Protein: 33 grams
- Sodium: 1150 milligrams
- Dietary fiber: 2 gram
Veggie Lover’s Pizza
The biggest benefit of choosing a Veggie Lover’s pizza over one with more meat toppings is that you’ll miss out on all of the extra fat content inside the meats but still get the delicious sauce, cheese, and seasonings that you are craving in a pizza!
The Veggie Lover’s pizza comes with classic marinara, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, roma tomatoes, black olives, green bell peppers, red onions, and parmesan cheese.
Here are the nutrition facts for a slice of a Large Hand Tossed Veggie Lover’s pizza:
- Calories: 270
- Fat: 9 grams
- Carbs: 36 grams
- Protein: 12 grams
- Sodium: 520 milligrams
- Dietary fiber: 3 grams
Diet and nutrition safety recommendations for pregnant women
During pregnancy, it is vital that both you and the baby get the proper nutrients. You can do this by eating a well-balanced diet focused on proper nutrition, and staying hydrated. It’s equally important to know which foods to limit or avoid.
Foods to avoid while pregnant
Foodborne illnesses are one of the biggest concerns during pregnancy. To avoid potential contamination with harmful bacteria, certain foods should be handled with care and others avoided during pregnancy.
Pregnant women are generally 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 egg – Cookie dough, Caesar dressing, mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce made with raw or undercooked eggs can contain salmonella.
- Raw fish or seafood – Including sushi, oysters, shark, 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 – This 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.
- Lunch meat, 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 200mg/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 soda per day or less. These drinks are low in nutritional value and high in sugar or may contain artificial sweeteners, which can be harmful.
General nutrition for pregnant women
A healthy diet could help reduce some of the more unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy like constipation and nausea. Enjoying a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats will also promote the baby’s growth.
You should also ensure you’re getting plenty of the following nutrients as they play a critical role in mommy and ba. You can get them naturally through your diet and they can also be contained in prenatal vitamins suggested by your doctor.
- Folic acid – Helps prevent birth defects
- How much: 0.4mg per day.
- Found in: leafy green vegetables, berries, nuts, beans, citrus fruit, and fortified breakfast cereals.
- Calcium – Strengthens 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 of muscle
- How much: 71 grams per day.
- Found in: beans and peas, nuts and seeds, lean beef, lamb, pork, poultry, salmon, trout, herring, sardines, and pollack.
- Iron – Prevents iron deficiency anemia
- How much: 27 milligrams per day.
- Found in: lean red meat, poultry, and fish. Also found in iron-fortified breakfast cereals, beans, and vegetables.
Eating a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can make you feel better during pregnancy and protect the health of your baby. Enjoy this wonderful time in your life and indulge in your favorite fast foods in moderation. Your body will thank you for it later.