One of the weirdest things about pregnancy is that one day you wake up and crave something that’s either weird or you’ve never craved it before.
Imagine waking up one day and asking yourself can you eat beef jerky while pregnant, or why not even hot Cheetos while pregnant?
And to make things even funnier, maybe you’ll crave beef jerky while pregnant for breakfast. And if that’s the case, who cares?
But in all seriousness, I completely understand if you’re puzzled about this whole (can you eat beef jerky while pregnant) topic and would like to know more about it.
So without further ado, I’ll cut to the chase immediately, and answer your (can you eat beef jerky while pregnant) question.
Are There Any Risks When Eating A Beef Jerky While Pregnant?
Most people (when asking them, can you eat beef jerky while pregnant) will tell you that it’s completely fine to consume it.
But is it really the case?
Unfortunately no. To be frank, the biggest issue when it comes to consuming beef jerky while pregnant is the preparation itself.
Namely, when you’re pregnant, your immune system isn’t as resistant, and powerful as it is when you’re not.
And then you’re at higher risk of various diseases which can negatively affect both you and your baby. But then you’re probably wondering, can you eat beef jerky while pregnant if the meat is cooked?
And although that’s a fact, don’t forget that it’s not prepared in the traditional sense, meaning, that the whole dehydration process is crucial in order to make top-notch beef jerky.
So what are the risks then?
As previously stated, pregnant women do not have an omnipotent immune system like the ones who aren’t in this blessed state.
Therefore, whenever you ask yourself, can you eat beef jerky while pregnant, just go back to this fact. At the end of the day, it’s much better to be safe than sorry, right?
If you’re not cautious enough, you can potentially expose your body to numerous foodborne illnesses that can jeopardize the health of your baby.
And that’s precisely what can happen with uncooked animal products.
Keep in mind that beef jerky is dried at very low temperatures for a relatively long period of time, which makes it so tasty (high in salt), and flavorful, but it doesn’t instantly mean that you can eat beef jerky while pregnant.
What’s the biggest problem with dried meats?
Eating beef jerky meat while pregnant (or any other dried meat for that matter) is dangerous because this meat can potentially contain bacteria, which means that you are at high risk of infection which can potentially cause birth defects.
One of the biggest threats when it comes to this (can you eat beef jerky while pregnant topic) is Toxoplasma gondii.
What do we know about it?
It is a parasite that is frequently found in undercooked meats that can cause toxoplasmosis.
The truth is, healthy individuals or women who are not pregnant will practically feel nothing if they accidentally contract it.
However, sadly, that’s not the case with pregnant women (referring to those who eat beef jerky while pregnant).
As I’ve stated a bunch of times, their immune system is compromised, hence they could be dealing with food poisoning.
But on a more positive note, although food poisoning is far from pleasant (firsthand information), luckily, that’s something that will go away pretty quickly.
However, if your immune system isn’t as strong, then you are at greater risk of developing some serious symptoms, such as:
1. Lung infection, which may cause shortness of breath, fever, and cough
2. Brain inflammation which leads to seizures, headaches, confusion, and (God forbid) coma
3. Eye infection which causes blurry vision, and pain in the eye
Problems With Blood Pressure
Now, that I most likely scared you to death with this (can you eat beef jerky while pregnant) discussion, let’s scare you even more. (just joking)
I cannot move on with this topic (concerning eating beef jerky while pregnant) without mentioning this (don’t blame me!).
The point is, that most beef jerky is high in salt, by virtue of a variety of different seasonings, and spices.
And there’s no need to remind you that pregnancy and high salt combination is not the most delightful one.
After all, just remember how many times you (or other pregnant women) you’ve complained about how swollen your hands and feet are.
So if you want to avoid that (which you should because it’s not good for the baby or you), then you shouldn’t devour beef jerky while pregnant.
Now, if by any chance, you’re experiencing spikes in blood pressure, then you’ll most likely have these symptoms below:
1. Persistent headaches
2. Issues with breathing
3. Heart palpitation and more
Can You Eat Beef Jerky While Pregnant If You Choose Wisely?
Now, you’re not gonna hear me say Go girl (when trying to answer this question, Can you eat beef jerky while pregnant).
However, what I will do is give you some relatively healthy suggestions that pregnancy safe if you’re craving beef jerky (in terms of health).
Opt for Low-Sodium Beef Jerky While Pregnant
As aforementioned, salt is not a best friend to pregnant women because not only will it cause swollen feet and ankles, but can contribute to high blood pressure as well.
However, it’s safe to eat in moderation because it helps you maintain proper mineral and fluid balance in your body.
Besides that, it also aids in muscle function and nerve impulse transmission.
Consequently, if you are determined to eat jerky while pregnant, then the least you can do is focus on food safety and purchase one that doesn’t contain too much sodium, such as Prevail.
Always Buy High-Quality Beef Jerky While Pregnant
It’s safe to eat beef jerky while pregnant if it’s of good quality.
Therefore, it would be advisable to select beef jerky that’s been tested for safety and is packed with first-class ingredients.
In these instances, it would be advisable to choose Prevail because they use beef that isn’t packed with antibiotics and hormones.
Can You Eat Beef Jerky While Pregnant That’s Made from Lean Beef Meat?
Most definitely, yes! In fact, that’s the best thing that you can do for yourself (in regards to the can you eat beef jerky while pregnant topic).
But now you will probably say that beef jerky is generally made from lean beef meat.
Even though that’s a fact, in theory, practice is slightly different.
Namely, just because a certain manufacturer states that its beef jerky is made from lean beef, it doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.
That’s precisely one of the reasons why you must be very careful when choosing beef jerky while pregnant and not forget to check the label to see if that’s really true.
Why eating beef jerky while pregnant that’s made from lean beef meat is a good idea?
Well, that’s because lean beef is low in fat, which is essential if you do not want to gain a lot of weight while pregnant.
In case you didn’t know, fat generally has a lot more calories in comparison to carbs, and protein, consequently, it’s always much better to opt for leaner varieties of any meat, including beef jerky while pregnant.
When you’re pregnant, it’s all about selecting the right stuff, the right carbohydrates, protein, and fats because all these things are essential to your body and can positively influence the health of your baby.
Can You Eat Beef Jerky While Pregnant if You Have any Food Allergies?
Well, if that’s the case, then it would be wise to buy beef jerky while pregnant that doesn’t contain any allergens which is rarely the case with store-bought beef jerky meat.
Fortunately, there are various brands out there that provide consumers with allergen-free options, however, if you want to be one hundred percent sure that the meat is allergen-free, then be sure to check the label before making any purchase.
Pregnant women should opt for a company that’s very mindful of this and that offers a product that doesn’t contain any of the things below:
4. Top 8 allergens
6. Cane sugar
Are There Any Benefits of Eating Beef Jerky While Pregnant?
Although you can eat beef jerky while pregnant (if you pay attention to all those precautions I mentioned previously), the truth is, there’s no scientific evidence that backs up the fact that you will benefit from eating beef jerky while pregnant.
The only thing that’s sure is the fact that beef jerky meat is a great source of protein, plus is very practical when traveling since it doesn’t need to be put in the fridge.
Many pregnant women perceive it as an amazing salty snack since it’s high in protein, and although that’s true, don’t forget that it’s also high in sodium.
While pregnant, beef meat is generally a good option, but I’m not sure about the beef jerky alternative.
Speaking of benefits, although I previously mentioned only one (regarding nutritional benefits), I would like to add some more that are worth adding.
Let’s Discuss Protein
There’s no denying that protein is an essential nutrient for pregnant women, due to the fact that it supports the development and growth of the baby’s organs, muscles, and bones.
And as previously stated, beef jerky is truly a great source of protein and can be utilized if you want to meet your daily protein needs.
However, during pregnancy, eat beef jerky that isn’t high in sodium, and sugar, and is only high in protein because that’s the healthiest way to consume it.
Let’s Not Forget to Mention Zinc
Generally speaking, zinc is a crucial mineral for all you pregnant ladies and is an essential nutrient for hemoglobin.
And there’s no need to remind you how crucial hemoglobin is for every pregnant woman due to the fact that it aids in delivering oxygen to the baby.
Aside from that, zinc also supports your immune system and can potentially prevent congenital disabilities.
Here’s another nutrient that’s crucial for pregnant women. It is widely known (and this refers to anyone, not just women who are pregnant) that it helps prevent anemia, and at the same time, enhances the quality of breast milk.
That’s precisely one of the reasons why beef jerky is good for you. Namely, it’s packed with iron, meaning that with it, you’ll be able to meet your daily iron needs.
Anemia is actually quite common in pregnant women; hence you should do whatever you can to provide your body with enough iron.
What to Do if You Ate Beef Jerky While Pregnant?
Yes, I know that you might be panicking right now (after reading everything I wrote regarding can you eat beef jerky while pregnant topic), but there’s no need for that.
Instead, what you should do is monitor yourself in the next couple of days, to see whether you’ll be experiencing any of the following symptoms:
2. High temperature
3. Swollen lymph nodes (pay attention to the ones that are in the neck area)
4. Sore throat
5. Muscle pain and aches
6. Inflammation of the eyes, lungs, and heart muscles
If (God forbid) you notice any of the symptoms that were mentioned above, then make sure to seek medical advice and demand to be medically reviewed by your healthcare provider just to see if everything is okay.
Although I assume that none of these symptoms make you feel indifferent, bear in mind, that it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have them just because you ate beef jerky meat while pregnant.
Can You Eat Beef Jerky While Pregnant That’s Store-Bought?
The only thing that’s left to be discussed when it comes to this (can you eat beef jerky while pregnant) topic is this.
So is it safe to eat store-bought beef jerky while pregnant?
Well, the truth is, even though it’s a way better option in comparison to homemade jerky (because companies must comply with food safety standards), you should still keep in mind that the store-bought version is loaded with sugar, salt, and preservatives.
So what can be done then?
Then just go back to the segment above, and make sure to obtain beef jerky that doesn’t contain any of the aforementioned stuff.
Presenting You the Beef Jerky Alternatives
Yes, yes, I know that you are currently craving beef jerky and that, for the time being, there’s nothing that can replace this deliciousness.
However, if you don’t want to succumb to that craving, then maybe you should take into account these alternatives.
If you’re looking for a snack that’s both salty and healthy, then it would be much better to turn to olives instead of eating jerky.
In case you didn’t know, olives are loaded with monounsaturated fats, which can positively impact a baby’s eye and brain development, and simultaneously, lower the risk of dealing with high blood pressure spikes during pregnancy.
I know that this probably wasn’t the first thing you thought of when I mentioned beef jerky alternatives, but you would be surprised how precisely this snack is excellent at fighting your beef jerky cravings.
Namely, if you add this snack to your menu, you will provide your body with tasty, and salty flavors and will almost instantly forget about your jerky beef cravings.
And besides that, I would like to remind you that seaweed is a good source of iodine, which plays a key role in boosting both your metabolism and thyroid function during pregnancy.
So that’s definitely a great reason to give seaweed a try!
Did You Try Trail Mix?
If the answer is no, now may be a great time to include this snack in your diet. What’s amazing about it is the fact that it can perfectly replicate the texture and flavor of beef jerky.
Yes, I know that you probably don’t believe in it; however, bear in mind that dried fruits can actually offer a similar bit, while the salt can be replicated by nuts.
Not to mention the fact that with it, you will get the right amount of immune-boosting antioxidants and more energy from the nuts.
So there you go; as you can see, it isn’t actually such a bad idea after all!
I know that this entire topic (concerning whether you can eat beef jerky while pregnant) probably didn’t go as planned because you most likely expected some more positive answers, but the truth is, all these so-called restrictions will be there only for a while.
They won’t last forever, and as soon as you deliver your baby, you can then treat yourself to a huge plate of beef jerky (please invite me as well).
But until then, just be sure you’re careful, and if you must eat it, then at least don’t forget to check the label.
Well, hello there!
My name is Jennifer. Besides being an orthodontist, I am a mother to 3 playful boys. In this motherhood journey, I can say I will never know everything. That’s why I always strive to read a lot, and that’s why I started writing about all the smithereens I came across so that you can have everything in one place! Enjoy and stay positive; you’ve got this!