Is it Safe to Eat Philly Cheesesteak During Pregnancy?


Pregnancy is a time filled with excitement, joy, and of course, questions. As expectant mothers, we want to make sure that we are taking the best care of ourselves and our growing babies. And for many of us, that includes paying extra attention to our diets. But what about those cravings for some indulgent, delicious food? More specifically, can you indulge in a piping hot Philly cheesesteak while pregnant? In this article, we will discuss the safety and health considerations when it comes to enjoying this beloved sandwich during pregnancy. So sit back, relax, and satisfy your curiosity about whether or not you can have a taste of Philly while expecting.

Philly Cheesesteak While Pregnant: Is it Safe?

If you’re pregnant, you may be wondering if it’s safe to indulge in a Philly cheesesteak. This beloved sandwich made with thinly sliced steak, melted cheese, and sautéed onions on a soft roll is a popular choice for many people. But when you’re carrying a baby, there are certain foods and ingredients that you need to avoid for the health of your little one. In this article, we’ll explore whether or not Philly cheesesteak is safe to eat during pregnancy and what factors you should consider before indulging in this delicious sandwich.

The Concerns

Pregnancy is a time when expectant mothers need to pay special attention to their diet and make sure they are consuming safe and nutritious foods for the health of their growing baby. The concerns surrounding the safety of eating a Philly cheesesteak during pregnancy mainly revolve around two main factors – the type of meat used and the unpasteurized cheese used in the sandwich.

  • Type of Meat: Most traditional Philly cheesesteak sandwiches use thinly sliced ribeye steak which is generally considered safe for consumption during pregnancy. However, some restaurants or fast food chains may use other types of meat such as ground beef or processed meats like salami, which may not be safe to consume during pregnancy due to a risk of bacteria or parasites.
  • Unpasteurized Cheese: Some versions of the Philly cheesesteak may use unpasteurized cheese like cheez whiz or provolone, which can potentially contain harmful bacteria like Listeria. During pregnancy, it’s important to avoid unpasteurized dairy products to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.

Health Considerations

In addition to the safety concerns, there are also some health considerations that you should keep in mind when deciding whether to eat a Philly cheesesteak during pregnancy.

Protein Intake: During pregnancy, your body needs more protein to support the growth and development of your baby. A Philly cheesesteak made with lean cuts of steak can provide a good amount of high-quality protein to help meet your daily requirements. However, if you’re concerned about the potential risks associated with eating red meat during pregnancy, you may want to consider alternative protein sources like grilled chicken or portobello mushrooms instead.

Saturated Fat and Sodium: Philly cheesesteak is considered a high-fat and high-sodium food due to its ingredients. While pregnant women do need some healthy fats in their diet, it’s important to monitor your intake of saturated fat and sodium, as excessive amounts can contribute to health problems like gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. If you do decide to indulge in a Philly cheesesteak, try to balance it out with healthier options throughout the day and limit your overall intake of these ingredients.

The Safe Option

If you’re craving a classic Philly cheesesteak, there are ways to make it safer for consumption during pregnancy. Here are some tips:

  • Choose a reputable restaurant: If you’re eating out, make sure to choose a reputable restaurant that uses high-quality, fresh ingredients. Avoid fast-food chains or unknown food trucks, as they may not have the same standards of food safety as established restaurants.
  • Opt for leaner cuts of meat: Ask the restaurant what type of meat they use in their Philly cheesesteak. If possible, opt for leaner cuts like sirloin or top round, which are lower in saturated fat and may pose less risk in terms of bacteria or parasites.
  • Ask for pasteurized cheese: Request that your sandwich be made with pasteurized cheese. If the restaurant doesn’t offer this option, consider bringing your own shredded cheese from home or skipping the cheese altogether.
  • Ensure proper cooking temperature: Make sure that your sandwich is cooked thoroughly to kill any potential bacteria. The FDA recommends cooking beef to an internal temperature of at least 145°F.

Avoiding Risky Options

While there are safe ways to enjoy a Philly cheesesteak during pregnancy, there are also some options you should avoid. These include:

  • Homemade versions: Unless you’re confident in the ingredients and cooking methods used, it’s best to avoid making a Philly cheesesteak at home. This is because you may not be able to control the quality and safety of the meat and cheese used.
  • Unpasteurized cheese: As mentioned earlier, unpasteurized cheese should be avoided during pregnancy due to the risk of harmful bacteria. This includes popular options like cheez whiz or provolone.
  • Processed meat: Processed meats like salami or bologna may not be safe for consumption during pregnancy due to the risk of bacteria or parasites. It’s best to stick with fresh, lean cuts of meat when enjoying a Philly cheesesteak.

The Bottom Line

So, can you eat Philly cheesesteak while pregnant? The answer is yes, but with some precautions. It’s important to be aware of the potential risks associated with certain ingredients, such as unpasteurized cheese and processed meats, and make informed choices when choosing where to eat and what type of meat to use. As with all foods during pregnancy, moderation and balance are key. Enjoying a Philly cheesesteak once in a while is unlikely to cause harm to you or your baby, but it’s always best to consult with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns or dietary restrictions. Ultimately, listen to your body and make choices that make you feel comfortable and confident in your food choices during pregnancy.

In conclusion, while there are certain safety and health considerations to keep in mind, it is generally safe to consume Philly cheesesteak during pregnancy. It is important to make sure the ingredients are properly cooked and that the sandwich is consumed in moderation. Consulting with a healthcare provider and making well-informed decisions about food choices can help ensure a healthy pregnancy and a delicious indulgence in this beloved sandwich. As always, it is important to listen to your body and make choices based on your own individual needs. With proper precautions, you can enjoy a tasty Philly cheesesteak while pregnant without worrying about any potential risks.

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