Can You Eat Hot Dogs While Pregnant?

Hot dogs are a summertime and cookout favorite amongst adults and kids alike. They are delicious, easy to make, and topping options are endless. But are hot dogs safe to eat during pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a time when what to eat and what not to eat is a big focus. It’s important to be food safe and eat a variety of nutritious foods to support a healthy pregnancy. I’m dedicating this post to discussing whether or not pregnant women can safely eat hot dogs.

Can You Eat Hot Dogs While Pregnant

Can You Eat Hot Dogs While Pregnant? 

If you’re craving hot dogs while pregnant, you’re not alone. From my experience, it’s a super common pregnancy craving. The good news? Hot dogs can be safely enjoyed during pregnancy as long as they are fully cooked before eating.

Hot dogs are a type of “processed meat” like deli meats, pepperoni, and sausage. Heating these processed meats before consumption helps to reduce the risk of contracting food-borne illnesses like listeriosis from listeria. Listeria is a harmful bacteria that could cause problems ranging from flu-like symptoms to pregnancy complications in the worst-case scenarios. 

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends cooking meats like hot dogs to a minimum internal temperature of 165 F before eating. 

Can You Eat Hot Dogs While Pregnant

Are Hot Dogs Healthy?

As mentioned above, hot dogs are a type of “processed meat.” Bacon, sausage, deli meats, ham, and pepperoni also fall into the category of processed meats.  Hot dogs CAN fit into an overall “healthy” diet, just like any other food often labeled “unhealthy.” Keep in mind there is no true definition of “healthy.” 

While you may have a negative connotation with the word ‘processed’ regarding food, these types of meats can be a really easy and nutritious protein source in a meal or snack for pregnancy. In addition, almost all meat is processed in some capacity. Even the grass-fed, organic meat versions go through some form of “processing.” The primary concern about “highly processed” (we’ll say) meats is related to questions about an association with increased cancer risk.

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There are no significant associations between processed meat intake and increased risk of death. While some questionable and problematic research shows an association with cancer risk, others show the opposite. Dive deeper into the research on this topic with us inside The Prenatal Nutrition Library.4 tips for eating hot dogs during pregnancy

What Kind Of Hot Dogs Can A Pregnant Woman Eat?

Hot dogs can be safely enjoyed during pregnancy. It’s a good idea to eat a variety of protein sources while pregnant and include hot dogs in moderation during pregnancy. 

As mentioned earlier, you can decrease your risk of exposure to listeria by only eating hot dogs or deli meat during pregnancy that has been cooked until steaming hot, with an internal temperature of at least 165 °F. Eating the cooked hot dogs while they’re still hot is recommended, avoiding any that have been sitting around at room temperature for longer than 1 hour in a hot environment. 

There are so many hot dog options at the grocery store. It’s hard to know which one is “best.” Let’s discuss some varieties of hot dogs and alternatives to help you navigate the grocery store. 

Hot Dog Varieties and Alternatives for Pregnancy

Hot Dog Varieties and Alternatives for Pregnancy

Chicken Dogs

Did you know there are hot dogs made from chicken meat? Chicken dogs tend to have less sodium but still pack in flavor and protein. Increase the fiber by serving your chicken dog inside a whole-wheat hot dog bun. 

You can find even more delicious and nutritious meal ideas inside my app, The Prenatal Nutrition Library, or full trimester-specific meal plans! 

Turkey Dogs

Turkey dogs are another alternative to the classic hot dog. Like a traditional beef hot dog, turkey dogs are safe to enjoy during pregnancy if thoroughly cooked first. We recommend choosing organic, uncured hot dogs when possible. 

Note: Turkey dogs are not “healthier” than traditional beef hot dogs. Beef has more iron and B12, for starters, both of which you need more of during pregnancy.

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Veggie Dogs

Veggie dogs, or plant-based hot dogs, are a popular hot dog alternative for meat-eaters and vegetarians. There are many different kinds to choose from. Most of them will be lower in protein than animal-based hot dogs. Some brands have better quality ingredients than others. Many veggie dogs are made from soy which is not ideal as a main protein source on a day to day basis. 

All-Beef Hot Dogs

All-beef hot dogs can be a great choice to enjoy during pregnancy. The best all-beef hot dog options are made of 100% grass-fed beef and some spices. As mentioned above, with the turkey dogs, we recommend choosing organic and uncured hot dogs when it is available. 

Can You Eat Hot Dogs While Pregnant

As long as they are cooked until “steaming hot,” hot dogs can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy pregnancy diet.

If you’re craving hot dogs, you’re in luck! You don’t have to eliminate them from your pregnancy diet. If they’re cooked until “steaming hot” or 165 F, feel free to enjoy incorporating hot dogs into your pregnancy diet. 

For more information on safely consuming meats during pregnancy, check out my post, “Can pregnant women eat medium rare steak?

Also, sign up for The Prenatal Nutrition Library, where you can search THOUSANDS of foods, nutrients, and supplements + the community forum questions and get a quick, clear, evidence-based answer. Want to try a sample first? Download The Prenatal Nutrition Library app for FREE on Apple or Android to peek inside!

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