Imagine a slice of hot, oven-fresh pizza topped with extra cheese. Mouthwatering, isn’t it?
People crave pizza just like that. So it is no surprise if you love pizza and are craving for some when you’re pregnant. Topped with cheese, caramelized onions, and olives among other ingredients, a pizza could be your choice of dinner every day. But is it safe to have a cheesy pizza during pregnancy?
Read this MomJunction post to know if you can have pizza during pregnancy, how often you can have it and the side-effects, if any, of eating pizza when you are pregnant.
Is It Safe To Eat Pizza During Pregnancy?
It depends on the kind of pizza you want to have and how often you wish to have it. If a pizza is made with uncooked or contaminated ingredients or prepared in an unclean environment, then you should avoid eating it. Also, a pizza has a lot of calories and overindulgence in it can lead to excess weight gain, which might not be good for your pregnancy.
On the other hand, if you are eating a freshly-made pizza from a hygienic kitchen, then you can have it once in a while.
What Are The Better Ways To Eat Pizza During Pregnancy?
Eating a fresh and properly cooked pizza can offer you benefits when you are pregnant.
- Top it with vegetables: When you are pregnant, you might become fussy about how you want the vegetables cooked. If you don’t feel like eating boiled or stir-fried veggies, use them as toppings on a cheesy pizza. This will give you the pleasure of eating a pizza while also pumping your body with the necessary nutrients from the vegetables.
- Whole wheat pizza base: Instead of a base made of white flour, choose a thin-crust pizza base made of whole wheat. The whole wheat crust has fewer calories but high fiber.
- Hard cheese toppings: You may choose hard cheese or soft processed cheese such as cheddar, cottage cheese, or mozzarella, as these are good sources of calcium and protein (1).
Your mom or aunt might stop you from eating pizza during pregnancy. That’s because the usual pizzas available in the restaurants could be harmful owing to the quality of cheese used. Continue reading to know more about it.
What To Avoid In A Pizza During Pregnancy?
- Soft cheese: Avoid pizzas made with soft cheeses such as Brie, queso fresco, camembert, and feta. These could carry bacteria named listeria that could cause the listeriosis infection. Pregnant women may be at risk of this infection that results in vomiting, fever, weakness, stiff neck, and confusion.
- Raw meat or seafood: Rare, raw, and uncooked poultry and beef have a high contamination risk of toxoplasmosis, salmonella, and coliform bacteria. Therefore, avoid them as toppings on your pizza.
- Smoked and refrigerated seafood: If these are shelf-safe or canned, then they can be eaten. Otherwise, smoked and refrigerated seafood categorized as nova style, kippered, jerky, or lox could have listeria growing on them. Try to avoid pizzas with these as the toppings.
- Deli meat: Also known as cold cuts, these could also be listeria-contaminated. They could cause complications in pregnancy. So a ham or salami or pepperoni pizza is something you should say no to when pregnant.
- Raw shellfish: Try not to have pizzas made with clams, mussels, oysters, or any other shellfish when you are pregnant. You could be infected, and could have pregnancy complications.
- Spreads made with raw eggs: Usually, homemade pizzas have freshly-made spreads on them. If these spreads are made with raw eggs, they could be exposed to salmonella. So, a pizza with ingredients containing raw eggs should be avoided when you are pregnant.
So, are there any specific precautions to take while having a pizza? We tell you in the next section.
Things To Remember When Having A Pizza During Pregnancy
Keep a note of the following aspects when you are eating pizza when pregnant.
- If you are making pizza at home, see that your kitchen and dishes are cleaned and the ingredients are properly washed. Also, wash your hands before the preparation.
- Ensure that the cheese is made from pasteurized milk only. If you are having a pizza from a restaurant, you can ask them about the kind of cheese they used.
- Eat pizza when it is hot and not cold. If it gets cold, reheat it before consuming. This way, the bacteria are killed and the pizza becomes safe for consumption.
- Try not to have pizza that is sold on streets, as it could have been made in unhygienic conditions. You can order it from a well-known restaurant, where fresh ingredients are used.
- See that the pizza is properly cooked, and it has no uncooked or raw meat and seafood.
The safest way to eat a pizza is to make it at home. Next, we share some healthy pizza recipes that you can try during your pregnancy.
Healthy Pizza Recipes
1. Olive and basil pizza
You will need:
- 1 thin-crust pizza base
- ½ cup basil leaves
- ½ cup chopped tomatoes
- ½ cup chopped broccoli
- ½ cup diced bell peppers (green)
- ¼ cup sliced black olives
- 1 cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
- 8oz tomato sauce
- Preheat your oven to a temperature 400° F.
- Take the pizza crust, and spread the tomato sauce over it.
- Add shredded cheese all over the base.
- Top it with all the diced and topped vegetables.
- Cook it in the oven for 12-15 minutes, and your healthy vegetarian pizza is ready.
2. Avocado beans salsa pizza
You will need:
- Pizza crust
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- 1 sliced avocado
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 1 sliced bell pepper
- ½ diced onion
- 1 minced jalapeno pepper
- ⅔ cup fresh corn kernels
- ¼ cup cilantro
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup barbecue sauce
- 2 cloves of garlic
- ½ lime
- ½tsp salt
- ½tsp cumin
- ¼tsp black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450° F.
- Add black beans, cumin, salt, and barbecue sauce in a bowl.
- In another bowl, add tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, black pepper, garlic, and lime juice.
- Take a pizza crust, spread the mixture of beans and barbecue sauce over it.
- Top it with tomatoes, bell peppers, and corn.
- Sprinkle the cheddar cheese evenly on top and bake it for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Finally, garnish with cilantro and thin slices of avocado.
- Your healthy and delicious pizza is ready to munch on.
3. Kale, squash, and chicken pizza
You Will Need:
- 1 freshly-made pizza base
- 1 cup of squash puree
- 1 cup chopped squash
- Chicken breast, cooked in 2 tsp oil
- 1 ½ cup chopped kale
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1tbsp freshly minced sage
- 3tbsp pepitas or pumpkin seeds
- 4oz pasteurized goat cheese
- 1 sliced leek
- 4tsp olive oil
- 1tsp balsamic vinegar
- ¼tsp salt
- ¼tsp black pepper
- 1tsp brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 450° F.
- Mix sage, squash puree, pepper, and salt in a bowl.
- Heat two teaspoons of oil in a pan and saute the leeks till they turn light brown. Add balsamic vinegar and sugar, stir it well, and move it aside.
- Take the pizza base, spread the mixture of squash and sage.
- Top the pizza with chopped squash, kale, chicken, mushrooms, leeks, and cheese.
- Bake the pizza for about 15 minutes.
- Garnish it with toasted pepitas and serve hot.
Eat all the pizza you want to satiate your pregnancy cravings, but ensure that it is properly made. It is always better to eat homemade pizzas for you know all the ingredients that go into it. So try out any of the recipes mentioned above or improvise and make your own pizza with ingredients that are safe for consumption during pregnancy.
Did you have pizza during your pregnancy? Do share your experiences with us in the comments section below.
2. Listeria; Foodsafety.gov
3. P. P. Mari; Food to Avoid during Pregnancy; academia.edu