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Is It Safe to Eat Non-Vegetarian Food During Pregnancy? List Of Healthy Non-Veg Foods And Recipe

Some believe that consuming non-vegetarian food during pregnancy is bad for the expecting mother and the foetus. Doctors and health experts strongly deny this claim and add that consumption of a non-vegetarian diet is not harmful during pregnancy at all [1].

Non-Vegetarian Food During Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

The cause for concern about non-vegetarian food during pregnancy is that most non-vegetarian foods have a lot of potassium and cholesterol, making you gain excess weight [2]. The oil from the non-vegetarian dish, too, is not suitable for a pregnant woman to consume daily [3].

When you become pregnant, there is no specific need to limit your non-veg food consumption. Doctors add that one should continue with intakes of chicken, fish, egg, etc. unless you have any allergy to these foods [4]. Regular intake of a portion of either of the non-vegetarian foods every day can contribute to the healthy growth of the foetus by providing essential fatty acids to the mother's body [5].

Over-indulgence of these non-vegetarian foods during pregnancy is not suitable for the growing foetus as the pregnant mother can suffer from health problems, especially digestion-related like diarrhoea, constipation, bloating etc.

Below are some of the best non-vegetarian foods you can consume during pregnancy. It would help if you made a note that these foods which are listed below should be consumed to a minimum when you are pregnant.

Non-Vegetarian Foods To Eat During Pregnancy

The types of non-vegetarian foods listed below are collected from studies on and opinions of pregnant women. Not every pregnant woman will have the same craving, and what could be a delight for you could make the other puke. So, we suggest that the expecting mommies take time, find out which non-veg food they prefer, and check for possible food repulsions or taste aversions.

1. Chicken: During pregnancy, chicken is one of the safest non-vegetarian foods you can consume. However, make sure that you do not indulge in spicy chicken foods too much as it could lead to an upset stomach [6]. Mildly spicy chicken dishes like malai chicken are a safe option for pregnant women.

2. Lamb: Lamb is a soft non-vegetarian food you can consume during pregnancy [7]. It is rich in proteins and vitamins too. Studies point out that pregnant women should have mutton compared to any other meat during pregnancy [8].

3. Beef: Red meat should be consumed in a significantly less quantity as it is high in cholesterol levels which can make you put on excess weight during pregnancy. Pregnant women can try beef dishes such as roast that are less spicy and well-cooked [9].

4. Tuna: Tuna sandwiches are one of the cravings most pregnant women face at the time of pregnancy. Tuna sandwiches should be consumed to a minimum. It is a high source of omega-6 fatty acids, which should be limited during pregnancy [10].

5. Eggs scrambled/boiled: The white of an egg is rich in calcium and will help the foetus's growth [11]. Egg white should be consumed by the pregnant mother for breakfast for the health of both the baby and the mommy.

6. Non-vegetarian soup: According to studies, soups are the best non-vegetarian food you can consume during pregnancy [12]. Soups are always a healthy addition to a pregnancy diet. They are a storehouse of antioxidants and easy to digest.

Non-Vegetarian Recipes For Pregnancy

1. Steamed Lemon Fish


  • Six fish fillets of your choice
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • One spoon of garlic paste
  • One pinch garlic powder/2 garlic cloves
  • Two tablespoons lemon juice
  • Two tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • Coriander leaves, as required
  • Salt, as required


  • Wash the fish fillets and marinate with salt, garlic paste, paprika and lemon juice for 20 minutes.
  • Pour water in a steamer or a pressure cooker (without weight).
  • Place the fish fillets in the steaming dish.
  • Steam cook for about six to eight minutes until the fish becomes flaky.
  • Remove from the steaming dish and garnish with coriander leaves.

Non-Vegetarian Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

All you have to keep in mind is that you should eat non-vegetarian foods in controlled quantities to avoid the risk of unhealthy weight gain, high cholesterol levels and risk of cardiovascular diseases [13].

However, if you can avoid consuming the following types of non-vegetarian foods during your pregnancy:

  • Deli-meat or precooked and cured meats that are sliced and served cold or hot due to listeria infection risk.
  • Raw eggs tend to carry the salmonella bacteria.
  • Fish that contain high levels of mercury, such as tuna, sea bass, mackerel etc.
  • Raw shellfish (sushi) are prone to algae-related infections.

On A Final Note...

Non-vegetarian food, when cooked well and healthily, is good for pregnant women. Make sure you watch what you eat and how much you eat.

Story first published: Wednesday, February 24, 2021, 18:49 [IST]
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