Eating Burgers in Pregnancy: Health Benefits & Harmful Effects

Eating Burgers During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?

Pregnancy is a time when your cravings can sometimes get the better of you and you may want to eat something that is usually not considered really healthy, pregnancy or otherwise. There are many everyday food items that taste delicious but can have a bad effect on the health of your baby. One such food that you might crave for during pregnancy is a burger. Although junk foods taste delicious, you may have to quit eating some of them (or eat them in limited amounts) during pregnancy for your baby’s good health. Here’s what you should know about eating burgers during pregnancy.

Can You Eat Burgers During Pregnancy?

Nutritionists usually advise pregnant women to refrain from consuming junk and processed foods during pregnancy as they are unhealthy and offer zero nutritional value to the baby. So if you are wondering if you can eat a burger from your favourite eatery, the answer is a firm ‘no‘, but don’t be disappointed. You can enjoy a homemade burger once in a while. As long as you choose the right filling for your homemade burger, you can eat it!

Are There Any Health Benefits of Eating Burgers While Pregnant?

There are no benefits of eating a store-bought burger. Even if the restaurant or food-chain where you usually eat burgers from claim that they use whole wheat buns or make their burgers from ‘fresh produce only’, you should avoid eating them as they may not be healthy. However, you can definitely enjoy some healthy homemade burgers, by using the right ingredients. 

Harmful Effects of Eating Burgers During Pregnancy

If you ever have the temptation to go for a take-out burger from a burger joint, resist the temptation. Why? Because eating burgers can be harmful to your baby’s health. Here are some of the harmful effects of eating burgers when pregnant:

  • In case your burger comprises of high-fat meat and fattening toppings you may be consuming excess calories which can lead to unnecessary weight gain and even cardiovascular problems.
  • Sometimes the meat used to make the burger patties may be stale or undercooked which can increase the risk of food poisoning during pregnancy. If the meat you use is unhygienic, it can lead to food poisoning. Sometimes, meat can also contain hormones, which can be dangerous for you during pregnancy. 
  • Pregnancy is the time when you may like to go in for a healthy and wholesome diet. Eating ‘junk food’-concentrated diet during pregnancy can result in negative health effects. So, avoid making burgers a part of your routine diet while pregnant.

Is it Normal to Crave Burgers in Pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a time where you crave the most random of foods, and you’ll be surprised to know that burgers might top the list. Whether you were a burger connoisseur before pregnancy or rarely ate them, you might find yourself craving a good burger during this time. This is completely normal and nothing to worry about.

Burger Toppings That Are Safe To Eat While Pregnant

Sometimes, burger toppings are what make or break a burger. If you’re making burgers at home during pregnancy, you may want to choose your favourite toppings. Here are some burger toppings that are safe to add to your homemade burger.

  • Tomato & Onions: The most common and safest burger topping, all you have to do is ensure these are properly washed.
  • Lettuce: If you like lettuce in your burger, there’s no harm in adding some during pregnancy too. Ensure that the leaves are individually washed.
  • Fried Eggs: Eggs provide a host of nutrients during pregnancy, and are perfectly safe to add, as long as they are thoroughly cooked. 
  • Pickles: Most women crave pickles during pregnancy, so adding these to your burger will do more good than harm. Just make sure you restrict the quantity to a few slices, as pickles have a high salt content.
  • Cheese: There’s no overall judgement on whether cheese is healthy or not, as it ultimately comes down to which cheese you choose. Hard or semi-soft cheeses that are made with pasteurised milk are safe, so make sure you check the label for these terms.
  • Sauces: The main concerns with sauces are salt, eggs, and preservatives. Choose a sauce that is free of egg (or at least contains pasteurised eggs). Better yet, make your own sauce at home for optimal health.

How to Make a Healthy Burger at Home?

If you are craving for a burger, you don’t have to order one from a store. You can fix yourself a healthy burger at home. Here’s how you can make one!

  • Go in for finely ground fresh lean meat or chicken patty as it contains less saturated fat. Lean meat is considered a healthier form of protein which may positively affect the development of foetal tissue.
  • Add a lot of vegetables like chopped carrots, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes to your burger as it can provide the much-needed dose of potassium, phosphorus, calcium and vitamins A, C, B1 required for the wellness of pregnancy.
  • Make patties using black beans, quinoa, and lentils as they are a good source of protein, fibre, and micronutrients. These ingredients will help you tackle one of the most difficult pregnancy symptom constipation.
  • Spice your burger with herbs like thyme, basil, oregano, and sage as they are rich in antioxidants and do not pose any side effects.

What is the Right Temperature to Cook Burger During Pregnancy?

Buying a food thermometer during pregnancy will ensure that any meat you cook is safe to consume. All poultry should be cooked to a minimal internal temperature of 165° F. Meats such as pork or mutton should be cooked till at least 145° F if they are not ground. All ground meats should reach a temperature of at least 160° F.

Tips To Consider While Making Healthy Burger When Pregnant

Here are some tips to keep in mind when making homemade healthy burgers during pregnancy.

  • Make sure the meat is properly cooked before eating. If you’re in doubt, don’t eat it.
  • Avoid adding too many store-bought sauces as they are high in sodium and preservatives.
  • All meats and veggies used should be thoroughly washed.
  • Even if you’re using lean meat, do not go beyond the daily recommended limit for pregnant women.
  • Try and incorporate healthy veggies and ingredients so you’re getting the right nutrients while satisfying your craving.


1. Can Pregnant Women Eat a Cold Burger?

It is not safe to eat a burger cold out of the refrigerator, as there might be bacterial growth since storing. You can definitely store a burger in the fridge within 2 hours of preparing it, as long as it is in an airtight container. Additionally, eat it within a day or two or storing, and heat it up to at least 160° F to kill any bacterial growth that may have occurred.

2. Is It Safe To Consume Veggie/Vegan/Vegetarian Burger During Pregnancy?

Most veggie burgers are safe to consume during pregnancy, as long as you made them at home. Make sure you thoroughly wash all the vegetables being used, and avoid any vegetables that may be unsafe during pregnancy.

Burgers or other junk foods don’t offer any nutritional value to a pregnant woman or her baby. If you crave a burger or any other unhealthy food, just remember that it won’t do any good to your baby – this thought will keep you from reaching for unhealthy foods during pregnancy. However, if you still want to enjoy it once in a while, you can make a healthy burger using cheese, paneer, soya chunks, or lean chicken. Add colourful veggies and healthy fats like egg yolk, coconut oil, or olive oil. Better yet, consult your doctor before including any unhealthy food in your pregnancy diet.


1. Foods to avoid in pregnancy; NHS;; May 2023

2. Hu. Z, Tylavsky. F, Kocak. M, et al.; Effects of Maternal Dietary Patterns during Pregnancy on Early Childhood Growth Trajectories and Obesity Risk: The CANDLE Study; PubMed Central;; February 2020

3. Dominguez. L, Martínez-González. M, Basterra-Gortari. F, et al.; PubMed Central;; 2014

4. Healthy eating in pregnancy; NHS;

5. Meat, Poultry & Seafood – Food Safety for Moms to Be; U.S. Food & Drug Administration;

Also Read:

Eating Mussels in Pregnancy
Eating Pizza when Pregnant
Is It Safe to Eat Chicken during Pregnancy?

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