Are you pregnant and love eating hot dogs? Have you heard about numerous warnings about eating hot dogs during pregnancy? Hot dogs are quite popular at barbecues, gatherings, picnics, and of course, basketball games! But is it safe to eat hot dogs when you are expecting? Read on to know more!
hot dogs
Ingredients In A Hot Dog
Is It Safe To Eat Hot Dogs During Pregnancy?
Other Risks Associated With Hot Dogs During Pregnancy
How to Cook Hot Dogs during Pregnancy to make Safe?
Guidelines For Eating It

Ingredients In A Hot Dog

Unlike determining if a particular vegetable or fruit is safe to consume during pregnancy when we are assessing a cooked product like hot dogs, we need first to determine if each of them is safe to consume during pregnancy, in isolation or in combination. So let us first see what a hot dog contains.
Hot dogs, also known as frankfurter or wiener, are a yummy snack that has a cooked sausage put between a partially sliced bun and topped with sauces. Let us look at what ingredients make up a regular hot dog:

  • A bun or a bread
  • Processed meat (usually chicken or beef, but could be other meat such as pork and turkey as well)
  • Flavourings added to processed meat, such as garlic, salt, pepper and paprika
  • Garnishes, such as mustard sauce, tomato ketchup, caramelized onions, mayonnaisecheese and coleslaw
  • Preservatives, such as sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite

Now, while none of these ingredients can potentially harm the child (as long as healthy and hygienic cooking standards are maintained), a quick look at the list will also tell you that all the ingredients are processed, and not very healthy. So, should you be eating hot dogs during pregnancy?

Is It Safe To Eat Hot Dogs During Pregnancy?

There is no reason to avoid hot dogs during pregnancy completely.
While the dish is definitely not healthy—we will come to this in the next section—it is also not necessarily harmful to the pregnant woman or the growing fetus as well. One thing that we need to be very careful about is that the hot dogs are cooked very well, at a temperature of over 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Why is this important? All processed meats, such as sausage, are known to be contaminated by a bacteria named Listeria during the packaging stage of the production. The good news is that heat can kill Listeria. The bad news is that if by some means the bacteria is consumed by the mother, it gets passed on to the fetus, and this can lead to stillbirth or miscarriage. So the key is to ensure that the meat is cooked thoroughly. Listeria infections are rare, but pregnancy is not the time to take any unwanted risks.

Other Risks Associated With Hot Dogs During Pregnancy

  • Hot dogs contain sodium that is higher than what is usually allowed during pregnancy. Sodium is not only bad for heart, but in the case of a pregnant woman, it can lead to complications in the delivery and birth defects in the unborn baby. So try to include natural food that is rich in sodium in your pregnancy diet rather than foods like hot dogs that contain a lot of sodium
  • If you eat a hot dog of the cart, then there are many risks associated with it. First of all, the quality of food is one of the major risks. The risks associated with contamination, artificial colouring, etc. are also present when eating a hot dog from the street
  • Another risk that is associated with hot dogs is sensitivity to the ingredients that go into the hot dog. When you are pregnant, your body may not accept the mustard you were always fond of, or you may have an allergic reaction to certain cheese or spices present in a hot dog.

How to Cook Hot Dogs during Pregnancy to make Safe?

Cooking hot dogs any of the common methods are fine, and its temperature is the important thing to look out, and the internal temperature should be 175f/75c.
When you are cooking hot dogs and have it as soon after cooking it and don’t leave it sitting or cooling down for a long time, when cooking from frozen be careful, they are cooked well or not.
Some cooking methods are given below, and always it depends on the size and shape of the hotdogs.

  • Oven baking – hot dogs should be oven-baked for ten minutes at about 350F/175c temperature and cook them well on all sides, Follow the instructions given on the pocket.
  • Boiling – It is rather than keeping the hot dogs in hot water as instructions tell you to do given on many packets, boil the hot dogs well for 2-3 minutes. The hot dogs should be steaming hot in the water when taken it out. Don’t keep the hot dogs in the warm water before serving for a long time.
  • Microwave– it is a common method to microwave hot dogs with some water in a safe bowl. More people wrap the hot dog in a paper towel and cook for a minute, but the time depends on the microwave power only. So it varies.

hot dogs during pregnancy

Guidelines For Eating It:

So, as we said before, it is ok to consume hot dogs during pregnancy as long as you cook it at a high temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. That said, it is also not necessarily healthy.

  • Hot dogs are not high on nutrition. One regular hot dog contains about 200 calories of energy, but only less than 10 grams of proteins, 12 grams of fat, and at least 500mg of sodium. None of these really affect your baby, but they are definitely not healthy as well and can result in unhealthy weight gain
  • Processed foods such as bread and bun can spike the sugar levels, and this can aggravate the problems of gestational diabetes
  • The preservatives used in hot dogs – sodium nitrates – have faced a lot of flak in the past as one research has connected sodium nitrate to pancreatic cancer and increased risk of heart problems. However, the research also said that to be impacted to such a bad extent, one has to consume very high quantities of sodium nitrate. So one hot dog will not really matter, but many might
  • Another major problem with hot dog consumption is that it fills you up with unhealthy calories, and this might prevent you from eating good healthy food such as fruits and vegetables for a long time. As you would know, eating healthy and nutritious food during pregnancy is very important. So, while having one well-cooked hot dog does not really do any harm, it should not replace your otherwise balanced diet
  • Avoid eating hot dogs on the street or stores where the sausages and buns are spinning around the heat rollers. As mentioned earlier, they are associated with a high risk of contamination
  • If you are crazy about hot dogs, in order to avoid risks associated with nitrates and sodium, you can check out the meat-free hot dogs available in the market. These hot dogs are low in fat, contain grains, vegetables, and soy, and what more, they almost taste like the real one!

So, in conclusion, there is no reason to avoid hot dogs during pregnancy completely. If you are craving for one, go ahead and have it, after making sure that is it properly cooked to kill the bacteria that might be present. But at the same time, make sure you make up for the lost nutrition by adding more healthy and varied dishes on your plate for the next meal. Also, do consult your doctor before adding hot dogs to your pregnancy diet.

Have a safe pregnancy!