Can You Eat Beef Sticks While Pregnant?

Pregnancy cravings can strike at any moment, even for foods that may not be recommended during pregnancy. Beef sticks are a popular protein-packed snack, but are they safe to eat when you’re expecting?

In this article, we’ll take a close look at whether beef sticks should be on your list of foods to avoid during pregnancy. We’ll overview the potential risks and benefits, how to choose the healthiest options, suggested portion sizes, and situations when you may want to avoid beef sticks altogether.

What are Beef Sticks?

Beef sticks, also sometimes called meat sticks, are essentially just beef jerky in stick form. Lean cuts of beef are seasoned, cured, and then air or dehydrator dried into portable, chewy sticks.

Traditional beef sticks contain only beef, salt, spices, and curing agents However, some mass-produced, lower quality options may have additives like corn syrup, MSG, preservatives, and other fillers

Nutritionally, beef sticks offer protein, vitamins like B12 and niacin, and minerals including iron and zinc. They are low carb snacks, with less than 1 gram of carbs per serving.

Now let’s explore whether or not beef sticks can be safely enjoyed during pregnancy.

Are Beef Sticks Safe to Eat While Pregnant?

Beef and other meats are excellent sources of protein and nutrients for pregnant women. And when prepared properly, beef sticks should carry minimal risk of contaminants.

However, there are a few potential concerns to consider:

  • Foodborne illness – Improperly dried or stored beef may harbor bacteria, toxins or parasites. Proper handling is key.

  • Nitrates – Some contain nitrates/nitrites to preserve color. High intake may be linked to cancer.

  • Hypertension – Processed meats may increase blood pressure, which can be dangerous in pregnancy.

  • Listeria – Cured/fermented meats slightly increase risk of listeria infection.

As long as you choose high quality beef sticks with no questionable ingredients and consume moderate portions, they can be part of an overall healthy pregnancy diet. But safety starts with proper selection and storage.

Potential Benefits of Eating Beef Sticks During Pregnancy

Here are some of the main advantages beef sticks may offer pregnant women:

  • Convenient source of protein – Help meet increased protein needs.

  • Portability – Easy to keep in purse for on-the-go protein.

  • Nutrient-dense – Provide B12, iron, zinc and other nutrients.

  • Low carb – Contain under 1g net carbs per serving.

  • Curb cravings – Can satisfy cravings for something salty or savory.

  • No refrigeration – Shelf-stable and safe without refrigeration once dried.

  • Strong flavors – Provides flavor variety from plain meat and eggs.

Enjoying beef sticks in moderation can give pregnancy protein and nutrients a delicious, portable boost.

Potential Risks of Consuming Beef Sticks While Pregnant

However, there are also some potential risks associated with beef sticks in pregnancy:

  • High sodium – Most options are very high in salt content.

  • Nitrates/nitrites – Used as preservatives in some products.

  • Hypertension – Processed meats may elevate blood pressure.

  • Foodborne illness – Potential for contamination if not handled properly.

  • Harmful additives – Some contain corn syrup, MSG or other additives.

  • Listeria – Small increased risk of listeria infection.

  • Choking hazard – Can pose choking risk due to dense, chewy texture.

To minimize risks, choose high-quality beef sticks without concerning additives and enjoy in moderation. Properly reheating leftovers also reduces risks.

Tips for Selecting the Healthiest Beef Sticks

To identify the safest, highest quality beef sticks for pregnancy:

  • Check the ingredients list – Seek options with only beef, spices, salt and natural preservatives. Avoid added sugars, MSG, etc.

  • Seek grass-fed beef – Grass-fed meat contains more healthy omega-3s.

  • Look for natural cures – Celery powder, sea salt and vinegar are healthier than chemical curing agents.

  • Calculate cost per protein – Compare brands to find the best nutritional value.

  • Know portion sizes – Stick to recommended 1-2 ounce serving sizes.

  • Ensure proper storage – Refrigerate after opening and discard if moldy.

Making smart selections helps mitigate risks and maximize nutrition.

Healthy Homemade Pregnancy Beef Sticks

For full control over ingredients, nutrition and safety, pregnant women can also easily make their own homemade beef sticks:


  • 2 lbs grass-fed beef, sliced into 1/4 inch strips
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp coriander


  1. Mix spices and rub evenly over all surfaces of meat.
  2. Arrange strips in a single layer on dehydrator trays.
  3. Dehydrate at 155°F for 6-8 hours until dried but still flexible.
  4. Cool completely before tightly sealing sticks in an airtight container.
  5. Refrigerate after opening and enjoy within 1 week.

With just a few simple ingredients and steps, you can feel confident about what goes into homemade beef sticks.

Suggested Serving Sizes of Beef Sticks While Pregnant

It’s important not to overdo portions when snacking on processed meats like beef sticks in pregnancy. Here are some suggested guidelines:

  • 1-2 sticks per day maximum
  • 3-4 servings per week at most
  • Always pair with water to stay hydrated
  • Stick to recommended 1-2 ounce portions
  • Avoid using as a meal replacement

Listen to your body and ask your doctor about what beef stick intake is appropriate for your unique pregnancy needs. Moderation is key.

Should You Avoid Beef Sticks Altogether While Pregnant?

Certain circumstances may warrant fully avoiding beef sticks during pregnancy:

  • If you’ve been diagnosed with gestational hypertension or preeclampsia
  • If you develop food poisoning from meat products
  • If you have an intolerance or allergy to beef
  • If you experience gastrointestinal issues after eating processed meats
  • During a Listeria outbreak

There are plenty of other healthy proteins like yogurt, eggs, beans and nuts that can provide pregnancy nutrition if beef sticks don’t sit right.

The Bottom Line on Eating Beef Sticks During Pregnancy

Beef sticks can offer a protein-packed snack option for pregnant women when consumed in moderation and prepared properly. However, it’s smart to take extra precautions and know when to avoid them.

For maximum safety, make your own beef sticks or read labels carefully to choose high-quality store-bought options. Handle beef sticks properly, limit portions, and avoid them if you experience any discomfort.

As with any food in pregnancy, listen to your body and take care to make informed choices to keep both you and baby at your very best.

Are deli meats safe during pregnancy? Dietitian explains

Can you eat beef sticks while pregnant?

Well, eating beef sticks during pregnancy isn’t recommended. That doesn’t mean it will kill you, but there are lots of reasons why you should try to avoid them. What are they? And what will happen when you eat just one of them, for example? Keep reading, and you’ll know everything you need to! Are beef sticks ok when pregnant?

Do you crave beef sticks during pregnancy?

(Especially Slim Jims) It is a well-known fact that pregnant people often crave certain (usually not healthy) types of food, like fast food or some favorite snacks. And since beef sticks are a trendy snack, especially in the USA, you may definitely find yourself craving one of those thin, shiny pieces of meat during pregnancy.

Can you eat deli meat during pregnancy?

Processed meats to avoid during pregnancy (unless they are heated to the proper temperature) include deli meat (turkey, ham, bologna, chicken, roast beef, prosciutto, and pepperoni), hot dogs, bacon, and sausages. “If you heat [them] up in a skillet until [they’re] steaming hot, that should kill the bacteria,” says Jarosh.

Are processed meats safe during pregnancy?

When asked if processed meats are safe to consume during pregnancy, Willow Jarosh, MS, RD, a registered dietitian-nutritionist and author of “Healthy, Happy Pregnancy Cookbook,” has a two-part answer: “Lunchmeat [and other processed meats] can carry listeria,” she says.

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