Is Turkey Bacon Safe to Eat During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy comes with a whole host of diet dos and don’ts. Some foods that were once staples become off-limits, while cravings kick in for unusual things. One common pregnancy question is whether turkey bacon is safe for moms-to-be.

With all the warnings about deli meats, processed foods, and red meat during pregnancy, it’s natural to wonder if your beloved morning bacon is still okay. Let’s explore whether turkey bacon is safe in pregnancy and how to enjoy it responsibly.

Why Pregnant Women Worry About Bacon

Before diving into turkey bacon specifically, it helps to understand general bacon concerns during pregnancy.

Here are a few common worries:

  • Nitrates/Nitrites – Bacon contains sodium nitrate and nitrite to preserve and add color There are concerns these form cancer-causing compounds when cooked

  • Bacteria – Raw bacon can harbor Salmonella, Listeria, Toxoplasma and other bacteria if improperly handled.

  • High Sodium – Bacon is very high in sodium, which can contribute to edema and high blood pressure.

  • Saturated Fat – The high saturated fat content poses heart health risks if eaten in excess.

So in light of these concerns, pregnant women want to be extra cautious with all bacon products, including turkey.

Is Turkey Bacon Processed Like Pork Bacon?

Turkey bacon undergoes a similar curing, smoking, and cooking process as regular pork bacon. The main difference is the meat itself, since it comes from turkey rather than pig.

Turkey bacon is still considered a processed meat, even though it often contains fewer additives than pork bacon. Here’s an overview of how it’s made:

  • Turkey breast or thigh meat is combined with water, salt, sugar, and flavorings in a curing process.

  • Nitrites are often added to preserve color, although some turkey bacons are nitrite-free.

  • The turkey is smoked, cooked, and sliced to resemble bacon strips.

So while turkey bacon is often marketed as a “healthier” bacon, it still undergoes a decent amount of processing and may contain controversial ingredients like nitrites.

Nutritional Pros and Cons of Turkey Bacon

Understanding how turkey bacon differs nutrition-wise from regular bacon can help inform if it’s safe for pregnancy:


  • 50-80% less fat and calories than pork bacon

  • Lower in saturated fat

  • Still offers protein, zinc, iron, B vitamins

  • Lower sodium options available


  • Still high in sodium compared to many foods

  • Processed meat may increase pregnancy diabetes risk

  • Nitrates/nitrites can form carcinogens when cooked

So while turkey bacon has some benefits over pork, it still carries risks if eaten in excess. Moderation and proper cooking are key.

Dos and Don’ts for Safely Eating Turkey Bacon While Pregnant

Here are some best practices for safely enjoying turkey bacon during pregnancy:


  • Choose turkey bacon with no nitrates/nitrites
  • Look for low-sodium or reduced-sodium options
  • Cook thoroughly until steaming hot and crispy
  • Use the microwave for fastest, fool-proof cooking


  • Eat straight from the package without cooking
  • Microwave uncooked turkey bacon
  • Undercook turkey bacon before eating
  • Ignore “best by” dates on packaging

As long as you follow basic food safety rules, you can safely satisfy a turkey bacon craving during pregnancy.

Healthy Ways to Enjoy Turkey Bacon While Pregnant

Rather than shun turkey bacon completely, focus on incorporating it in healthy ways, such as:

  • Turkey bacon lettuce wraps or sandwiches
  • Turkey bacon bits sprinkled on salads
  • Baked sweet potato or squash topped with turkey bacon
  • Turkey bacon and egg breakfast tacos
  • Turkey bacon-wrapped dates or melon

Get creative and combine it with veggie- and fiber-rich foods to balance out the sodium and saturated fat!

How Much Turkey Bacon Is Safe During Pregnancy?

As with any food, honoring cravings in moderation is key during pregnancy. Having turkey bacon 1-2 times a week is likely fine, but daily consumption may be excessive.

To limit portions:

  • Stick to 2-3 slices per serving
  • Avoid eating multiple servings in a day
  • Balance it out with healthier foods and snacks

Listen to your body and cut back if you experience pregnancy heartburn, swelling or other signs of excess sodium.

Healthier Bacon Alternatives to Try

If you love the taste of bacon but want to minimize pregnancy risks, here are some healthier alternatives to try:

  • Mushroom bacon – Roasted mushrooms replicate smoky bacon flavor

  • Tofu bacon – Marinated and baked tofu slices offer the crunch without the fat

  • Tempeh bacon – Smoky, chewy goodness from marinated and fried tempeh

  • Bacon seasoning – Add smoky flavor to veggies and lean proteins without actual bacon

  • Canadian bacon – Offers pork bacon flavor with less fat since it’s made from the loin

The Bottom Line on Turkey Bacon and Pregnancy

At the end of the day, incorporating a few servings of turkey bacon into your weekly pregnancy diet is unlikely to cause harm. Just be sure to read labels, cook it properly, and enjoy in moderation along with plenty of nutritious whole foods.

Listeria and nitrate concerns shouldn’t prevent pregnant women from satisfying the occasional bacon craving in a responsible way. Be choosy about the quality and quantity, and turkey bacon can be part of an overall balanced prenatal diet.

Common Questions about Turkey Bacon and Pregnancy

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about eating turkey bacon during pregnancy:

Is turkey bacon processed?

Yes, turkey bacon is processed in a similar way to pork bacon through curing, smoking, and cooking. It is however often lower in sodium and nitrites than pork bacon.

Is turkey bacon healthier than regular bacon?

Turkey bacon is lower in calories, fat, and sodium compared to regular pork bacon. However, it is still high in sodium and considered a processed meat.

Does turkey bacon have nitrates/nitrites?

Some turkey bacon contains added sodium nitrate or nitrite like pork bacon. However, you can also find nitrate/nitrite-free options made with natural preservatives like celery powder.

Can I get listeria from turkey bacon?

Properly cooked turkey bacon does not pose a listeria risk. You only need to worry about listeria with deli-style meats eaten cold.

Can I microwave turkey bacon while pregnant?

It’s safest to microwave turkey bacon during pregnancy until piping hot. Microwaving partially cooks the bacon which creates a bacteria risk.

How much turkey bacon is safe per day?

Consuming 2-3 slices of turkey bacon 1-2 times per week is likely safe during pregnancy. Limit portion sizes and avoid eating it daily.

What are some healthier bacon alternatives?

Some alternatives to try include mushroom bacon, tempeh bacon, turkey bacon bits, Canadian bacon, bacon seasoning, and small servings of regular pork bacon.

Is turkey bacon healthier than the regular stuff?


Is turkey bacon safe for pregnancy?

Bacon alternatives during pregnancy However, turkey bacon is still considered processed meat. You can remove the worries of handling raw meat by replacing it with soy-based bacon. Make soy-based bacon at home by marinating strips of tempeh or tofu in spices and then either frying or baking them.

Can I eat turkey meat while pregnant?

To be on the safe side and to avoid any possibility of salmonella contamination, cook until your turkey reaches 180ºF before consuming. 3. Leftover turkey – Turkey sandwiches are a popular leftover tradition, but the leftover cold turkey meat still poses a risk of listeria just like regular deli meats.

Can I eat turkey burgers while pregnant?

Raw or undercooked meat Avoid undercooked meat, especially poultry, pork, sausages and burgers. Any meat you eat should be cooked thoroughly, should not be pink or have any blood coming out of it.

Is turkey sausage safe for pregnancy?

You’ll need to pay attention to temperature, too, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): For sausage made with lamb, pork, beef, or veal, aim for an internal temperature of 160°F (71.1°C). For varieties made with turkey or chicken, aim for a bit warmer — 165°F (73.8°C).

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