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Can I Eat At Cracker Barrel While Pregnant? [What To Know Before You Go]

Updated May 8, 2023

Are you expecting moms-to-be curious about the safety of eating at Cracker Barrel during pregnancy?

If so, we’ve got you covered!

This article will address all your worries and questions about eating at Cracker Barrel while pregnant.

Find out what foods are safe to eat, what health risks might be associated with dining at Cracker Barrel while pregnant, and more.

If you have been wondering Can I eat at Cracker Barrel while pregnant?

Yes, you can!

can I eat at cracker barrel while pregnant?

But ordering can be tricky at Cracker-barrel.

they are known for their homestyle southern cooking which isn’t always the healthiest option to eat during pregnancy.

So before you go let’s talk about it.


Can I eat at Cracker Barrel while pregnant?

Yes, you can eat at Cracker Barrel while pregnant.

Our OB/GYN Dr. Doug Penta, MD said that generally speaking it is safe to eat at Cracker Barrel while pregnant.

You’ll need to follow a few simple tips when ordering and making smart choices is important.

  • Order foods that are grilled, baked, or broiled

When choosing your dinner pick items that are baked, broiled, or grilled.

Cracker Barrel has many pregnancy-friendly, lower-calorie menu options a

Choose dishes that have grilled chicken or grilled fish as the main entree, and order broccoli or carrots, or green beans as your side.

  • Order the salad and soup combo

They have an incredible selection of salads that are not only delicious but are packed with nutrition that both you and your baby need.

  • House Salad: Tomato, cucumber, shredded cheddar cheese, and croutons on mixed greens.
  • Grilled Homestyle Chicken Salad
  • Soup & Salad Combo: Vegetable soup with a side house salad
  • Country Vegetable Plate: A healthy combination of steamed vegetables, including broccoli & carrots.

If you have a salad at Cracker Barrel you should avoid blue cheese and caesar dressing.

They are not safe to consume during pregnancy.

Ask that salads be made with no blue cheese crumbles.

It is safe to eat ranch dressing at Cracker Barrel.

They use a commercially prepared dressing that is pasteurized.

  • If you choose a burger or fried chicken or fried fish watch the portion size

If you must have a burger or fried chicken then limit it to once in a while.

Go for the grilled option as much as possible and watch the portion size.

  • If you order an appetizer share it with the table and only eat a small portion.

Cracker Barrel appetizers are high in calories, fat, and sodium.

Your best option is going to be to order vegetable soup or a house salad.

If you do go for one of the deep-fried high-calorie appetizers watch your portion size.

Enjoy a small serving.


What can pregnant women eat at Cracker Barrel?

Here are a few of Cracker Barrel’s pregnancy-friendly menu options:

  • Lemon Pepper Grilled Trout: This is made with wild-caught rainbow trout, seasoned with lemon pepper, and grilled to perfection.
  • Grilled Chicken Tenders: This dish is served with steamed vegetables and a side of mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese.
  • Country Vegetable Plate: This plate comes with roasted red potatoes, green beans, carrots, crispy onions, and your choice of
  • Maple Bacon Grilled Chicken: This is a healthier option than fried chicken, it’s made with grilled chicken and topped with bacon and maple syrup.
  • House Salad: This salad comes with tomato, cucumber, shredded cheddar cheese, and croutons on mixed greens.
  • Vegetable Soup: This soup has tomatoes, onions, potatoes, carrots, celery,
  • Broccoli Cheddar Chicken: Available on Wednesday only. This dish is made with grilled chicken, broccoli, and cheddar cheese sauce
  • Turkey and Dressing: Thursdays only. This dish features slow-cooked turkey, mixed with savory stuffing, and topped with onion gravy.
  • Homestyle Chicken Salad: A combination of grilled chicken, mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumber, and feta cheese. Ask that the feta cheese be swapped with cheddar cheese which is safer than feta cheese when you are pregnant.


What can I eat for breakfast at Crackerbarrel while pregnant?

Breakfast at Cracker Barrel is served all day and can be an excellent choice during pregnancy.

These are some pregnancy-safe options for breakfast:

  • Build Your Own Breakfast: Start with two eggs cooked to your liking and add sides such as smoked bacon, hashbrowns casserole, or fried apples
  • Pancakes: You can choose from buttermilk, blueberry topping, or chocolate chip pancakes.
  • Blueberry Pancakes: Made with wild Maine blueberries, these pancakes are topped with a sweet glaze and served with warm syrup.
  • French Toast: This dish is made with thick-sliced Texas toast, lightly coated in cinnamon, and topped with fresh strawberries if you’d like.

The breakfast casserole and fried apples are safe to enjoy during pregnancy.

They are high in calories so enjoy them in moderation.

Skip the sausage and the ham.

Cured and smoked meats pose a serious potential foodborne illness risk to pregnant women.

Processed meats like sausage and ham can carry listeria, which can be fatal to you and your unborn baby.

Our OB/GYN believes the risk of contracting listeria outweighs any benefits of eating smoked, cured, or processed meats.

Well-done bacon is generally considered safe to eat, but because it is high in calories, fat and sodium should only be enjoyed in small portions.


What are some menu items that I should avoid while pregnant?

You should avoid the following menu items while pregnant:

  • Fried Foods – southern fried chicken, homestyle fried chicken, and chicken fried chicken.

Having said that sharing a deep-fried appetizer with other people and having a small portion is fine.

As long as eating fried foods does not make you feel sick.

Some women find that during pregnancy eating fried foods causes them to have heartburn or makes their morning sickness symptoms much worse.

  • Drinks made with alcohol – Alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy.

There is no known safe amount of alcohol that can be consumed during pregnancy.

Cracker Barrel does have a good selection of non-alcoholic drinks.

  • Chef Salad – Avoid the Chef Salad as it has ham and turkey which are not safe for pregnant women to consume cold.

Deli meats and lunch meats should only be eaten by pregnant women if steam heated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Sugar-cured or country ham: This type of ham is not safe to eat as it has been cured in a sugar solution, which can make listeria more likely to grow.
  • Biscuits and Gravy: Biscuits and Gravy are high in fat, sodium, and calories.

During pregnancy, it is best to avoid this dish as much as possible.

The gravy could be a potential source of foodborne illness as it is made from cooked pork drippings.



Cracker Barrel Nutritional information for pregnancy-friendly menu options:

Lemon Pepper Grilled Trout:

330 calories

14g fat

43g protein


Grilled Chicken Tenders (Half Portion):

140 calories

30 fat

24g protein


Maple Bacon Grilled Chicken:

850 calories

43g fat

82g protein


Broccoli Cheddar Chicken:

690 calories

44g fat

40g protein


Turkey n’ Dressing:

580 calories

27g fat

42g protein


Roast Beef:

480 calories

29g fat

45g protein


Homestyle Chicken Salad (Smoky Southern Grilled Chicken Breast):

470 calories

21g fat

46g protein


Build Your Own Breakfast:

Varies depending on your selection


Buttermilk Pancakes with 100% Pure Natural Syrup (three pancakes with butter):

740 calories

29g fat

9g protein


Wild Maine Blueberry Pancakes: three pancakes with butter:

760 calories

29g fat

9g protein


French Toast: eight halves with butter:

990 calories

55g fat

25g protein

Egg Sandwich: two eggs, sourdough bread, tomato, mayonnaise:

470 calories

26g fat

20g protein


How can I ensure I am eating safely at Cracker Barrel while pregnant?

  • Stick to non-alcoholic drinks
  • Order a grilled or baked dish
  • Have the soup and salad combo
  • Make sure your meal is completely cooked.
  • Avoid any unpasteurized dairy products
  • Do not eat any raw or undercooked meats or seafood.
  • Skip the cured ham and sausage.


Helpful hints for eating at Cracker Barrel during pregnancy:

1. Try to go at less busy times during the day.

Cracker Barrel does not take reservations and they do not have call-ahead seating.

They do have a fast turnover for tables though and you shouldn’t have too long of a wait if you go at the less busy times of the day.

Try early morning, right after lunchtime, or after the dinner rush.


2. Plan to start with soup and salad

Cracker Barrel offers a soup and salad combo.

Start with a cup of vegetable soup

Or at least start with a salad.

Cracker Barrel is one of the best restaurants you can eat at during pregnancy because they have so many healthy options


3. Make smart meal choices

When ordering your meal, consider how you are feeling.

If you’re feeling tired or nauseous, for example, you might want to avoid heavy meals or foods that are high in fat and grease.

Instead, opt for lighter fare such as soup, grilled chicken, or shrimp.

Also, be sure to drink plenty of water throughout your meal to stay hydrated.


4. Ask your server for any modifications to your meal

If you have any special requests or needs, don’t hesitate to ask the waitstaff for assistance.

For example, if you want your chicken or fish cooked a little longer don’t hesitate to ask.


5. Ask for a take-out box

If you are getting full ask for a take-out box

That way you can enjoy the rest of your meal the next day.

If you want a dessert get one to go and enjoy with your partner or friends later on at home.


6. Choose broccoli instead of french fries for your side dish.

It can be tempting to order french fries as a side with your meal, but you’ll save fat and calories if you go with fresh vegetables instead.

If you want potatoes, you are better off getting a side of mashed potatoes.

Broccoli or carrots are both low in fat and calories and full of essential vitamins and minerals.



What foods should I not eat while pregnant?

  • Foods that are not pasteurized– certain types of cheese like soft cheeses, Brie, Blue Cheese, etc.
  • Certain types of fish– shark, swordfish, anything high in mercury
  • Raw eggs including egg nog, hollandaise sauce, homemade mayonnaise, homemade eggnog, and runny eggs.
  • Undercooked meats– lunch meats. Deli meats.
  • Hot foods that are not “hot”, avoid hot foods that have been sitting out without a warming source. Same for foods that should be eaten cold. If no ice or refrigeration source is keeping the food cold, take a pass.
  • Caffeine– soda, chocolate, and energy drinks. (Limit your caffeine to less than 200 mg a day)
  • Herbal Teas (There are so many ingredients in herbal teas so it is best to avoid them simply. Green tea is OK.)
  • Alcohol: There is no known safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy. Avoid sauces made with alcohol, desserts made with alcohol, and all alcoholic beverages.


Eating out during pregnancy’s first trimester:

When eating out during the first trimester of pregnancy, there are several things to keep in mind to ensure that you and your baby are safe and healthy.

Here are some tips:

  1. Do not eat raw or undercooked items, especially meats, poultry, seafood, and eggs,  you are at an increased risk of foodborne illness during pregnancy, especially from Listeria.
  2. Be cautious with foods that are high in mercury, such as swordfish, shark, tilefish, and king mackerel, as these can be harmful to your developing baby and may cause birth defects.
  3. Choose foods that are rich in folic acids, such as leafy greens to help support the healthy development of your baby’s neural tube.
  4. If you suffer from morning or all-day sickness, avoid fried or greasy foods.
  5. Eating small meals can help you keep your energy up and morning sickness symptoms reduced.
  6. Do not drink alcohol. There is no known safe amount of alcohol you can consume during pregnancy.
  7.  Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets during the first trimester of pregnancy. You can never be sure of how fresh the food is, the preparation method, or the temperature at which it has been kept.
  8. Yes, you can eat chili during early pregnancy if you feel up to it.
  9. Limit processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of caffeine. These can all lead to unhealthy weight gain and other problems during pregnancy.
  10. Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is important for both your health and the baby’s health.
  11. Don’t skip meals. Eating small, frequent meals will help to keep your energy up and prevent you from overeating later



  • Doug Penta MD OB/GYN

    Dr. Doug Penta, MD - Co-Founder of Maternity Comfort Solutions Dr. Doug Penta, is a seasoned Obstetrician and Gynecologist with over 38 years of practice, co-founded Maternity Comfort Solutions to provide evidence-based pregnancy and parenting information. A Boston University alum and former Clinical Professor at Harvard, his articles on Maternity Comfort Solutions offer expectant mothers invaluable nutritional insights.

  • Sue Winters RN

    Sue Winters, RN - Co-Founder of Maternity Comfort Solutions Sue combines 20 years of nursing with a rich background in early childhood education. Co-founder of Maternity Comfort Solutions, her articles provide creative toddler activities and practical tips on pregnancy nutrition and baby shower planning, embodying her commitment to supporting families through early parenthood.

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