Are you pregnant and wondering: Can I eat Panda Express while pregnant?
You’re not alone!
When I was pregnant I craved Chinese food all. the. time.
Panda Express was my go-to fast food restaurant for Chinese fast food.
Many expecting women are unsure of the healthiest choices on the menu.
We’ll break down the best and worst choices for pregnant women at Panda Express.
We’ll also provide some tips for making healthy decisions when eating out during your pregnancy.
Can I eat panda express while pregnant?
The answer is yes, but with a few caveats according to our OB/GYN Dr. Doug Penta, MD.
It’s important to remember that not all menu items are equally healthy when you’re expecting.
Eating large amounts of sodium, fat, and sugar can be detrimental to your baby’s growth and development.
When ordering from Panda Express, it’s best to stick with leaner proteins like chicken, shrimp, and beef.
These options are a healthier alternative to deep-fried dishes such as Orange Chicken.
Though a small order of orange chicken balanced with a side of super greens isn’t going to be harmful.
It’s also important to watch your portion size when eating out while pregnant.
Eating too much food can increase feelings of nausea and make it harder for your body to digest nutrients.
Ask for smaller portions when possible, or share dishes with a friend.
When it comes to sides, avoid fried rice and noodles.
These often contain added salt and fat which can be unhealthy for you during pregnancy.
Instead, opt for steamed veggies like broccoli, carrots, and green beans.
Panda Express usually offers steamed vegetables and steamed super greens aside options in place of fried rice or lo mein.
You’ll also want to watch out for dishes topped with sugary sauces.
Sweet and sour sauce and duck sauce are two sugary sauces you should enjoy in moderation and in smaller amounts.
Eating at Panda Express while pregnant can be safe and healthy if you make smart menu choices.
If you have gestational diabetes, you’ll want to skip the orange chicken, honey sesame chicken, honey walnut shrimp, and sweet fire chicken.
Those dishes have sweet sauces that are loaded with sugar which would not be a good choice when you are trying to watch your blood sugar levels.
Whether you’re in the mood for something light and healthy or hearty and filling, there’s a dish out there that will hit the spot.
And because Menu at Panda Express is so diverse, it’s easy to find dishes that are pregnancy-friendly.
Here are a few of our Panda Express Pregnancy-Safe favorites:
• Grilled Teriyaki Chicken: This dish is packed with protein and has a delicious teriyaki glaze that adds great flavor.
• Mixed Veggies: A mix of broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, baby corn, and water chestnuts is a tasty way to get in your veggies.
• Steamed Brown or White Rice: Both are low on the glycemic index and will help you feel fuller longer.
•Orange Chicken with brown rice and super greens: This dish is a great balance of protein and vegetables.
You can never go wrong with a small order of orange chicken from Panda Express.
Pair it with a side of super greens.
Super greens are steamed veggies made with broccoli, kale, and cabbage.
You can have it with steamed brown or white rice.
• Honey Walnut Shrimp: Honey walnut shrimp is a favorite among seafood lovers.
The lightly fried shrimp are covered in honey glaze and nuts, making this dish tasty without being overly filling
• Kung Pao Shrimp: This dish is a great source of lean protein and vegetables.
• Honey Sesame Chicken: This dish is one of the healthier options, as it’s lightly battered and served with a sweet and spicy sauce.
This is my FAVORITE dish at Panda Express.
The chicken is tender and leaner than the one in the orange chicken.
It also has thin grilled green beans mixed in.
I always ask for extra green beans
They are so good!
The sauce is more sweet than spicy, but because it is a little spicy be careful about the portion size.
Spicy foods can cause heartburn and make morning sickness symptoms worse.
Like most of the dishes at Panda Express, Honey Sesame Chicken has a lot of sodium.
So be sure to drink plenty of water with your meal.
Panda Express Honey Sesame Chicken-Maternity Comfort Solutions
• Mixed Veggies with Brown Rice: This dish packs a powerful combination of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
• Broccoli Beef and Steamed White Rice: The beef is lean and the broccoli is lightly steamed to preserve its nutrients.
The broccoli and beef at Panda Express are excellent with a side of super greens or steamed brown rice.
• Wok-Fired Chicken and Green Beans: This dish is low in calories and packed with flavor.
Making healthy choices at Panda Express can help you have a happy and healthy pregnancy.
Keep these tips in mind when visiting Panda Express:
Try to balance the number of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, and also make sure to get plenty of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
This will help you stay healthy during your pregnancy!
Also, remember to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
This will help your body better absorb the nutrients from food.
Nutritional Information for Panda Express Orange Chicken:
Total fat: 18g
Protein: 13 g
Sodium: 610 mg
Nutritional Information for Panda Express Honey Sesame Chicken:
Total fat: 8g
Protein: 16 g
Sodium: 610 mg
Nutritional information Panda Express Beef With Broccoli:
Total fat: 7g
Protein: 9 g
Sodium: 520 mg
Beef and Broccoli is a classic Chinese food.
This is a great option if you are looking to save on calories and carbohydrates.
Nutritional information for Panda Express honey walnut shrimp:
Total fat: 17g
Protein: 20 g
Sodium: 880 mg
Honey walnut shrimp is a favorite among seafood lovers.
The lightly fried shrimp are covered in honey glaze and nuts, making this dish tasty without being overly heavy.
Nutritional information for Panda Express Kung Pao Shrimp:
Total fat: 10g
Protein: 19 g
Sodium: 880 mg
What are the health risks of eating Panda Express while pregnant?
When eating out while pregnant, there is always the risk of foodborne illness.
To reduce this risk, order freshly cooked food and avoid dishes containing raw fish, seafood, or undercooked ingredients.
Also, do not let your meal sit out at room temperature for very long.
Eat it hot or if you won’t be eating it until later put it in the refrigerator and reheat it until steaming hot before consuming it.
How can I make sure that I’m eating a healthy meal while pregnant?
When ordering at Panda Express, look for dishes that contain proteins such as grilled chicken, lean beef, and plenty of vegetables.
Avoid dishes that are fried or topped with creamy or sugary sauces.
Also, choose steamed instead of fried rice or noodles.
And remember to watch your portion size!
Eating healthier portions can help you maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy.
Can I eat orange chicken while pregnant?
Yes, you can eat orange chicken while pregnant.
Orange Chicken is a popular dish at Panda Express and is made with chicken and lightly battered for a delicious flavor.
If you are going to order the orange chicken choose a smaller portion size and bulk it up with steamed rice and veggies.
You can also make orange chicken at home.
Your local grocery store likely sells Panda express orange sauce which you can use on chicken tenders or grilled chicken pieces.
If you make it at home you can control the amount of salt and MSG you add.
Can I eat dim sum when pregnant?
Yes, you can eat dim sum while pregnant.
Dim sum is a dish made of steamed buns and dumplings usually filled with vegetables and proteins.
Can I eat cream cheese wontons while pregnant?
Yes, you can eat cream cheese won tons from Panda Express while pregnant.
Keep in mind that the won tons are deep fried so you’ll need to watch your portion size, but having one with your meal is OK.
Can you eat food with MSG while pregnant?
MSG is best avoided during pregnancy as it can cause headaches and may make your symptoms of morning sickness worse.
I would get hot flashes and headaches after eating MSG during pregnancy.
Which would make me feel nauseous.
I always asked for no added MSG when ordering Chinese food.
Panda Express does not add any MSG to their food so you shouldn’t have any issues eating there.
What fast food can I eat while pregnant?
You can enjoy fast food while pregnant as long as you make smart choices.
Opt for dishes that contain proteins and plenty of vegetables, such as a grilled chicken with vegetables or a salad.
Also, choose steamed over fried dishes.
Fast casual Asian food offers some of the best options in fast food during pregnancy.
Think about balancing your carbs, proteins, and fats.
Can Chinese food be eaten during pregnancy?
Yes, Chinese food can be eaten during pregnancy.
Look for dishes that are steamed or lightly cooked with plenty of vegetables and added proteins. like beef or chicken.
Avoid dishes that are served raw to unpasteurized to reduce your risk of foodborne illness.
What Chinese food can you not eat when pregnant?
It is best to avoid dishes that contain raw or undercooked ingredients, such as sushi and sashimi.
You should also avoid dishes that are fried or heavily sauced.
Dishes made with unpasteurized dairy products should not be eaten during pregnancy.
Which fast food is healthy during pregnancy?
- When eating fast food during pregnancy choose lean proteins that are grilled not fried.
- Opt for dishes with lots of vegetables.
- Salads are generally healthy fast food. Skip the high-fat/high-calorie salad dressings
- If you decide to have a burger, get it loaded up with fresh veggies like lettuce and tomato.
List of foods not to eat when pregnant:
- Pregnant women should avoid certain foods that are not pasteurized, including soft cheeses, Brie, and Blue Cheese.
- They should also avoid certain types of fish high in mercury, undercooked shellfish, and raw oysters.
- Raw eggs are off-limits, as well as homemade mayo, hollandaise sauce, and eggnog.
- Undercooked meats and lunch meats should be avoided.
- Hot foods that have been sitting out without a warming source can be dangerous for pregnant women to eat.
- The same goes for cold foods that have no ice or refrigeration source keeping them cool.
- Caffeine should be limited to less than 200 mg a day during pregnancy
What should I eat every day during pregnancy?
- A pregnant woman needs to consume a variety of nutrients every day to support both her own health and the development of her baby, including protein, calcium, and iron.
- Protein can be found in meat, poultry, fish, legumes, and eggs.
- Calcium is necessary for strong bones and teeth; pregnant women should aim to get 1000 mg of calcium per day from low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese.
- Iron is important for the formation of new blood cells; pregnant women need about 27 mg of iron per day.
Tips for eating out in restaurants while pregnant:
- Avoid buffets – you don’t know how fresh the food is or how well it’s been cooked. Not going to be an issue at Panda Express, but a good tip to keep in mind as you plan where to eat out during pregnancy.
- Stick to restaurants that you know and trust – this way you can be sure that the food is fresh and of good quality.
- When in doubt, ask your waiter or waitress for recommendations on safe dishes to eat while pregnant.
- Order simple dishes that are easy to digest.
- Avoid anything with raw eggs or undercooked meat.
- Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine and alcohol
- Beware of hidden sources of sodium in restaurant food
- Avoid foods made with unpasteurized dairy products.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for a modification to your meal!
How to eat healthy during pregnancy:
Eating healthily during pregnancy is essential to the development of your baby.
Here are some tips to help make sure you are getting the nutrients you need:
- Eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. This will help ensure you get the vitamins, minerals, and fiber you need.
- Limit processed foods, sugary drinks, and excessive amounts of caffeine. These can all lead to unhealthy weight gain and other problems during pregnancy.
- Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is important for both your health and the baby’s health.
- Don’t skip meals. Eating small, frequent meals will help to keep your energy up and prevent you from overeating later on.
- Eating small frequent meals can help decrease morning sickness and heartburn