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Can I Eat Panera Chicken Salad While Pregnant? [2023]

Updated May 8, 2023

Panera is a popular restaurant and a favorite among pregnant women when it comes to easy dining. 

Panera offers a variety of healthy food options, and its chicken salad is one of the most popular items on the menu.

But … can I eat Panera chicken salad while pregnant?


Can I Eat Panera Chicken Salad While Pregnant?


Are there any safety concerns pregnant women need to know about eating a chicken salad? 

In this article, we will answer this question so you can make safe choices when eating out during your pregnancy.


Can I Eat Panera Chicken Salad While Pregnant


Can I Eat Panera Chicken Salad While Pregnant?

Yes. You can eat Panera chicken salad if you are pregnant.

During pregnancy, if you are going to eat chicken salad at Panera or anywhere, for that matter, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind. 

The first is that you need to make sure the chicken salad is fully cooked.

Pregnant women must avoid eating raw or undercooked chicken, as it can lead to foodborne illness.

The second is to avoid any ingredients that could potentially be harmful to you or your babies, such as unpasteurized cheese or raw eggs.

If you are unsure about an ingredient in the chicken salad,  it is best to ask your server or check with the restaurant before ordering.

When it comes to chicken salad from Panera, the good news is that their chicken is fully cooked and their ingredients are safe for pregnant women to eat.


Can I Eat Panera Chicken Salad While Pregnant


However, there are still a few things to keep in mind about chicken salad:

First, since chicken salad is made with mayonnaise (raw eggs), you want to be sure it is pasteurized mayonnaise.

This is not likely to be a concern at Panera since it is a large commercial restaurant.

What would be a concern is if the mayonnaise is not properly refrigerated or your sandwich is not made to order.

Again, Panera makes their sandwiches after ordering so not likely a concern.

This can be a concern if you are offered a chicken sandwich at a hot summer cookout or potluck dinner.

In this case, it is best to stay clear of any foods, not just chicken salad, that is made with mayonnaise.

So if you are concerned about food safety, you may want to order your chicken salad without the mayonnaise, or ask for it on the side so you can add it yourself.

Pregnant women are at an increased risk for foodborne illnesses, such as Salmonella, Ecoli, and Listeria. 

These pathogens can cause serious illness and even death in pregnant women and their unborn babies.

While there may be no reported cases of Salmonella or Listeria infection from Panera chicken salad,  it is important to be aware of the potential risks.


foodborne illness pregnancy


Pregnant women should avoid eating a chicken salad that has been sitting out at room temperature for more than two hours.

If the chicken salad is refrigerated, it should be consumed within three days of opening. 

(Source: CDC Information About Listeria During Pregnancy)

The safest option for pregnant women is to eat freshly made chicken salad that does not contain any eggs.

While the risk of foodborne illnesses from raw eggs is low, it is still something to be aware of if you are pregnant.

If you are craving Panera chicken salad, you may want to consider asking for your chicken salad to be made with grilled chicken, which is less likely to be contaminated with bacteria than chicken that was cooked (Not knowing how long) in salad preparations.

By following these simple safety guidelines, you can enjoy your favorite chicken salad while keeping yourself and your baby safe from foodborne illnesses.


Why am I Craving chicken salad during pregnancy?

There are a few reasons why you might be craving chicken salad during pregnancy.

  1. First, pregnancy can cause changes in your sense of smell, which can lead to increased cravings for certain foods.
  2. Your body needs the extra protein in the chicken salad to help you meet your increased protein needs during pregnancy.
  3. You may be craving the vitamins and minerals in the chicken salad which help to keep you healthy during pregnancy.


Can I eat canned chicken while pregnant?

Yes, you can eat canned chicken while pregnant as long as it has not passed its expiration date.

Also, you want to be sure to handle the food properly once the can is opened and keep it refrigerated.

Related article: Can Pregnant Women Eat Imitation Crab?

I ate chicken salad while pregnant, is that ok?

Yes. The risk of foodborne illness is low.

Next time be sure the chicken is thoroughly cooked and be aware of the ingredients added to the chicken salad.

Ideally, the fewer additives the better with mayonnaise being the most important one to be cautious about.


Can I eat chicken while pregnant?

Absolutely, as long as the chicken is cooked thoroughly.

In fact, a plain piece of chicken cooked adequately carries little if any risk during or after pregnancy.

The important detail to remember is that cooking chicken is necessary to kill any pathogens, especially Salmonella.

If that is done, chicken is an excellent source of protein and overall nutrition during pregnancy.

It is safe to eat Rotisserie chicken while pregnant as long as you eat it hot and it has not been sitting out at room temperature.


Can I eat Burger King while pregnant?

The answer to this is yes you can eat burger king chicken while pregnant.

However, as with any fast food meal (chicken or otherwise), the risk is not that the food item would be harmful to your pregnancy but whether it is if it was not prepared properly.

That is a factor that is not within one’s control unless the food is prepared at home where you know how the ingredients were stored and handled.

Unfortunately, though fast-food restaurants have strict food preparation guidelines put out by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), there are still food-borne illnesses that occur at restaurants.

We usually learn about this when there is a news story reporting an outbreak of Ecoli, Salmonella, etc.

This is an inherent risk to eating at any restaurant whether you are pregnant or not.

The best one can do is make a judgment about where to eat based on the cleanliness of the restaurant and the ratings of the restaurant issued based on state guidelines.


What is the healthiest salad dressing?

The safest salad dressing for pregnant women is vinegar and oil.

Salad dressings have many additives and storage issues, it is best if you are unsure about how the salad dressing was prepared or stored that you choose vinegar and oil for your salad topping.

There are some that are off-limits, such as Ceasar Salad dressing (raw eggs) or other salad dressings made with unpasteurized ingredients.


Can you eat ham salad while pregnant?

Ham salad is a little more complicated when you are considering eating it during pregnancy.

We would suggest avoiding ham salad that is deli-made.

If you bake your own ham and make ham salad using pasteurized mayo, you should be fine.

It is important to keep your ham salad cold, do not leave it sitting out or sitting in a lunch bag without an ice pack.


What meats should you avoid when pregnant?

  • Cold cuts
  • Raw meat
  • Hot dogs
  • liver pâté
  • Processed meat
  • Some types of wild game meat

The health risks of eating the above types of meat include foodborne illnesses such as salmonella and listeria bacteria.

It is so important to cook all meats to their safe recommended temperature.


What are the symptoms of eating undercooked meat while pregnant?

The most common symptoms of a foodborne severe illness from eating undercooked meat are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fever

Symptoms of Listeria infection:

  • flu-like symptoms
  • fever
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • stiff neck
  • vomiting
  • muscle pain
  • convulsions
  • loss of balance


List of foods not to eat when 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, undercooked shellfish, raw oysters.
  • Raw eggs including homemade mayo, hollandaise sauce, and eggnog.
  • Undercooked meats – lunch 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 there is no ice or refrigeration source keeping the food cool, take a pass.
  • Caffeine- soda, chocolate. (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 simply avoid them. Green tea is OK.)



Overall, chicken salad from Panera is safe for pregnant women to eat, as long as you take a few precautions.

However, if you still have any questions or concerns about what you can and cannot eat during pregnancy, be sure to talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian.

They can help you make the best choices for you and your baby.

Eating out during pregnancy can be a fun and convenient way to get the nutrition you need during pregnancy.

Now that you know the safest options at Panera, go ahead and enjoy your meal without worry.

Hope this has helped answer the question: Can I Eat Panera Chicken Salad While Pregnant? 



  • 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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