Can I Eat Portillo’s While Pregnant?

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Updated May 20, 2022

Are you craving an Italian beef sandwich?

Are you wondering “Can I eat at Portillios while pregnant?

We’ve got the answer!

And we will also be sharing the safest items to enjoy off the menu of this iconic restaurant!

Can I Eat Portillo's While Pregnant?

Portillo’s is a Chicagoland restaurant with multiple Illinois, California, and Arizona locations.

They are famous for their Italian beef sandwiches, hot dogs, salads, and their chocolate cake shakes.

But when you are pregnant some of those foods may not be safe to eat.

So let’s talk about some safe ways to can satisfy your craving for Portillios while pregnant.


Can I Eat Portillo’s While Pregnant?

Yes, you can safely enjoy many of the items on the Portillos menu according to our OB/GYN, Dr. Doug Penta, MD. He told us that yes, generally speaking, pregnant women can eat at Portillo’s. Some menu items are better choices than others though. Italian beef sandwiches are safe to eat because the meat is cooked and served hot. Hot dogs at Portillo’s are likely very safe but are not the best choice for pregnant women.

Hamburgers and cheeseburgers are safe to eat as long as they are thoroughly cooked. ask for them to be well-done and do not eat them if the meat is still pink.


Can I eat Italian beef while pregnant?

Yes, it is safe to eat Portillos Italian Beef while pregnant.

The beef is cooked, kept hot, and served hot.

There is nothing quite like a Portillos Italian beef sandwich so let’s talk about the best way that let’s talk about it.

Regular Italian beef nutrition

  • Calories 690 
  • Grams of fat 34 power carbs 5933 g of protein
  • Sodium 1237 mg

The big beef sandwich

  • Calories 1040 
  • Grams of protein
  • 50 grams of Carbs

The big beef sandwich has 1856 mg of sodium

That sounds like a lot of calories and carbs.

What we usually do is order a big beef sandwich and we split it.

It’s the best way to do it.

You can also order the big beef sandwich they cut it in half you can wrap up the other half and take it home and have it for lunch the next day they’re amazing when you reheat them.

If you are craving Portillo’s Italian beef and you are pregnant there is a way for you to enjoy it safely.

Portillo’s also makes a beef bowl!

The classic beef bowl has  450 calories, 1 g of carbohydrates, and 38 g of protein.

This is a superb choice if you are pregnant and craving Portillo’s.


Is Portillo’s gorgonzola cheese pasteurized?

Yes, the gorgonzola cheese at Portillo’s is pasteurized.

But wait.

Gorgonzola cheese is a soft cheese and is not safe to consume during pregnancy.

If the gorgonzola is served cold and not thoroughly cooked it carries a risk of having Listeria.

Listeria grows in moist cheese like Gorgonzola even if it is pasteurized. 

Listeria can cause a foodborne illness that can harm you and your unborn baby.

If you order the Chopped Salad at Portillo’s ask for it without Gorgonzola.

Cheddar cheese is a much safer option.


Can you eat Portillo’s hot dog while pregnant?

Yes, you can eat a Portillo’s hot dog while pregnant.

As long as the hotdog is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F there is no reason why you cannot get a dog.

Hot dogs can get a bad rap during pregnancy because they can carry listeria but cooking them at high internal temperature will kill any bacteria.

When you order them from Portillos they cook them to order and serve them hot.

So if you are craving a Chicago dog from Portillo’s you can enjoy one while you are pregnant

Hotdogs are not considered the most nutritious food.

But if you’re at Portillo’s and you’re not interested in an Italian beef, cheeseburger, chicken sandwich, or a chopped salad and all you want is a hotdog then go ahead and enjoy one.

Occasional indulgence during pregnancy will not harm you or your baby.


Is roast beef sandwich OK during pregnancy?

Roast beef sandwiches are a classic lunchtime favorite, but you may be wondering if they’re safe to eat during pregnancy.

The good news is that roast beef is perfectly safe to eat during pregnancy, as long as it’s cooked to a safe internal temperature.

Roast beef that is rare or medium-rare may contain harmful bacteria that can make you sick, so it’s important to make sure that your roast beef is cooked through.

If you’re ordering a roast beef sandwich at a restaurant, be sure to tell the server how you would like your steak cooked.

You can also ask for your sandwich to be made with roasted beef that has been heated until it’s steaming hot throughout.

With a little care, you can enjoy a delicious and safe roast beef sandwich during pregnancy.


What Italian food can I eat when pregnant?

There are a number of delicious Italian dishes that are safe to eat during pregnancy.

One of the most popular is spaghetti bolognese, which is made with ground beef, tomatoes, and a variety of herbs.

Another favorite is lasagna, which can be made with either meat or vegetables.

Whole grains: pasta, is an excellent choice that will help keep you feeling full.

Just be sure to avoid heavy sauces: creamy Alfredo or carbonara sauce can be difficult to digest, so opt for a lighter option like tomato sauce

Pizza is also a good option, as long as it is made with low-fat cheese and free of processed meats such as pepperoni or sausage.

Other safe choices include vegetable soup, minestrone, and risotto.

For a sweet treat, gelato or tiramisu are both excellent choices. By choosing from these pregnant-friendly options, you can enjoy a delicious Italian meal without worry.


Can you eat Italian meats while pregnant?

Here is the deal with cold cuts and deli meat during pregnancy.

They are not safe to eat cold.

They must be heated to 165 degrees and served hot.

The main concerns with eating Italian meats or cold cuts during pregnancy are the risk of Listeria, Salmonella, Toxoplasma gondii, and e.coli infection.

These are types of pathogenic bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses.

Symptoms of listeriosis include fever, muscle aches, and diarrhea.

Infection with Salmonella produces similar symptoms including:

foodborne illness pregnancy


What meats should you avoid when pregnant?

  • Cold cuts
  • Raw meat
  • 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 severe foodborne illness from eating undercooked meat are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fever


List of foods to not 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
  • Raw eggs including egg nog, hollandaise sauce, homemade mayonnaise, and runny eggs.
  • 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 cold, 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 avoid them simply. Green tea is OK.)



Final Thoughts

So, what’s the verdict?

Can you eat Portillo’s while pregnant?

Yes! You can enjoy all of your favorite menu items at Portillo’s without any worries.

Just make sure to order wisely and stick with food that is low in mercury and other harmful toxins.

With a little bit of planning, you can indulge in everything that makes Portillo’s so special – including their crave-able Chicago-style hot dogs – during your pregnancy.