Are Buffalo Wings Safe During Pregnancy?
The good news is that you can absolutely satisfy your craving for buffalo wings in moderation during pregnancy! Spicy foods like chicken wings likely won’t harm you or baby.
- Buffalo wings can be a good source of protein. Getting adequate protein is important during pregnancy to support fetal growth and development.
- If not breaded, buffalo wings can be a leaner protein option. Limiting fried and high-fat foods is generally recommended during pregnancy.
- Protein for baby’s growth and development
- vinegar could help relieve your killer heartburn. The capsaicin in hot sauces may also help clear sinuses.
- Many women crave spicy or flavorful foods during pregnancy. Eating buffalo wings in moderation can help satisfy these cravings.
- Buffalo wings are often high in sodium, which pregnant women are advised to limit to avoid excess fluid retention and increased blood pressure.
- The buffalo sauce, especially if very spicy, may aggravate heartburn which is already common in pregnancy.
- Eating undercooked chicken wings comes with a risk of exposure to harmful bacteria like salmonella. Pregnant women have increased susceptibility to foodborne illness.
- Some restaurants coat their wings in batter and deep fry them, adding extra calories, fat, and carbohydrates. Fried foods are not ideal in pregnancy.
- Listening to food cravings can lead to excessive weight gain in pregnancy if portion sizes are not controlled.
So I did some research on whether buffalo wings can be part of a healthy pregnancy diet. Here’s a breakdown of the key things to know:
Ingredients in Buffalo Wings
The main ingredients in traditional buffalo wings are chicken wings, butter/oil, hot sauce, and often bleu cheese or ranch dressing for dipping. Here are some thoughts on each:
Chicken – Lean protein like chicken is great during pregnancy! The protein helps support the baby’s growth and development. Chicken wings are not the leanest cut, but in moderation they can be a good source of protein.
Butter/Oil – Traditional buffalo wings are fried in butter or oil. Too much greasy food is not ideal in pregnancy as it can contribute to weight gain and heartburn. But again, in moderation, the fat used for cooking buffalo wings is not a big concern.
Hot Sauce – The hot sauce or buffalo sauce on wings generally contains vinegar and chili peppers. There are no known risks with eating spicy foods like this during pregnancy. Some research actually shows Spicy food irritates the esophagus when pregnant.!
Bleu Cheese/Ranch Dressing – These creamy, flavorful dressings make a great dipping sauce for wings. The main nutritional pros are adding some dairy for calcium intake, and healthy fats. Potential cons are increased calories and sodium. But a little bit of dressing is fine.
Health Benefits of Buffalo Wings in Pregnancy
When consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet, buffalo wings can provide some nice benefits for a pregnant woman and her baby, including:
- Protein for baby’s growth and development
- Iron from the chicken to prevent anemia
- Zinc for immune support
- Vitamin B12 for energy
- Calcium from the bleu cheese dressing
- Vitamin A from the hot sauce
Healthy Prep Tips
To make your buffalo wings as healthy as possible during pregnancy:
- Use an air fryer instead of deep-frying in oil
- Use reduced-sodium hot sauce
- Choose ranch dressing made with Greek yogurt instead of mayo
- Eat with celery sticks and carrot sticks for added vitamins
Recommended Portion Size
Nutrition experts generally recommend a serving size of 3-6 chicken wings in pregnancy. Any more and you risk too much saturated fat and sodium. Dip them lightly too – no drowning in bleu cheese!
When to Avoid Buffalo Wings
There are a few scenarios in which pregnant women may want to avoid buffalo wings, including:
- If you have gestational diabetes – the combination of fat plus carbs in the sauce could spike blood sugar
- If you have severe heartburn – the spice could aggravate it
- If you are vegetarian/vegan – opt for cauliflower buffalo wings instead!
Craving buffalo wings in pregnancy? In moderation, you can safely give into your spicy craving! A few wings 1-2 times per week is unlikely to cause harm. Just be mindful of preparation methods, portions, and listen to your body.
Hope this helps provide some guidance on balancing your buffalo wing craving with a healthy pregnancy diet. Let me know if you have any other questions!