Can I Eat a Reuben Sandwich When I’m Pregnant? Let’s Find Out!😊

Reuben-Pastrami-Sandwich-in pregnancy
Reuben-Pastrami-Sandwich-in pregnancy

First, let’s talk about what exactly goes into a Reuben. This popular deli sandwich is typically made with:

  • Sliced corned beef
  • Sauerkraut
  • Swiss cheese
  • Russian or Thousand Island dressing

All of these ingredients are piled high on rye bread and then the whole thing is grilled or toasted until the bread is crispy and the cheese melts. 😋

It’s a delicious sandwich that’s been around since the 1920s. But is it safe for pregnant ladies? Let’s look at each ingredient more closely.

Is it Safe to Eat Deli Meat During Pregnancy?

One of the biggest concerns with Reubens is the corned beef, which is a type of cured and cooked deli meat.

Unfortunately, deli meats carry a risk of listeriosis during pregnancy. Listeriosis is an infection caused by bacteria called listeria. 🦠

Pregnant women are 13 times more likely to get listeriosis than the general population because it can cross the placenta and infect the baby. 🤰👶

The symptoms are usually mild for mama – things like fever, muscle aches, and upset stomach. But it can cause serious complications like miscarriage, premature birth, or even stillbirth in rare cases. 😢

For this reason, the CDC recommends avoiding deli meats unless they are heated until steaming hot. The heating kills any bacteria.

So if you’re craving a Reuben, I’d suggest leaving off the cold corned beef to be on the safe side. You can replace it with hot pastrami or even turkey if you heat it up first! 🥪🔥

What About Swiss Cheese – Can I Have That?

Now let’s look at the Swiss cheese on a Reuben. In general, most cheeses are totally fine to eat during pregnancy as long as they are made from pasteurized milk. The pasteurization process kills any dangerous bacteria like listeria. 🧀👍

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Swiss cheese sold in the US is required to be made from pasteurized milk. So the cheese in your Reuben should be perfectly safe! Enjoy that yummy, melty goodness. 😋

One exception is soft cheeses like feta, Brie, Camembert, blue cheeses, and Mexican-style cheeses like queso fresco. These are more risky because they have higher moisture content where bacteria can grow. I’d avoid those when expecting. But hard cheeses like Swiss get the green light! 🚥

Is Sauerkraut Okay for Pregnant Women?

Alright, now onto the tangy sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is raw, fermented cabbage that gives Reubens a sour kick. 🥬

The fermentation process helps create good bacteria called probiotics that support gut health. And probiotics are great for moms-to-be! They can help reduce the risk of complications like preeclampsia or eczema in your little one.[HL] 👍

However, because sauerkraut is raw, it also carries a risk of food poisoning if it’s contaminated during processing.

The easiest solution is to cook your sauerkraut before eating it. Quickly sautéing or steaming it can help kill any bacteria present. This lets you enjoy all the probiotic benefits safely! 😄

If you do want to eat raw sauerkraut, look for brands clearly labeled as “unpasteurized” in the refrigerated section. And make sure to check the expiration date. This kind is less risky because it’s handled carefully to prevent contamination.

Russian Dressing – Yay or Nay?

Russian dressing is the creamy, pickle-y condiment that brings all the ingredients together. But some mamas-to-be wonder if it’s off-limits due to its raw egg content. 🥚

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Luckily, most commercial Russian dressings sold today are made with pasteurized eggs or egg substitutes. This kills any salmonella or other bacteria that could be present.

So the Russian dressing is likely low risk and you can keep it on your pregnancy-safe Reuben! Check the ingredients list on the bottle to be sure it doesn’t contain any raw egg product.

If you want to be extra cautious, you could swap it for a homemade Russian dressing made with a pasteurized egg substitute or a cooked egg-based mayo. Safety first! 😊👍[USDA]

How to Make a Pregnancy-Safe Reuben

Okay, we’ve broken down all the ingredients! Now let’s talk about how to put them together into a pregnancy-safe Reuben you can truly indulge in. 🤤

Here are some tips:

  • Skip the deli meat and use cooked, heated meat instead like turkey, roast beef, or veggie burger. Make sure it’s steaming! 🔥
  • Go for melty Swiss cheese, as long as it’s made from pasteurized milk. Avoid soft cheeses. 🧀
  • Lightly cook your sauerkraut before adding it to the sandwich to kill any bacteria. Or use refrigerated, unpasteurized sauerkraut if available. 🥬
  • Use a Russian dressing made with pasteurized eggs or egg substitutes. Check the ingredients first! 🥚
  • Grill the sandwich so the bread is nice and toasty and the cheese melts beautifully. 😋
  • Serve it up with pickle slices and pretzels for a satisfying meal.

So you see, with a few tweaks you can definitely still enjoy all the delicious flavors of a Reuben sandwich during your pregnancy! Your belly will be happy. 🤰😊


Here are some common questions about eating Reubens when pregnant:

Can I Eat A Reuben From A Restaurant Or Deli While Pregnant?
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It’s best to avoid Reubens from restaurants and delis because the deli meat is typically not heated to the recommended safe temperature. Opt for a veggie or non-deli meat Reuben to be safest.

What If The Corned Beef Is Organic Or Nitrate-Free? Is It Okay Then?

Even organic and nitrate-free deli meats still carry the risk of listeriosis for pregnant women unless they are heated until steaming. So it’s best to avoid cold deli corned beef.

Can I Use Pastrami Instead Since It’s A Cooked Meat?

Yes, pastrami is a great cooked alternative to replace the corned beef! Just make sure it’s heated all the way through until steaming before adding it to your sandwich.

Do I Have To Cook My Sauerkraut If It’s The Refrigerated, Raw Kind?

No, the specially packaged raw, refrigerated sauerkraut is generally lower risk. But for maximum safety, briefly cooking it is recommended. Use your best judgment!

Can I Eat Reubens From My Favorite Local Deli?

If your favorite deli uses cooked meats and pasteurized ingredients, a Reuben from there is probably okay every once in a while. But confirm their practices first, as deli procedures can vary greatly. When in doubt, opt for a modified version!


Alright mommas, let’s recap! While traditional Reubens contain some higher risk ingredients for pregnant women, you can customize them to be safe and delicious with a few simple tweaks:

  • Use cooked, heated deli meat or veggie alternatives
  • Go for pasteurized cheeses like Swiss
  • Lightly cook raw sauerkraut before adding
  • Confirm Russian dressing is made with pasteurized eggs
  • Grill that baby up so the cheese melts beautifully!

Enjoy your pregnancy-friendly Reuben with peace of mind. Your tummy and your little bump will thank you! 🤰😋 Let me know if you have any other questions!

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