Table of Contents
- Is Lasagna Safe During Pregnancy?
- Nutrition Facts of Lasagna
- Benefits of Lasagna Ingredients During Pregnancy
- Potential Risks of Eating Lasagna While Pregnant
- Tips for Enjoying Lasagna Safely During Pregnancy
- Lasagna Recipes for Pregnant Women
- Frequently Asked Questions About Lasagna and Pregnancy
Is Lasagna Safe During Pregnancy?
Lasagna is generally considered safe to eat during pregnancy as long as you follow basic food safety guidelines. According to the CDC, pregnant women are at higher risk for getting food poisoning, so it’s important to reheat cooked lasagna to 165°F and avoid unpasteurized cheese. As long as you take these precautions, indulging in some cheesy, saucy lasagna in moderation can be A-OK while pregnant!
Nutrition Facts of Lasagna
A typical lasagna serving contains:
- Calories: 500-800 depending on ingredients
- Carbs: 45-60g from pasta and vegetables
- Protein: 25-40g from cheese, meat, pasta
- Fat: 25-40g from cheese, meat
- Vitamins & Minerals: Vitamins A, C, B6, calcium, iron, zinc from tomato sauce, cheese, vegetables
So lasagna packs a punch when it comes to key nutrients that promote fetal development and mom’s health during pregnancy. Let’s break down the benefits of the main lasagna ingredients:
Benefits of Lasagna Ingredients During Pregnancy
- Excellent source of complex carbs and energy
- Provides B vitamins like folate, iron, and zinc
- Fortified pasta contains extra iron and B vitamins
According to the CDC, pregnant women need at least 400 mcg of folate daily to prevent neural tube defects and support fetal development. A cup of enriched cooked pasta contains over 90 mcg folate , so lasagna is a tasty way to get those nutrients!
2- Tomato Sauce
- Rich in vitamin C, A, lycopene
- Vitamin C boosts iron absorption and immune health
- Lycopene is an antioxidant that may lower risk of preeclampsia 
- Low in fat and calories compared to creamy sauces
The American Pregnancy Association recommends pregnant women eat five servings of vitamin C-rich foods like tomato sauce daily.
- Packed with protein, calcium, vitamin A, zinc, vitamin B12
- Calcium promotes healthy fetal bone development
- Protein supports mom and baby’s growth
- Go for pasteurized cheeses like mozzarella, ricotta or parmesan
The WHO recommends pregnant women get 1,000-1,300 mg of calcium daily from foods like cheese for optimal maternal and fetal health. Lasagna can help you hit this goal!
Cheeses like ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan add delicious flavor and creaminess. Soft cheeses like ricotta can pose a risk for listeria if unpasteurized, so confirm they are made from pasteurized milk. Hard cheeses like parmesan are safe if pasteurized (FDA).
- Red meat or vegetarian proteins provide iron, zinc, vitamin B12
- Iron prevents anemia and nourishes baby
- Zinc supports immune function and development
- Ensure meat is cooked thoroughly to avoid bacteria
Lasagna often contains cooked ground meat like beef, pork, turkey, or chicken. Make sure any meat is cooked thoroughly to the proper internal temperature to avoid foodborne illnesses:
- Spinach, mushrooms, onions, carrots add fiber, vitamins A, C, K
- Fiber aids digestion, prevents constipation common in pregnancy
- Vitamin K is crucial for blood clotting and bone health
Piling on nutrient-dense veggies amps up the nutritional value of lasagna. Consider adding a side salad for an extra dose of pregnancy superfoods!
Potential Risks of Eating Lasagna While Pregnant
While lasagna can be a healthy option during pregnancy, there are some potential risks to keep in mind:
- Too much fat and calories leading to excessive weight gain. Practice portion control and balance lasagna with veggies, fruits and whole grains.
- Heartburn from acidic tomato sauce, cheese or spices. Limit portion size and avoid late night meals to minimize reflux.
As long as you take precautions to enjoy lasagna safely, it can be a nutritious addition to your pregnancy diet in moderation!
Tips for Enjoying Lasagna Safely During Pregnancy
Here are some tips for satisfying your lasagna craving while pregnant:
- Use pasteurized cheese or mozzarella to avoid bacteria.
- Cook meat, poultry and eggs thoroughly to at least 165°F.
- Avoid uncooked vegetables like leafy greens which could contain parasites. Cook all veggies.
- Reheat leftover lasagna until steaming hot before eating.
- Make smaller single-serve lasagnas instead of a big pan.
- Limit portion size to 1 serving and pair with a salad.
- Add extra veggies like spinach, carrots or zucchini to boost nutrition.
- Choose whole wheat or veggie noodles for more fiber and nutrients.
- Use lean cuts of meat, reduced fat cheese and low fat milk in recipe.
- Avoid adding wine or alcohol and stick to low-sodium tomato sauce.
Satisfy those lasagna cravings with these simple modifications for a healthy, safe pregnancy meal!
Lasagna Recipes for Pregnant Women
Here are some delicious lasagna recipes that are perfect for pregnant moms:
1- Vegetarian Lasagna
All the flavor without the meat! This vegetarian lasagna uses lentils, spinach, carrots and mushrooms for a hearty meat-free meal.
2- Butternut Squash Lasagna
Butternut squash lasagna provides vitamin A, fiber and potassium from the squash along with spinach and cheese.
3- Chicken Broccoli Lasagna
Get a protein boost with this chicken broccoli lasagna made with a homemade alfredo sauce.
4- Mini Turkey Meatball Lasagna
An easy mini turkey meatball lasagna recipe perfect for portion control.
5- Lasagna Soup
Satisfy lasagna cravings with this easy lasagna soup loaded with veggies.
Frequently Asked Questions About Lasagna and Pregnancy
Lasagna provides many nutrients pregnant women need like protein, iron, calcium, folate, and vitamins A, C and K from the cheese, tomato sauce, pasta and vegetables.
The acidic tomato sauce, cheese and seasonings in lasagna may worsen pregnancy heartburn for some women. Eat small portions, avoid laying down after eating, and have antacids ready.
Yes, lasagna recipes with seafood like shrimp or imitation crab can contain mercury. Limit seafood lasagna to once a month and avoid high mercury fish.
No, lasagna should not sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Leftover lasagna should be refrigerated and reheated to 165°F before eating to prevent foodborne illness.
Ground turkey is a healthier choice over ground beef when making lasagna. It has less total and saturated fat and less than half the calories per ounce compared to beef.
Lasagna can be a safe, healthy and delicious meal option when you’re expecting if you take a few smart precautions. Use pasteurized ingredients, limit portions, pile on nutritious veggies, and reheat thoroughly. Satisfy your lasagna cravings with kid-friendly recipes and tips for avoiding heartburn, excess calories and food poisoning. Lasagna in moderation can provide essential nutrients for mom and baby! Now go enjoy a cheesy slice (or two).