Can I Eat Chomps While Pregnant? A Detailed Guide

Eating a healthy diet is especially important during pregnancy. The foods you eat provide nourishment for both you and your growing baby. Many pregnant women wonder if they can enjoy popular snacks like Chomps meat sticks while expecting.

Chomps are a type of meat snack made of grass-fed and finished venison or beef. They contain just a few simple ingredients and are marketed as a high-protein, low-carb snack.

But are Chomps safe to eat during pregnancy? Do they provide good nutrition for you and your baby? Here is a comprehensive guide examining if and when you can eat Chomps meat sticks while pregnant.

Key Takeaways: Eating Chomps While Pregnant

  • Chomps are considered safe to eat in moderation during pregnancy for most women. Focus on the original beef and venison flavors.
  • Chomps provide protein and nutrients like iron, zinc, and B vitamins that support a healthy pregnancy diet. But they are high in sodium.
  • Limit intake to 1-2 Chomps per day and be mindful of your overall sodium consumption. Avoid flavored Chomps.
  • Always check with your doctor about any diet concerns, including eating meat snacks like Chomps. Some women may need to restrict intake.

Are Chomps Safe to Eat During Pregnancy?

Most healthy pregnant women can safely eat Chomps as part of a balanced diet. However, it’s always best to consult your doctor about any dietary concerns.

Some key factors determining the safety of eating Chomps while pregnant include:

Ingredients

Chomps contain just a few simple ingredients: meat, spices, vinegar, sea salt, and cherry powder. The original flavors use venison or beef as the first ingredient.

This minimal ingredient list means Chomps avoid concerning additives like MSG, nitrites, and artificial colors. The ingredients in Chomps are generally recognized as safe for consumption during pregnancy.

However, some Chomps flavors contain additional ingredients like jalapeño or habanero peppers which may be best avoided during pregnancy. Spicy foods can sometimes cause heartburn or nausea, which many expecting mothers already experience.

Risk of Foodborne Illness

There is a small risk of foodborne illness when eating any raw or cured meats while pregnant. Food poisoning from E. coli, salmonella, listeria, or toxoplasma can be dangerous during pregnancy.

Proper food handling and cooking meat to recommended temperatures minimizes this risk. While Chomps are a cured, ready-to-eat product, following food safety best practices provides an extra layer of protection.

Mercury Levels in Meat

Some types of seafood contain high levels of mercury, which can be harmful in pregnancy. But the mercury concentrations in beef, pork, venison, and other red meats are very low.

Eating up to 12 ounces per week of lean meats like Chomps is considered safe regarding mercury exposure during pregnancy. Those with high meat intake may need to monitor mercury levels more closely.

Sodium Content

Chomps are quite high in sodium, with a 1 oz meat stick containing around 180-360 mg. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg per day.

Consuming too much sodium during pregnancy can increase swell and raise blood pressure levels. Those with hypertension or preeclampsia need to be especially mindful of sodium intake.

To reduce the sodium content, look for the reduced sodium Chomps varieties or smaller snack sizes. Be sure to account for sodium from all other foods in your diet as well.

Nutrition Profile of Chomps for Pregnant Women

Chomps can provide beneficial nutrition for pregnant women and babies when consumed in moderation. Here is the nutrition profile of Chomps meat snacks:

Protein

Chomps are an excellent source of protein. A 1 ounce stick contains about 13-15 grams of protein.

Protein supports fetal growth and development during pregnancy. It also helps maintain maternal muscle mass, supports milk production, and keeps mom feeling fuller between meals.

Iron

Chomps provide heme iron, the most easily absorbed form. Beef Chomps contain around 15% of the daily iron needs per serving.

Iron is essential to make hemoglobin and transport oxygen to the baby. Pregnant women need extra iron to support their blood volume expansion. Iron deficiency is common in pregnancy.

Zinc

Zinc is critical for fetal brain development and a healthy immune system. Chomps deliver around 15-20% of the daily zinc requirements per serving.

Vitamin B12

Chomps are a good source of vitamin B12, with about 45-60% of the RDA. B12 supports energy levels and red blood cell formation in mom and baby.

Selenium

Important for thyroid function and antioxidant activity, Chomps provide around 20-25% of the selenium you need daily while pregnant in a 1 oz serving.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Chomps are made from grass-fed beef and venison, meaning they provide anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA. These support baby’s brain and eye development.

Are There Any Risks of Eating Too Many Chomps While Pregnant?

While Chomps can be included as part of a healthy pregnancy diet, there are some potential downsides of overdoing it on the meat snacks:

Weight Gain

Chomps are high in calories and fat compared to other snack options. Consuming too many may contribute to excessive weight gain during pregnancy.

Sodium Overload

With up to 360mg sodium in a serving, eating more than 1-2 Chomps per day quickly adds up, putting you over the recommended limits. Excess sodium is linked to increased pregnancy complications.

Other Nutrient Imbalances

If Chomps make up a substantial part of your diet, you may miss out on other key pregnancy nutrients like calcium, vitamin C, folate, and fiber found in produce, dairy, legumes and whole grains.

Food Safety Risks

As with any cured meat product, the risks of foodborne illness may increase with frequent, high intake. Moderation is key for food safety.

Mercury Build-Up

While mercury in red meat is low, regularly consuming more than the recommended serving sizes could potentially lead to excessive mercury exposure over time.

To prevent these risks, enjoy Chomps in moderation as part of an overall balanced prenatal diet. Pay attention to the rest of your food intake and nutrition.

How Many Chomps Can You Safely Eat Per Day During Pregnancy?

There are no strict limits on how many Chomps pregnant women can eat each day. However, moderation is key.

Here are some general guidelines for safely incorporating Chomps into a healthy pregnancy diet:

  • 1-2 Chomps per day is a reasonable amount for most women, providing about 15-30g of protein.
  • Limit portion sizes to 1-2 ounces of meat sticks per snack to control calorie, fat, and sodium intake.
  • Avoid eating Chomps as your main protein source at meals. Include a variety of lean proteins like poultry, fish, beans, nuts.
  • Use Chomps to replace less healthy snacks like chips, cookies or candy rather than nutritious foods.
  • Look for the reduced sodium Chomps to help limit your total daily sodium consumption.
  • Drink plenty of water to offset the sodium content.
  • Avoid meat snacks with added spices, hot peppers or teriyaki sauce which may aggravate pregnancy symptoms. Stick to original flavors.

Again, it’s wise to get personalized advice from your prenatal nutritionist or doctor about how many Chomps fit into your total recommended dietary intake for pregnancy.

The Best Chomps Flavors to Eat While Pregnant

When choosing Chomps, stick with the original meat flavors without a lot of added spices, ingredients or salt.

Recommended Chomps Flavors:

  • Original Beef
  • Original Venison
  • Black Pepper Beef
  • Reduced Sodium Beef

These simpler Chomps flavors contain just beef or venison, sea salt, and minor spices. They have the lowest sodium levels and avoid questionable additives.

Chomps Flavors to Avoid When Pregnant:

  • Spicy flavors like Jalapeño Cheddar, Chili Lime Crunch, Chipotle Cherry
  • Teriyaki or BBQ flavors
  • Exotic meats like ostrich, boar, elk
  • Any flavor containing MSG, soy, liquid smoke, maltodextrin or excessive spices

Spicy seasonings and additional ingredients may worsen pregnancy side effects like heartburn. Limiting sodium keeps swelling under control. And game meats could have higher mercury levels.

Tips for Safely Eating Chomps During Pregnancy

Follow these tips for safely enjoying Chomps as part of your pregnancy diet:

  • Check with your doctor that eating cured meats like Chomps is allowed.
  • Look for the cleanest ingredient list – just meat, vinegar, salt and minimal spices.
  • Store Chomps sealed in the refrigerator after opening.
  • Discard any damaged packages or expired product. Don’t take risks!
  • Wash your hands before handling Chomps to prevent cross contamination.
  • Consider microwaving Chomps for 30 seconds before eating to reduce bacterial risk if you are immuno-compromised.
  • Avoid cross contamination by keeping Chomps away from raw meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood. Use separate cutting boards.
  • Do not re-freeze thawed Chomps.

Following basic food safety practices helps minimize any risks related to consuming cured meats like Chomps while pregnant.

Healthy Ways to Enjoy Chomps When Pregnant

Here are some nutritious ways to incorporate Chomps into snacks and meals during pregnancy:

  • Roll up Chomps in a whole wheat tortilla with veggies for a protein-packed wrap.
  • Stuff half a Chomps stick into a pitted date for a sweet-savory snack.
  • Chop Chomps into a kale salad topped with avocado, nuts, fruits and a vinaigrette.
  • Add diced Chomps to omelets, breakfast tacos or breakfast bowls.
  • Use crumbled Chomps as a pizza topping in place of less healthy pepperoni or sausage.
  • Skewer cubes of Chomps and pineapple for grilled kebabs.
  • Fold Chomps into an antipasto salad with olives, roasted peppers and marinated artichokes.
  • Mash half a Chomps stick with avocado, lime and spices for a twist on guacamole.

Chomps can add protein, flavor and texture when paired with fruits, veggies, whole grains, healthy fats and other nutritious ingredients.

FAQs About Eating Chomps While Pregnant

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about consuming Chomps meat sticks during pregnancy:

Are Chomps considered raw meat?

No. Chomps are a ready to eat, shelf-stable product. They undergo a curing and drying process that preserves the meat. No further cooking is required. However, taking precautions like microwaving before eating reduces any potential risks.

What about nitrates/nitrites in Chomps?

Chomps are nitrate and nitrite free. They use natural sources of nitrates like celery juice concentrate to cure the meat without artificial chemicals. The amounts are small and within safe limits for pregnancy.

Can the spices in Chomps cause heartburn?

In general, spicy flavors like jalapeño or chili can worsen pregnancy heartburn. Milder seasonings like in the Original Chomps are less likely to cause issues. Drinking plenty of fluids can help dilute spice irritation.

How long do Chomps last unrefrigerated?

Chomps have an 18 month shelf life when stored below 77°F. Once opened, it’s best to refrigerate and use within 2-3 weeks to maximize freshness. Discard expired or damaged product. Don’t take risks with foodborne illness.

Do Chomps need to be cooked before eating during pregnancy?

No. Chomps are a ready to eat food. Some women prefer to briefly microwave to reduce any bacterial presence. But cooking is not required. Make sure to separate and sanitize surfaces when handling Chomps raw to avoid cross contamination.

The Bottom Line – Should You Eat Chomps While Pregnant?

Eating 1-2 servings per day of Chomps in the recommended simple flavors can be safe for most healthy pregnant women as part of a balanced diet. In moderation, Chomps offer nutritious benefits.

However, those with hypertension, gestational diabetes or other complications should get personalized guidance from their doctor on consuming cured meats like Chomps. Watch your total sodium intake.

When choosing Chomps, opt for the original beef and venison sticks without a lot of fancy flavors or spices. Follow proper food safety practices for handling. And pair Chomps with plenty of fresh produce, whole grains, nuts, seeds and dairy.

Focusing your diet on real, minimally processed foods will provide the best nutrition to support you and your growing baby over these vital 9 months.

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