Can you eat KFC coleslaw when pregnant?

In this article, we are going to answer can you eat KFC coleslaw when pregnant, what is KFC, is it healthy to eat KFC coleslaw when pregnant, and what is the risk of eating KFC coleslaw when pregnant, and how can you eat coleslaw safely. 

Can you eat KFC coleslaw when pregnant?

No, you can’t eat KFC coleslaw unless you can assure it has been properly washed and hasn’t been sitting in the fridge for long. Coleslaw is a high-risk food that can cause food poisoning in pregnant women. 

Any packaged coleslaw, even KFC coleslaw, has more risk of growing food poisoning bacteria because it is a high moisture food. 

Pregnant women are more at risk of developing the worst symptoms of food poisoning and it can harm both the mom and the baby’s health. 

What is KFC?

KFC stands for Kentucky Fried Chicken. Is an American Fast Food restaurant chain that specializes in fried chicken. It is based in Louisville, Kentucky. It is the world’s second-largest restaurant sales according to their sales after Mcdonald’s. 

It is one of the first fast-food chain restaurants to expand internationally. By the mid-1960s the restaurant opened in Canada, UK, Mexico, and Jamaica. It became so popular because it was the first fast-food restaurant to challenge the hamburger and served fried chicken.

The original menu offered pressure-fried chicken pieces, seasoned with Sanders’s recipe. Larger portions of fried chicken are served in a bucket. The menu has expanded now and it serves other chicken products such as

  • Chicken Filet sandwich
  • Chicken wraps
  • Salads 
  • Side dishes such as french fries and coleslaw
  • Desserts
  • Soft drinks

KFC adapts its menu internationally to suit regional tastes. For example in the USA they also sell grilled chicken, in India, they sell halal chicken, and in Asia, they have a preference for spicy foods. 

Is it healthy to eat KFC coleslaw when pregnant?

KFC coleslaw, nutritionally speaking, is the perfect option to eat with your KFC grilled chicken. It has fewer calories, fat, and sodium than other side options like french fries. 

KFC coleslaw is made with cabbage, dressing (sugar, soybean oil, water, vinegar, modified cornstarch, liquid egg yolk, salt, citric acid, mustard seed, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, ascorbic acid, natural flavor, paprika, calcium disodium EDTA, color) carrots and onion. 

One individual salad of 96 grams contains 120 calories which 72 calories are from fat, 8 grams of fat, 150 mg of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of sugars, and 1 gram of protein. 

KFC french fries contain 300 calories, 14 grams of fat, 770 mg of sodium, and 41 grams of carbohydrates. If compared to an individual portion of KFC french fries, KFC coleslaw is a better option but still, the risk of listeria is present. 

You can eat KFC coleslaw if you ask before if it has been stored properly to prevent any food poisoning. The general recommendation for pregnant women is to skip fast food as much as they can. Use some balance and follow a healthy diet so you can enjoy some cravings.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. A few nutrients need special attention during pregnancy, like folic acid, calcium, vitamin D, and omega 3 fatty acids. 

  • Ideally, 2 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables every day
  • Increase your intake of whole grains and cereal foods. Choose high fiber options
  • Milk, hard cheese, and yogurt are great options because they are high calcium foods.
  • Choose low-fat options and good fats: fats from vegetable sources like almonds, olive oil, and avocado. 
  • Choose lean proteins and choose low mercury fish options. 
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Always stay active
  • Avoid junk food whenever possible, it should not be part of regular meals
  • Check the labels before buying processed food to make the best option
  • Avoid buying canned food with syrup, look for canned food with plain/spring water or olive oil. 
  • Avoid pre-cooked or ready meals
  • Choose low-fat options 
  • Avoid food with added sugars
  • Avoid processed/undercooked meat
  • Skip fast-food restaurants, instead, try to do healthy meals at home 

What is the risk of eating KFC coleslaw when pregnant?

Coleslaw is a high moisture food. If not washed properly and not used soon after preparing it, there is a risk of food poisoning. 

According to the FDA, packaged or pre-made coleslaw salads can be contaminated with listeria after being processed and packaged at the plant. You need to reheat and cook it always. 

Although nowadays it’s very difficult to catch an infection, KFC coleslaw is a risk of infection. Especially foods from fast-food restaurants, that sometimes are not stored properly. 

The three main diseases you can contract if you eat uncooked deli meat are toxoplasmosis, salmonella, and listeriosis. Listeria monocytogenes are the main bacteria that can be found in high moisture food like KFC coleslaw. It causes listeriosis.

If you let the bacteria go too far, it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and other health problems. According to the American Pregnancy Association, approximately 2,5000 people will get infected with listeria every year.

It means that it’s very rare to get infected but pregnant women are in a more delicate condition and need to be a little more careful because it could lead to fatal health conditions. 

Toxoplasma Gondii is the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. For a normal, healthy person, it usually doesn’t cause any symptoms but for pregnant women, it’s too risky, it can cause serious health problems.  One important thing to add is that once you contract toxoplasmosis you can’t contract it again. 

Salmonella is a bacteria that can be very dangerous in pregnant women. It also causes digestive symptoms like the other pathogens listed above. One important thing about salmonella is that it can cause bacteremia, a condition where there is bacteria in the blood and can be fatal to pregnant women. 

So why are pregnant women more likely to get infected? Because their immune system is compromised and does not work as well as for a healthy person. Also, remember that while the baby is not fully developed, the baby it’s at risk too. 

Symptoms include

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chills and fevers
  • Muscle pain
  • In pregnant women, it may cause flu-like symptoms with fever and chills 

How can I eat coleslaw safely when pregnant?

Coleslaw is safe only when made at home. When you cook at home, you can control the quality of the ingredients and how much time has been in the fridge.

My recommendation is to follow this copycat recipe of KFC coleslaw, store it properly in an air-tight container in the fridge and write the date you made it. Use pasteurized mayonnaise and it can be stored properly for about 2 to 4 days. 

Also, by doing it yourself, you can skip all those extra calories and chemicals from KFC coleslaw because it is not made with real and high-quality ingredients. 


This article answered can you eat KFC coleslaw when pregnant, what is KFC, is it healthy to eat KFC coleslaw when pregnant, and what is the risk of eating KFC coleslaw when pregnant, and how can you eat coleslaw safely?” 


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.