Can you eat kung pao chicken when pregnant?

In this article we are going to answer whether you can eat Kung Pao Chicken when pregnant, is kung pao chicken the same as general Tso’s chicken, is Chinese food healthy to eat when pregnant, what is MSG, can you eat MSG when pregnant.

Can you eat kung pao chicken when pregnant?

Yes, you can eat Kung Pao Chicken when pregnant. Chinese food needs to be eaten in moderation when pregnant because it has a high content of sodium, sugar, and saturated fat.

Kung Pao Chicken is one of the healthiest options you can make when eating Chinese Food. It packs extra veggies and is topped with peanuts. The chicken in Kung Pao is not fried, which is a plus of fewer calories and less fat. 

Is Kung Pao Chicken the same as General Tso’s Chicken?

Kung Pao Chicken is an authentic dish from China whereas General Tso’s Chicken is a dish that has been created in Chinese restaurants around the US. 

They are similar but Kung Pao Chicken is a hot and spicy dish while General Tso’s is sweet and spicy. Also, Kung Pao Chicken has peanuts whereas General Tso’s does not include peanuts. 

Is Chinese food healthy when pregnant?

No, American Chinese food is high-calorie, high fat, and high carbohydrate food. If you are watching your weight, are pregnant, or have any disease that needs you to take care of your food, stay away from Chinese fast food. 

Kung Pao Chicken is one of the healthiest options in Chinese Restaurants. It is considered low-calorie and low in the saturated fat dish. Look for healthy recipes you can do yourself. 

1 cup of Kung Pao Chicken has 209 calories, 11 grams of fat of which 2.2 grams are from saturated fat, 651 mg of sodium, 11 grams of carbohydrates of which 4.9 grams are from sugar, and 16 grams of protein. It is definitely a good choice low in calories and low in saturated fat. Just watch out for sodium. 

What is MSG?

MSG is the short word for monosodium glutamate. It is a flavor enhancer that’s been used for years. It is present in some foods naturally but has been used in Chinese recipes, canned vegetables, soups, and other processed goods. 

MSG is a white, odorless, crystal powder. It is dissolved in water and is made by fermenting carbohydrate sources like sugar beet and sugar cane. It has a specific taste known as umami, which can improve the taste of food. 

Can you eat MSG when pregnant?

MSG is generally safe when pregnant. The Food and Drugs Administration says that MSG is safe when pregnant. Our bodies do not differentiate between natural MSG and chemical MSG. 

What is the risk of eating Chinese food when pregnant?

Chinese food can lead to weight gain and health problems. Kung Pao Chicken from fast food Chinese restaurants has a lot of calories and fat but it is a better option than General Tso’s chicken. 

If you have any of these health problems when pregnant you should not eat Chinese food. 

  • Weight gain
  • Gestational Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Preeclampsia

Too much fast food can lead to weight gain and health problems that can endanger baby and mom’s health. 

Weight Gain

This is a table that can guide you on how much weight you should gain. Weight control when pregnant is very important so you can have a healthy delivery. Just limit your intake of sugar and junk food. 

BMI at beginning of pregnancy (kg/m2)Recommended weight gain during pregnancy (kg)
18.5 underweight12.5 -18.0 kg
18.5 – 24.9 healthy11.15 – 16 kg
25.0 -29.9 overweight7.0 – 11.5 kg
more than 30 overweight5.0 – 9.0 kg

Gestational Diabetes

It is high blood sugar that develops when pregnant and disappears after delivery. It is a state where the body does not respond correctly to insulin. It can cause health problems for pregnant women and the baby. 

If you eat too much Chinese food your glucose can go up and have worsened health effects. If glucose is managed correctly, the risks can be reduced. 

Gestational High blood pressure 

Develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy and usually goes away after 12 weeks of postpartum. If you do not control blood pressure it can lead to low birth weight or preterm birth. You need to watch your sodium intake. 


Develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy, Is a sudden increase in blood pressure, and also includes damage to some organs such as kidneys or liver. It can be serious for mom and baby’s life. You need to limit your sodium intake. 

What diet should I follow when pregnant?

In general, when pregnant you should follow a healthy diet. Kung Pao chicken can be part of a healthy diet when made at home. 

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

Weight gain should be closely monitored because the mother and baby’s health depends on it. 

Can I make kung pao chicken healthy?

If you want to cut down on sodium intake which is the major problem with Kung Pao Chicken made in a Chinese restaurant, you can try a homemade version to make it healthier. Here is a recipe for Kung Pao Chicken that replaces your favorite Chinese take-out with only 300 calories, paleo, and is clean eating friendly. 

Other FAQs about Chicken that you may be interested in.

Can you cook chicken again?

Can you cook chicken at 225?

Can you cook chicken at 175 degrees?


This article answered whether you can eat Kung Pao Chicken when pregnant, is kung pao chicken the same as general Tso’s chicken, is Chinese food healthy to eat when pregnant, what is MSG, can you eat MSG when pregnant.


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