Can you eat MREs while pregnant?

In this brief guide, we will discuss the following question, “can you eat MREs while pregnant?”, and other queries related to this topic.

Can you eat MREs while pregnant? 

Yes, you can eat MREs while pregnant but it is advisable to limit them intact to when it is extremely necessary. MREs are packed food, so they are very high in sodium. Generally, pregnant women should reduce their sodium intake to avoid water retention.

A pregnant woman should only consume 2400 milligrams of sodium which is equivalent to one teaspoon of table salt. However, pregnant women, as well as the general population, are consuming more than the recommended sodium quantities. 

Each MRE provides around 1250 calories. One MRE contains 36% fat, 13% proteins, and 51% carbohydrates. When MREs are stored and handled correctly, they will not have any effect on pregnant women’s health.

What are MREs?

MREs are Meals Ready to Eat. So, the components of the MREs are fully cooked and can be consumed cold or fresh depending on the meal. MREs provide you with the needed nutrients to maintain good nutrition and health. 

Moreover, MREs have a long shelf life. Also, you can eat them directly after opening without adding any water or liquid. The majority of MREs do not need heating, however, some types can be heated in boiling water for five minutes.

The MREs packaging is easy to open. Once you want to consume it, you can easily tear the pouch, so you do not need any extra tool for opening it. Furthermore, MREs can be stored for up to five years.

Is it safe to eat ready meals during pregnancy?

Yes, it is safe to eat ready meals in pregnancy as long as they are stored and cooked properly. Generally, ready-to-eat meals can develop bacteria, because some of them can proliferate inside the can. These bacteria are aerobic so do not need oxygen to grow.

Inappropriate storage, handling, and heating of canned or ready-prepared meals can lead to food poisoning. One of the bacteria that can proliferate inside improperly handled prepared meals is the Listeria.

Listeria is the bacteria responsible for Listeriosis. This bacteria can grow in uncooked and undercooked food. Listeriosis is very serious in case of pregnancy especially in the first trimester because it can lead to miscarriage and baby loss.

However, the exposure of the pregnant women to Listeria in the third trimester can lead to preterm birth, the delivery of a very-low-birth-weight baby and in extreme cases, stillbirth, or the baby might be born dead.

Furthermore, toxoplasmosis is also a serious bacteria that can lead to several health problems in pregnancy. Toxoplasma gondii is a bacteria found in unclean fruits and vegetables and uncooked meats. The products can be contaminated through exposure to the fecal material of certain animals.

Additionally, toxoplasmosis can lead to miscarriage in the first trimester of pregnancy. Hence, the exposure of the mother to this bacteria in the early stage of pregnancy has a low risk on the baby but when the pregnancy develops, the exposure to Toxoplasma gondii will be serious to the baby.

Besides, salmonella and campylobacter are also several bacteria that might contaminate ready-prepared food. Hence, generally, salmonella does not affect the baby but can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal pain. If these symptoms persist the baby might be affected.

Regarding the infection by campylobacter, it can increase the risk of the mother having a miscarriage, stillbirth, and preterm delivery. The last bacteria that can be serious in case of pregnancy is the Staphylococcus aureus. 

Staphylococcus aureus can mainly develop inside delis and processed meat such as ham, salami, and pepperoni. Contaminated food can lead to food poisoning and thus lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain.

What foods to avoid during pregnancy?

There is a list of food to be avoided during pregnancy. First, all unpasteurized milk and all dairy products are made from unpasteurized milk such as goat cheese. Also, moldy cheese like blue cheese and Roquefort should be avoided. This product might be contaminated with Listeria.

Additionally, raw, undercooked, and processed meat should be avoided because they might be contaminated with Listeria or Toxoplasma gondii thus leading to health problems for the mother and the baby, so try to cook your meat very well before consumption.

Moreover, raw eggs or any dish that might contain raw eggs like homemade mayonnaise can be contaminated with salmonella, so better to be avoided instead pregnant women should consume hard-cooked eggs.

Besides, certain types of fish should be avoided during pregnancy because they are high in mercury such as marlin, shark, and other predators and big fish. Also, raw fish like salmon and tuna should be avoided to prevent Listeria.


In this brief guide, we will discuss the following question, “can you eat MREs while pregnant?”, and other queries related to this topic.


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