Can I Eat Chinese Food While Pregnant?


Dear Nutritionist,
Hi. I really want to know if I can eat Chinese. What can I eat and which foods should I avoid?

Oh by the way can I go bowling?



Hello Lauren,
Chinese food can definitely be a part of a healthy pregnancy diet. Like any other foods you just need to choose healthier and eat it in moderation. Stick to rice or noodles, steamed vegetables and lean meats or fish (see list below). Avoid fried Chinese foods such as egg rolls that can be higher in fat and calories. Chinese foods can also be high in sodium because of ingredients such as soy sauce. Too much sodium is not recommended as part of a healthy diet whether you are pregnant or not. In addition too much sodium can cause water retention, which many pregnant women are already dealing with.

During pregnancy you need to concentrate on eating from all of the food groups including lean meats, fruits, vegetables, dairy foods, and starches (whole grain is best). Eat plenty of calories for a healthy weight gain and drink lots of fluid, especially water. You should also speak with your doctor about a prenatal supplement.

Stay clear of:

  • Raw or undercooked meats and seafood-including sushi-as well as smoked seafood
  • Shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel (and no more than 6 to 12 ounces of canned tuna a week)- for more on fish guidelines during pregnancy, read What You Need to Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish
  • Hot dogs, sausages, and other processed meats that contain nitrates
  • Pates, soft cheeses, and unpasteurized milk and juices
  • Foods made with raw or undercooked eggs
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • Alcoholic beverages

If you are really unsure of what to eat during pregnancy I highly suggest asking your doctor for a referral to a registered dietitian. In a few visits she/he can help you to put together a healthy pregnancy eating plan!

As for bowling I suggest you speak with your OB/GYN. Your doctor can tell you which activities are safe or not safe for you and your stage of pregnancy.

-- Kimberly, RD LD

Kimberly Tessmer

Kimberly A. Tessmer, RD LD has been a registered dietitian since 1992 and is also an Ohio licensed Dietitian. Her educational achievements include a Bachelor of Science in Technology (Dietetics) from Bowling State University in Bowling Green, OH. She currently owns and operates a consulting business called "Nutrition Focus", in which she specializes and offers services in the areas of weight management, general nutrition, authoring, menu development and a variety of other services.

To date Kim has authored three books including "The Everything® Nutrition Book", "Tell Me What To Eat If I Have Celiac Disease", and "The Everything® Pregnancy Nutrition Book". In addition, Kim has written numerous articles for various health/nutrition web sites and magazines including Bally Total Fitness Magazine, Well and Healthy Women Magazine and, Inc as well as continuing education courses for She is a member of the American Dietetic Association and the ADA Practice Group, Nutrition Entrepreneurs.