Best chain restaurant meals for pregnant women

Food. It’s basically your best friend and worst enemy during pregnancy. You know that eating a balanced diet can give your baby the nutrients needed to grow strong and healthy, but at the same time, veggies might be gag-inducing, while croissants and bagels might be all you can stomach. Welcome to the bizarre world of pregnancy.

Pregnancy is also a time when you typically have less energy to plan and cook a nutritious meal at home, which means more takeout and more eating out. But even deciding what’s safe, what sounds good, and what should be on your plate when someone else is doing the cooking can be overwhelming. Let us help.

We’re not professional foodies, but we’ve done a quick rundown of some of the best chain restaurant meals for Moms-to-be. Let’s dig in.


If you’re a big lover of Italian food, good news: Pasta can be very nutritious for your baby. How do you make pasta a good choice for you and the human you’re growing? Try swapping a white pasta for a wheat pasta, choose a lean protein, and add some veggies — like broccoli or spinach — to the dish.

Restaurant Go-To’s: Olive Garden’s shrimp scampi


Seafood is a perfectly healthy choice for pregnant women, as long as you’re avoiding raw seafood and fish with high levels of mercury, like swordfish. Salmon is a particularly great choice for Moms-to-be because it has heart-healthy and brain-friendly omega-3 fatty acids that are vital for developing babes. Not a big fan of salmon? Not to worry. There are plenty of other fish in the sea!

Restaurant Go-To’s: Red Lobster’s broiled wild-caught flounder or sole with baked potato and asparagus


Not sure what sounds good? American might be your best bet. Out of all the different restaurant types, American-style cuisine is a wild card. Offerings range far and wide, from cheeseburgers and fries to club sandwiches and lentil soup. Just be sure to keep saturated fats low and stick to grilled or broiled options, rather than fried.

Restaurant Go-To’s: Applebee’s savory cedar salmon, Chili’s mango-chili tilapia, or Cheesecake Factory’s veggie burger


Mexican restaurants can also offer some good options for pregnant women. For example: guacamole. Yup, avocado is a healthy fat, and sometimes that guac is so good you just wanna stick a straw in it. Go for it. Tacos and burritos can also be great choices because they’re usually packed with protein (and yup, beans and rice make a complete protein). Just try to keep a limit on the chips, sour cream, and cheese you consume because of the sodium and fat. And unless you know it’s pasteurized, skip the queso for now.

Restaurant Go-To’s: Chipotle’s burrito bowl with chicken, black beans, brown rice, veggies and tomato salsa


Chinese restaurants carry a ton of pregnancy-friendly meals, as long as you order carefully. Steer clear of the thick, sweet sauces (they’re usually loaded with sugar) and don’t opt for anything that’s deep-fried. Ask for low-sodium sauces and whole-grain brown rice, as opposed to fried rice. And of course, it’s always a good idea to load up on entrees that have generous quantities of vegetables.

Restaurant Go-To’s: P.F. Chang’s ginger chicken with broccoli and quinoa

Steak houses

Although it’s often thought of as off limits during pregnancy, red meat is beneficial because it provides a great source for protein, iron, and B vitamins — all crucial nutrients for Moms-to-be. Steakhouses also typically provide seafood options if you’re not a fan of red meat. So, what do you need to remember if you’re hitting up a steak house? Order your red meat well done and ask for a side of veggies to go with your steak.

Restaurant Go-To’s: Outback Steakhouse’s 6-oz. special sirloin or the perfectly grilled salmon with mixed veggies

And lastly, remember that whatever you eat, your baby eats. Does that mean you have to be perfect and never give into cravings? Of course not. Just make sure that most of your meals fall under the category of ‘healthy diet,’ and keep the unhealthy (or nutritionally-empty) craving cavings to a minimum!

Brb, gotta grab a handful of cheddar goldfish.