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Can You Eat Coleslaw Or Potato Salad When Pregnant?

There are tons of foods that are not pregnancy safe, from unpasteurized dairy products to alcohol, and cold dishes like coleslaw and potato salad can cause a lot of confusion.

So can you eat coleslaw or potato salad when pregnant? A lot of the time, the preparation methods of these dishes are a big decider in whether or not these foods are safe for consumption during pregnancy.

In this article, we’ve put together all the information on whether or not coleslaw and potato salad are safe to eat during pregnancy. 

Are Coleslaw And Potato Salads Safe To Eat During Pregnancy?

The information surrounding cold dishes like coleslaw and potato salad and their safety can be a little confusing, so here we’ve broken down some of the key information to help you make an informed decision. 

Ready-made coleslaws and potato salads that you might get from a restaurant or deli are worth avoiding during your pregnancy. This is because they carry the risk of listeria.

Listeria is a bacteria that is found in unpasteurized dairy products and can be dangerous when ingested. This carries a greater risk during pregnancy, so it’s always worth avoiding if you’re not 100% sure that the food is safe. 

A homemade coleslaw or potato salad might be safer, but again, it is important to remember to use ingredients that are safe for consumption during pregnancy. 

Things To Look Out For

If you just can’t see yourself giving up coleslaw or potato salad during your pregnancy, here are some of the things you should be on the lookout for. It’s best to avoid coleslaws and potato salads if you can’t guarantee some of these things. 

Ingredient Safety

One of the biggest problems with coleslaws and potato salads is that they are often made using mayonnaise. This can be risky if the mayonnaise is not made using pasteurized eggs. 


The reason that mayonnaise can be risky is due to the raw eggs that are often used to make it. If raw eggs are used in the mayonnaise of a particular coleslaw or potato salad then it is not pregnancy-safe.

Raw eggs carry a risk of salmonella, so if you’re unsure whether mayonnaise has been made with pasteurized eggs or not, it is best to avoid it while pregnant. 



Listeria is a harmful bacteria that is usually consumed when unpasteurized dairy products are eaten. As most coleslaws and potato salads are pre-made, the ingredients can’t be washed before consumption.

They also can’t be heated due to some of the ingredients, which means pre-prepared coleslaws and potato salads are best avoided. 

Should I Worry If I’ve Been Eating Coleslaw Or Potato Salad?

If you’ve been eating coleslaw or potato salad throughout your pregnancy, you shouldn’t be concerned. Listeria is relatively rare and you should be fine, but you should avoid consuming any coleslaws or potato salads for the remainder of your pregnancy. 

You shouldn’t just be avoiding coleslaws and potato salads from salad bars and delis, but also from takeout restaurants such as KFC and Nando’s.

If you have consumed any lately, you should wait a few days. If you experience any unusual symptoms, such as vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea, you should contact a health professional.

Are HomemadeColeslaws And Potato Salads Safe?

DIY coleslaws and potato salads are a safer bet but there are still some things you should be wary of. 

If you’re using a make-it-yourself kit that contains all your veggies in a bag, it’s a good idea to make sure that they’re thoroughly washed before carrying on with your recipe. This should also be done if you’ve bought the veggies fresh and chopped them. 

You should also avoid using homemade mayonnaise, and swap it for a store-bought mayonnaise that is pregnancy approved. You could also use a recipe that uses hard-boiled eggs to remove the risk that eggs pose. 

How Should I Store Coleslaw And Potato Salad?

If you’ve decided to make your own coleslaws and potato salads, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you’re as safe as possible when eating them.

  • Eat your salad as fresh as possible. Try not to wait too long after preparation to consume your salad.
  • If you’re traveling with your salad, use a cooler. If you’re planning on being out in the sun with your food, at the beach or a park, consider adding some ice to your cooler to keep your salad fresh. 
  • Don’t leave your salads out. Leaving them at room temperature can increase the risk of bacteria and sickness. So you should try to keep your salads in the fridge, and only take them out when you plan to eat them. 
  • Wrap and store your salads in the fridge to ensure that they are kept fresh and safe for consumption. 

Substitutes For Coleslaw And Potato Salads

If you don’t think you can give up slaw and salads during your pregnancy, here are some options that you may want to consider. It is important to remember that pregnancy-safe ingredients are still necessary, and you should be careful when using ingredients such as mayonnaise and eggs. 

Green Bean Slaw

This fresh and crunchy recipe uses haricots, carrot, red pepper, and parsnips. 

Crunchy Broccoli Slaw

This recipe uses the often overlooked broccoli stems. When julienned, these go perfectly in coleslaw with carrots and sunflower seeds. 

Lemon Brussel Sprout Coleslaw

This recipe makes use of Brussel sprouts shredded in a food processor, with some lemon juice and sunflower seeds as a finishing touch. 

Celery And Edamame

An easy-to-make celery slaw with edamame is the perfect side dish. 

Pickled Pepper Slaw

This spicy slaw is a perfect topping or side dish for everything, from hot dogs to burgers, to a great accompaniment for your fried chicken. 

Raw Beet Slaw

This uber healthy slaw includes arugula, scallions, raw shredded beets, and lemon juice. Add some jalapenos from an extra kick. 

Peach And Fennel

This summer slaw is a great mix of sweet and savory and is perfect for a picnic, or a fun topping for your sandwiches and burgers. 

The Final Thought

If you have been eating coleslaw and potato salads during your pregnancy, you shouldn’t be overly concerned. You likely won’t experience any side effects, but it is best to avoid them during the remainder of your pregnancy. 

Instead, try swapping them out for one of our recommendations. You may find a new recipe that becomes a staple!

And if you’re concerned about other pregnancy foods that should be avoided, check out Can Pregnant Women Eat Hot Dogs?