Slim jim is a long jerky meat snack popular in America but available in most parts of the world. It was created by Jack Comella, a sixteen-year-old, in 1929. The original meaty stick was made of pieces of pork, beef, and chicken that could not be sold anywhere else. It has since evolved and can be found in various flavors, some made from premium meat cuts.
Can You Eat Slim Jims While Pregnant?
Slim jim is not a healthy snack for a pregnant mother and her unborn baby. Like any other jerky meat, slim jim consists of a high content of sodium and preservatives, which are not fit for consumption. However, she may occasionally eat a slim jim if she heats it to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. This article looks at the origin, ingredients, nutrition values, health benefits, and side effects of slim jim in pregnant women.
The primary ingredient of slim jim is a combination of beef, mechanically separated chicken, and pork, and it could also be made of individual meat types. Other ingredients are; lactic acid starter culture, salt, sodium nitrite, dextrose, and hydrolyzed soy(monosodium glutamate).
Nutrition Value Of Slim Jim
While on a journey or just relaxing at home, sometimes you crave a meaty jerk. Before you toss it into your mouth, it is essential to know its nutritional value. A 32-gram serving consists of; 150 calories, 3 grams of fat, 10mg of cholesterol, 130 mg of sodium, and 1 gram of protein.
Why Slim Jim Is Not A Healthy Choice While Pregnant
High Risk Of Food Poisoning
Slim jim is not cooked but smoked and preserved to avoid the growth of bacteria. Though it may not be harmful to an average adult, there are possibilities that some bacteria survived the curing process, which can be detrimental to an unborn baby. These bacteria could lead to infections such as toxoplasmosis, listeriosis, and salmonella, which can lead to preeclampsia and preterm labor. During pregnancy, a woman’s immunity is compromised, and any slight contamination could lead to food poisoning.
It consists of Monosodium Glutamate(Msg)
Slim jim is preserved with monosodium glutamate, which gives snacks an umami taste. When consumed in excess, it could cause side effects during pregnancy such as; headache, flushing, chest pains, heart palpitations, nausea, facial pressure, burning, and tingling. Some manufacturers may not indicate expressively that a food item contains MSG but use synonyms such as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed yeast, yeast extracts, autolyzed yeast, protein isolate, and soy extracts.
It Consists of Excess Sodium
During pregnancy, you may crave salt and pick out that slim jim or any other salty snack. Too much salt could lead to gestational hypertension, which increases the risk of preeclampsia, and high blood pressure could also lead to cardiovascular diseases and preterm births. To curb the risk of consuming excess salt, read labels on food items before purchasing, eat lots of fresh foods, cook your meals when possible, or use alternative seasonings with low amounts of salt.
It Could Lead To Undesirable Side Effects
Excess consumption of slim jim could lead to side effects such as nausea, stomach cramps, dehydration, and vomiting, which worsens pregnancy.
It could Lead To a Stroke
Slim jim contains high salt amounts that could lead to hypertension, a predisposing factor for stroke.
It Could Lead To Kidney Damage
You expose your kidneys to damage when you consume slim jims in excess. The ingredients in this meaty snack compromise the optimal functioning of your kidneys.
It Could Lead To Colorectal Cancer
Generally, processed meat could lead to cancers, including colorectal. The preservatives used in such meats are often carcinogenic though manufacturers don’t indicate that on labels.
It Could Lead To Obesity
Slim jims are addictive and contain high levels of cholesterol and fats. When you over consume them, it could lead to unhealthy weight gain and obesity. Some of the possible effects of excess weight gain during pregnancy include; miscarriage, gestational diabetes, blood clots, preeclampsia, increased need for instrument delivery such as caesarian section, and shoulder dystocia. It also increases the risks of stillbirth and health conditions such as spina bifida.
Healthy Alternatives To Slim Jims
Once in a while, a pregnant woman could have a bite of slim jim. However, you should avoid adding it as a part of your frequent snacks despite the urge to due to pregnancy-related cravings. A healthy alternative is a plus for you and your unborn child. Such alternatives include;
- Fruits, fresh or dried, including apples, oranges, kiwi, bananas, and berries.
- A bowl of salads
- Yogurt and other low-fat dairy products such as milkshakes.
- Nuts such as almonds, peanuts, and walnuts.
- Homemade trail mix.
- Any other healthy snack is free from excess salt and MSG and is well cooked.
Tips On Managing Cravings During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, some women tend to crave food due to hormonal shifts. Sometimes, you may crave unhealthy foods that harm you and your unborn child. These tips might help you manage the cravings but when it persists, consider seeking medical advice.
- Keep hydrated with healthy drinks such as water, herbal teas, and fresh juice.
- Eat regular meals to prevent sudden blood sugar drops that can trigger cravings. Focus on eating a healthy balanced diet.
- Focus on consuming low-calorie foods.
- Make healthy alternative bites that you can easily reach when the craving strikes.
- Keep physically active but seek your doctor’s advice on what exercise you can engage in.
- When you fall for the craving, only have a small bite.
In conclusion, eating a slim jim when pregnant is not healthy. Though many people can tolerate it, a pregnant woman has a compromised immunity to suffering from food poisoning and other complications more than any other adult. Try a healthy alternative when the craving strikes.