Egg drop soup makes for an inexpensive and delicious weeknight meal, but is it a safe option during pregnancy?
Homemade egg drop soup is not only packed with protein and essential nutrients, but when cooked thoroughly it is a safe, satisfying and healthy option to keep mom and baby nourished during pregnancy.
What is Egg Drop Soup?
Egg drop soup or “egg flower soup” originated in Chinese cuisine and is now enjoyed across the globe.
This relatively simple soup is traditionally made by boiling beaten eggs in a mineral-rich chicken stock, however, vegetable stock or seasoned water can be substituted as a vegetarian option. The whisked egg mixture forms ribbon-like strands as it is dropped into the boiling broth – hence the name egg drop soup.
Egg drop soup commonly contains ginger, turmeric, black pepper, scallions, and sesame oil to strengthen this soup’s flavor profile and to enhance its array of health benefits. This standard recipe serves as a great foundation and can be modified to suit your individual taste preferences and/or dietary restrictions.
Egg drop soup requires minimal effort to prepare, is highly adaptable, and can make for a satisfying meal in 15-minutes or less.
The nutritional benefits of egg drop soup during pregnancy
Egg drop soup has many nutritional benefits.
Flavorful and nourishing, egg drop soup has many benefits for an expecting mother. This hot, brothy dish is well-suited for the cold winter months or to soothe an upset stomach during pregnancy. Many of the foods in this soup provide a host of benefits for pregnant women:
Many moms-to-be experience nausea or morning sickness early on in pregnancy due to a surge of pregnancy hormones (Source: Mayo Clinic).
Fortunately, the addition of ginger into egg drop soup is a natural remedy for nausea (Source: American Pregnancy). One study showed that eating up to 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger per day may be effective in treating pregnancy-related nausea (Source: PubMed Central).
Another beneficial ingredient in egg drop soup is turmeric. This powerful anti-inflammatory food may play a role in preventing pregnancy-related disorders, such as gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), depression, preeclampsia, and preterm birth (Source: Nutrients).
Adding black pepper to your egg drop soup activates curcumin, which is the anti-inflammatory component of this earthy root. The fat provided by the egg yolk in egg drop soup helps your body to absorb more inflammation-fighting curcumin (Source: Eat Better Feel Better).
Eggs are an excellent source of choline and protein for pregnant women. These nutrients are especially important to incorporate into your diet as they are needed in higher amounts during pregnancy (Source: ACOG).
Most women (approximately 90%-95%) do not get enough choline. Getting adequate choline during pregnancy can help to regulate your mood and memory, and is important in supporting your baby’s brain development. Choline may also help to prevent neural tube defects (Source: NIH).
Egg provides a source of high-quality protein. This means that the protein found in eggs is easily broken down, absorbed, and used by your body (Source: EUFIC). This essential nutrient is important to prioritize during pregnancy as it is needed for your baby’s growth (Source: Mayo Clinic).
Chicken stock is a bone-based broth. During pregnancy, your fluid needs increase. A hot broth-based soup is a soothing way to sneak more fluid into your diet and stay hydrated.
Depending on the method of preparation and cooking time, chicken broth may be high in minerals and protein. For added protein, try using a bone broth in your egg drop soup.
Keep in mind that some stocks and broths may contain high amounts of salt or sodium which can increase blood pressure. Be sure to balance the amount of sodium you consume with enough potassium to maintain healthy blood pressure levels during pregnancy (Source: CDC).
Seaweed is an excellent addition to egg drop soup as it provides beneficial fiber and iodine.
Not only is fiber important in promoting regular bowel movements during pregnancy, but soluble fiber is the food our friendly gut bacteria – aka microbiota – need to flourish (Source: PubMed). Nourishing your friendly gut microbiota with soluble fiber results in a variety of benefits, including improved mood, decreased inflammation, and healthy weight balance.
Iodine plays an important role in your baby’s brain development. Getting adequate amounts of iodine in the diet can be challenging, luckily, seaweed (such as kombu) is rich in iodine (Source: ScienceDirect).
Is egg drop soup safe to eat while pregnant?
Yes, but make sure that the egg is cooked thoroughly.
Unless pasteurized, uncooked or undercooked eggs can carry a disease-causing bacteria called Salmonella. During pregnancy, your immune system is temporarily lowered which can make you especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of Salmonella (Source: CDC).
The foodborne illness caused by Salmonella can lead to vomiting, fever, dehydration, stomach cramps and diarrhea. This additional stress on the body can result in miscarriage and preterm labor in serious cases.
To ensure that your eggs are cooked and your egg drop soup is safe to eat, heat unpasteurized eggs to at least 160°F (71°C). (Source: CDC) Don’t have a thermometer? Make sure your soup is steaming.
Egg drop soup is best eaten fresh. However, it is okay to eat after 2 to 4 days in the refrigerator in an air-tight container (Source: CDC).
Food Safety Tips During Pregnancy:
- Ensure that eggs are cooked to 160°F (71°C) or steaming
- Discard any cracked eggs
- Consider using pasteurized eggs
- Eat or refrigerate egg drop soup shortly after cooking (within 1-2 hours)
- Thoroughly wash your hands with hot soapy water after handling raw egg
- Sanitize any surfaces which have come into contact with raw egg
Takeout or restaurant egg drop soup during pregnancy
Is takeout or restaurant egg drop soup better for pregnant women?
While takeout or restaurant egg drop soup can be a good option in a pinch, creating your own version at home gives you the ability to adapt the recipe to include more healthy ingredients. That way, you know exactly what is going into it.
While not necessarily harmful in small amounts, be aware that some restaurant versions of egg drop soup do contain monosodium glutamate (MSG) and high amounts of sodium. MSG is not well-tolerated by everyone. For those who do not tolerate MSG, it is especially important to avoid this additive while pregnant.
When making a homemade version, swap out the additives for any fresh ingredients you prefer, like: napa cabbage, seaweed, minced garlic, and any veggies you have on hand (don’t be afraid to get creative!). Traditional egg drop soup recipes serve as a great foundation, but adding your favorite seasonal ingredients will bring the flavor and nutritional value of this dish to the next level.
While there are some food safety concerns to be aware of when ordering or preparing egg drop soup, overall this soup is a nutritious addition to your pregnancy diet.
Q & A:
Is egg drop soup safe to eat during pregnancy?
When cooked thoroughly egg drop soup is a safe, satisfying and healthy option to keep mom and baby nourished during pregnancy. To prevent foodborne illness, use pasteurized eggs or heat the soup until the eggs have reached at least 160°F (71°C).
Can I eat takeout egg drop soup during pregnancy?
Takeout egg drop soup can be consumed during pregnancy in moderation due to the potential for less healthy additives. Many restaurants include high amounts of sodium and MSG.
What are the benefits of egg drop soup during pregnancy?
Egg drop soup is a great addition to your pregnancy diet. It is a good source of fluid and protein. Depending on the ingredients used, it can also be a good source of fiber. Ginger and turmeric provide anti-inflammatory benefits as well.