Eating out and takeaway tips

When it comes to eating out or getting takeaway, remember that foods low in fat and sugar are best for you and your baby.

Watch out for portion size

Restaurants and takeaway meals often come in larger than recommended portion sizes. Remember, you don't have to finish your food if you're full up.

If you think you can't manage or don't want a full meal, try:

  • asking for a smaller portion
  • having a starter with a side salad as your main course
  • share a main meal and a side dish between two people.

In the bakery?


  • sandwiches, rolls or wraps without mayonnaise and with some salad
  • bread-based cakes such as currant buns, teacakes or iced buns rather than pastry-based cakes.


  • sausage rolls, pasties and pastry-based products

Ordering pizza?


  • thin-crust pizzas and pizzas without cheese in the crust
  • a salad to go with your pizza
  • vegetable or fish toppings.


  • garlic bread
  • extra cheese
  • fatty meat such as pepperoni.

Having an Indian takeaway?


  • dishes without creamy sauces such as tikka dishes (not tikka masala) or tandoori
  • vegetable curries
  • dahl, channa dhal
  • plain boiled rice, chapati or roti breads.


  • poppadoms
  • deep fried starters, such as samosas, onion bhajis
  • creamy or coconut sauces (such as korma or masala)
  • fried rice, such as pilau rice
  • breads with lots of fat, such as stuffed naan bread.

Having a Chinese takeaway?


  • stir-fried chicken or vegetable dishes
  • chicken, vegetable or prawn chop suey
  • steamed fish
  • vegetable dishes
  • boiled noodles
  • dishes with steamed tofu.


  • battered dishes, such as sweet and sour chicken, battered bananas or apple fritters
  • deep fried dishes, such as spring rolls and prawn crackers.
  • fried rice dishes and fried noodles.

In the fish and chip shop?


  • fish without batter or with less batter
  • smaller portions of chips
  • mushy peas or baked beans.


  • pies or battered sausage-type products.

Looking for a takeaway burger?


  • standard rather than ‘super-size’ options
  • a plain burger in a bun with a salad
  • water or juice with your meal
  • small portions of chips or salad instead


  • extra cheese or mayonnaise
  • thick milkshakes
  • chicken nuggets or other battered dishes such as onion rings.

Buying a sandwich for lunch?

Choose sandwiches, rolls or wraps:

  • without mayonnaise
  • made with brown or wholemeal bread
  • lower in fat and salt
  • that have some salad.

Getting a salad in a supermarket?


  • Lots of mayonnaise or oil-based dressing
  • Salads made for more than one (unless you’re sharing!)

More about nutrition in pregnancy

  • A variety of mugs containing tea and coffee

    Caffeine calculator

    Drinking a lot of caffeine in pregnancy has been linked to miscarriage and low birth weight so the current advice is to limit your caffeine intake to no more than 200mg a day during your pregnancy.

  • Soft blue cheese which should be avoided in pregnancy

    Foods to avoid in pregnancy

    Now you're pregnant, there are some foods and drinks that are best avoided or limited because of small risks to the safety of your baby.

  • A couple eating a healthy meal together.

    Having a healthy diet in pregnancy

    Now that you’re pregnant, it’s important to eat well. Good nutrition will keep you healthy and help your baby grow and develop.



1. NHS choices 2013. “ Why should I avoid some foods during pregnancy?” NHS choices 2013; accessed online at on 14.11.2014

2. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2008) ‘Antenatal Care’, NICE Clinical Guidelines 62: [accessed 18 January 2015].

3. Food Standards Agency (2012), Advisory Committee on the Microbial Safety of Food, Ad hoc group on Vulnerable Groups, Risk profile in relation to toxoplasma in the food chain

4. Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J (2012) Mayes’ Midwifery, 14th edition, London, Ballière Tindall, p. 424; ‘Foods to avoid in pregnancy’, NHS Choices: [accessed 18 January 2015] 

5. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2008) ‘Antenatal Care’, NICE Clinical Guidelines 62: [accessed 18 January 2015].

6. Food Standards Agency (2012), Advisory Committee on the Microbial Safety of Food, Ad hoc group on Vulnerable Groups, Risk profile in relation to toxoplasma in the food chain

7. NHS Choices, Listeriosis, [accessed 18/02/2015]

8. M P Doyle and D J Roman (1982) Prevalence and survival of Campylobacter jejuni in unpasteurized milk. Appl Environ Microbiol. 1982 Nov; 44(5): 1154–1158. PMCID: PMC242162

9. NHS Choices, Eggs, [accessed 19/02/2015]

10. Oken E et al. (2008). “Maternal fish intake during pregnancy blood mercury levels and child cognition at age 3 years in a US cohort.” Am J Epidemiol 2008;167:1171-1181

11. NHS Choices, Should pregnant and breastfeeding women avoid some types of fish?’ : [accessed 18 January 2015]

12. NHS Choices, ‘Can I eat shellfish during pregnancy?’, [accessed 18 January 2015]

13. NHS Choices, “Alcohol in pregnancy.” NHS choices 2013; accessed online accessed on 07.02.2015

14. Patra J et al. (2011). “Dose response relationship between alcohol consumption before and during pregnancy and the risk of low birthweight, preterm and small for gestational age (SGA)- a systematic review and meta-analyses.” BJOG 2011;118:1411-1421

15.  Alcohol and pregnancy, Information for you (RCOG 2015) Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

16. CARE study group 2008. “Maternal Caffeine intake during pregnancy and risk of fetal growth restriction: a large prospective observational study.” BMJ 2008;337: doi:

17. NHS Choices, 'Caffeine in pregnancy', [accessed 12/11/2014]

18. ‘Pregnant women advised to limit caffeine consumption’, Food Standards Agency, 3 November 2008 (archived content):[accessed 18 January 2015]

19. Frazier AL, et al. (2014). “Prospective study of peripregnancy consumption of peanuts or tree nuts by mothers and the risk of peanut and tree nut allergy in their offspring.” JAMA Pediatr 2014;168:156-162

20.  NHS Choices: ‘Peanuts’ in ‘Foods to avoid in pregnancy’, 18 January 2015]




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Last reviewed on June 27th, 2017. Next review date June 27th, 2020.

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