Can You Eat Shawarma During Pregnancy?


Shawarma in Nigeria has gained immense popularity as a delicious and satisfying street food. This mouthwatering treat has captured the taste buds of many, becoming a go-to choice for quick and flavorful bites.


Found in bustling corners and food stalls, shawarma's blend of flavours and convenient packaging has made it a beloved culinary sensation across the country.



What is shawarma?

Shawarma is a delectable street food that has become a favourite in Nigeria and worldwide. It features a combination of sliced meat, often chicken, beef, or lamb, marinated, stacked on a vertical rotisserie, and slow-cooked to perfection.



Types of shawarma in Nigeria

Nigeria offers diverse shawarma variations to cater to different taste buds. Some types of shawarma in Nigeria include:


  • Chicken shawarma
  • Beef shawarma
  • Lamb shawarma
  • Vegetarian shawarma


Components of shawarma

The components/ingredients commonly used in Nigerian shawarma are:

  • Sliced marinated meat (Chicken, Beef, or Lamb)
  • Fresh vegetables (Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions, Cabbage)
  • Sauces and condiments (Garlic Sauce, Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Hot Sauce)
  • Seasonings and spices (Shawarma Spice Blend, Salt, Pepper)
  • Shawarma wrap or pita bread
  • Optional ingredients (Pickles, Cheese, French Fries)
  • Cooking oil or butter for grilling



How much calorie does Nigerian shawarma contain?

The number of calories in a shawarma wrap can vary depending on the type of meat, sauce, and ingredients and the size of the wrap. On average, shawarma might contain 1320 calories. Here's the breakdown:


  • 2 flatbreads = 400 calories
  • 200g chicken meat = 480 calories
  • Veggies = 60 calories
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise + 2 tablespoons ketchup = 230 calories
  • 1 sausage = 150 calories


Total average calories in a Nigerian shawarma = 1,320 calories. 




Health benefits of Nigerian shawarma during pregnancy

Some of the health benefits of taking beef or chicken Nigerian shawarma during pregnancy include: 


  • Adequate protein intake: Shawarma provides a good source of protein, which is essential for developing your baby's tissues and organs.
  • Nutrient variety: Depending on the ingredients, shawarma can offer a mix of vegetables, sauces, and seasonings, contributing to a diverse nutrient intake.
  • Convenient meal option: Shawarma can be a quick and satisfying meal choice, especially when you're on the go and need a balanced option.


Side effects of shawarma in pregnancy

There are a few side effects of consuming beef or chicken shawarma when carrying your little one. These side effects are not life-threatening but occur due to each pregnancy's uniqueness. They include: 


  • Gaining extra weight
  • Reaction to certain unhealthy ingredients
  • Digestive discomfort


Is Nigerian shawarma safe in pregnancy?

Nigerian shawarma is safe to consume during pregnancy, but you must remember certain essential considerations. Opt for trusted outlets, ensure the ingredients are fresh and properly cooked, and practice moderation.


It's advisable to consult your healthcare provider to ensure that consuming shawarma fits well with your individual pregnancy health needs.



Is beef shawarma better than chicken shawarma in pregnancy?

Both beef and chicken shawarma are suitable protein sources during pregnancy. The choice between them ultimately depends on your personal preferences and dietary needs. Both meats offer nutritional benefits, so you can choose the one you enjoy and feel comfortable eating.


Ensure that the meat is well-cooked and comes from a reliable source. However, the calories are higher when you opt for beef instead of chicken.



Nigerian shawarma has become a popular and convenient street food choice that you can enjoy during pregnancy. While it can offer some nutritional benefits, such as protein and various nutrients, it's important to consume it in moderation and make mindful ingredient selections. 


Opt for well-cooked meats, fresh vegetables, and trusted outlets. Prioritising a balanced and diverse diet is crucial for you and your baby's well-being. As always, consulting your healthcare provider for guidance tailored to your pregnancy needs is recommended.



Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Can I take shawarma weekly during pregnancy?

Moderation is important. Occasional consumption is fine, but a balanced diet is key.


Will I add weight if I eat shawarma as a pregnant woman?

Excessive consumption can contribute to weight gain. Watch portion sizes and make healthy choices.


Is beef shawarma better than chicken shawarma?

Both offer protein, but choose based on your taste preferences and ensure proper cooking. Red meat, like beef, contains more calories than white meat, like chicken. 



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