Women with gestational diabetes need to be careful with their food choices to ensure that their blood glucose levels stay within normal limits. To help you have a balanced diet, here are some meal and snack ideas for gestational diabetes.
Guidelines in Meal Planning
Before we give you some meal and snack ideas for gestational diabetes, let us first discuss some vital meal planning guidelines that will help you control your blood sugar:
- Have small, frequent meals. As much as possible, distribute your foods between three meals and three snacks.
- Do not skip meals as it may cause low blood sugar level (hypoglycemia)
- Make sure that you eat a variety of foods. Focus on non-starchy vegetables, good fats, lean protein, whole grains, and fresh fruits. You can refer to the shopping guide in the next section for some examples.
- Limit sweetened products, like dried fruits, sweetened cereals, fruit juices, ice cream, flavored yogurt, and jams.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Do not eat carbs alone. Pair your carb-rich food with protein and good, natural fats. This “food pairing” stops the immediate and excessive increase of glucose in the blood.
And of course, don’t forget to watch your portion sizes. To create a meal plate that promotes healthy levels of blood glucose, use the diabetes plate method. In this method, use a regular 9-inch plate and:
- Fill ½ of it with non-starchy vegetables.
- Divide the other half into two.
- Fill ¼ of the other half with whole grains or starchy vegetables.
- Fill the other ¼ with lean protein.
You can also add a small serving of fresh fruit or healthy dairy, such as 1% skim milk. Finally, don’t forget to have a glass of water after each meal.
Grocery Shopping Guide
You can develop your meal and snack ideas for gestational diabetes by talking to your doctor. In your meal planning, remember that you can include the following foods:
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat pasta
- Wholegrain bread and crackers
- Whole grains like oats
- Green peas
- Sweet potatoes
- White potatoes
- Salad greens like kale, spinach, and lettuce
Good, natural fats
- Nuts and seeds
- Healthy oils like canola oil and olive oil
- Fish (be careful with high-mercury seafood)
- Strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries
Meal and Snack Ideas for Gestational Diabetes
The following are some meal and snack ideas for women with gestational diabetes. However, before preparing and eating any of them, be sure to check with your doctor first. That way, you can get the exact measurements that are suited for your target blood glucose level.
- Have a slice of whole-grain toast. However, don’t eat it alone; pair it with a good fat and protein source like egg, cooked meat, cheese, or peanut butter.
- Make omelets. Add some cheese, ham, or chicken in it along with herbs and spices like onion, pepper, and paprika.
- Make a bacon sandwich. Prepare two slices of whole-grain bread from a 400g loaf and fill them with healthy bacon or sausages.
- Mixed salads. One of the best meal and snack ideas for gestational diabetes is to prepare salads. Mix various salad leaves like celery, lettuce, and spinach and add cooked meat, sliced eggs, cheese, tofu, or cooked fish.
- Make some baked potatoes. Choose a small potato no bigger than your fist. Stuff it with healthy sausage, ham, or bacon, and then add some cheese. You can also stuff it with tuna mixed with mayonnaise. Have it with a serving of salad.
- Prepare a mushroom soup or chicken soup with chicken breast. Pair it with buttered bread or healthy crackers for dipping.
- Prepare a serving of skinless chicken breast (about 113 grams). Pair it with small baked potato, reduced-fat sour cream, and a cup of broccoli salad with salad dressing. You can also have it with 1 cup of fat-free milk.
- Cook whole wheat pasta with vegetable or chicken sauce and some beans. Be careful with using packed sauces, as they may contain high amounts of sugar.
- Cook beef stew with beans or lentils and sweet potato.
- 1 cup of sugar-free gelatin
- 3 sticks of celery with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
- 1 piece of hard boiled egg
- 1 cup of cucumber slices with 1 tablespoon of ranch dressing
- 5 pieces of baby carrots
- 15 grams of plain yogurt with 1 cup of raspberries
Meal planning for gestational diabetes can be a challenge, especially if you do it on your own. Consult your doctor to be properly guided on the foods that will help you achieve your target blood glucose levels.
Generally, for meal and snack ideas for gestational diabetes, you need to focus on a variety of foods that include whole grains, good protein and fat sources, fresh fruits, and plenty of non-starchy vegetables.
Learn more about Gestational Diabetes here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.