Gestational Diabetes Diet: What to Eat for Better Blood Sugar Levels
About the Author
My name is Jessica Pombal, and I'm a registered dietitian and certified diabetes and bariatric educator. I've been working with moms with gestational diabetes since 2009, and I've gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in this field.
The Traditional Approach
The traditional North American guidelines for gestational diabetes recommend consuming 175 grams of carbohydrates daily. However, recent evidence suggests that a lower-carb alternative can be safe and effective for moms struggling with their blood sugar levels.
A Lower Carb Approach
A lower-carb approach involves consuming 90 to 130 grams of carbohydrates per day. This approach has shown positive results for many moms with gestational diabetes. It's important to note that individual needs may vary, so it's best to consult with your registered dietitian, diabetes educator, or doctor for personalized recommendations.
The Ideal Meal Plan
When following a gestational diabetes meal plan, it's essential to focus on nutrient-dense, healthy foods that meet both your needs and those of your growing baby. Here's a breakdown of what your meals should include:
- Low glycemic index carbohydrates
- Protein sources (meat, chicken, fish, eggs, tofu, or beans)
- Healthy fats (avocado, healthy oils)
- A variety of vegetables (especially low glycemic index and low carbohydrate options)
- Low glycemic index fruits (berries, apples, etc. )
It's important to monitor your blood sugar levels and adjust your carbohydrate intake accordingly. Some women find that their blood sugar levels are higher in the morning, so they may choose to consume fewer carbohydrates during breakfast and more during lunch and supper. Others may find the opposite to be true. It's all about finding what works best for you through trial and error.
Sample Meal Ideas
Here are some sample meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and nighttime snacks:
- Breakfast: Eggs and avocado wrap on a small whole-wheat wrap, coconut low-carb granola with fruit and yogurt, or a gestational diabetes-specific smoothie.
- Lunch: Quinoa chicken Mediterranean vegetable salad, open-faced sandwich on sprouted whole-grain bread with a side of vegetables, or Mary crackers with hard-boiled eggs, olives, hummus, and vegetables.
- Dinner: Protein source (meat, chicken, fish, tofu, etc. ) with lots of vegetables and a small amount of low glycemic index carbohydrates (quinoa, whole-grain noodles, brown rice, sweet potato, etc. ).
- Nighttime Snack: A small amount of low glycemic index carbohydrate or a protein and healthy fat option.
Remember, everyone's body is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. It's crucial to listen to your body and make adjustments accordingly.
Managing gestational diabetes through diet is possible. By following a lower-carb meal plan and making informed food choices, you can help regulate your blood sugar levels and promote a healthy pregnancy. Remember to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice and recommendations.