Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan
Gestational diabetes is defined as diabetes that is diagnosed during pregnancy. It is usually diagnosed later in pregnancy and if you were diagnosed earlier in your pregnancy, you may have had undetected diabetes before becoming pregnant.
While a diet for gestational diabetes should always be individualized (by a dietitian or diabetes educator), there are some gestational diabetes diet basics that can help you keep your blood sugars under control:
- Fiber helps slow down blood sugar spikes. Aim for foods such as vegetables (keep the skin on if you can), whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils and fruit.
- You will probably need to limit your carbohydrate intake. Carbs are still very important for your and your baby’s development (never go below 175 grams per day while pregnant), but too much carbohydrate at one time can cause your blood sugar to spike. Your dietitian can help you come up with a plan to suit your personal needs.
- Protein and fat can also help slow down blood sugar’s entry into the bloodstream, so be sure to include those foods at every meal and snack.
The meal plan below is an example of how to include high fiber foods into each meal and how to pair carbs with protein and healthy fats. Use this information in conjunction with the advice and recommendations from a dietitian or diabetes educator.
Keep in mind, with gestational diabetes, portion sizes of carbohydrate foods DO matter and an individualized plan based on your current blood sugar levels should be given to you by your provider, your diabetes educator or your dietitian. Choosing meals and snacks from the options listed below will help ensure you consume foods that can help you manage your blood sugar and also include nutrients needed for growth and development of your baby.
- Option 1: Scrambled eggs, cheese, non-starchy vegetables (greens, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, etc. – frozen vegetables make this a quick and easy breakfast!); whole grain toast
- Option 2: Rolled oats soaked overnight with no added sugar almond milk and nuts
- Option 3: Whole grain toast with no sugar added nut butter
- Option 4: Scrambled eggs with sautéed tomatoes and onions topped with queso blanco or feta cheese wrapped in a whole grain tortilla
- Option 5: Black bean breakfast bowl with beans, avocados, salsa, peppers, onions
- Option 1: ½ grilled chicken sandwich on whole grain bread or pita; cup of veggie or bean soup
- Option 2: Quinoa with veggies, tuna* or tofu, olive oil and balsamic vinegar or your favorite low-sugar dressing
- Option 3: Lentils and brown rice topped with avocado and a side salad with lemon and olive oil dressing
- Option 4: Lentil soup with whole grain croutons and a tossed vegetable salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
- Option 5: Salmon or chicken salad stuffed inside avocado halves with whole grain crackers
- Option 1: Whole grain or bean-based pasta, sautéed vegetables simmered in broth, topped with chicken, turkey, tofu or white beans
- Option 2: Lean grilled steak, grilled corn on the cob, salad with low-sugar dressing
- Option 3: Broiled pork chop with a side of unsweetened applesauce, brown rice, quinoa, or another whole grain and side salad tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
- Option 4: Grilled salmon over a bed of sautéed spinach, zucchini and tomatoes with a side of brown rice
- Option 5: Grilled or sautéed boneless chicken breast served over farro salad (cooked farro tossed with chopped arugula, carrots, onions, cucumbers, parsley, and a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, mustard salt and pepper for dressing)
- Option 1: Hard-boiled egg with piece of fruit
- Option 2: Hummus with carrots and cucumbers
- Option 3: Small piece of fruit with nut butter
- Option 4: 4-5 whole grain crackers with a stick or slice of cheese
- Option 5: trail mix bar with 15-30 g carb or less and 2 g or more fiber
* Pregnant women should eat no more than 6 ounces of high-mercury fish per week
For more on this topic, check out the following articles: