Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan & Diet Guidelines
Healthy eating during pregnancy looks different each day, and you should feel free to eat the foods you want. Here’s what you need to know for planning a gestational diabetes meal plan that will work for you.
During pregnancy, you’re already adjusting to multiple changes with your body, and a diagnosis of gestational diabetes can feel overwhelming. Take heart that not only will you be able to sustain a healthy pregnancy but you’ll also be able to do it without following a strict meal plan. Keep reading to learn what causes gestational diabetes, how to eat healthy with gestational diabetes and how to create an easy-to-follow diabetes meal plan guide. The goal is to implement sustainable habits that feel manageable and stress-free but still help keep your blood sugars in a healthy range during this exciting time.
My 8 Golden Rules To Eating
The best approach to food I have found is to stick to these 8 golden rules:
All the meals and snacks in this plan follow the 8 golden rules they have been paired and follow the basis of eating little and often, high protein, high natural fats, low complex carbs, bulking up on vegetables and salad.
In order for this dietary advice to work you also need to follow the guidance around drinking plenty and going for a stroll after your main meal. I advise drinking a glass of water every time you eat and also one between each meal or snack. This is based on drinking around 3 ltrs of water a day which may sound like a lot to some, but a small glass of water with and between each time you eat will really impact your blood sugar levels and will assist with flushing any excess sugar from your system.
For more information on drinks, please read more here
Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan
M.Ed., RD, LDN, CLC, RYT-200
Andie is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Lactation Consultant, and Certified Personal Trainer who thinks of nutrition counseling as equal parts science and sensitivity. She specializes in lactation, sports nutrition, exercise fitness, and weight loss programs.
While a diet for gestationaldiabetes should always be individualized ,there are some gestational diabetes diet basics that can help you keep yourblood sugars under control:
- Fiber helps slow down blood sugar spikes. Aimfor foods such as vegetables , whole grains, nuts,seeds, beans, lentils and fruit.
- You will probably need to limit your carbohydrateintake. Carbs are still very important for your and your babys development, but too much carbohydrate atone time can cause your blood sugar to spike. Your dietitian can help you comeup with a plan to suit your personal needs.
- Protein and fat can also help slow down bloodsugars entry into the bloodstream, so be sure to include those foods at everymeal and snack.
The meal plan below is anexample of how to include high fiber foods into each meal and how to pair carbswith protein and healthy fats. Use this information in conjunction with theadvice and recommendations from a dietitian or diabetes educator.
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Elective Early Delivery With Diabetes During Pregnancy
Women who develop gestational diabetes, as well as women with preexisting mild diabetes that is well controlled, can usually carry to their due date safely though their babies are a bit more likely to be born prematurely.
But when moms normal blood sugar levels have not been well maintained throughout pregnancy, if the placenta deteriorates early or if other problems develop late in pregnancy, baby may be delivered a week or two before term.
The various tests mentioned above help a physician decide when to induce labor or perform a C-section late enough so the fetal lungs are sufficiently mature to function outside the womb, but not so late that the babys safety is compromised.
If your baby is delivered early, dont worry if shes placed in a neonatal intensive care unit immediately after delivery. This is routine procedure for babies born before 37 weeks.
Your baby will be observed for respiratory problems and for hypoglycemia . You should be able to get your baby back soon so you can start nursing, if thats your plan.
True Life: I Have Gestational Diabetes
No one ever thinks they’re going to develop gestational diabetes, but sometimes it’s out of our control. Here’s how the past month has gone after being diagnosed with gestational diabetes + meal and snack ideas.
This post may contain affiliate links.
What Ive been eating a lot of over the past month. GREEN STUFF.
Well, the post headline pretty much sums it up I have gestational diabetes. Apparently the third pregnancy was not the charm for this ol gal!
Sooo, YEAH. I have several reasons for writing this post. One, it felt like I was hiding something by not telling you. Lying by omission is still lying in my book and, well, Mama dont get down like that. Second, my post on Living with Celiac Disease has been one of my most popular posts here on IGE because its real and, most importantly, helped people, which I hope to accomplish with this post. Not only by sharing some of the meals and foods Ive been eating over the past month, but simply to give anyone struggling with gestational diabetes a virtual pat on the shoulder and say youre not alone. Well get through this! Third, the word diabetes is a loaded word and I hope to spread some knowledge about what gestational diabetes is and who can develop it.
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Achieving Normal Pregnancy Weight Gain
The amount of weight you gain during pregnancy will vary depending on your weight before your pregnancy. Althought weight loss is good for people with type 2 diabetes, weight loss is not recommended for pregnant women. Talk to your health-care provider to determine the appropriate weight gain for your body.
How To Put Together A Healthy Meal
- Include half a plate or two cupped hands worth of non-starchy vegetables and salad in different colours. E.g. some carrots, eggplant, mushrooms, tomato, lettuce or spinach.
- Include a quarter of a plate, or palm sized portion of lean protein. This could be fish, skinless chicken, beef, tofu , eggs , nuts or seeds.
- Have a quarter of plate or fist sized serving of lower GI carbohydrates. This could be rice, pasta, wholegrain crackers, beans or sweet potato. You can explore more low GI swaps here.
Eating For Diabetes Management
One of the first things your doctor may suggest is a consultation with a registered dietitian . Dietitians are specially trained to educate patients on what to eat. Carbohydrates are converted into blood sugar, which is crucial for every aspect of our bodies . So it’s important to include carbohydrates at meals and snacks, in addition to a source of protein and fiber.
Eating three meals and two snacks throughout the day can help prevent dips or spikes in blood sugar. Including a source of fiber-rich carbohydrate as well as protein at each meal or snack also helps to keep blood sugar levels more stable. If you’ve previously skipped meals or snacks, eating meals and snacks evenly spaced throughout the day is a good first step to managing blood sugar levels.
Good sources of high-fiber carbohydrates include:
- 100% whole grain bread, crackers, tortillas, cereal, etc.
- Whole grains, such as quinoa, whole wheat, oatmeal, and brown rice
- Whole fruit, including frozen options
- Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes or yams, winter squash, and corn
- Beans and lentils
When it comes to gestational diabetes, everyone’s body responds differently to different variables. Monitoring your blood sugar at home and communicating with your doctor and an RD will help you find the right meal plan for you.
Gestational Diabetes Diet Guidelines
If you’re wondering what’s the best diet for gestational diabetes, the answer is it’s not one-size-fits-all. The overall goal is to incorporate foods that support healthy blood sugar levels, and how exactly you do that depends on your individual diet. Follow these general guidelines and then customize your meals based on the foods you like and check out the sample gestational diabetes meal plan provided below as a guide. You can also schedule a meeting with a registered dietitian to determine your exact carbohydrate needs and to get an individualized gestational diabetes meal plan.
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Day Gestational Diabetes Diet Meal Plan
Gestational diabetes causes high blood pressure that can cause pregnancy complications.
It occurs due to changes in the way your body uses insulin. Insulin helps absorb and convert glucose into energy.
Gestational diabetes causes either not enough insulin to be produced during pregnancy, or makes the body more resistant to insulin. Both of these issues mean that not enough sugar gets converted into energy, causing high blood sugar levels. This eventually causes gestational diabetes.
However, one of the most effective ways to manage and prevent gestational diabetes is with a healthy diet.
This article will cover everything you need to know about a following a gestational diabetes diet plan and offer a sample 7 day plan to follow.
How Does Insulin Work
When we eat carbohydrates, the digestive system breaks them down into a form of sugar called glucose, which enters the bloodstream. As blood glucose levels go up, this triggers the pancreas to release the hormone insulin.
Insulin is like a key. Insulin opens up cells so they can let glucose in and use it for energy. When this system is working properly, blood sugar levels return to normal quickly, as glucose is either used up by cells or stored as energy for later use.
In gestational diabetes, blood sugar remains too high for too long. This can lead to pregnancy complications and health risks for the mother. Gestational diabetes can occur when other pregnancy hormones interfere with insulin, or when the body is unable to produce enough insulin to meet increased needs during pregnancy, due to insulin resistance that occurs during pregnancy.
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What Are The 7
So that you can get an idea of what my 7-day meal plans look like. Here is one days example meal plan for you to see and try out.
With the 7-day Meal Plans, you get 7 days just like as shown in the example one-day plan below.
There are six 7-day meal plans, a total of 42 days worth of meal plans if you make use of all the plans available. Although some of these may need tweaking to be suitable for your own dietary needs, eg. substituting meat or fish in some meal plans if you are vegetarian, or replacing dairy with dairy-free alternatives if you need to follow a dairy-free diet.
Once following the specific 7-day meal plan that you require for your own dietary needs, you will learn which ingredients work well for you and should be able to tweak other meals as necessary.
With Silver membership, you also have access to ALL recipes on the website!
The Dangers Of High Blood Sugar
Getting a handle on your blood sugar is essential for a healthy pregnancy. Taking the time when you’re first diagnosed to make some changes can help you avoid complications during pregnancy, labor, and after giving birth. Because high blood sugar is something we can’t always feel, it might seem easy to ignore.
Ignoring gestational diabetes can cause serious issues including a larger baby, which could lead to a C-section delivery or excessive bleeding and more severe tears during vaginal birth. Mothers with uncontrolled gestational diabetes have an increased risk of birthing an infant with breathing issues, jaundice , or low blood sugar. The risk of stillbirth is also higher.
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Gestational Diabetes Diet Benefits
There are many health benefits of following a healthy diet when you have gestational diabetes, for both you and your baby.
- It helps prevent the need for medication.Research suggests that about 80% of women with gestational diabetes can manage the condition with diet alone, without requiring the use of medication, Trout says. While the data don’t support one specific diet over another, the most common recommendation is moderate carbohydrate restriction with lean protein and healthy fats.
- It keeps your blood sugar at a healthy level. Women who follow this type of dietary regimen generally experience a drop in their blood sugar levels and, ultimately, healthy deliveries. Managing gestational diabetes with a healthy diet that controls your blood sugar level helps prevent health complications for the mother and baby.
- It lowers your risk for type 2 diabetes. Eating a healthy diet, keeping your weight within a healthy range, and getting regular physical activity after your baby is born can help lower your risk for type 2 diabetes.
However, it’s important for those with gestational diabetes to not overly restrict their diet, says Trout. For example, if you consume too few calories or carbohydrates and are losing weight, you may not be receiving adequate nutrition for you and your growing fetus.
Gaining The Right Amount Of Weight
Its best to try to reach your ideal weight before conception. But if you start your pregnancy overweight or obese, it will be extra important to set a weight gain goal with your practitioner and to stick to it . Gaining too much weight can put you at risk of other pregnancy complications, so be sure to keep an eye on the scale.
Your babys growth will also be monitored using ultrasound. Thats because babies of diabetics sometimes grow very large, even if moms weight is on target.
Heavier babies make delivery more difficult and they are also more likely to be overweight as adults and have a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease and other illnesses later in life.
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These Artificial Sweeteners Are Safe In Pregnancy
- Aspartame Equal, NutraSweet, NatraTaste
Great Expectations Pregnancy Classes
Get ready for the baby! Choose from a variety of classes that prepare moms and partners for pregnancy, birth, baby care, breastfeeding and parenting.
Lactation Consultant Support
Get support for all your breastfeeding needs. Troubleshoot with a lactation consultant, find equipment and supplies, join a support group and more.
Women’s Health Resource Center
Access free health resources here, from classes and webinars to support groups and medical referrals, plus pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding services.
Tips For Stir Frys Casseroles Curry Or Stews
- Choose lean cuts of meat or trim the fat from meat before you add it in when cooking
- Measure out your oil using a teaspoon per person, rather than pouring it in from the bottle. Or use a spray oil.
- Add a can of beans or lentils to your meal to increase the number of servings it makes. This will reduce the cost and increase the fibre.
- Choose reduced fat coconut milk, it will help to reduce the kilojoules you are eating and make it easier to maintain a healthy weight gain.
- Try to aim for a quarter of the bulk of your pot, wok or pan to be carbohydrates like rice, noodles or potatoes, a quarter lean protein and the other half non-starchy vegetables. Take a ladle or spoon full when cooking and see if the amounts of each ingredient fit that guide.
For more tailored healthy eating advice for gestational diabetes, it can be useful to see a dietitian. You can find a dietitian near you by visiting www.daa.asn.au.
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Follow The Plate Method For Easy Portion Control
The plate method lets you eyeball appropriate portions without having to actually pull out a measuring cup or count calories, which makes plating out a balanced, healthy meal simple and easy. Aim to make half your plate nonstarchy vegetables, a quarter of your plate lean protein, and a quarter of your plate whole grains at each meal. It’s important to eat a consistent amount of carbohydrates at each meal.
Gestational Diabetes Food List
Theres no one-size-fits-all food plan that works for every mom-to-be with gestational diabetes. Much of it means paying attention to how many carbs youre eating in relation to protein and fats. Carbs make blood sugar spike the most, so they should be limited.
Everyones dietary needs and tolerance to carbohydrates varies, explains Lily Nichols, RDN, CDE and author of Real Food for Gestational Diabetes. The best way to know youre eating the right quantity of carbohydrates and balance of foods at mealtimes is to pay close attention to your blood sugar response after meals.
Thats why its important for women with gestational diabetes to monitor their blood glucose levels with a glucose meter. Sure, pricking your finger several times a day may not be your idea of a good time, but your blood glucose levels really will tell you how your bodys responding to what and how youre eating. You and your doctor or dietician can tweak your gestational diabetes diet plan as you go to make it work for you.
In general, a diet women with gestational diabetes should aim for should include:
Also consider taking a walk after a meal, since even a little bit of exercise after eating can lower blood sugar levels and help you manage your gestational diabetes.
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