Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan
Diabetes is very prominent in today’s world – Type 2 Diabetes is generally more common than Type 1, but did you know that there is a third type of Diabetes? Gestational Diabetes (or GDM – Gestational Diabetes Mellitus), which is characterized by hyperglycemia, or raised blood sugar, which is generally first recognized during pregnancy. This type of diabetes usually goes away after the baby is born, and often does not have symptoms that show. There are also two other forms of Diabetes (Diabetes Insipidus and Diabetes Mellitus), which include both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. They are unrelated, although both conditions cause frequent urination and constant thirst. If these are symptoms you currently suffer from, you may consider visiting your doctor to check for Diabetes.
To understand Diabetes in more general terms, it prevents the body from using food correctly. When one has diabetes, the body has trouble producing enough insulin. This causes a problem with the digestion of food, as most foods are converted into glucose, which the body uses as its main energy source.
During pregnancy, specific hormones that facilitate the baby’s growth interfere with insulin. With Gestational Diabetes, the body has difficulty producing extra insulin, needed for the body and the baby. This causes blood glucose levels to rise higher than normal. If you are diagnosed with Gestational diabetes, it is very important to adopt a conscious meal plan to help regulate glucose levels and work to control the diabetes.
Basic Meal Planning
Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner:
- 2 to 3 carbohydrate choices (30 to 45 grams)
- 1 serving of protein (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nut butter, nuts/seeds)
- vegetables or healthy fat, freely
Morning, Afternoon, & Afternoon Snack:
- 1 to 2 carb choices (15 to 30 grams)
- 1 to ½ a serving of protein (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nut butter, nuts/seeds)
Foods to Incorporate into your daily diet:
Generally, most vegetables do not raise blood glucose levels. Aim to eat at least four to five servings of vegetables each day as they are incredibly nutrient dense.
There are a few vegetables that can raise your blood glucose levels. Ensure that you are aware of these in order to measure them. One-half cup of the following vegetables is equal to 15 grams of carbohydrate (one carbohydrate choice):
These vegetables are low starch vegetables and you may eat as many servings as you desire!
Choose lean proteins such as skinless chicken or turkey, lean grass-fed beef, wild caught fish, and pasture-raised eggs. Plant-based sources of protein such as tofu, beans, vegan protein powders, or other soy products are also great alternatives. Protein can help to stabilize glucose levels, so it is important to aim to include a serving of protein (animal or plant-based) at every meal and snack.
- Beef or veal
- Canned fish
- Cottage cheese
- Egg substitute
- Fish and seafood
- Hot dogs
- Nut butters (unsalted – almond, peanut, cashew, sunflower)
- Soy or veggie burgers
- Vegan protein powders
Aim to limit unhealthy saturated fats, which are found in butter, cream, and high-fat meats such as bacon or sausage.
- nuts and seeds
- nut butters (unsalted – almond, peanut, cashew, sunflower)
- cooking oils (olive oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil)
- fatty fish (salmon or trout)
It is important to eat a consistent amount of healthy carbohydrates at each meal, and for snack. Your carbohydrates should come from foods such as fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans and starchy vegetables. It is best to limit carbohydrates in the morning, as your blood sugar will be low from fasting during sleep.
It is important to note that these foods are highest in carbohydrates, so aim to stick to only a serving per meal or snack.
In general, a serving of starch is:
Breads, cereals, and grains
- ½ cup of cooked cereal, grain, or starchy vegetable
- ½ cup of cooked pasta
- 1/3 cup of cooked rice, couscous, or other grain
- 1 slice of bread
- ½ of a small bagel, hamburger or hot dog bun, or English muffin
- ½ of a 6-inch pita bread
- 4-inch pancake
- ½ cup cooked cereal
- ¾ cup of cold cereal (read box to ensure serving size)
Starchy vegetables, beans and legumes
- ½ cup cooked peas or beans (kidney, black, lentils, chickpeas)
- ½ cup cooked corn or 6-inch on cob
- ½ cup mashed potato/yam/sweet potato
Crackers and snacks
- 3 squares of graham crackers
- 6 – 8 saltine-like crackers
Milk and dairy foods also include carbohydrate, along with protein and calcium. Try to include at least 3-4 servings of these throughout the day, if you are not lactose intolerant or sensitive. Always aim for organic, hormone-free products.
It is best to avoid sweets, desserts, sweetened beverages, and fruit juices. These sugary and carbohydrate-rich foods will raise your blood sugar very quickly, and most are laden with artificial ingredients.