My Gestational Diabetes Diet Meal Plan During Pregnancy – What I Eat in A day As A Pregnant Woman

 
 

Joanna Naruo

Reviewed in the United States on December 14, 2018

This Meal plan  saved me during pregnancy! I was crushed when I didn’t pass the 1hr glucose and I cried all the way home when I failed the 3hr glucose test.
I felt like there was so much pressure to do everything right and I felt like I was letting myself and my baby down despite trying to do everything right.
I am a healthy weight, don’t eat fast food, cook plant based meals at home and did gentle exercise 3-4x a week, used to being able to follow drs guidelines kind of person.
This Meal plan helped relieve so much stress during my pregnancy because I felt confident I was doing the right things for myself and my baby. All the research she has done is invaluable!!!
I went from having morning fasting blood sugars in the 110s to 80s and my post meal blood sugars went from 220s to 90-100s. I used to apologize when the nurse would call me to get my blood sugars. At the end I could look forward to reading them off because the nurses would be so impressed moth my numbers! At my follow up dr appointments they would praise me for healthy weight gain and controlled blood sugar without any meds and they would say “keep up the good work!”
And I would happily smile, say “thank you, I’ve been following DR KOTB’ book Gestational Diabetes Meal plan –  then throw their “healthy” recommended diet example handouts in the trash in the way out.

I am pleased to say that my son was born a healthy weight and neither of us had blood sugar problems after. My son is now a year and a half old and people (including kindergarten teachers) always tell me he is very bright, interactive and “advanced for his age”
I am very grateful to DR KOTB and all of her hard work. Thank you for making eating during my pregnancy a joy instead of another stressor! If you are tired of “failing” while doing everything “right” please check out this Meal plan! It will be such a life changer for you!

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 and how to manage it with our easy gestational 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.

What Is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women, even if they didn’t have diabetes before pregnancy. It’s routine for doctors to test for it between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy. Any woman can get gestational diabetes; however, you may be at increased risk if you are overweight, have had gestational diabetes before, or have relatives with diabetes. And, having gestational diabetes during pregnancy doesn’t necessarily mean a diagnosis of diabetes after giving birth.
Like other forms of diabetes, gestational diabetes impacts how your cells use glucose. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose in your bloodstream.
Insulin is then released from the pancreas to take glucose to your cells for energy. Hormonal shifts during pregnancy can cause insulin resistance, meaning glucose levels stay high in your blood instead of being taken to your cells for energy.
The risks of gestational diabetes can include complications for mom and baby, such as a larger baby, which can increase the risk of needing a cesarean section.
Uncontrolled blood sugar can also lead to high blood pressure in the mother.
The good news is that you can keep your blood sugar levels in check through proper nutrition, physical activity and working closely with your doctor to coordinate prenatal care.

Gestational Diabetes Symptoms

Some women may notice gestational diabetes symptoms before being tested by their doctor. Some of the typical symptoms include increased thirst and urination, blurred vision, and fatigue (which can be masked by normal pregnancy fatigue).
However, most women will experience no symptoms at all, which is why it’s important to go to all of your prenatal appointments.

How to Prevent Gestational Diabetes

There are a few things you can do to help reduce your risk of developing gestational diabetes, but it’s important to remember that if you do get diagnosed, it’s not your fault.
If you are overweight or obese, you can lower your risk of gestational diabetes by making dietary changes that keep your blood sugar levels normal and help you gain less weight throughout pregnancy (you still want to gain weight when you’re pregnant).
But for women who are at a healthy weight before pregnancy (BMI 18.5-24.9), dietary changes haven’t been shown to prevent gestational diabetes. Exercising from the start of pregnancy may lower your risk of gestational diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes Diet Guidelines

simple-grilled-salmon-broccolini-rice.jpg
There’s no one-size-fits-all gestational diabetes meal plan. The goal is to incorporate foods that support healthy blood sugar levels.
Follow these general guidelines and then customize your meals based on the foods you like and the sample gestational diabetes meal plan provided below.
Schedule a meeting with a registered dietitian to determine your exact carbohydrate needs and to get an individualized gestational diabetes meal plan.
Choose complex carbohydrates
Carbohydrates raise blood sugar more than fat and protein, so it’s important to pay attention to the type and amount of carbohydrates you’re eating. Aim for about 30-45 grams of carbs per meal and 15-30 grams per snack, but check with your dietitian for your specific needs.
Choose complex carbohydratesmost of the time-these have more fiber, which slows digestion and prevents blood sugar from spiking. Beans, whole grains and vegetables are complex carbs.
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.
 
Pair carbohydrates with protein and healthy fats
Pairing carbohydrates with protein and healthy fats prevents spikes in blood sugar. It also keeps you full, since protein and fat are digested more slowly than carbohydrates. For example, instead of just having an apple for a snack, pair it with peanut butter, which provides protein and healthy fat.
Eat at regular intervals throughout the day
Eat three meals and two or three snacks each day. Do not skip meals. It deprives you and your baby of nutrients and could cause your blood sugar to drop too low.

What Can I Eat If I Have Gestational Diabetes?

 
 

diabetes picnic spread
 
The answer: lots of delicious foods! Nothing is off limits per se if you have gestational diabetes, but some foods will better help control blood sugar than others.
Because refined grains like white pasta, white rice, white bread, crackers and tortillas will spike blood sugar quicker than their whole-grain counterparts, choose the whole-grain options more often.
Same goes for simple carbohydrates like sugary desserts and juice-go for fruit-forward desserts that contain less added sugar and more fiber, and choose whole pieces of fruit instead of juice.
That said, if you’re really craving that cookie or brownie, just stick to one serving and plan to move a little afterward to help your body use up the sugar.
And, in line with general healthy eating guidelines, avoid trans fats, opt for lean meat or plant-based proteins, and keep sodium in check by limiting processed foods.
 
Choose more often
  • 100% whole grains
  • Nonstarchy vegetables
  • Some starchy vegetables (like potatoes, corn and peas)
  • Fruit (1-2 servings per day)
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Tofu
  • Nuts/seeds
  • Popcorn
  • Unsweetened yogurt
  • Avocado oil
  • Olive oil
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Chia seeds
  • Flaxseeds
Choose less often
  • Desserts
  • Soda
  • Juice
  • White bread/pasta
  • Refined grains
  • Highly processed foods
  • Fast food
  • Fried foods
  • Baked goods
  • Candy

Recipes for Gestational Diabetes

 

Salmon Tacos with Pineapple Salsa
 
Here’s what to aim for with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. These easy recipe ideas make eating with gestational diabetes simple and delicious.
Breakfast
After the long night, your blood sugar levels will be low. Your body will need a healthy breakfast to fuel both you and the baby. Aim for 30-45 grams of carbs.

 

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.

 


 

Breakfast

  • 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

Lunch

  • 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

Dinner

  • 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 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)

Snacks

  • 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

 
 

Example meal plan

Breakfast

example meal plan - banana pancakes
Banana Pancakes

Ingredients: 1 small or ½ a large slightly green to yellow banana, 2 large eggs, butter or coconut oil, Greek full fat yoghurt, a few berries, almonds, seeds
Mash the banana, crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk. Add the mashed banana to the eggs and mix until blended. Heat a frying pan and add butter or coconut oil.
Drop the batter into the pan (2 tbl sp per pancake), fry for 1 minute, or until the bottom of the pancake has browned slightly.
Flip the pancake over (very gently as the mixture is fairly wet meaning the pancakes can break easily) and cook the other side. Serve warm with full fat Greek yoghurt, berries, nuts, seeds and add sweetener or agave nectar if you wish

 

Morning Snack

Hummus and vegetable sticks

 

Lunch

Spanish Frittata with grilled halloumi and salad

Makes 8 large servings. Ingredients; 300g leftover cooked new potatoes or boiled potatoes, 6 spring onions or 1 medium onion, olive oil for cooking, 3 tbsp finely chopped flatleaf parsley, 6 eggs, 100g grated cheddar, halloumi, rocket, baby spinach, cucumber, avocado and lemon juice.
Spanish Frittata
 
 
Slice the cooked potatoes into thick slices. Top & tail the spring onions, then chop into small slices (or peel and dice the onion).
. Soften the onions in a pan with some olive oil on a low-medium heat, then add the sliced potatoes.
Warm on a medium heat for a few minutes and ensure the onion and potatoes are spread evenly in the pan. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Add half of the grated cheese with the finely chopped parsley and plenty of salt and pepper into the egg and mix.
Tip the egg mixture into the pan and cook on a medium-moderate heat for around 10 minutes, using a spatula to shape the edges of the frittata. Sprinkle grated cheddar on top and place under the grill to golden. Slice the halloumi and heat in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil.
Serve a slice of frittata warm with slices of halloumi and a mixed green and avocado salad dressed in lemon juice. Leftover frittata can be eaten cold the following day.

 
 

Afternoon Snack

Peanut butter and Granny smith

Slice a Granny smith apple into pieces and dunk into crunchy peanut butter (look for peanut butter with less than 6g total carbohydrate per 100g)

 
 
 

Dinner
example meal plan

Spaghetti bolognese

Serves 4-6. Ingredients: Olive oil for cooking, 500g Beef (or it tastes even better with minced beef!) or Quorn mince, 1 large chopped onion, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, 1 grated courgette, 1 green and 1 red pepper sliced or chopped, 1 stick of chopped celery, 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes, 500g tomato passata, 3 tbsp tomato purée, 1 tbsp Worcester sauce, 1 tsp dried mixed herbs, 1 beef oxo cube or beef stock pot, freshly ground salt & pepper and wholewheat spaghetti or courgetti (finely sliced, grated or spiralized courgette).
Fresh basil to garnish and LOTS of grated cheese
Recipe *also suitable for the slow cooker: Heat some oil in a large sauté pan over low heat. Add onions and garlic, and soften.
Turn the heat up to a medium heat and add the mince/Quorn. Once the mince has browned, add the courgette, peppers and celery, mixing them with the other ingredients until they start to soften. Pour in the tin of tomatoes and passata and stir well.
Add the tomato purée, Worcester sauce, mixed herbs, stock cube and seasoning to taste.  Cover the pan, and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes. Serve with a small amount (40g dried weight) of wholewheat spaghetti or as much courgetti as you like (or you could mix courgetti and wholewheat spaghetti together). Garnish with fresh basil and plenty of grated cheese.
Leftovers can be eaten another day or you could create a lasagne or chilli for a different meal

 
 

Optional Dessert ‘snack’ – after testing post meal blood sugar levels. Omit this snack if you are not hungry
Fluff milk jellies

fluff
 
To be made in advance into ramekins or glasses to avoid over indulging! Ingredients; sachet of sugar free jelly, boiling water and double cream
Make the jelly as instructed with boiling water. Once cooled but NOT set, pour in 150ml double cream and whisk with a hand whisk or blender. Once blended, pour the fluff mixture into small ramekins or glasses and refrigerate. Once chilled, enjoy!
To make more of a trifle, add a thin layer of the jelly to each glass and refrigerate to set, then add the remainder of the double cream to the leftover jelly to create the fluff mixture and pour on top of the set jellies. Refrigerate again so that the fluff sets on top of the layer of jelly. You could also add some more whipped cream and a shaving of chocolate or chopped nuts for a topping
 

Bedtime Snack

Scottish oatcakes x 3 and cheese

 

 Sweet sugar free low carb recipes

Within our membership area we have a few sweet treat recipes on our desserts & treats page which are sugar free and low carb.
 
They are based on food pairing so they are suitable for sweet treat snacks which can help with your sweet cravings but not cause high blood sugar levels. We have recipes for brownies, bounty cake, lemon cake, summer pudding and lemon cheesecakes.
Here is a recipe for peanut butter cookies…

 

3 ingredient peanut butter cookies stacked next to a glass of milk

Peanut Butter Cookies

Crumbly salty sweet peanut butter cookies, sugar free, grain free and low carb. It’s the perfect gestational diabetes sweet treat!
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:12 minutes
Total Time:22 minutes
Course: Snacks
Cuisine: American, British
Diet: Diabetic, Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Keyword: biscuits, cookies, peanut, peanut butter
Free or Membership Recipe: Free Recipe
Nut Free Recipe: Contains Nuts
Servings: 16small cookies
Calories: 96kcal
Author: Jo Paterson

Ingredients

  • 250 grams peanut butter warmed
  • 3 tbsp xylitol or erythritol sweetener
  • 1 medium egg

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 180°c (fan)
  • Add all the ingredients into a bowl
  • Mix well so that the mixture combines and creates a big (but very soft) dough like ball
  • Roll out balls of dough the size of walnuts and place on baking parchment paper on a baking tray
  • Using a fork, gently press the dough ball to squash it and create a pattern on the cookie, then press the fork in the opposite direction to create a criss cross pattern
  • Place cookies in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are slightly browning
  • Remove the cookies from the tray and lay on a wire cooling rack. Be careful with these cookies as they crumble easily!

Notes

Other nut butters could be used too, but be wary of cashew nut butter which contains much higher amounts of carbs.

SWEETENERS

You do not have to use any sweeteners in this recipe if you do not wish to, however this means that the only sweetness comes from the peanut butter (which for a majority is not going to be sweet enough).

The brand of xylitol natural sweetener that I use and is most widely available in larger supermarkets is Total Sweet. To find a local stockist, please check this link. It is important to note that xylitol, although a natural sweetener, is highly toxic to dogs, so no sharing your GD treats with your furry friends!

Total Sweet xylitol natural sweetener packaging

Erythritol sweeteners are what I recommend using in this recipe if you struggle with IBS or gastric issues. Whilst xylitol is fine for most if eaten in small amounts, those who have any gastric conditions such as IBS may find that xylitol can trigger their symptoms.  The brand of erythritol I use is NKD Living powdered erythritol.

Artificial powdered sweeteners such as sucralose (like Splenda) or aspartame (like Canderel) can be used in this recipe but they may raise blood glucose levels and can leave a nasty bitter aftertaste.

For the best outcomes with this recipe it is best to use the ingredients recommended and in the quantities stated.

Nutrition

Calories: 96kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | of which saturates: 2g | Fibre: 1g | of which sugars: 1g
Recipes to try:

Amazon.com: Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan (Best Diet Menu And Recipes For Gestational Diabetes Book 1) eBook: Kotb, Dr.: Kindle Store

 

The Bottom Line

Managing gestational diabetes through your diet doesn’t have to be daunting. Use the gestational diabetes diet guidelines outlined here to create your own gestational diabetes meal plan based on your tastes and preferences. The main goal is to implement sustainable habits that feel manageable and stress-free during this exciting time.

 
 
 

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