If you are pregnant and have been diagnosed with diabetes during pregnancy then following a gestational diabetes diet plan may be just what the doctor ordered.
Gestational diabetes (pregnancy associated diabetes mellitus) is the onset of diabetes or the appearance of abnormal glucose tolerance for the first time during a woman’s pregnancy.
If you are a woman that has been diagnosed with this condition, you will be happy to know that it usually disappears after delivery.
However, there are some women that will remain diabetic after the birth of their baby.
This page is not about explaining this process that sometimes takes place during pregnancy or why gestational diabetes may occur in some women but about how to control blood sugar by following the right gestational diabetes diet menu.
If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes you will already be aware and understand by talking to your doctor what it is and what it can cause.
The main problem arising from having gestational diabetes is that your blood glucose levels can rise which get passed to the baby.
This can cause the baby to grow too big and make delivery more difficult. Not a nice thought! It can also lead to low blood glucose in the baby.
When gestational diabetes is well controlled, these risks are greatly reduced. A gestational diabetes diet plan is one way to do that.
Since the use of hypoglycemic drugs taken by mouth is not generally considered a healthy option, eating a special diet and monitoring glucose levels can help.
You must, of course, take any special diet like ours to your doctor because there may be strict guidelines the doctor will have you follow as far as this diet goes.
However, for those women interested in information about this type of special diet here are some rules to follow and a gestational diabetes diet plan at the bottom.
Rules for combating gestational diabetes
• Eat a good breakfast: One with Low GI-levels (GI refers to the glycemic index read here.)
• Eat foods high in fiber such as vegetables and fruits
• Cut down on food with lots of simple sugars and saturated fats e.g. grill food instead of frying.
• Regularly exercise, avoid staying at a single spot idle for a long time
• If all these do not work, a regular insulin injection might be the only way out. (see your physician.
• Understand that it is a normal phenomenon and you will overcome it
Healthy carbohydrate foods include
• Bread and breakfast cereals
• Pasta, rice and noodles
• Potato, sweet potato, corn
• Legumes, such as baked beans, red kidney, beans and lentils
• Fruit (fresh, dried, tinned, juice)
• Milk, yoghurt, custard
It is important to eat these healthy carbohydrate foods as they are a good source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and energy.
They should be eaten regularly throughout the day but need to be counted so that you do not eat too much carbohydrate at once.
Carbohydrate foods to avoid
Eating a Gestational Diabetes Diet means avoiding a few things such as carbs with a lot of sugar.
High sugar carbohydrate foods include
• Regular soft drinks
• Lollypops, regular jelly
These high sugar carbohydrate foods should not be eaten for the rest of your pregnancy.
They will raise your blood glucose levels very high, very quickly (they are foods with a high glycemic index (GI). Potato releases glucose slowly to the blood so it has a low GI)
• Table sugar
• Jam, honey
Research shows that a small amount of these carbohydrate foods, as part of a healthy eating plan, should not raise your blood glucose levels too much.
Use only a half to one teaspoon per main meal.
When using these small amounts, these carbohydrate foods do not need to be counted.
It is best to avoid larger amounts, but if you do eat larger amounts of these foods they must be counted as part of your carbohydrate serves for the day.
High fat carbohydrate foods include
• Sweet cakes and biscuits
• Takeaway foods e.g. Pizza, burgers, chips, etc.
These high fat carbohydrate foods can be eaten sometimes, in small amounts only. You will need to count these foods in your carbohydrate serves for the day.
Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan Sample
Breakfast (all 2–3 carbohydrate serves)
Chose only one idea for each meal from the gestational diabetes diet sheet below.
- 1 cup special K/ 2 Weetbix/ 1/2 cup muesli (2 serves) with 1 cup skim milk (1 serve)
- 2 slices wholegrain toast with toppings (2 serves)
- English muffin (2 serves) with 1/2 cup baked beans (1 serve) and 1 egg
- 200g low fat yoghurt (2 serves) with 3/4 cup of tinned fruit in natural juice (drained) (1 serve)
Lunch (all 2–3 carbohydrate serves)
- 1 wholegrain sandwich/roll/wrap (2 serves) with egg/tuna/low fat cheese + a salad
- 1 cup of lentil soup (1 serve) with 2 slices of wholegrain bread (2 serves) and a salad
- 2/3 cup of basmati rice (2 serves) with 2/3 cup beans (1 serve)
- or 3/4 cup lentils (1 serve) or lean meat/fish/chicken (100g) and salad/vegetables (other than potato and corn
Dinner (all 2–3 carbohydrate serves)
- 1200g lean meat/chicken/fish with 1 boiled potato (1 serve), 1/2 cup corn (1 serve) and a side of other vegetables/salad
- 1 1/2 cups cooked pasta (3 serves) with tomato based sauce and garden salad
- 1cup basmati rice (3 serves) with stir fried lean chicken/beef/fish (100g) and vegetables (other than potato and corn)
- 2 tortillas (2 serves) with lean mince and salad followed by 1/2 cup low fat custard (1 serve)
Morning tea/ afternoon tea/ snacks (all 1–2 carbohydrate serves)
- 1 medium piece of fruit (1 serve)
- 220 g low fat yoghurt (2 serves)
- 4 Vita-Weats (1 serve) with low fat cream cheese
- 1 slice fruit toast (1 serve) with thin scrape of margarine
- 1 cup skim milk (1 serve)
- 2 Digestives biscuits (1 serve)
- 220 ml skim milk with 2 tsp milo/nesquik (1 serve)
- 10 rice crackers (e.g. sakatas) with low fat dip
The above gestational diabetes diet plan and information on gestational diabetes is not intended to take place of your doctor’s advice. Please see your doctor before starting a diet plan of this nature.