No one disputes the importance of proper nutrition in pregnancy. But for women with gestational diabetes, BabyCenter warns, proper nutrition is a pivotal factor in reducing the risk of complications in labour and delivery, as well as potential injury and serious health issues to the baby because of his resulting large size. The good news is that many delicious and healthy diabetic meal ideas are available to satisfy your pregnant palate during gestational diabetes.
Many women can control their gestational diabetes with diet and exercise. Dorchester Health recommends eating a meal or snack every 3 hours.
Meals for women with gestational diabetes should be high in fibre and protein but low in fats and sweets. Carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels, so it's important to stick to the carb intake level recommended by your doctor or dietitian. Refer to the Mayo Clinic's exchange lists for portion sizes.
Foods to Avoid
The Dorchester Health Department cautions women with gestational diabetes to avoid sugar and concentrated sweets such as most desserts, fruit juices and drinks, jams, jellies, syrup, honey, cornstarch, corn syrup, molasses, and other sweeteners. They also frown on convenience foods such as instant noodles and potatoes, frozen dinners, and tinned soup. BabyCenter advises that some women should avoid milk because of the lactose content.
Your blood sugar is lowest first thing in the morning, so a small high-protein breakfast provides a healthy start to your day. Diabetic Diet for Diabetes suggests one protein serving, such as eggs or low-fat cheese, cottage cheese, or ham. Whole-wheat toast with a small dollop of butter provides the starchy carb, and a glass of milk or serving of yoghurt provides the extra calcium boost mom and baby need for healthy development.
Waiting too long between meals can cause a blood sugar spike when you do finally eat, so a morning snack can keep your counts on an even keel. Opt for healthy snacks such as cut veggies and dip, fruit and cottage cheese, or whole-wheat crackers and peanut butter. eMedTV suggests half a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich with milk.
For lunch, Diabetic Diet for Diabetes suggests one serving each of protein and vegetables, along with one or two carbs. Whole-grain pasta and pita bread add variety to your carb choices. Try chicken or tuna salad alone or stuffed into a pita, with tomatoes and grapes on the side. Or toss some leftover chicken and vegetables with pasta and a sprinkling of olive oil and Italian cheeses. eMedTV endorses pita bread stuffed with black beans, tomatoes, salsa, and cheese.
Fruits and vegetables can give you a midafternoon pickup to sustain you until dinnertime. eMedTV approves an apple with peanut butter and milk. Diabetic Diet for Diabetes recommends fruit and vegetable juice blends or soft cheese on a whole-grain bagel.
Diabetic Diet for Diabetes advises, "If you eat late and are inclined to crash into bed shortly afterward, you will need to guard against overeating. If you eat earlier and like a larger dinner, make sure you will be active enough to burn off some of the calories before relaxing. Try to catch up on any missing servings of vegetables and fruit at dinnertime." The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development proposes grilled chicken with pineapple, rice, and green beans. You may also want to try baked ham, carrots, fruit salad, and couscous. Or barbecue fish and serve it with a strawberry and spinach salad and new potatoes.
According to Diabetic Diet for Diabetes, if you stay up more than 3 hours after dinner or regularly wake with dangerously low readings, you'll need a light snack either before bed or as a midnight supplement to keep your blood sugar from crashing while you sleep. An apple or peanut butter crackers and milk can stabilise you for a good night's rest.
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- BabyCenter, LLC: What Kind of Pregnancy Diet Should I Follow if I Have Gestational Diabetes?: Julie Redfern
- Dorchester County Health Department: Dietary Guidelines for Women with Gestational Diabetes (or Those at Risk)
- Diabetic Diet for Diabetes: Gestational Diabetes Meal Planning:
- Clinaero,Inc.: eMedTV: Gestational Diabetes Sample Menu:
- National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: Sample Menu