The Gestational Diabetes Menu

Planning your gestational diabetes menu can be challenging. It can be less of a chore when you follow these simple guidelines.

Learn to look at food with a different perspective.

See the foods according to these categories.


Red meat, for example:




Poultry, for example:




Legumes, like:


Beans, for example:

Soya beans.

Kidney beans.

Butter beans.

Bake beans.

















Vegetables for example:

Green beans.

Sweet potato.


Fruit, for example:









Poultry skins.








All vegetables.

All fruit.



It is impossible to show you every food available, get the information from the labels. Plan your meals for the gestational diabetes menu according to the categories above.

You need the correct balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat. When planning your gestational diabetes menu, split the carbohydrates as starch, vegetables and fruit and dairy.

Count the value of the food according to the ingredient that is the most common.

For example, nuts contain fat, protein and fiber, but its main source is protein. Therefore, if you need some protein for a meal, then nuts will be a good choice. However, if you need to add some fat, then nuts would be the wrong choice.
Avocados are a fruit, but count it as a fat on your gestational diabetes menu.

Always have a protein when you eat carbohydrates. The required dietary fat will come naturally it is thus easy to have too much. Therefore, limit the amount of fat in your diet.

Recommended Meal Sizes
for the Gestational Diabetes Menu


  • 2 Servings carbohydrates.
  • 2 Servings starch OR
  • 1 Serving dairy and 1 serving fruit OR
  • 1 Serving starch and 1 serving dairy.
  • 1 Serving protein.
  • 1 Serving fat.

Mid Morning Snack.

  • 1 Serving protein.
  • 1 Serving carbohydrates.
  • 1 fruit OR
  • 1 Serving starch OR
  • 1 Serving vegetables OR
  • 1 Serving dairy.


  • 3-4 Servings carbohydrate.
  • 2 Servings starch.
  • 1 Serving vegetable or fruit.
  • 1 Serving dairy or fruit.
  • 2-3 Servings protein.
  • 1 Serving fat.

Mid afternoon snack.

  • 1 Serving protein.
  • 1 Serving carbohydrates.
  • 1 Serving fruit OR
  • 1 Serving starch OR
  • 1 Serving vegetables OR
  • 1 Serving dairy.

Evening meal.

  • 3-4 Servings carbohydrate.
  • 2 Servings starch.
  • 1 Serving vegetable or fruit.
  • 1 Serving dairy or fruit.
  • 2-3 Servings protein.
  • 1 Serving fat.

Bedtime snack.

  • 1 Serving protein.
  • 1 Serving carbohydrates.
  • 1 Serving fruit OR
  • 1 Serving starch OR
  • 1 Serving vegetables OR
  • 1 Serving dairy.

Look at sample diet for gestational diabetes to see how this is done effectively.

Portions or Serving Sizes
of the Gestational Diabetes Menu

Weight shown in two measurements.

Gram (g)

Ounces (oz).

Volume shown in three measurements.

Milliliter (ml).

United States fluid ounces (US fl oz).

United Kingdom fluid ounces (UK fl oz).

Other measures.

Teaspoon - 5ml (0.17 US fl oz, 0.18 UK fl oz)

Three teaspoons = 1 Tablespoon.

In Australia, four teaspoons = 1 Tablespoon.
Tablespoon - 15 ml (0.51 US fl oz, 0.53 UK fl oz)

In Australia, 1 Tablespoon = 20 ml (0.98 US fl oz, 0.7 UK fl oz)

2 tablespoons are about the size of a walnut, table tennis ball or golf ball.
Cup - 250 ml (8.45 US fl oz, 8.8 UK fl oz)

1 cup is about the size of a baseball.

1cup is about the same size as a handful.

1/2 cup is about the size of the glass part of a light bulb or cupped palm.

1/4 cup is about the size of a golf ball.
Glass - 350 ml (11.83 US fl oz, 12.32 UK fl oz)

Most beverage glasses are 12 oz. or greater in size.


Meat, fish and poultry, 1 portion or serving size.

About 100g (3.53 oz) OR

The same size as the palm of your hand OR

A deck of cards.


Almonds - 1/4 cup, about 12 almonds.

Pistachios - 1/4 cup, about 12 pistachios.

Peanut butter - 2 Tablespoons.

Peanuts - 1/4 cup.


Low fat cheese - 1 1/2 oz (44g), about the size of three dominoes or nine volt battery.

Cream cheese - 1 Tablespoon.

Cottage cheese - 1/2 cup.

Legumes - 1/2 cup.

Egg - 1 large, replaces 1 oz (28g) meat.


1 Serving is about 15g (0.53 oz).

Total carbohydrates for the day are 225g (7.94 oz).

Rice - 1/2 cup.

Soup - 1 cup

Bread - 1 slice from standard size loaf.

Flaked cereal - 1/2 cup.

Cooked pasta - 1/2 cup.

Air popped popcorn - 3 cups.

1 Muffin, about the size of hockey puck.


Broccoli - 1/2 cup.

Carrots - 1/2 cup.

1 ear of corn - length of a pencil, about 8 inches (20 cm).

Mashed potato - 1/2 cup.

Raw leaves - 1 cup.

Small baked potato - 3 inch (7.5cm), about the size of a computer mouse.

Small sweet potato - 3 inch (7.5cm), about the size of a computer mouse.

Cooked vegetables - 1/2 cup.

Raw vegetables - 1 cup.


Banana - 1 pencil length, about 8 inches (20cm).

Juice - 1/2 glass 6 fl oz (177.44 ml).

1 fruit, small to medium. (1 big fruit like a watermelon or papaw by yourself in one sitting - bad idea)

Chopped, sliced, cooked or canned - 1/2 cup.

Grapes - 15 small or 12 large.1

kiwi fruit.

1/2 Fresh grapefruit.


Milk - 1 cup.

Yogurt - 1 cup.

Ice cream - 1/2 cup.

Sugar free custard or pudding - 1/2 cup.


Butter, margarine - 1 teaspoon.

Salad dressing - 1 Tablespoon.

6 small olives.

1/8 Avocado.

Shopping List for the Gestational Diabetes Menu

Planning your gestational diabetes menu require that you buy your foods ahead of time. Plan your meals a week in advance and fill in your shopping list accordingly.

Construct the shopping list in the nutrition groups, protein, starch, dairy, vegetables, fruit and supplements. Furthermore, note on your shopping list the total gram carbohydrates and portion sizes needed.

A shopping list will also help you avoid the inessential items such as, chips and candy.

What to buy and what to look out for when buying foods.

  • Read the labels for the ingredients when shopping, especially the total carbohydrate, fiber and portion size.

  • Protein.
    • Chicken. skinless if you can get it, save you from removing the skin later.
    • Beef, pork and mutton. Get the lean variety. If it is unavailable, cut the fat off yourself.
    • Turkey.
    • Peanut butter. both, chunky or smooth will do. See if you can find sugarless.
    • Fish. Ocean caught fish are more natural than fish farm bred.
    • Cheese. Low fat or reduced fat is best.
    • Cottage cheese.
    • Nuts. All kinds. Get mixed nuts for a variety each time nuts are on your meal plan.
    • Tofu.
    • Eggs. One large egg replaces 1 oz of meat, so get large eggs.

  • Dairy.
    • Milk. Low fat and/or skimmed milk.
    • Yogurt. Sugar free plain yogurt.
    • Take calcium supplements if you do not have milk or yogurt daily.

  • Vegetables.
    • Fresh or frozen.
    • Look for variety of colors.
    • Colorful vegetables have more nutrients.

  • Fruits.
    • Fresh or frozen without added sugar.
    • Canned without added sugar. Drain before eating, the juice contains lots of sugar.
    • Select the fruit in the required sizes; this makes it easy for travel or work.

  • Foods for snacks.
    • Look at serving sizes to get to the correct 15g carbohydrate portion size. Nobody likes to have half or quarter cookies or crackers.
    • Plain cookies.
    • Graham crackers.
    • Vanilla wafers.
    • Ginger snaps.

    A Final Thought

    The above information on the gestational diabetes menu, is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your health care team to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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