Gestational Diabetic Diet
Gestational diabetic diet is a bit of a misnomer. A healthy diet that everybody on this planet should follow, is all it is.
There is no standard diet plan for the gestational diabetic. Each person
is unique. Therefore, the diet plan must consider the weight, age,
stage in pregnancy and personal preferences, individually.
The overriding factor must be to provide proper nutrition to the mother and baby.
The word diet has some connotations that must be clarified. Most people
think diet is what you do when attempting to lose weight.
Diet actually means the sum of the food consumed. More specifically, it
means, the deliberate selection of food to control nutrient intake or
It is not a good idea to diet for weight loss when pregnant. You should have done that before getting pregnant!
Therefore, gestational diabetic diet refers to the deliberate selection of food to control nutrient intake.
Your gestational diabetic diet should not be seen as a restricting
exercise. Existing eating habits and personal preferences must also be
taken into account.
The gestational diabetic diet plan is merely a different pattern of
eating. The focus must mainly be on healthy, nutritious food
The need that the gestational diabetic diet must address is to slow down
the body's glycemic response. Low glycemic carbohydrates enter the
bloodstream slowly, helping to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
Assist your body to metabolize sugar effectively, by eating small meals
every 3 - 4 hours. This also ensures that the stomach is not empty for
long periods during the day.
Low glycemic carbohydrates will ensure a sustainable energy level, and continually provide nutrients for the baby.
To maintain stable glucose levels during the night, consume some protein
rich food at bedtime. A stomach that is empty for long periods is
detrimental to you and your baby.
The gestational diabetic diet limits the ingestion of foods with high
sugar or calorie content. The high glycemic index of these foods
releases glucose rapidly into the bloodstream.
A quick rise of glucose levels is harmful to you and your baby.
Eating a healthy diet is such an important part of controlling
gestational diabetes. It is therefore, essential that you work with a
dietitian to create a healthy gestational diabetic diet plan.
It is even more important to follow the gestational diabetic diet plan
as outlined by your dietitian. It will promote health throughout your
pregnancy, for you and your baby.
Arm yourself with all the knowledge that you can muster on gestational
diabetes. Learn as much as you can about the gestational diabetic diet,
before speaking to a dietitian.
It will be easier to follow the gestational diabetic diet plan if it is
mostly of your design. You need the knowledge to give solid input, for
the dietitian to listen to you. You also need the dietitian to ensure
that your plan is viable.
Once you have a gestational diabetic diet plan, approved by you and your
dietitian, follow it! The gestational diabetic diet plan should be
flexible, allowing you the freedom to enjoy it.
All in all, it's not too hard to follow a gestational diabetic diet. Mostly, it just requires care and consideration.
Your child needs full nutrition every single day, and so do you. Growing
a baby is hard work. It can be done on less than optimal nutrition.
However, Mother Nature has a way of making you pay for it later.
You need a diet rich in protein, fiber, varied nutrients and adequate calories during your pregnancy.
A Balancing Act?
Balancing the amounts of the different nutritional substances can be a
bit daunting. It does become easier if you take moderation as the key.
What a non-diabetic will classify as moderate should be your upper limit. Be very strict on what you consider to be moderate.
A successful gestational diabetic diet plan is more like a balancing act.
Too much nutrition and your blood sugar levels skyrocket.
Too little nutrition and your body break down fat and muscle tissue for energy. A byproduct of this is ketone.
When your body cannot get rid of the ketone, it builds up in the
bloodstream. Ketone in the blood is harmful, even fatal to your baby.
Fats perform a valuable function by slowing down the digestion of food.
Too little fat in the diet can lead to blood sugar level spikes.
A reasonable amount of fat assists the body in absorbing some valuable
pregnancy nutrition. For example, the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and
Too much fat can worsen your gestational diabetes and cause unwanted
weight gain. Another "balancing act" again, moderation is the answer.
It is rather difficult to remove all fat from the diet. Aim for low fat in the diet and you will do fine.
The same goes for carbohydrates. Too low and your body burns fat and
tissue for energy with ketone as a by-product. Too much carbohydrates
cause high blood glucose.
You need to find what levels of carbohydrates give you that perfect balancing point.
Adding fiber to your gestational diabetic diet will assist you to get
the balance just right. fiber is that part of the food that your body
Fiber helps in controlling your blood glucose, by slowing down digestion
and absorption of nutrients. Foods high in fiber, like cereals and some
breads, also help prevent constipation.
You can find fiber in fruits, vegetables and legumes, which form part of a healthy gestational diabetic diet.
Some Particulars on Different Food Types
So, what can you eat? What foods have carbohydrates? What are the good and bad fats?
When reading food labels, pay close attention to serving sizes and total carbohydrates.
The foods you choose should be enjoyable and provide the special nutrients needed during pregnancy.
Try a variety of foods to keep your gestational diabetic diet interesting.
Look at foods differently.
Potato is not vegetable, but starch or carbohydrate.
See avocado not as a fruit, but as fat.
- Calcium requirements increase during pregnancy.
- Have two to three servings of low fat calcium rich foods each day.
- Milk is one of the best sources of calcium, but be cautious about too much milk.
- Milk contains other nutrients that help the body absorb calcium.
- Use fat free or low fat milk.
- Green leafy vegetables.
- Iron requirements increase during pregnancy.
- Iron supplements or multivitamin can also be used, obtain approval from your doctor first.
- Red Meat.
Low in fat.
- Dark green leafy vegetables, lightly cooked.
High in fiber.
- Low to none, saturated fats.
Canola oil.Olive oil.Polyunsaturated oils.Polyunsaturated margarine.
- Low fat dairy products.
- Lean meats.
- Red meat with fat removed before cooking.
- Skinless chicken.
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Heavy breads.
- Seed loaf.
- Bread containing lots of whole barley, rye, wheat oats, oat bran, soya flour or pea flour.
- Small white beans.
- Baked Beans.
- Chick peas.
- Soya beans.
- Red kidney beans.
- Carbohydrates are at the center of a healthy gestational diabetic diet.
- Blood sugar levels are in direct correlation with carbohydrates.
- Eat a little carbohydrates and your blood sugar rise a little.
- Eat a lot of carbohydrates and your blood sugar goes up a lot.
- Foods that include carbohydrates.
- Multi grain breads.
- Breakfast cereals.
- Best to use pasta made from.
- Durum wheat.
- Some rice types are better.
- Basmati rice.
- Wheat rice.
- Cooled samp.
- Brown rice.
- Sweat potato.
- Carbohydrate foods that have little nutritional value, but high in calories.
- Sucrose or table sugar.
- Soft Drinks.
- Fruit juices.
- Eating carbohydrates.
- Same amount every day.
- Breakfast, lunch, supper and snacks at the same time of the day.
- Include carbohydrates in every meal or snack.
- Limit fats, particularly saturated fats.
- Lean meat.
- Skinless chicken.
- Low fat dairy foods.
- Healthy fats.
- Canola oil.
- Olive oil.
- Polyunsaturated margarine.
- Ocean caught fish.
- Nuts, unsalted is preferable.
- Avoid takeaways and other processed foods.
- Protein is important for growth and maintenance of the body.
- Have two servings of protein each day.
- Foods containing protein.
- Lean meat.
- Skinless chicken.
- Low fat cheese.
- Foods containing protein and carbohydrates.
- Nutritious foods that do not cause weight gain or influence your blood sugar levels.
- Passion fruit.
- Lemons and limes.
- All vegetables except.
- Sweat potato.
- Hubbard squash.
- Include at least 2 cups of vegetables each day, from at least four different vegetables.
- The best drink is water.
- Drink at least eight glasses of water each day.
- For variation add lime or lemon juice to taste.
- Sugar free drinks, or diet drinks are suitable.
- However, be careful with the amount of aspartame.
- Avoid the caffeine or carbonated varieties, it can cause osteoporosis.
- Moderation is the key here.
- The caffeine in tea and coffee makes it unsuitable.
- Drink decaf coffee.
- Herbal or green tea is better.
Healthy Habits to Acquire for
Your Gestational Diabetic Diet and Beyond
Healthy eating will only improve your chances of a healthy pregnancy and
baby. It will also give your baby a better chance for a healthy life.
Keeping up with all this healthy eating will be much easier if it is
done out of habit. Once a habit is established, then it will be as
natural as brushing teeth.
Eat three meals and three snacks at regular intervals each day.
- Three to four hours apart.
- At the same time of the day, every day.
- Do not skip any meal or snack.
- Do not go for a long time without eating.
- It can result in ketone building up in the bloodstream.
- Eat a good snack at bedtime.
- Eat smaller meals and snacks, but eat more frequently.
- This avoids the roller coaster blood glucose levels.
- Avoid an overload of carbohydrates at any one time.
- Your eating patterns must be even and consistent.
- Add a bedtime snack to your meal plan.
At breakfast time the insulin resistance is at its greatest.
- Eat fewer carbohydrates at breakfast than at other meals.
- There is an early morning rush of hormones that make most pregnant women more insulin-resistant.
Protein with carbohydrates.
- Always eat protein with your carbohydrates.
- Protein slows down the absorption of carbohydrates.
- It makes the energy more consistently available for longer periods.
- Important with breakfast and the bedtime snack.
- Eat a consistent amount of carbohydrates at each meal and snack.
- Include more complex carbohydrates in your gestational diabetic diet.
- Eat crackers, cereal or pretzels before getting out of bed.
- Make your bedtime snack larger with more protein to avoid low blood sugar in the morning.
Choose high fiber foods.
- Whole grain bread.
Sugar and fat.
- Choose foods with less sugar and fat.
- Sugar is processed extremely
fast, creating a strong challenge for your system.
- It can overwhelm and
fatigue your system.
- It makes your blood sugar rise high and fast, with a
- It causes extreme and quick swings of blood sugar
- Avoid low nutrition, high carbohydrate foods.
- Allow yourself an
occasional treat of something sweet. Make it very seldom, remember
moderation is the key.
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.
- Try water ice-cold, it
- For variety and taste add some lemon juice to water.
alcohol.Fruit juices are not as healthy as you may think.
- Totally ignore
sweetened fruit juices; they are even worse than natural juices.
juices are simple carbohydrates.
- Even moderate amounts of fruit juices
can cause blood sugar spikes.
- Eat the fruit, the fiber helps to slow
- It takes about four oranges to make one glass of orange juice.
- That means it contains all the nutrients of four oranges, without the
fiber. Do you eat four oranges in one go? So, why drink it?
careful on the amount and timing of drinking milk, as it also acts as a
- Milk is a good source of calcium, but it can also
cause blood sugar spikes.
- Milk contains fat and protein as well, which
makes it a better choice than fruit juice.
- It is better to avoid milk in
the morning when blood glucose is at its highest.
- It is better to have
your milk later in the day. It is great at bedtime.
- Milk at breakfast can
be fine, if there are little other carbohydrates and enough protein.
Vitamins and minerals.
- Make sure there are enough vitamins and minerals in your daily diet.
- Consult your doctor before taking vitamin and mineral supplements.
Balance and variety.
- Eat food from each food group every day.
- Include a good variety from each food group, when planning your meals.
- Eat when you are nauseous, even though you don't feel like it.
- Long periods of low blood sugar can lead to nausea, counter it by eating regularly.
- In pregnancy, nausea is usually a signal from the body that you need to eat.
- Small amounts of protein every three hours help to ease the worst of the nausea.
- It is difficult to eat when nauseous, but force yourself and it will become easier.
Choose quality over quantity.
- You do not have to eat more when you are pregnant, but you need to eat better.
- Choose nutrient dense foods.
- Look for commonly listed foods in diet lists; emphasize these foods in your diet.
- Eat a salad every day, or a suitable substitute.
- Eat legumes more times in the week.
- Focus on foods like nuts and seeds, fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains.
- Eat fruits and vegetables that are the most nutritious, as fresh as possible.
- Sweet potato.
- Potatoes, with skin.
- Green beans.
- Salad vegetables.
- Deciduous fruits.
- Strawberries and other berries.
- Citrus fruits.
Highly Refined and simple carbohydrates.
- Eliminate or at least be very cautious with highly refined or simple carbohydrates.
- Eliminate refined foods.
- White bread.
- Highly processed baked goods.
- French fries.
- Minimize hamburgers and other fast foods.
- No foods are considered "poisonous" or "impure" however, it is best to leave some alone.
- Increase fiber intake.
- Avoid "White foods".
- White bread.
- White rice.
- Food made with lots of white flour.
- Be aware of what are simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates in your diet.
- Be very cautious about the consuming of simple carbohydrates.
Know the carbohydrate load of typical foods.
- Limit your carbohydrate at any one time.
- Become adept at counting carbohydrates, so that you can prevent carbohydrate overload.
- One serving of carbohydrate is 15 grams, about one slice of bread.
- Most meals should be limited to about 45g - 60g carbohydrates, thus three to four servings.
- Always take some protein when you are having anything more than 15g Carbohydrate.
- Not all carbohydrates are created equal. Go for the carbohydrates that do not cause a strong blood sugar response.
- Count legumes as carbohydrates, even if they are high in protein
and other nutrients. The high fiber content in legumes makes the blood
sugar response less severe. Therefore, legumes are a highly desirable
food choice for the gestational diabetic diet.
- Be aware of hidden carbohydrates.
- Legumes count as both protein and carbohydrate.
- Foods like peas, potatoes and corn are vegetable as well as starch.
- Diet foods like sugar free pudding also count as a carbohydrate serving.
- Diligently read the labels to learn the serving size and carbohydrate content.
- A bedtime snack can lessen pregnancy nausea. An overnight dip in the blood glucose level often causes nausea.
- The body uses more blood sugar overnight as a steady energy supply for the growing baby.
- The bedtime snack must contain some protein, to extend the digestion time of the snack.
- With a carbohydrate only snack, a blood sugar crash will happen when the energy runs out.
- Low blood sugar could cause nausea.
- The body compensates by breaking down fat, with ketone as by-product, which can harm your baby.
- Take the snack about 30 minutes before going to bed.
- Time the snack to be about eight to ten hours before the next breakfast.
- This is a snack and not a meal. One or two servings of protein with one or two servings of carbohydrates are sufficient.
- There is an early morning rush of insulin resistance causing hormones.
- Blood sugar reactions are stronger in the morning.
- A high carbohydrate, no protein breakfast is a ticking time bomb.
- Keep your breakfast small, be sure to include protein. You can always "top-up" with a snack two to three hours later.
- Try to avoid milk and fruit at breakfast. These foods tend to cause a quick blood sugar reaction.
- Breakfast should consist of a carbohydrate serving, a fat serving and one or two protein servings.
- Never skip breakfast, this is even more important when you are pregnant.
- Your body must provide energy for your growing baby 24 hours a day.
- Your body's reserves had already dropped overnight, it needs replenishing as soon as possible.
- Golden rule of pregnancy is never skip any meal or snack. Meals can be small, but must be regular.
This gestational diabetic diet might seem to be a bit daunting right now. It will be simpler once you get the hang of it.
No need to do everything at once. Start by doing one thing the correct
way, then the next. Perform the same tomorrow, and again the next day,
improving day by day.
Within a week, two at the most, you will be operating like an old hand.
Get into the routine of three meals and three snacks at the same time each day.
Add more fiber to your diet and cut the fat and fast foods.
Watch the carbohydrates and add protein and bingo you are on a gestational diabetic diet.
By making small, gradual changes, good diet habits become second nature, without much effort.
Do not think of the gestational diabetic diet as a "special" or
restrictive diet. The principles that apply to the gestational diabetic
diet are applicable to everybody. Everyone on the planet should be
eating this way for maximum health.
There are also books available, cookbooks and others, to help you
planning your gestational diabetic diet meals. Speaking with your doctor
and a dietician is always best. They are better equipped to assist you
to manage your progress.
This is an excellent opportunity to get you and your family into
healthier eating habits. If everybody in the household eats the same
way, then it will be easier for you. If they are unconvinced, then show
them by example of what is possible with a healthy diet like the
gestational diabetic diet.
Continue with these excellent, healthy habits, after your baby is born.
It will teach your child healthy eating habits, which will last a
lifetime. After all your current eating habits also started in
childhood, from your mom.
Remember that things that are not that good for you tend to appear by
themselves. The good things in life only come your way if you work at
getting it. The harder you have to work for it, the better the reward in
Gestational Diabetic Diet
Please consult the services of your
doctor and/or other members of your health care team
before implementing any of the advice contained on this site.
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