Gestational Diabetes: What to Eat

expectant mother

What Is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that is common in pregnant women. It`s normal to have loads of questions if you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. You can control gestational diabetes by exercising and eating right. This will help you ensure a healthy pregnancy.

The hormone, insulin, ensure the absorption of cells and uses sugar or glucose for energy. When you are pregnant, you become more resistant to insulin in other to provide your baby with more glucose. You can successfully combat gestational diabetes if you eat the right foods and snacks. Be sure to consume protein-rich foods with lots of fruits and veggies in your daily diet.

What to Eat If you Have Gestational Diabetes

Low-Sugar Foods

phytonutrientsIf you have gestational diabetes, you need to be extra careful of food intake and optimize your blood sugar control. Consume foods that will help regulate your blood sugar, as well as snacks that are high in fiber and protein. By all means, avoid foods and beverages that have sugar. You should also limit your intake of processed foods.

You may consume fresh fruit and tuna-stuffed avocado. That sure makes a good snack. If you can, roast some crunchy chickpeas and consume them also.

You may also try full veggie omelets with whole eggs or egg whites. Eggs are particularly rich sources of selenium, protein, and minerals such as zinc, and iron.

Let`s explore some more healthy food choices to keep your blood sugar in check if you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

Here`s what you`ll need:

  • 1 15-oz. can of chickpeas
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 to 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

Fresh or Frozen Vegetables

Whether raw, roasted, or steamed, pair raw veggies with protein-rich foods like cheese. This is healthy for combatting gestational diabetes.


Berries are relatively low in sugar and high in fiber. You can make them as smoothies or toppings. Pair unsweetened coconut, pumpkin seeds, and berries with steel-cut oatmeal. They make great toppings. Pumpkin seeds are full of minerals like zinc, magnesium, manganese, and potassium.

You may also pair fresh fruit with a handful of nuts or a spoonful of baked fish, sweet potato, nut butter, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and unsweetened Greek yogurt. You may add toppings like diced apple, cinnamon, and sunflower seeds.

You may speak with a registered dietitian to make sure you are on track with the foods and snacks you eat. This will help you eat moderately.

Let`s look at a list of foods and snacks you should avoid if you have gestational diabetes.

  • Candy, juice, soda, sweetened beverages, and other sugary liquids
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Sweetened oatmeals, sugary granola bars, and sweetened cereals
  • Foods that are high in carbohydrates, such as white rice and white pasta because they lead to spikes in the blood sugar
  • Baked foods such as cakes, doughnuts, puff, or muffins
  • Fast food
  • Foods and snacks that are fried
  • Highly processed food such as white bread

Avoiding the foods and drinks listed above will help you live a healthy life when pregnant, and put you on a stable balanced diet that may help you manage your symptoms of gestational diabetes without requiring actual medication.

Some Other Tips for Dealing with Gestational Diabetes

pregnant woman exercise

  • Exercising every day will complement your well-balanced diet, as well as ensure you have a healthy pregnancy. Ensure you speak to your doctor before incorporating any new exercises.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor and report to them if you feel any changes. Work with a certified dietitian whose specialty is gestational diabetes or nutrition
  • Consume nutritious meals with a handful of healthy fats, protein, fiber, and lots of fresh foods. By all means, reduce your intake of processed foods.
  • Plan to promote optimal blood sugar control during pregnancy.
  • There are concerns for you and your baby once you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. A bigger baby puts you at risk during delivery. The extra glucose in your body will make your baby gain more weight, making your baby’s shoulder get stuck during delivery, and this puts you at risk of heavy bleeding.
  • Gestational diabetes may lead to type 2 diabetes for some mothers, as their high blood sugar may continue after pregnancy. In other cases, gestational diabetes disappears after the baby is born.
  • To lessen your risk for gestational diabetes, talk to your doctor about continued care before your baby is born, and even after.

How to Treat Gestational Diabetes

Treatment for gestational diabetes is mostly determined by one’s blood glucose levels. In addition to diet and exercise, some pregnant women require oral medication. Your health practitioner may recommend medications like metformin – Glumetza, Glucophage – or the insulin that are injectable to lower your blood sugar and glucose level.

Eating nutrient-based foods on a daily basis will stabilize your blood sugar levels and keep you sated all the time. Don’t skip your meals; ensure you eat every three hours. Again, exercise regularly.

Your dietitian will help provide the right combination of healthy food and your doctor will recommend treatments to keep you and your baby healthy.

Diabetes Facts you Should Know

  • Diabetes is one of the foremost causes of death in the world.
  • It wasn`t until 1936 that types 1 and 2 diabetes got properly differentiated.
  • 425 million people worldwide have diabetes.
  • A third of the people living with diabetes are not aware of their condition.
  • According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 90-95% of diabetic individuals in the United States have type-2 diabetes.
  • 40,000 people are diagnosed with type-1 diabetes annually.
  • There are speculations that five million people in the U.S. will have type-1 diabetes by 2050.
  • The risk of a person with diabetes developing heart disease is twice that of an individual without diabetes.
  • Diabetes symptoms such as weight loss, thirst, and excess urination were recognized over 1,200 years before the condition even got its name.
  • Dr. Thomas Willis (1621-1675) called diabetes the “pissing evil,” describing the urine of people with type-2 diabetes as wonderfully sweet as if it had honey or sugar in it.
  • In the late 1850s, a French physician named Priorry ignorantly advised his patients with diabetes to eat large quantities of sugar. The outcome was definitely disastrous.
  • It was in 1889 that Josef von Mering and Oskar Minkowski in Austria discovered the role of the pancreas in diabetes.
  • Diabetes is one of the world’s oldest diseases, as there are records of it in Egyptian manuscripts that date as far back as 1500 B.C.
  • Diabetes means flowing through, and it originates from Greek. Aretaeus of Cappodocia (81-133 A.D) coined the term to describe the symptoms of the disease.
  • In ancient times, doctors tested for diabetes by tasting their patient’s urine for sweetness.
  • Without proper management, diabetes can cause blindness and kidney failure.
  • Contrary to popular belief, diabetes is not a death sentence, especially with early diagnosis and proper management.
  • Smoking increases the risk of diabetes by raising blood pressure, constricting blood vessels, and stimulating the release of catecholamines (fight-or-flight hormones), which enhance insulin resistance.
  • Gestational diabetes occurs in about 7% of U.S. pregnancies annually.
  • In women, diabetes affects estrogen levels, sexual desire, together with menstrual and ovulation cycles.
  • There are over a million amputations annually due to diabetes.
  •  Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Nauru, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait are countries with the highest cases of diabetes.
  • Research shows that eating a serving of cooked oatmeal two to four times weekly may cause a 16% reduction in the risk of developing type-2 diabetes.