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Gestational Diabetes Meal Ideas

Teresa Cantilli has been working as a Registered Dietitian for 18 years. She is a Certified Diabetes Educator and an ACE Certified Personal Trainer. She earned her Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition from the New York Institute of Technology. Her work has appeared in The New Standard Newsletter for the NSLIJHS, where she has been working for 10 years, and the book "Migraine Expressions."
Gestational Diabetes Meal Ideas
Close up of slices of whole grain bread. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images


Gestational diabetes is diabetes which occurs during pregnancy. It is usually diagnosed at around 28 weeks gestation with a glucose tolerance test. If you are told you have gestational diabetes you will be asked to check your blood glucose with a glucometer regularly and follow a carbohydrate controlled meal plan. Many foods contain carbohydrates. The foods which are highest in carbohydrates are fruits, grains, starchy vegetables and sweets. You will need to control your portions of these foods and eat them with meals and snacks throughout the day.

Balanced Meals

Gestational Diabetes Meal Ideas
Measuring food helps control portions. Photo Credit measuring cup image by Antonio Oquias from Fotolia.com

Always include protein in your meals and snacks. Protein helps slow the absorption of carbohydrates. Protein is found in meats, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, legumes, tofu, cheeses, milk and yogurt. Fiber also helps slow the absorption of carbohydrates. Fiber is found in whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Whole wheat breads, whole grain pasta and brown rice are all excellent sources. According to the National Institutes of Health, your goals for carbohydrate intake should be 30 grams for breakfast and snacks and 45 to 60 grams for meals. You should be eating three meals and three snacks daily.

Meal Ideas

Gestational Diabetes Meal Ideas
Remember to eat six times a day. Photo Credit ready to eat image by DXfoto.com from Fotolia.com

Breakfast Meal Ideas

2 eggs scrambled--0 carbs
2 slices whole grain bread--30 g carbs
1 tomato--5 g carbs
1 tsp. oil for cooking--0 carbs
Total Carbohydrate: 35 g

3/4 cup cold breakfast cereal--15 g carbs
8 ounces milk--12 g carbs
Total Carbohydrate: 27 g

6 ounces Greek yogurt (contains more protein than regular yogurt)--12 g carbs
3/4 cup berries--15 g carbs
Total Carbohydrate: 27 g

2 tbsp. peanut butter--0 carbs
2 tsp. sugar-free jam--5 g carbs
1 pita pocket bread or 2 small chapatti, 6 inches across--30 g carbs
Total Carbohydrate: 35 g

3/4 cup cooked hot cereal--15 g carbs
1 cup milk--12 g carbs
1/2 cup berries--7 g carbs
Total Carbohydrates: 34 g

Lunch and Dinner Meal Ideas

4 oz. grilled chicken or fish--0 carbs
1/3 cup whole wheat pasta--15 g carbs
1 cup salad--5 g carbs
1/2 cup cooked green vegetables--5 g carbs
1 cup cut-up melon--15 g carbs
oil and vinegar for salad dressing--0 carbs
Total Carbohydrates: 40 g

4 oz. beef--0 carbs
1/2 cup peppers and onions, cooked--5 g carbs
1 tortilla or 2 taco shells, 6 inches across--0 g carbs
1 cup salad--5 g carbs
oil and vinegar dressing for salad and cooking--0 carbs
Total Carbohydrate: 40 g

4 oz. fish or tofu--0 carbs
2/3 cup cooked brown rice--30 g carbs
1/2 cup cooked green beans--5 g carbs
oil for cooking--0 carbs
1 medium fresh peach--15 g carbs
Total Carbohydrates: 50 g

2 eggs or 2 oz. cheese or Virginia ham--0 carbs
2 slices whole wheat bread--30 g carbs
1 sliced tomato--5 g carbs
1 cup milk or low-sugar, low-carbohydrate yogurt--12 g carbs
Total Carbohydrates: 47 g

2 tbsp. peanut butter--0 carbs
1 English muffin--30 g carbs
2 tsp. sugar-free jelly--5 g carbs
1 medium apple--15 g carbs
1/2 cup milk--6 g carbs
Total Carbohydrates: 56 g

Snack Ideas

1 oz. pretzels--15 g carbs
1 oz. nuts--0 carbs
Total Carbohydrates: 15 g

1 slice whole grain bread--15 g carbs
2 slices cheese or turkey--0 carbs
Total Carbohydrates: 15 g

6 oz. yogurt--12 g carbs
1/2 small banana--7 g carbs
Total Carbohydrates: 19 g

3 cups popcorn, low fat--15 g carbs
1 oz. grated cheese--0 carbs
Total Carbohydrates: 15 g

1/4 cup hummus--0 carbs
1 oz.baked pita chips--15 g carbs
Total Carbohydrates: 15 g

Small Meals

Gestational Diabetes Meal Ideas
Enjoy your food! Photo Credit snack farmer image by Tatiana Belova from Fotolia.com

Eat every two to three hours; small meals control your blood sugar and food cravings better. If you are hungry, you can always add more protein and non-starchy vegetables and salad. Check labels for total carbohydrates per serving.

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