If you have diabetes, you already know the important role that diet plays in helping you control your blood sugar. Although you may need to eat more calories and protein when you're pregnant, as a diabetic you still need to pay close attention to your diet to keep blood sugar under control. Uncontrolled blood sugars not only affect your health but the baby's as well. Your doctor can help you determine your specific calorie needs, but a 2,200-calorie diet is a good place to start.
You need to eat a set schedule of three meals and three snacks each day on your 2,200-calorie diabetic pregnancy meal plan, says Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center. Eating small, frequent meals at regular intervals helps control blood sugar and ensures you get all the nutrients you and your baby need for a healthy pregnancy. Each meal and snack should contain a set amount of carbohydrates and protein. Carbohydrates in food affect blood sugar, so eating a set amount at each meal and snack is essential for blood sugar control.
Your Food Choices
Before you start meal planning, learn about which foods choices are healthiest for you. Carbohydrate choices include starches -- including starchy vegetables -- fruits and milk. One carbohydrate serving is equal to one slice of bread, half a banana or 1 cup of milk; you should have two to three servings of carbohydrates at each meal. Meat and meat alternatives include poultry, red meat, cheese or tofu, with one serving equal to 1 ounce of meat or cheese or 1/2 cup of tofu. You can also choose from a variety of nonstarchy vegetables; 1/2 cup of cooked or 1 cup of raw broccoli, carrots or green beans equals one serving of a nonstarchy vegetable. Fat choices and serving sizes include foods such as 1 teaspoon of oil or 1 tablespoon of salad dressing.
Start Your Day Right
A healthy breakfast on your diabetic pregnancy meal plan includes two carb choices, one meat choice and one fat choice. A good breakfast meal might include one slice of whole-wheat toast with 2 teaspoons of peanut butter, 1/4 cup of cottage cheese and 3/4 cup of fresh pineapple, for a total of 240 calories and 30 grams of carbs.
Your midmorning snack includes two carbohydrate choices and one meat choice. This might include 3/4 cup of unsweetened whole-grain cereal with 1 cup of low-fat milk and one hard-cooked egg, for 275 calories and 30 grams of carbs.
Healthy Lunch for Blood Sugar Control
For lunch, include three carb choices, three meat choices, two fat choices and vegetables. Vegetables are considered free foods on your diabetic pregnancy diet plan and do not require measurements. A healthy lunch might include a cold pasta salad made with 1 1/2 cups of cooked whole-wheat pasta, 2 ounces of diced chicken, 1 ounce of diced mozzarella cheese, 1 cup of cooked, mixed nonstarchy vegetables and 2 tablespoons of balsamic dressing for 565 calories and 45 grams of carbs.
In the midafternoon, a healthy snack for blood sugar control includes two carb choices. An example of a healthy snack might include one container of low-fat yogurt with one small apple for 180 calories and 30 grams of carbs.
Dinner: Good for You and Baby Too
For dinner, include three carb choices, four meat choices, two fat choices and vegetables. Four ounces of grilled salmon with 1 cup of sweet potato and 1 cup of brussels sprouts -- both roasted in the oven with 2 teaspoons of oil -- and served with 1 cup of low-fat milk will make a healthy dinner for you and baby. This meal contains 595 calories and 45 grams of carbs.
To keep blood sugars steady while you sleep, you need to eat a snack before bed. This snack includes two carb choices and one meat choice. An example might include one-half of a whole-wheat pita stuffed with 1 ounce of turkey meat and served with 1 cup of low-fat milk for 255 calories and 30 grams of carbs.