If you're pregnant or hope to become pregnant, you might be concerned about a possible complication -- gestational diabetes. This temporary condition develops when a woman's body becomes resistant to insulin produced by her pancreas, causing her blood-sugar levels to rise above healthy levels. It affects about 18 percent of pregnancies, according to the American Diabetes Association. Modifying your diet can help control gestational diabetes. Paying attention to breakfast -- the first meal of the day -- can start you off on a good eating plan. Check with your doctor or a registered dietitian for help developing the best diet for your pregnancy.
Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, so carbohydrates have a direct impact on blood-sugar levels. Choosing the right types of carbs at breakfast helps your blood sugar rise slowly and steadily, without the spikes that require lots of insulin. The best choices are rich in fiber, which helps carbohydrates have a low-to-moderate effect on blood sugar. For example, a breakfast that includes a whole-grain cereal such as bran flakes or a whole-grain muffin, tends to raise blood sugar slowly. Oat bran is a good choice because of its high-fiber content, which also supports gastrointestinal health.
Adding Dairy Products
Dairy products contain carbohydrates but still contribute to a healthy breakfast, when used in moderation. Add milk or yogurt to your breakfast, but the University of California Medical Center recommends consuming only 1 cup of dairy products at a time to keep blood sugar from spiking. Choose low-fat versions to manage your intake of saturated fat, which can contribute to high levels of blood cholesterol. If you use butter, spread it thinly or switch to a low-fat spread.
Fresh fruit is generally a healthy food but it can contribute to rapid rises in blood sugar. At breakfast, choose types that are high in soluble fiber, which during the process of digestion, forms a gel that slows glucose uptake into your blood. Fruits rich in soluble fiber include bananas, apples, pears and berries, such as strawberries and blueberries. Slice or sprinkle these on cereal or add them to home-baked muffins and breads. Avoid fruit juices, because they lack fiber and are relatively high in simple sugar, which boosts blood-glucose levels.
Adding Proteins and Vegetables
A woman with gestational diabetes should eat two to three servings of protein a day, recommends the American Diabetes Association. Having an egg at breakfast helps meet this goal; you can add non-starchy vegetables such as chopped peppers, zucchini or broccoli, to make an omelet. Or, you can consume legumes such as lentils, black-eyed peas or black beans, for protein at breakfast. Although legumes contain starch, their high soluble-fiber helps keep blood-sugar levels steady.
- American Diabetes Association: What Is Gestational Diabetes?
- University of California San Francisco Medical Center: Dietary Recommendations for Gestational Diabetes
- Medline Plus: Diabetes Diet -- Gestational
- King Edward Memorial Hospital: Healthy Eating for Gestational Diabetes
- Intermountain Health Care: Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan