Gestational diabetes affects pregnant women whose blood sugar levels are elevated during pregnancy. Women who do not have diabetes outside of pregnancy can get gestational diabetes. Expecting mothers are typically tested as a routine part of medical care. The disease is thought to be caused by the placenta’s hormones blocking the action of the mother’s insulin, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The goal of treatment is to keep blood glucose levels normal. Special meal planning in addition to blood glucose monitoring and insulin injections are all aspects of treatment.
When planning meals, the ADA recommends women with gestational diabetes limit fat intake to 30 percent or less of daily calories. A healthy breakfast for women with gestational diabetes might begin with whole grain toast with sugar-free jelly, a teaspoon of butter or margarine, one egg and a side of fresh fruit.
Lunch could include a leafy green salad with a variety of vegetables, topped with a vinegar and oil dressing or a light variety with low sugar. Lean meats like turkey or chicken are also great salad toppers and can provide a substantial source of protein. Soups can also be great lunch meals and can incorporate a host of vegetables. Packaged foods should be limited, as they are often higher in calories, carbohydrates, sugar and fat.
Dinner might include a hearty casserole with whole grain rice or pasta, vegetables and lean meats. A chicken breast brushed with olive oil or a serving of fish are other choices, though some fish should be limited in pregnancy, due to their mercury content, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Fish to avoid include shark, king mackerel, swordfish and tilefish. Others should be limited but not excluded, due to their health benefits. Whitefish, salmon, haddock and flounder are low-mercury choices that can be eaten twice weekly. Side dishes can include raw or steamed vegetables and a whole grain roll or other healthful carbohydrate selection. Limit potatoes, due to their carbohydrate content. Aim to consume at least 400 calories per meal with healthful snacks like raisins, low-fat milk and a serving of juice in between to keep glucose levels stable. However, slight variations exist according to your height, weight and lifestyle. A registered dietitian or diabetes educator can offer more specific instructions.