How to Manage a Gestational Diabetes Diet

Once I found out I had Gestational Diabetes I was pretty surprised, as was my doctor. Since I am only 23, not overweight, have a pretty decent diet and fairly active there seemed to be no reason. It’s most likely genetics from my grandma who currently has diabetes.

That’s okay.

Gestational diabetes does not mean you eat like sh** or you’re overweight. At first I felt so at fault because maybe it was that I wasn’t eating healthy enough or being as active as I should have been. There is literally nothing I could have done to have prevented me from getting it because it all has to do with how your hormones in your pancreas react to insulin.

When I went to the Perinatal Specialist and saw the dietitian I was shocked to see how much I was actually able to eat and it was a more carbs than I thought. I was very confused since my body cannot process the sugar now. After a few weeks of trial and error we determined my body was highly insulin resistant.

Currently I am 35 weeks pregnant and my doctor has me taking 3 pills of 2.5mg Glyburide 20 mins before breakfast, 1 pill 20 mins before dinner and 1/2 pill before bedtime snack. I am also checking my blood immediately when I wake up, 1 hr after breakfast, lunch and dinner and at 3 AM two times a week. This can be a lot and a lot to keep track of.

This is what my typical day looks like: 

6:00 AM Wake up, check blood, take 2 pills Glyburide

6:30 AM Eat Breakfast

7:30 AM Check Blood

9:30 AM Snack

12:00 PM Lunch

1:00 PM Check Blood

3:30 PM Snack

6:40 PM Take Glyburide

7:00 PM Dinner

8:00 PM Check Blood

9:40 PM Take 1/2 Glyburide

10:00 PM Snack

3:00 AM Check Blood (Twice a week)

That looks like a lot to keep up with and it is, I even have to do this on the WEEKENDS when I could just be sleeping in.

But this is doable and the safety and health of your baby depends on it!

Tips to help stay on track with your diet.

The first couple weeks are going to be hard but practice and repetition always help.

First you need to know how many carbs you are allowed to have for every meal and snack. Your dietitian will give you this information. This whole entire diet is based around Carbs.

At breakfast I am allowed 2 Servings of Carbs so 30g Snacks is 2 Servings- 30g Lunch 3 Servings- 45g Dinner 3 Servings- 45g 1 Serving = 15g Carbs I also am not allowed to have milk or fruit for breakfast or for my night time snack, which is terrible because I love milk for breakfast. But others I have heard are allowed to.

It may depend on your dietitian. I think most people are different from what I have found out talking to others.

  • Stick with the same meal plan and only alter slightly

This may seem boring but it sure does help! When you have to think SO OFTEN throughout the day of what to eat and what you CAN eat its easy just to have the things you already know you can have.

  • Cheat a LITTLE 

I find myself craving sweets pretty often. You really should not cheat and refrain AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. My husband does not help with this either with his daily milkshakes. (eyeroll). (Edit- He doesn’t do this anymore). I will allow myself a bite of his ice cream or a bite, ONE BITE of something sweet if I have to and this helps me not totally devour a whole entire cake by myself. The doctor did say any sort of juice is terrible since its straight sugar going into your bloodstream immediately. The key to Gestational Diabetes is to have your body take the time to process the sugar. That’s why it is recommended to eat so often throughout the day.

  • ZERO CARB SNACKS and Sweet Cravings 

I do have some tricks to keep me away from the sweets. Sugar-free Jello is a MUST. It is Carb free and my Doctor says this is really the only thing that is truly “sugar free”. I also use SweetLeaf Liquid Stevia drops. These help SO much not only with sweet tooth but also with drinking water! I really like the coconut and the berry flavor. A little goes a long way so they last a while. Turkey Bacon is a life saver because it is healthier than regular bacon and its zero Carbs and tons of protein!! It will make things easier to cook these in advance and save some in the fridge when you are craving something salty to eat. I also eat a lot of cheddar cheese sticks.

  • Always have snacks on you

I always find myself out and about especially around snack time so its a good idea to always keep some on you, either in your car or purse. I also almost always have my glucose reader because I never know if I’m going to be out for lunch or dinner and will need to check my sugar levels.

  • Pairing Carbs with Proteins and Fats (Important) 

For some reason this one was hard for me to keep up with in the beginning. I was so focused on getting the right amount of carbs that all I was eating was basically only carbs. You are going to have to have some form of protein or fat with anything you are eating for snack and meals. This can become very hard and frustrating but find what is easy for you and stick to it!

DO NOT SKIP MEALS OR SNACKS I had an issue early on skipping my bed time snack because I was just not hungry and it was so late! But my fasting readings would actually end up high. I have also skipped midday snacks and my dinner readings are high. You also HAVE to stay on track with timing because you cannot have your snack to close to dinner or lunch time because that is to many carbs for your body to digest in a short period of time.

Sample Meals and Snacks I am a very simple person when it comes to meals so sorry if my meals seem boring. But they get the job done!

Breakfast: I really like to hard boil my eggs in advance because it makes life easy as well as cooking the turkey bacon. I also cannot have jelly which is the worst thing in the world but butter is perfectly fine and its a fat!

  • My favorite- breakfast burrito. The tortilla counts as carbs and the eggs and turkey bacon for protein and cheese for fat. perfect! Add Avocado as well. I add Franks Red Hot sauce on mine.
  • English muffin sandwich with egg, cheese and turkey bacon and avocado if you like.
  • 2 slices of toast with butter or peanut butter and 2 hard boiled eggs. I will also do an English Muffin with peanut butter.

Lunch: I always bake my chicken in advance and I use frozen steam veggies because it’s insanely easy, just throw them in the microwave.

  • Baked or grilled chicken with brown rice and veggies (or sweet potato instead of rice)
  • Salmon with brown rice and veggies (or sweet potato instead of rice)
  • Turkey burger with veggies and beans
  • Chic fil-a Salad– I always get the Market Salad or the Spicy Southwest Salad.
  • Ground Turkey with taco seasoning mixed with corn, black beans and cheese!

Dinner: I basically have the same meals for dinner as I do lunch. My Husband and I tend to eat out more for dinner. Make sure you look up nutrition information from any restaurant and check the carbs! Stay away from fried foods, they are bad for you. Especially the french fries 🙁 they are PACKED full of carbs. Snacks:  Snacks were the hardest for me to combine carbs with protein and fats but since I eat the same stuff now its easy.

  • Greek yogurt with Granola
  • Cereal with milk (since I can’t have milk for breakfast I eat this for snack)
  • Fruit cup (ONLY in juice NOT Syrup) with mixed nuts or cheese
  • Apple with peanut butter
  • Peanut butter crackers and maybe a little something else with protein or fats like nuts.
  • Elevation Bars -These are seriously the best thing in the world. I buy them from ALDI which is the best place in the world! You can also find some on amazon as well (They don’t have my favorite ones though). I like these so much because they cover my carbs and have protein so its like a one stop shop for a snack.

If I feel like I am short in Carbs I will just drink a glass of milk.  I am not an expert and only give information based on my own experience. If you have your own ideas and food options you like to use please comment below! Also any tips to help with Gestational Diabetes is ALWAYS Welcome!

Best Wishes,

Tonee Elledge

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