Gestational diabetes occurs only in pregnant women and it usually poses a risk to both the mother and the developing baby. This form of diabetes is characterized by higher levels of sugar/glucose in the blood. This can lead to difficulties during pregnancy, at birth or even in the future. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to help control your blood sugar and lower health risks. Following a diet plan for gestational diabetes is one of the most important parts of your treatment.
Diet Plan for Gestational Diabetes
What is a Diabetes Diet Plan?
A diabetes diet plan is a guide that tells you what types of foods you can choose to eat at snack and meals time and how much. A good diet plan for gestational diabetes must fit in with your eating habits as well as your schedule. Some meal planning tools incorporate carbohydrate counting, glycemic index, and plate method. A good diet plan will often improve your blood pressure, cholesterol numbers, and blood glucose as well as help you keep your weight in control. Whether you want to maintain your weight or gain just a few pounds, your diet plan can help you achieve your goal.
Your diet plan for gestational diabetes should give specific targets for the entire day and for each meal and snack. But you may not always have your meal plan to refer to.
Below are some simple steps that can help control your blood sugar levels:
- Eat small, frequent meals and snacks- Eat about every two to three hours. Spreading your carbohydrates evenly throughout the day will help to keep your blood sugar stable.
- Include some healthy protein in every meal and snack that you take. This helps even out your blood glucose. In addition, protein helps you feel full of energy and satisfied throughout the day.
- Take a small breakfast, with a similar mid-morning snack about two hours later. When you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your blood sugar tends to be high in the morning. To offset this, it’s advisable that you include fewer carbs at breakfast than at lunch or dinner in your diet plan.
- Choose high fiber foods- Good sources of high fiber foods include fresh and frozen vegetables, beans, whole grain breads and cereals. Fruits are also a good source of fiber. Most diet plans for gestational diabetes includes fruit in the afternoon or evening meals.
- Watch out for sugar and concentrated sweets- Sugar and concentrated sweets raise your blood glucose rapidly and significantly, without providing much nutritional value. Avoid regular soft drinks, fruit drinks and fruit juice. Limit deserts such as pies, cakes, ice cream, and cookies.
- Be careful about fat- It’s important to limit the amount of fat that you use especially if you are having excess weight gain. You can buy lean protein foods, such as roast beef, fish, and ham. Limit lunchmeat, sausages, hot dogs and bacon. Bake, boil, steam, or grill foods. Avoid frying. If you like fried foods, use nonstick pans and small amount of oil, (one to two teaspoon). Limit or avoid adding extra fat, such as margarine, butter, sour cream, avocados, cream cheese, mayonnaise, salad dressing, or nuts. You should also avoid instant noodles, instant potatoes, canned soup, packages foods, and frozen meals to keep your sodium intake low.
Gestational Diabetes Diet Menu Ideas
During pregnancy some women experience a temporary type of diabetes known as gestational diabetes, which is usually caused by pregnancy hormones. Women who encounter gestational diabetes during pregnancy are required to distribute their carbohydrate intake over three small to medium meals and two to four snacks a day.
Because consumption of carbohydrate leads in quick rise in the level of blood sugar, it’s advisable to consume more protein at breakfast. Eggs, turkey, chicken etc. keep one fuller for the day. Make sure that you do not take more 30 grams of carbohydrate at breakfast. Here are some of the foods that you can take – all but the eggs are carbohydrate and should be portion controlled:
- Scrambled eggs
- English muffin
- Veggie sausage
- Corn tortilla
- Wheat pancake
- Slice of bread
At lunch time make sure that you do not consume more than 45 grams of carbohydrate. Here are some of the options that you can choose from:
- Tomatoes and other veggies
- Lentil soup
- Chicken/meat sandwich
The carbohydrate limit for dinner should be between 45 to 60 grams. Here are some of the different kinds of foods that a diabetic can consume at dinner time:
- Reduced fat milk
- Brown rice
- Bowl of vegetables
- Small potato
- One cup pasta
As a diabetic it is to your best interest if you can have your snacks in between meals to stabilize the level of your blood sugar. The limit of carbohydrate in snacks should be 15 grams per day. To keep your blood sugar level under control, you might want to have a light snack each day prior to going to bed. Just pay attention to your blood sugar levels when you wake up and how they are so you can talk to your doctor about whether a snack is important. Here are some of the different kinds of snacks that one can take:
- 1 cup of grapes
- 6 ounces of yogurt
- 2 cookies
- 1 cup of cottage cheese
- 4 ounce of fresh fruit
- 3 cups of popcorn
- 3 graham crackers
- 6 saltine crackers
There is no one perfect diet plan for gestational diabetes so including a variety of different kinds of foods and watching portion sizes is very vital to a healthy diet plan. Additionally, ensure that your choices from every food group offer the highest amount of nutrients that one can find. In simple terms, choose foods that are rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins over those that are processed. Natural treatment is far better than taking medications, although sometimes medication is necessary.
Individuals with diabetes can eat the same kinds of foods the family eats. Each person benefits from a healthy diet so the entire family can take part in healthy eating. Usually, it takes some planning and time but you can include your favorite meals into your meal plan and still take control of your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose.
Following a healthy diet plan for gestational diabetes will assist in managing your blood sugar levels within the target range recommended by your doctor, provide adequate nutrition for you and your growing baby and help you achieve appropriate weight changes during your pregnancy.
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