Gestational Diabetes Diet – General Guidelines

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes you should meet with a dietitian or nurse to learn what changes you should make in your diet. Here are some general guidelines:

  • The American Diabetes Association recommends that you eat three small-to-moderate-sized meals and two to four snacks every day, including an after-dinner snack. Although your meal plan may contain fewer carbohydrates than you normally eat, complex carbohydrates should continue to provide most of your calories.
  • Don’t skip meals. Be consistent about when you eat them and the amount of food you eat at each one. Your blood sugar level will remain more stable if your food is distributed evenly throughout the day and consistently from day to day.
  • Eat a good breakfast. Your blood glucose levels are most likely to be out of whack in the morning. To keep your level in a healthy range, you may have to limit carbohydrates (breads, cereal, fruit, and milk), boost your protein intake, and avoid juice altogether.
  • Include high-fiber foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, and dried peas, beans, and legumes. These foods are broken down and absorbed more slowly than simple carbohydrates, which may help keep your blood sugar levels from going too high after meals.  Avoid  white bread, white rice, and regular pasta.
  • Avoid high-calorie and high carbohydrate snacks and desserts, including soda with sugar, fruit punch, candy, chips, cookies, and cakes.
  • Limit your intake of foods and beverages that contain simple sugars such as soda, fruit juice, flavored teas, and most desserts — or avoid them altogether. These foods can quickly elevate your blood sugar level. Try club soda with a squeeze of lemon, or unsweetened decaffeinated iced tea.
  • Eat a limited amount of red meat, and choose lean cuts of meat that end in “loin” (e.g. pork loin, tenderloin, sirloin).
  • Remove skin from chicken and turkey before eating.
  • Milk is high in lactose, a simple sugar, so try to limit the amount you drink and find an alternative source of calcium.
  • Moderately increasing your activity level is also a good way to help keep your blood glucose levels at normal levels.  Speak with your diabetes educator or practitioner about the right amount and intensity of exercise for you.

Read more about Gestational Diabetes:


Reviewed by Dr. Mariela Glandt, Feb. 2013

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