Gestational Diabetes Friendly Food Guide

I remember the feeing of dread on the day I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. What was I going to eat!? I've always struggled with food anyway and now being told that I was going to have to completely revamp my diet sent my head spinning. I still have days where I think that there is nothing that I can have but thankfully those days are few and far between now as I learn what my body & baby can tolerate and what it can't.

You're basically looking at a high protein, high fat, low carb diet now. To being with I thought high fat foods were bad for you but when eaten with the other GD friendly foods, all together it works and works well. In the first week I lost 5lb and since then my weight has stayed exactly the same, even though the baby is growing.

Carbohydrates - 

We all know that carbohydrates basically turn into sugar in your blood stream so you need to limit the amount of carbs you intake but you do need some with each meal to avoid developing ketones (that's a whole other post!) You are now looking for slow release carbs though so things like brown rice or pasta, wholemeal bread & wraps. Sweet potatoes. Some people will be able to tolerate rice but pasta sends their blood sugars soaring or they can have bread but potatoes are a big no no. I've found the best thing to do is to try little bits of each and just see what works for you. The rule of thumb is to "Never eat a naked carb" basically this means to never eat carbohydrates on their own. Granny Smith apples are a good fruit option but on their own they have a lot of carbs so try slicing them and eating them with peanut butter. The protein from the nuts really helps keep your levels in range.

Protein - 

Protein is now your best friend! Anything with a high amount of protein in it is perfect for your new diet. Many people with Gestational Diabetes find that a high protein breakfast works perfectly to keep their levels in check as it is harder to tolerate carbohydrates in the morning. Chicken, Turkey & Mince are all great main meal options. Eggs are a saviour for breakfast as is Greek Yoghurt with nuts.  Cheese and nuts make great snack options.

Fruit & Veg - 

Fruit & Veg are filled with healthy vitamins that we need but unfortunately a lot of them are also filled with natural sugars and carbohydrates. Did you know that there are more carbs in an apple than a chocolate biscuit! Bananas are filled with natural sugar so it is best to try and stay away from them. Apples, kiwi, strawberries, blueberries & grapefruits work really well.

With your main meals, obviously you want more protein than anything else, then some carbohydrates, it is then advised to bulk out your plate with veg that is lower in carbs, I've found broccoli works quite well or salad! Lots of lettuce, cucumber, green leaves & spinach!

High Fat Foods - The Benefits  

Don't be put off by "high fat" foods, not all of these are bad for you and in cases of Gestational Diabetes, they work in your favour by helping slow the release of glucose into your blood stream, therefore stopping your sugar levels from spiking. For example, if you were to have Spaghetti Bolognese for dinner. If you choose to have your mince with brown spaghetti and then sprinkle grated cheese over the top, this is a great GD friendly meal and the cheese will help slow the release of glucose from the spaghetti.

Another great example is when making your sandwich or wrap at lunch time. A ham, lettuce and cucumber filling is a great option but if you add full fat mayonnaise to it then once again you help slow the release of glucose from the bread.

A few weeks ago I tried the No Added Sugar Angel Delight which is widely known to be a great desert for diabetics, when paired correctly. I had run out of cream so I only paired it with nuts. My sugar levels spiked and I felt awful. The next time I tried it I made sure that I had Anchor Extra Thick cream in the house, and with that and the nuts my numbers stayed well below range!

So there are the basics when you are trying to get use to this whole new world. In all honesty, the first week it did take some getting use to. It was difficult to learn what foods to pair with other foods and what was good and bad, but 8 weeks in and I don't even have to think about it anymore. That's not to say that I don't miss chocolate! Or cereals... Or sugar in my tea... Or toffee popcorn with a Saturday night movie..... 

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