Sample Diet for Gestational Diabetes

Karen Frazier
Pregnant stomach

If you have gestational diabetes, you may need to change how you eat. The following sample diet is designed to serve as a framework for your daily meal plans. Gestational diabetes can be completely and effectively controlled with diet alone. Most oral hypoglycemic medications are not recommended during this delicate time, so it is important to discuss your diet plans with a nutritionist or your healthcare provider.

Using Diet to Control Blood Glucose Levels

During pregnancy, it is critical to maintain healthy blood sugar levels throughout the day and evening. According to MedlinePlus, doctors typically conduct screening for gestational diabetes between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy. Your fasting glucose needs to be less than 95 milligrams/deciliter, and a two-hour postprandial (after meal) reading needs to be less than 155 milligrams/deciliter. If your doctor tells you that your blood glucose level is too high, you may need to make healthy eating habits and smart food choices even more of a priority during your pregnancy.

While caloric requirements are highly individualized, the average women with an appropriate weight prior to conception needs an additional 100 to 300 calories during the second and third trimester. For any pregnant woman, these calories need to contain quality nutrition loaded with essential vitamins and minerals to support a healthy pregnancy and outcome. If you have gestational diabetes, you'll need to eat to keep your blood sugar at the level your doctor recommends.

Day One Sample Diet

pregnant woman with apple

Breakfast

  • Two slices whole grain toast
  • Two tablespoons of peanut butter
  • Half a cup of 100% juice or fresh fruit

Mid-Morning Snack

  • One apple
  • One cup cottage cheese

Lunch

  • One cup of lentil soup (or other bean soup)
  • One serving of whole grain crackers
  • Two ounces of low fat cheese
  • One cup baby carrots

Mid-Afternoon Snack

  • 20 raw almonds
  • One cup grapes

Dinner

  • Six ounces of fish of choice
  • One cup steamed broccoli
  • One cup brown rice
  • One cup reduced-fat milk

Evening Snack

  • Five cups air-popped popcorn (plain)

Day Two Sample Diet

woman with sandwich

Breakfast

  • Two egg whites, scrambled
  • One whole egg, scrambled
  • One whole wheat English muffin
  • One teaspoon butter or margarine
  • One slice of melon

Mid-Morning Snack

  • Six ounces yogurt (check labels for carb and sugar content)
  • 1/4 cup of low fat granola

Lunch

  • Two slices whole grain bread
  • Two ounces sliced turkey or chicken (low-sodium) - always reheat any packaged lunch meat to 160 degrees before eating when pregnant to prevent listeria.
  • One slice of cheese
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Tomato slices
  • One tablespoon of mustard or mayonnaise
  • One apple
  • One cup reduced fat milk

Mid-Afternoon Snack

  • ¼ cup hummus
  • One cup of raw vegetables of choice

Dinner

  • Five ounces grilled chicken breast
  • One cup steamed carrots (or vegetable of choice)
  • One small baked sweet potato
  • Two tablespoons of sour cream

Evening Snack

Small smoothie made with these ingredients:

  • One cup reduced-fat milk
  • ½ cup strawberries
  • Crushed ice

More Diet Tips for Gestational Diabetes

Keep these additional tips in mind as you follow your doctor's recommended diet for controlling your gestational diabetes:

  • If you have gestational diabetes, you should also include plenty of fluid as part of your diet. While fruit and vegetable juices are acceptable, it is best not to drink these alone. Instead, enjoy small amounts at a time with meals and snacks. Water is the best option as it contains no sugar to counteract the goals for keeping glucose amounts under control.
  • A snack before bed is a good way to decrease the chances of an overnight hypoglycemic episode. If you wake up with high blood glucose readings, you may need to reduce the amount of carbohydrates you eat at breakfast.
  • Meal planning should center on eating several small meals throughout the day. Small, frequent meals support the stabilization of healthy blood glucose much better than one or two large meals. The sample diets offered here follows this guideline.
  • It's important to combine foods so that you don't ingest carbohydrates on their own. Be sure to consult a nutritionist to make sure you diet plans are on the right track. If you require insulin to treat your gestational diabetes, the quantity and frequency of carbohydrates need to be matched to the insulin requirements accordingly.
  • You should omit simple sugars, such as white table sugar, honey, jams, maple syrup, candy, non-diet soft drinks, and the like or limited these foods according to National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse.
  • Exercise is a key component to assisting insulin function. Be sure to discuss this option, and diet regimens, with your obstetrician before beginning any specific plan.

Consult Your Doctor

Gestational diabetes can be a dangerous condition for mothers and babies, so it's essential you involve your doctor or midwife in any diet plans. You healthcare provider may refer you to a certified dietician or nutritionist, who can help you tailor a diet plan to your specific nutritional needs during this important time in your life.

Sample Diet for Gestational Diabetes