If you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you probably know that watching the amount of carbs you eat plays a big role in your new diet. Most women are typically put on a gestational diabetes carb counting diet after being diagnosed. It’s often helpful to see what these guidelines look like with some menu suggestions in a gestational diabetes sample diet plan.
A gestational diabetes sample diet plan can be replicated and tweaked once you understand the basics of how it was put together. To do this, I recommend taking the diet plan and looking at it meal by meal and snack by snack. When you break it down in to individual meals and then into food groups, it becomes like a puzzle. And all you have to do is learn the rules of how to put the puzzle together. And there’s more. There’s more than one “right” way to put the puzzle together. When you understand the basics of the gestational diabetes sample diet plan, you can put together gestational diabetes-friendly meals and snacks that are based on your food preferences and that work with your lifestyle.
All foods can be divided up into 3 macronutrients; carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Carbohydrates are the dietary sources of sugar, so we’re going to focus primarily on that one. Each of the meals and snacks listed below has the recommended number of carb servings. To maintain blood sugar levels, aim to eat 3 meals plus 2-3 snacks per day.
Breakfast (2-3 carb servings)
2 scrambled eggs with spinach & diced tomatoes added in (or other veggies), 2 pieces of wheat toast, and 1 cup skim milk
Greek yogurt parfait: 6 ounces Greek yogurt layered with 3 tablespoons of granola and 1/2 cup mixed berries
Lunch (3-4 carb servings)
2 pieces of wheat bread with tuna salad and sliced tomatoes; 1/2 banana; 1 cup skim milk
Spinach salad (2 cups) with 3 ounces grilled chicken, 1 cup grapes, and vinaigrette dressing; 5 vanilla wafers; 1 cup skim milk
Dinner (3-4 carb servings)
3-4 ounces lean ground beef hamburger patty, lettuce, and tomato on a wheat bun; 1 cup melon; 1 cup skim milk
Stir fry with 3-4 ounces chicken breast, 2/3 cup cooked brown rice, broccoli, carrots, and red peppers; 1 cup sliced strawberries; 1 cup skim milk
Snacks (1-2 carb servings each)
1/2 cup cottage cheese + 1 cup pineapple chunks
1 ounce low fat string cheese + 1 small to medium apple
1 hard-boiled egg + 3 cups popped popcorn
1-2 tablespoons peanut butter + 1 small to medium apple
1 ounce almonds + 1 peach
6 ounces Greek yogurt
How can I tell if my gestational diabetes diet is working?
- Blood sugar monitoring. When you check your blood sugar levels (both fasting and 2 hours after each meal), you will learn some very important information about how your body is responding to the gestational diabetes diet. You can use the blood sugar results to make changes in the diet, if needed.
- Weight gain. You’re pregnant, and you should expect to gain weight during your pregnancy. Your doctor, dietitian, or diabetes educator will monitor your weight gain to make sure you are gaining the appropriate amount of weight and at the right rate. If you aren’t, they will make changes to your diet, as needed.
I recommend refreshing yourself on the details of a gestational diabetes carb counting diet and then making a list of 3-4 breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks that fit the guidelines AND your taste buds. Once you have your list, start making a shopping list.
I know this is a lot to take in all at once. Take a deep breath, and just take it one meal at a time. I’d love to hear what gestational diabetes-friendly menus you came up with. Feel free to let me know in the comments below!