Hi There! Here are some of the documents my hospital shared with me that helped me get started. Honestly - the most effective change I made to my diet was cutting out white flour and all sugars (refined, natural, and artificial). It's not easy - and I do give in to the occassional treat - but making sure I exercise before and after is key. Hope this information helps!
Getting Started: Eating Plan for Gestational Diabetes
All foods affect one’s blood sugar levels. Carbohydrates have the most direct impact. Digestion of carbohydrates releases simple sugar molecules such as glucose which are then absorbed into the bloodstream. When you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, avoiding excess consumption of carbohydrate is required to control blood sugar levels.
Foods containing carbohydrates:
- Grains, breads, cereals and dried beans
- Starchy vegetables
- Fruits and juice
- Milk and yogurt
- Sweets and desserts
Carbohydrates are essential for growing a healthy baby. Establishing appropriate amounts to consume and how to distribute your intake requires a specialized individualized meal plan. This is best created by a registered dietitian/nutritionist. The following guidelines are offered to help get you started before your scheduled nutrition consultation.
Carbohydrate Controlled Eating Plan
Approximately 2200-2400 calories and 200-250gm of carbohydrate each day is generally recommended. Distributing daily carbohydrates sensibly into 3 meals and some snacks is advised to promote optimal blood sugar control.
Daily carbohydrate budgets usually allow for: 30-60gm per meal
0-30gm per snack
To estimate the amount of carbohydrate in foods, read labels for serving size and total carbohydrate content. If labels are not available, use the Carbohydrate Exchange System:
1 carbohydrate exchange/serving/choice = amount of food with 15gm of total carbohydrate.
Each of the following portions is the equivalent of 15gm of carbohydrate:
Grains, Breads, Cereal
Milk and Yogurt
- 1 slice bread
- 6” tortilla
- 1/2 cup cooked
- 1/3 cup pasta,
- ½ cup cold cereal
- ½ cup hot cereal
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup soymilk*
- ¾ cup plain
lowfat or nonfat
- 1 small fruit
- ½ cup fruit
- 1 cup melon
- ½ cup juice
- 2 Tbsp dried fruit
3 cups salad
1 ½ cups cooked
½ cup potato, peas,
1 cup winter squash
Protein foods (poultry, meat, fish, eggs) and fats (oils, margarine, nuts) are carbohydrate free or contain negligible amounts. These foods also slow absorption of sugar into the blood.
Favor high fiber choices. Fiber slows absorption of sugar into the blood which is beneficial.
Exercising before or after eating can lower blood sugar; any activity is better than none!
Daily Needs When Pregnant – Recommended Servings
Food Group # of Servings
Vegetables 3 or more
1 serving of fat = 1 tsp oil, margarine, butter, mayo, 1 Tbsp dressing/ lite mayo, 6-10 nuts
Breakfast: 1-2 slice whole grain bread
1 egg, 1 slice of cheese or 1 Tbsp peanut butter
1 cup milk or 1 serving of fruit
Lunch: 2 slices whole grain bread or medium wheat tortilla
2oz chicken or ½ cup canned salmon or 1-2 Tbsp peanut butter
(@ lunch Raw veggies as desired, some mayo/mustard, small amt all fruit jam
1 cup milk +/or Large salad with Lite dressing
1 serving fruit 2 oz cheese or other protein
or 6 oz yogurt*) ½ cup cooked beans, 1 small wheat pita
Dinner: 3-4 oz poultry, lean meat etc or 4 oz of firm tofu
2/3-1 cup rice, pasta, potato, peas or corn
Cooked non starchy vegetable and/or salad
1 cup milk +/or 1 fruit
* Greek style yogurts and Stonyfield yogurt (higher in protein & lower in carbs).
Snacks: Please refer to the handout called:
Carbohydrate Controlled Snacks for Those with Gestational Diabetes
- Keep treats and refined starchy snack foods to a minimum.
- Space meals and snacks apart by a minimum of 2 hours.
- Other than some milk, water is your best beverage choice.
Remember, this is only intended to get you started!
Please record a 3 day food log to bring to your nutrition counseling appointment.
Out patient RD/Diabetes Nutrition Educator @ Emerson Hospital