what can i eat with gestational diabetes —diet for gestational diabetes

what can i eat with gestational diabetes —diet for gestational diabetes

what can i eat with gestational diabetes —diet for gestational diabetes

Understanding your diet and eating healthily is an important part of your treatment for gestational diabetes. It will help you keep your blood sugar levels in the safe range so you’re more likely to enjoy a healthy pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby.

If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes you should be referred to a dietitian for individual advice. If this has not happened ask your maternity care team to refer you. We have come up with some tips and recipes to support you too.


To help you get started, we’ve got some options to try for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. It’s important to be physically active every day as well, to help you manage your sugar levels.

Eight tips for eating well with gestational diabetes

These healthy eating tips for women with gestational diabetes are general. Your care team should talk to you about making changes to your diet and refer you to a dietitian for individual advice that’s right for you.


1. Choose healthier carbohydrates (carbs)

All carbs affect your blood sugar levels, so you need to know which foods contain carbs.


The type and amount of carbs you eat or drink makes a difference to your blood sugar levels. The amount makes the biggest difference. And your dietitian may talk to you about reducing your carb portion sizes. It’s important too, to choose healthier carbs.

2. Cut down on sugar

We know cutting down sugar can be really hard at the beginning, so small practical swaps are a good starting point.

3. Perfect your portion sizes

Use our tips on carb portion sizes. This will help you manage your blood sugar levels and avoid too much weight gain during pregnancy. Talk to your care team about what weight gain is right for you. Your weight may be monitored closely while you’re pregnant.


4. Plan for snack attacks

If you do need to snack when you have gestational diabetes, swap cake, biscuits, crisps and chocolate for:


plain or low sugar yogurt

unsalted nuts

seeds, fruit and veg

But watch your portion sizes still – it’ll help you keep an eye on your weight.


5. Avoid diabetic foods

The law has changed and manufacturers are no longer allowed to label food as diabetic or suitable for diabetics. They don’t have any special health benefits, they’re expensive, could still affect your blood sugar and may cause an upset stomach.


6. Understand the glycaemic index

The gylcaemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly foods containing carbs affect your blood sugar levels after you eat them. Some foods affect sugars levels quickly and so have a high GI, and others take longer to affect blood sugar levels and so have a low GI. To help you manage your blood sugar levels, go for carbs with a lower GI. You’ll still need to think about your portion sizes. It’s the amount of carbs in the meal that will affect your blood sugar levels the most. And not all low GI foods are healthy, so make sure you read food labels and make a healthy choice.


7. Manage your weight

If you gain too much weight in pregnancy it can affect your health and increase your blood pressure. However, evidence suggests that pregnancy isn’t the time to be on a really strict diet and you shouldn’t aim to lose weight. But it’s important that your weight is monitored by your care team and you don’t gain too much weight, which could cause problems for you and your baby.


Making changes to your diet and physical activity levels can help you avoid gaining too much weight. It’ll also help you to keep your blood sugar within a safe range.

It’s important to keep going with your healthier lifestyle after you’ve had your baby and keep to a healthy weight. This will reduce your risk of developing gestational diabetes in future pregnancies. And, it will also help to reduce your future risk of developing type 2 diabetes too.


8. Eat more fish

Try to eat fish regularly, as it’s good for you and the development of your baby.


The advice is to eat at least two portions a week, including at least one portion of oily fish – like mackerel, sardines, salmon, herrings, trout or pilchards. Oily fish is really good for heart health, but don’t have more than two portions a week because it contains low levels of pollutants (toxins). A portion is about 140g.


Avoid fish which tend to have higher levels of mercury, like swordfish, shark and marlin. And, don’t have more than four medium-sized cans of tuna, or two tuna steaks a week, as it can have relatively high amounts of mercury compared to other fish.


There are some foods you should avoid when you’re pregnant, including raw shellfish. The NHS have more information about what foods to avoid or take care with when you’re pregnant.

Meal and snack ideas for gestational diabetes

Try to include protein foods with each of your main meals, to help fill you up and help manage your sugar levels.



A bowl of whole grain cereal, such as porridge, with semi-skimmed milk

2 slices of whole grain toast with unsaturated low-fat spread

Low-fat and low-sugar yogurt and fruit.

Or you could try making:


Apple and cinnamon fruity porridge

Wholemeal spinach and cheddar pancakes

Mushroom and spring onion omelette.


An egg, cheese, fish or chicken salad sandwich, made with whole grain bread or chapatti/roti made with wholemeal flour

A small pasta salad, with plenty of veggies

Soup – containing lots of veggies and pulses – with a whole grain roll. Some soup contains lots of added salt and sugar so check the label.

Try our homemade chilli bean soup. .

Or you could try making:


Cauliflower pizza

Chicken and soya bean salad

Cauliflower pilaf

Chickpea and tuna salad

Tuna niçoise salad

Greek style chicken pittas


Thai chicken stir fry

Butternut and borlotti bean stew

Mixed bean chilli

Chicken, squash and coriander pilaf

Aubergine stuffed with tofu, mushrooms and borlotti beans

Aubergine and parmesan bake

Italian style braised lamb steaks

Channa dahl

Chicken balti

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