Diet for Gestational Diabetes: what to eat (and what to avoid)
The diet for gestational diabetes is similar to the diet for common diabetes, and it is necessary to avoid foods containing sugar and white flour, such as sweets, bread, cakes, snacks, and pasta.
However, women with gestational diabetes need to be extra careful because the increase in blood sugar can impair the development of the fetus and bring complications such as premature birth, pre-eclampsia, and heart disease in the baby.
The pregnant woman should choose foods that are low in carbohydrates or that contain complex carbohydrates, which are called whole foods.
See the full list below:
- Whole grains: brown rice, brown bread, quinoa, oats, lentils, chickpeas, beans, peas, and corn;
- Fruits: any fruit, as long as only 1 unit is consumed per day;
- Vegetables: except potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava, also known as cassava, as it contains a high amount of carbohydrates;
- Meat in general, preferably low in fat;
- Fresh fish and canned in olive oil, such as sardines and tuna;
- Oilseeds: chestnuts, peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, and almonds;
- Milk and dairy products: whole milk, whole natural yogurt, cheeses;
- Natural fats: butter, olive oil, coconut oil, coconut, avocado;
- Seeds: chia, flaxseed, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower.
It is important to remember that even whole foods are also rich in carbohydrates and should be consumed in moderation. Know all foods rich in carbohydrates.
What to eat less often
Some foods rich in carbohydrates, but little processed, should be consumed less frequently and in moderate amounts, such as white rice, sweet potatoes, English potatoes, yams, cassava, tapioca, couscous, and water and salt cookies.
In addition, there should also be moderation in the consumption of natural juices, dehydrated fruits, and whole-grain cakes, as it can increase blood glucose. It is also necessary to be careful with some types of granola, as most bring a lot of sugar, dehydrated fruits, and cane molasses in their composition.
Foods to Avoid
Foods that should be avoided in the diet for gestational diabetes are those with sugar and white flour in their composition, such as cakes, ice cream, sweets, snacks, pizzas, pies, and white bread.
In addition, it is also important to avoid foods that contain corn starch, also known as cornstarch, and additives such as molasses, corn syrup, and glucose syrup, which are products similar to sugar. In addition, it is necessary to avoid processed meats such as sausage, sausage, ham, and bologna, and drinks containing sugar, such as coffee, soft drinks, industrialized juices, and teas with added sugar.
When to measure blood glucose
During gestational diabetes, blood glucose should be measured according to the request of the endocrinologist who accompanies the problem. In general, fasting blood glucose should be measured upon waking up and after main meals, such as lunch and dinner.
When gestational diabetes is well controlled, the doctor may ask that blood glucose be measured only on alternate days, but when diabetes is very high, measurement at more times throughout the day may be recommended.
The following table shows an example of a 3-day menu for controlling gestational diabetes:
Meal Day 1
- Breakfast: 1 glass of milk + 2 slices of whole-grain bread with cheese, egg, and 1 col of sesame tea
- Morning Snack: 1 banana + 10 cashew nuts
- Lunch / Dinner: 1 baked potato + 1/2 salmon fillet + green salad with olive oil + 1 dessert orange
- Afternoon Snack: 1 glass of orange juice + 3 whole toast with cheese
Meal Day 2
- Breakfast: 1 cup of unsweetened coffee + 1 roasted banana + 2 slices of cheese with oregano
- Morning Snack: 2 slices of papaya + 1 col of oat soup
- Lunch / Dinner: whole chicken pasta with vegetables in tomato sauce + salad sauteed in olive oil + 2 slices of melon
- Afternoon Snack: 1 cup of coffee + 1 slice of wholemeal cake + 10 peanuts
Meal Day 3
- Breakfast: 1 wholemeal plain yogurt with 3 plums + 1 slice of bread with egg and cheese
- Morning Snack: 1 glass of green juice with kale, lemon, pineapple, and coconut water
- Lunch / Dinner: 4 cols of brown rice soup + 2 col of bean soup + 120 g of pot roast + salad with vinegar and olive oil
- Afternoon Snack: 1 cup of coffee with milk + 1 small tapioca with cheese and butter
The diet for gestational diabetes should be individualized, according to the pregnant woman’s blood glucose values and her food preferences, and should be prescribed and monitored by a nutritionist.