Are you looking for the best ways to manage gestational diabetes? While it can be very stressful having this medical condition, there are several ways to cope and endure the disease. From regularly monitoring your blood sugar levels to eating the best and most nutritious food, there is a greater chance to live healthily and be in control of your health.
Gestational diabetes refers to abnormal levels of blood sugar. It is a form of diabetes that happens only during pregnancy. While this condition might be very alarming, it is considered common, and treatment is available. One of the best ways to treat and manage this medical condition is by following a gestational diabetes diet and meal plan. By following this blueprint, the baby inside the womb is protected from potential complications caused by the said disorder.
What should be included in your diet plan?
To better give you an idea of the possible foods to eat daily, here is your guide to creating the best diet plan.
- Balanced meal – When planning what to consume in a day, make sure that you observe a healthy balance of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
- Veggies – Vegetables are rich in nutrients that are necessary for pregnancy. Ensure that you include green leafy vegetables in your daily food consumption.
- Fruits – The absence of fruits in the diet plan is a big No-No. Fruits are good sources of vitamins and minerals – all are essential for pregnancy and managing diabetes.
- Food rich in fibre – In order to control the levels of sugar in the body, consuming enough fibre is highly advisable. Some of these foods include crackers and bread.
- Fatty foods – Only include healthy fats such as olive oil and fatty fish. Healthy fats prevent carbohydrates from spiking and inhibit disorders such as heart disease and stroke to develop.
Aside from the guidelines stated above, drinking lots of water daily prevents dehydration, which causes the blood glucose level to surge. Eight to ten glasses of water should be enough to keep yourself hydrated.
List of foods in your meal plan
Here are the following foods that you can choose from to include in your meal plan. Note that the following examples are suggested by dietitians and are only cited based on their effectiveness in treating and managing gestational diabetes.
Whole grains are composed of high levels of fibre. It has the capability to slow the absorption of nutrients, which is needed to stabilize the blood glucose levels. Some of the best examples of whole grains are brown rice, whole-grain bread, buckwheat, quinoa, millet, bulgur, and rye.
Beans are better at regulating the blood sugar levels in the body. It reduces carbohydrate intake and helps in controlling the range of glucose in the blood. It comprises significant nutrients that include iron, magnesium, and potassium. Some of the finest examples of beans are kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, navy beans, and adzuki beans.
Berries are naturally rich in antioxidants – compounds that prevent oxidative stress. Pregnant women with gestational diabetes may have high levels of oxidative stress, and eating berries will solve the issue. They are a good source of vitamins and minerals. Some of these berries are strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries.
If you include milk in your meal plan, make sure to only choose the ones that are low in fat, carbohydrates, and sugar quantities. Milk is rich in calcium, a mineral essential for pregnancy. Some of the best examples of milk that you can choose from are almond, flax, hemp, and cashew milk.
If there’s one food that should always be part of a meal plan for someone with diabetes, it is fatty fish. This type of food is an excellent source of protein that regulates blood sugar levels. It contains omega-3 fatty acids, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Aside from stabilizing the blood glucose levels in the body, it also reduces the risk of having heart disease and stroke. It improves the functions of the brain and the heart. Some of these fishes are salmon, sardines, trout, mackerel, herring, and albacore tuna.
Chia seeds contain high levels of fibre. It helps in lowering the blood sugar levels and assist in achieving a healthy weight. Same with fatty fish, chia seeds also contain omega-3 and lots of minerals, which make this food highly recommendable for managing diabetes.
Since daily consumption of fruits is a must for pregnant women with gestational diabetes, avocados are a good choice. It has less than 1 gram of sugar, which does not contribute much to raising the blood glucose levels. It has high fibre content and healthy fats that you can surely take advantage of.
Eggs are rich in protein, which helps in stabilizing blood sugar levels. It has exceptional health benefits and has proven to be very effective in managing diabetes. It reduces the risk of developing heart disease and stroke. Moreover, most of the nutrients can be found in the yolk rather than the white, so make sure to consume the whole egg.
Keep in mind that you are not just eating for yourself but for your baby’s health as well. Follow the aforementioned diet and meal plan to ensure proper gestational diabetes management. Other than that, a regular check-up with your doctor or dietitian will help to examine your status and to better guide you during your pregnancy.
Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.