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Gestational Diabetes Dietary Tips

Blood sugar control during pregnancy is important for your health and the health of your baby. Gestational diabetes occurs when high blood sugar (glucose) gets too high during pregnancy.

Carbohydrates in food turn into sugar when digested. Glucose is important for you and your baby, but too much glucose in your blood can lead to problems. Eating a balanced, healthy diet can help you manage gestational diabetes, as long as you do not need to take insulin.

The following tips will help you control your blood sugar levels during pregnancy.

Make sure to eat breakfast.

Blood sugar can be difficult to control in the morning because that is when pregnancy hormones are at their strongest. These hormones can cause your blood sugar levels to rise even before you eat. Eating dry cereals, fruits, and milk are not the best choices for breakfast because they are digested very quickly and can cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly.

Instead, breakfast should center whole grains and protein.

Eat more often

Eating three meals and 2-3 snacks a day can lower the risk of raising your blood sugar too high. During pregnancy you have increased nutritional needs and your baby is counting on you to provide balanced nutrition - just not all at once.

Measure your servings

Foods like starches, fruits, vegetables, milk and yogurt are high in carbs and should have measured portions. Sweets and desserts should be avoided.

Introduce more fiber

Foods high in fiber help to keep your blood sugar levels lower than when you eat refined grains such as white bread and white rice.

Add whole grain bread, brown rice, wild rice, whole oats, barley, millet or any other whole grains into your diet. Look to include split peas, lentils and any type of bean (pinto, red, black, or garbanzo).

Limit dairy intake

Milk is a healthy food and it is an important source of calcium. However, the liquid sugar found in milk is absorbed quickly. Having too much milk at one time can lead to high blood sugar.

Limit your fruits

Fruits are nutritious but they are full of natural sugars, eat one serving at a time and track your blood sugar levels. Avoid fruit that has been canned in syrup and fruit juices.

Limit sweets and desserts

Cakes, cookies, candies, and pastries contain a lot of fat and offer very little nutrition. They are high in sugar and are likely to raise blood sugar levels too much.

Additionally, do not add any sugar, honey, or syrup to your foods. Instead, swap out artificial sweeteners that are safe in pregnancy:

  • Equal

  • NutraSweet

  • NatraTaste

  • Sunett

  • Splenda

  • Truvia

  • Purevia

Look out for sugar-free foods

Sugar alcohol is often used to make sugar-free desserts and syrups. These products can be labeled "sugar free" but may contain the same amount of carbohydrate as the versions made with regular sugar.

Look at food labels to see the grams of total carbohydrate.

Check here for some specific meal options

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