Gestational diabetes is the onset of diabetes during pregnancy. Blood sugar levels become high when pregnant and often return to normal following birth. Eating a healthy balanced diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and checking blood sugar levels regularly using a glucometer can help manage and often eliminate gestational diabetes, as well as possibly prevent a reoccurrence in future pregnancies and type 2 diabetes later in life.
To help you manage gestational diabetes and protect your health and the health of your baby, take a look at these great snack ideas to keep you fueled and nourished while keeping your blood sugar stabilized throughout the day!
Fruit and Eggs: Pair any fist-sized fruit with a hard-boiled egg (around 80 calories), cheese stick (around 60-80 calories), or Greek style yogurt. Greek yogurt often has more protein (the non-flavored varieties can contain up to 20 grams of protein and have less sugar than other types of yogurts).
Apple and Almond Butter: Slice an apple (filled with antioxidants, vitamin C, phytochemicals and soluble fiber) with two tablespoons of almond butter or other nut butter. Almond butter serves as a tasty alternative for typical peanut butter, providing important monounsaturated fats, magnesium, zinc and calcium. Most nut butters range from 170 to 200 calories for two tablespoons, and provide around 6-8 grams of carbohydrates and 5-7 grams of protein. (Specific nutrient content will vary depending brand and nut-butter source.)
Greek Yogurt and Berries: Pair a cup of plain Greek style yogurt with high-in-antioxidant berries and chopped walnuts or almonds. Sprinkle some flax or chia seeds on top for an extra blast of nutrients. You can also add a dash of cinnamon or a vanilla to add flavor and variety. This is a protein and nutrient powerhouse, which will keep you satisfied while keeping your blood sugar levels steady until your next meal.
Milk: If you don’t have an intolerance to dairy, choose a cup of organic, hormone-free milk. Or choose unsweetened coconut or almond milk (avoid canned coconut milk), coconut or regular kefir (fermented dairy) and pair it with some berries for an extra antioxidant boost. While fresh, clean water is your best choice for beverages, these serve as a replacement for any sodas or sugar-sweetened drinks, which spike blood sugar and wreak havoc on your health. Artificially sweetened drinks need to be eliminated entirely because your body interprets artificial sweeteners as a foreign substance while also causing calorie disregulation, a process that increases appetite and cravings for more.
Smoothie: A smoothie can be another great way to add variety to your diet. Blend 1 cup unsweetened coconut or almond milk (not canned) with a quality protein powder shake mix (whey protein concentrate, pea or rice protein). Add ice and ½ cup of berries, blend and enjoy! Smoothies are great for on the go. You can even find a shaker cup (cup with a spiral ball shaker inside) to keep your shake evenly mixed and delicious as you go about your busy day.
Lettuce Wraps: Choose a brown rice wrap or large leaf deep green lettuce and fill with lean, free range chicken or turkey, add hummus or avocado, and add your favorite vegetables to give you an extra boost of vitamins, minerals and fiber for a satisfying snack of lean protein, vegetables and healthy fats.
Nuts: Grab a pre-portioned serving of almonds, walnuts or cashews to have along with low-sugar fruit like an apple or berries for a simple whole food snack that needs no preparation. Remember to bring along filtered, fresh, clean water too!
Veggies and Dip: Slice up your favorite vegetables and enjoy with some hummus or a dip made from Greek style yogurt (add your favorite ranch type seasonings). This snack is packed with protein and healthy fat.
Tips: Keep in mind; one carbohydrate serving equals 15 grams of carbohydrates. It’s important to consume protein and/or healthy fat if you choose whole-grain carbohydrates to slow the breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose, which then enters the blood stream and elevates blood sugar levels. By pairing carbs with lean, hormone-free protein and healthy fats, you’ll help stabilize your blood sugar throughout the day, preventing hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). For an even healthier option, your carb servings can be found in the form of low-sugar fruits (apples, berries) and vegetables, offering an even greater source of nutrients for you and your growing baby – and at the same time helping to prevent inflammation or the likelihood of a reaction from a food intolerance (such as gluten), while keeping your mood and blood sugar stable.
Photo from here, with thanks.