When you have gestational diabetes, your whole world will change. I guess it’s sort of like preparation for having a baby, when your whole world will change again. And not unlike the latter, gestational diabetes can help improve your life, so those changes aren’t necessarily a bad thing. As a former gestational diabetic, I can tell you that the most important thing you can do is focus on high protein, low carb food, especially snacks.
Pregnant women need a lot of protein to help grow their babies. Pregnant women with diabetes need to balance that high protein with low carbs to help keep blood sugar in check. You also need more fiber to keep sluggish digestion moving, which is a big concern with pregnancy. Sound complicated? It can be, but it is also relatively simple.
Make Every Bite Count
It sounds overly simplistic, but make every single bite you put in your mouth count. For the record, sweets count…as a pick me up, but only once in a while. Repeat to yourself, “high protein, low carb,” because those are the two most important elements of a gestational diabetes diet. While comfort food is a big temptation during the exhausted days of pregnancy, there is probably never a more important time to eat well than when you are developing that baby.
A healthy gestational diabetes diet will have other benefits as well, such as giving you more energy and boosting your mood. Though it is difficult to know which was cause and which was effect, the most unhappy pregnancy I had was also the one where I ate the most crap.
High Protein, Low Carb Snacks for Gestational Diabetes
Finding high protein low carb snacks is not that difficult, since most things that are high in protein tend to be low in carbs, such as meats, dairy and nuts. Pair peanut butter with celery sticks for protein, fiber and almost zero carbs.
The lunch that got me through my gestational diabetes was summer sausage, cheddar cheese and Greek yogurt. You can’t get much higher protein, and the only carbs in that meal came from the yogurt. Make your own yogurt for more control over the carb count.
Peanuts, cashews and almonds make a great mid afternoon snack. Look for flavored nuts, such as smokehouse almonds (another staple of my pregnancy diet), to mix things up a bit.
Cheese and crackers are another winner in the high protein, low carb snack department. My favorite was Ritz, especially the garden vegetable variety. Heaven! You can roll cheese slices and put meat or hummus inside for a mini cheesy burrito. Speaking of hummus, use it as a dip for carrot sticks or tortilla chips for a snack or even lunch.
If you follow the Weston Price Foundation’s guidelines for healthy eating, like including a high amount of animal products and less of the processed stuff, you will naturally progress to a high protein, low carb diet without much thought or stress. If you have never heard of Weston Price, check out the Foundation web site for great information on studies that prove much of our modern health philosophies are flawed.
While it is easy to reach for carbs and comfort food while you’re pregnant, a gestational diabetes diet that focuses on high protein, low carb foods is going to be the best for both you and the baby. I lost 20 pounds on that type of diet while pregnant, so give it a try and see how good it can be for you!