Top Gestational Diabetes Recipes
If you’ve just received a diagnosis of gestational diabetes, you might be shocked, confused, or even panicked. Perhaps you think you’ll have to give up all your favorite foods, or maybe you’re worried you’ll have to follow a completely bland diet. Maybe this is your second or third pregnancy and you can’t believe you’ve developed gestational diabetes, because you didn’t with your first pregnancy.
While you may have to make some changes to your nutrition to ensure the best outcomes for your pregnancy, the good news is that you can incorporate foods you enjoy into a gestational diabetes eating plan. Here, we share some of the top gestational diabetes recipes, so you can eat well while providing the best nutrition possible for you and your growing baby. Most women find that they are able to create a reasonable gestational diabetes meal plan while still eating foods they enjoy, including those in the recipes below.
Gestational Diabetes Nutrition
If you’re in search of gestational diabetes recipes, it’s important to understand some basic nutritional principles that apply when you’ve received a gestational diabetes diagnosis. Medical experts recommend that women with gestational diabetes monitor their carbohydrate intake so that blood glucose levels do not climb too high. A registered dietitian can tell you just how many carbs to include in your diet, as well as how many you need at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
To prevent your blood sugar levels from rising too high, gestational diabetes recipes should not include foods like sugar, honey, or syrups. In general, when you are meal planning for gestational diabetes, it is important to keep your portion sizes reasonable, as large portions can cause blood sugar levels to increase. You should also avoid fruit juice, sweets, and sugar-sweetened beverages, and you should only have one serving of fruit at at time. For example, when you’re on a diet for gestational diabetes, one small banana or a half-cup of mixed berries is the maximum amount you should consume with one meal. Fruit is certainly healthy, but it contains natural sugars which can increase blood sugar levels to an unhealthy range when eaten in large portions.
Additional recommendations if you have gestational diabetes are as follows:
- Consume plenty of vegetables.
- Limit your carbohydrate intake so fewer than half of your calories are from carbohydrates.
- Avoid potatoes, French fries, white rice, and candies.
- Be sure not to skip meals; you should consume three small or medium-sized meals per day, as well as a snack.
- Carbohydrates should come mostly from whole grains.
- Processed carbs like white bread should be limited.
Gestational Diabetes Recipes for Breakfast
When you have gestational diabetes, it’s important to start the day with a nutritious breakfast to keep blood sugar levels stabilized. Eating first thing prevents you from experiencing a low blood sugar crash or becoming ravenous later in the day. Some meal ideas that allow you to manage gestational diabetes and get a nutritious breakfast are as follows:
For this recipe, you’ll need the following:
- 1/2 cup berries (frozen preferred)
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (Ensure that it is plain, with no sugar added.)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1/2 cup natural almond butter
- Pinch of zero-calorie sweetener (like Stevia) for taste
Simply toss the ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth, and you have a tasty meal that meets the requirements of a gestational diabetes diet.
Egg White Omelet
Eggs are a great option when meal planning for gestational diabetes. For a hearty-protein rich omelet, grab the following ingredients:
- 4 ounces of egg whites
- Non-stick cooking spray
- Veggies of choice
Spray a skillet with non-stick cooking spray, and turn heat to medium-low. Add the egg whites to the skillet, and cook until they begin to set. Slide the cooked portion of egg whites over one side of the skillet once the mixture solidifies, moving the non-cooked parts to the other side so they can finish cooking. Once the entire egg white mixture is solid, add desired veggies to skillet, and allow to cook for 30 more seconds. Remove the omelet from the skillet onto a plate, fold it in half, and serve with one slice of whole-grain toast.
You may consider using whole eggs in your recipe, keeping in mind that whole eggs will contain more calories than egg whites.
This simple yet nutritious recipe requires just a few ingredients:
- 1 Egg
- 1 Low-carb tortilla
- 1/4 cup cheese
- 1/3 avocado
Heat 1 low-carb tortilla in a skillet on medium-low heat for one minute. Scramble the egg, and place it inside the tortilla. Add 1/4 cup cheese to the tortilla, and then cut 1/3 of an avocado into slices and add it to the tortilla. Finally, roll the tortilla up; serve with hot sauce, salsa, or another low-calorie sauce and enjoy!
Lunch and Dinner Gestational Diabetes Recipes and Meal Ideas
Breakfast is perhaps the most important meal of the day, but you need to continue with a healthy diet for lunch and dinner as well. Some of the following gestational diabetes recipes are sure to hit the spot, and the entire family is likely to approve!
Crockpot Salsa Chicken
When you’re just too tired to cook, which you’re probably finding is a common occurrence during pregnancy, crockpot salsa chicken is a simple yet nutritious option.
You’ll just need a few things to bring this recipe to life:
- A jar of your favorite salsa (be sure to find one with limited or no sugar added)
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Black pepper
- Chili powder
To cook, place the chicken breasts in the bottom of a slow cooker or crockpot. Season the chicken breast with black pepper and chili powder. If you prefer a more mild chicken, rather than a spicy version, you can use garlic powder in place of chili powder. Dump your jar of salsa on top, and cook for three hours on high heat. Once your cook time is up, you’re ready to serve.
The best thing about this particular gestational diabetes dinner is that you can use the chicken for a variety of meals. Place the chicken inside a low-carb tortilla for some mouthwatering chicken tacos, or mix it with black beans and brown rice for a diabetes-friendly rice bowl. If you’re trying to keep things on the lighter side, add your salsa chicken to a bed of lettuce and other veggies for a taco salad. Top tacos, salads, or rice bowls with cheddar cheese for some extra flavor and a dose of calcium.
Another benefit of salsa chicken is that it provides you with a lean protein source, making it a perfect addition to meal plans for gestational diabetes. You can even enjoy eating it for dinner one day and lunch the next.
For a nutritious lunch or dinner, prepare a steak salad with homemade dressing. The steak gives you added protein, whereas the homemade dressing limits sugars.
Follow these steps to prepare the salad:
- Make the dressing by combining balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.
- Prepare six ounces of steak (preferably flank steak, filet, or sirloin steak) on a grill or stovetop. Cook to desired color and then cut into thin slices.
- Throw the steak atop a bed of lettuce, and add desired veggies.
- Toss the dressing on top, serve, and enjoy this tasty meal.
The good news is that you can find a way to incorporate this classic recipe, even when you’re making dietary changes to accommodate gestational diabetes.
- Begin by peeling and chopping 1 cup of carrots, 1/2 cup of yellow onion, 1 cup red bell pepper, and cup zucchini into ¼-inch pieces.
- Add carrots and 1 tablespoon avocado oil to a skillet, and cook on medium low heat for 4 minutes.
- Chop two large garlic cloves, and then add garlic, onion, bell pepper, and zucchini for the skillet and cook for an additional four minutes.
- Mix 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 3 tablespoons ketchup, 2 tablespoons coconut sugar, 1 tablespoon low sodium Worcestershire sauce, a 2 tablespoons of water and set aside.
- Add one pound of lean ground beef to the skillet and increase heat to medium, breaking up the beef and cooking it until it is brown.
- Once beef is cooked, add sauce to the skillet and cook an additional two minutes.
- Add one cup of the beef mixture to a whole wheat bun or sandwich thin.
Other Meal and Snack Ideas
Beyond the recipes above, some food items you can incorporate into your meals and snacks on a gestational diabetes diet include:
- Feta Cheese
- Chicken Salad
- Green Beans
- Goat Cheese
- Chia Seeds
- A Cheese Stick
- Peanut Butter
- Sweet Potato Fries
- A Hard Boiled Egg
- Seared Steak
- Cauliflower Rice
- Cottage Cheese
- Non Starchy Vegetables
- Tortilla Chips
- Chopped Nuts
The Bottom Line on Gestational Diabetes Recipes
The gestational diabetes recipes noted here are just examples of nutritious meal ideas you can include in your diet to help you manage your blood sugars and avoid pregnancy complications. Of course, the meal planning advice in this article should not take the place of professional medical advice. Developing gestational diabetes means that you will require a specialized meal plan that meets your unique needs. A registered dietitian can help you to develop a meal plan that helps you to manage high blood sugar and avoid the complications that pregnant women can experience when they develop gestational diabetes.
Working with a registered dietician can provide you with specific guidelines, such as how many carbs you can eat per day, what your restricted diet will look like, and how many snacks you can eat daily. You may have to adjust your eating plan depending upon how your body handles your diet and where your blood sugar levels fall. While the recipes here do not constitute professional medical advice, they are likely to fit in many gestational diabetes meal plans, so long as they are approved by your doctor’s office or a registered dietitian.