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A guide to eating well with gestational diabetes

Navigating a pregnancy with gestational diabetes requires special attention to dietary choices. Maintaining stable blood sugar levels is crucial for the health of both you and your baby. In this blog, we’ll explore a balanced and nutritious approach to eating with gestational diabetes, focusing on foods that can help stabilise blood sugar while providing essential nutrients.

  • Whole grains: Choose whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and oats over refined grains. These complex carbohydrates release glucose more slowly, preventing sudden spikes in blood sugar.
  • Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, and beans are excellent sources of fibre and protein, contributing to sustained energy levels.
  • Poultry and fish: Opt for lean protein sources like skinless poultry and fatty fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon. These proteins support muscle development and help regulate blood sugar.
  • Plant-based proteins: Incorporate tofu, tempeh, and legumes for plant-based protein options that also provide fibre.
  • Avocado: Rich in monounsaturated fats, avocados are a nutritious addition to your diet. They provide a creamy texture to meals and contribute to satiety.
  • Nuts and seeds: Walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds offer healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids. Sprinkle them on salads or add them to smoothies for a nutrient boost.
  • Vegetables: Include a variety of colourful vegetables in your meals, as they are high in fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Non-starchy options like leafy greens, broccoli, and bell peppers are particularly beneficial.
  • Berries: Berries, such as blueberries and strawberries, are low in sugar and high in antioxidants and fibre. They make a delicious addition to snacks or breakfast.
  • Portion control: While fruits are nutritious, it’s essential to consume them in moderation due to their natural sugar content. Opt for small portions of low-glycaemic fruits like berries, apples, and pears.
  • Balanced meals: Aim for balanced meals that include a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. This helps regulate blood sugar levels and provides sustained energy.
  • Frequent, small meals: Eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day can help prevent spikes in blood sugar.
  • Water: Hydration is crucial for everyone, especially pregnant women. Water helps flush out toxins, supports digestion, and can aid in controlling hunger.
  • Read Labels: Be vigilant about reading food labels to identify hidden sugars and processed ingredients. Minimise the consumption of sugary snacks, desserts, and sweetened beverages.

Eating well with gestational diabetes involves making thoughtful food choices to support both your health and the health of your baby. Prioritise nutrient-dense foods, control portion sizes, and maintain a balanced diet to manage blood sugar levels effectively. Consulting with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian specialising in gestational diabetes can provide personalised guidance tailored to your specific needs. Remember, a well-nourished pregnancy contributes to a healthier journey for both you and your little one.

Sign up for the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme