Surprising no one, cheese is first on my list. Some dairy products you have to be careful about. Lactose turns into sugars when the body processes it, so while you wouldn’t necessarily think “carb” when you see a glass of whole milk, they’re in there. Most cheeses however, the lactose is reduced or eliminated while it’s made. That means I can eat as much as I can stand. Awesome.
Careful on this one, “trail mix” can cover a multitude of sins that will send your blood sugar through the roof. I am not talking the M &M, peanuts and Chex Mix type of trail mix. The stuff I’m eating is mostly almonds, sunflower seeds and cashews with some dried fruit mixed in. You want lots of protein to a little bit of fruit sugar. My Mr. got me a couple of kinds from our local Whole Foods that are both delicious and “GD safe”. A serving is 1 oz so we’ve been portioning it into old baby food jars that are just the right size. I don’t really worry about spiking my blood sugar with these, so the portioning is more for predictability than anything. Also so I don’t entirely ruin my appetite for dinner on trail mix.
Peanut butter was on the list of “free” foods the nutritionist gave me. This makes me a little bonkers, because while it’s low carb and has lots of fats that make it so the carbs there are don’t get into your blood quickly/easily, they’re still there. I eat a lot of peanut butter and so when she was giving me a hard time about not eating enough carbs I had a hard time not yelling that if I were “allowed” to count the “free” foods I’d have a lot closer to the numbers she wanted. This gets slathered on my toast in the morning and gets eaten by the 1/2 cup full with carrots and celery. It’s a good way to calm down a sweet tooth without heading for dangerous candy or cookies.
If you pay any attention to nutritional anything, you already know that avocado is a super food. Lots of good for you fats and no carbs to speak of. I usually just eat it with salt, pepper and a little bit of lemon juice, but we’re always looking for new ways to get more avocado in our diet.
I preferred dark chocolate even before all of this started, but I can’t help but feel justified now. For the same amount of carbs as I would be getting from a mini-milk chocolate fun-sized bar I can have a good 1/4 of a full sized bar of dark chocolate. The higher the Cacao content the more you get to eat. I personally like mine around 75%.
Wait…rice?!? Yup, that’s right. Here’s where we get into slow carbs vs. fast carbs. Less processed grains are harder for your body to digest, so less of the sugars wind up in your blood stream, and the ones that do take longer to get there. Think of it as the difference between giving a toddler a bowl full of Skittles and giving them, say, an equal amount of Starburst candies. With the Skittles there’s no unwrapping, nothing stopping them from shoveling entire handfuls of sugar straight down their gullet. That’s white rice in this analogy. The Starburst/brown rice have to be individually unwrapped. It’s time consuming and kind of annoying and so the kid/your body winds up with less sugar in the same amount of time.
Another one to be careful with. Like trail mix, this one can have a lot of added sugar, but coconut based sweets can be found that mostly just get their sweetness from the coconut itself. A better option than that box of Oreos I start thinking about when my hormones go crazy and I just want to curl up under a blanket and cry while watching rom-coms (man pregnancy is awesome).
These are kind of a no-brainer. Most of us should be eating more vegetables anyhow, but something that might not be so obvious when you’re first managing gestational diabetes with diet is how difficult it can be to get enough fi
ber while cutting out carbs. I won’t get into the details of that, but pregnant ladies, you know how much of an issue a lack of fiber can be. Eat your veggies.
No change in what I can eat in this category, but an increase in the amounts. Combining fats and proteins with your carbohydrates helps slow their absorption into your blood stream. That means that while vegetarian fettuccine alfredo may be a nightmare for your blood sugars whole grain spaghetti, heavy on the meat sauce and cheese may be fine.
Plain Greek Yogurt
Richer, thicker and more protein than normal yogurt. I mix in some frozen fruit and a small amount of low sugar (not sugar free) jelly when I’m not in the mood for peanut butter toast for breakfast.
Whole grain bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta…the grains I am eating are all as un-processed as I can find them. We try to do this anyhow, but it’s especially important with gestational diabetes (or diabetes of any form for that matter).
Bowl full of Skittles embodied right here. I forgot how quickly corn’s sugars get into your blood stream and bought a low carb, corn-based cereal to give myself another breakfast option. With essentially the same carb/sugar load as plain Cheerios (a perfect gestational diabetes breakfast option if you’re into them) this cereal sent my blood sugars skyrocketing. Won’t be eating those again til after 2.0 is born.
Like I said above, it’s not so much that there’s anything wrong with milk chocolate, it’s just that you can eat so little of it without spiking your blood sugars it doesn’t seem worth it. I’m staying with the dark side on this one.
OH dear god is the “solution” to “I’m diabetic, what can I eat?” always answered with “artificial sweeteners” or what. I don’t do artificial sweeteners. The science that keeps coming out about them scares me to no end AND their taste makes me gag. Seriously, hide a pinch of that stuff in my drink some time, I will notice and I will slap you. Sure, I could be having a lot more “treats” if I tolerated them, but most artificial sweeteners aren’t considered safe for preggos anyhow, so no way, no how.
White bread, white sugar, white rice, white flour pasta, white potatoes, all off the table. Like corn, these are all simplified to the point that my body’s digestive toddler can shove spoonfuls of sugar in without stopping to unwrap anything. Not good news when it comes time to stab my finger.
Hopefully none of you guys will have to deal with any of this. Double-hopefully if you do get diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you will have a much more helpful staff giving you much more complete and useful information than I have. But, in case you have a situation like mine, or in case you just want to start eating in a way that keeps your blood sugar levels a little more regulated with or without a diabetes diagnosis, this can be a place to start.