26 answers

What Can I Eat with Gestational Diabetes?

I failed my 1 hour glucose test by a little and tried to take the 3 hour test on Sat. only to throw up mid way through. So I am waiting to hear back from my doctor about what they would like me to do, but in the mean time I was tring to eat like if I had it just in case, but am at a lose as what to eat. I am a picky eater, so I am have a hard time thinking of what to eat that doesn't have carbs or sugar in it all the time. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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So What Happened?™

Thanks everyone. Your advice was very helpful. I go tomarrow to meet with a dietician and see how to test my blood sugar. I have already started eating better and over the last week, I can see a huge difference in my energy level and how I feel. Hopefully it won't be to bad for the next 10 weeks. It's worth it to keep my baby healthy and not to big.

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I have a friend that struggles with gestational diabetes as well so I try to cook meals that are okay for her to eat when they come over and some of the ones I have tried come from a free website called www.recipezaar.com - you can sort to look at only diabetic recipes - we made the ribs in the crockpot and they were wonderful - so now that is the only way we cook ribs. Also there was a taco like salad that was on there - it was great as well. Hope that helps. I know my friend eats mostly chicken dishes.

Hi K.,

I had gestational diabetes with both of my pregnancies. I actually had to take insulin shots to keep it under control. My advice would be to stay away from anything with a high amount of sugar. Candy, pop, Chinese food with high sugar sauces, ice cream, etc.

Limit pop to one per day if you crave it... I'd stick to Sierra Mist or Sprite... no diet.

Good luck! I hope the test comes out okay. Gest. diabetes is manageable. Mine went away the second the babies were born too.


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It's NOT just about the sugar but the KINDS of sugar and where foods are on the glycemic index. You should stick with adequate amounts of protein..fish, nuts, lowfat (NOT fat free-too many chemicals) dairy, etc. THIS helps keep cravings down or non existent!

Get a copy of the GLYCEMIC INDEX REVOLUTION. It will help you understand where food are on the scale and to stay within the low-moderate levels.

EAT PROTEIN and/or FRUIT like berries (low glycemic) at EACH of 5-6 meals daily. Cottage cheese and blueberries, apple and nuts, Fish and a sald, etc. You'll be amazed at how LEVEL you'll keep your blood sugar AND how much better you feel and the energy you have.

1 mom found this helpful

I met with a dietician when I had gestational diabetes and it helped soooo much. They even give sample diets of what you can eat and also have "pretend" food for you to practice putting a meal together for yourself. Ask your doctor to refer you to one! You will also find that you gain very little weight with your pregnancy if you stick to the diet. My OB said she always knows when her diabetic patients are lying about sticking to their diet if they are gaining weight. Good luck, you can do it!

1 mom found this helpful

I really wouldn't stress out about your eating just yet. A lot of people fail the first test and not the second. I had gestational diabetes with my first child, but not with my second. I did fail the 1 hr test with my second child, but I was fine with the 3hr.

You can watch your carb intake. Also, you can eat a lot of veggies (fruits contain more sugar and should also be eaten in moderation), and also balance your meals with protein. Portion control is also important, expecially with carbs like rice and pasta. Also, if you drink Orange juice, you should only drink a SMALL glass.

If you are diagnosed with diabates, you will more than likely see a specialist who will carefully go over your diet and any other steps you need to take to control it. My diabetes was only diet controled, but I had to test my blood sugar 4 times a day. It's a challenge, but I got through it!

Hopefully you will not have diabetes and the rest of your pregnancy will go smoothly! :-)

You want to eat a balanced meal each time you eat. Balanced meaning, a source of protein (the size of your palm), a serving of a fruit or vegetable-good carbs (avoid bananas, melons, dried fruits) and a good source of fat. You can also eat whole grains. The protein and the fat slow down the digestion which helps keep the blood sugar steady. Don't go more than four hours between meals. If you snack (recommended) make sure you still have that same balance so nuts with a piece of fruit or hummus with some veggies are a great snack.
Avoid White things (flour, rice, potatoes)
I hope that helps!

I had gestational diabetes with both of my babies. It's not fun, but you can do it. If you call your OB they can give you a sample menu. Also you can go to the book store and they have tons of books with things to eat in them. Good Luck!

Hi K., I know I already talked to you about this but I remembered a few more things that I ate when I had it. For dinner I would make fajitas of quesadillas, I just made sure the tortillas were low in carbs. I also used those tortillas to make wraps for lunches. I will keep thinking and try to remember some things. Let me know when you are meeting with the nutritionist. It as bad as it sounds and before you know it baby Sunjay will be here. I can't wait to meet him. :)

I have a friend that struggles with gestational diabetes as well so I try to cook meals that are okay for her to eat when they come over and some of the ones I have tried come from a free website called www.recipezaar.com - you can sort to look at only diabetic recipes - we made the ribs in the crockpot and they were wonderful - so now that is the only way we cook ribs. Also there was a taco like salad that was on there - it was great as well. Hope that helps. I know my friend eats mostly chicken dishes.

Hi K.,

I also had Gestational Diabetes, and still have daibetes but it is now controlled with diet and exercise, but while pregnant that didn't work alone. I followed a strict diet and only gained 10 lbs in total. I saw a dietician and that was extremely helpful. You can eat whatever you want, it is all about portion sizes. Here is what I was told...3 main meals, 3 snacks, tried to eat every 2-3 hours. For a main meal you want to eat one protein (a fist size) and 45g og carbs. Don't read how much sugar on the package, only how many carbs per serving size. For your first 2 snacks you want one serving of protein and 15 carbs. Your last snack can be 30 carbs.

I drank iced tea with splenda. Some people don't recommend, but I needed caffeine and don't like tea by itself. For snacks I would have a cup of yogurt or 6 wheat crackers with peanut butter. You can have as much sugar free jello as you want. I actually feel better when I follow this diet and not so tired. Please feel free to contact me with any questions!

I had gestational diabetes with my son. You pretty much just have to reduce how much you eat at a time. they will tell you that a serving of carbs is 15grams. You can have about 120 to 150 grams of carbohydrates a day. So if you want to eat a candy bar and it has 45 grams of sugar, they will count as 3 of your 10 carb choices for the day. I would advise just eating smaller portions throughout the day of what you normally eat. However, pizza , pasta and rice are really bad to eat if you are diabetic. You will have to check your blood sugar after you eat, so you will quickly learn what foods you should avoid. I hope this is helpful.

I have 5 kids ages 13yrs.-4mos. and had gestational diabetes with them all...you can talk to a dietician. In fact, if your test comes back that you do have it, your OB will set an appointment with one. In the mean time...stick to a low carb diet, lots of protein and unprocessed food. You should be working out as well, even just a walk helps. Keeping up with your 2 year old should be quite helpful. Let me know if I can help. Good Luck. Jess

PS. Try to stay away from alot of carbs 24 hours before your 3 hour test...sometimes what you ate can throw it off.

Really, you should just cut out the simple sugars - chips, candy, soda, etc. I recommend looking at information on the glycemic index, you want lower numbers on the scale, then find ways to incorporate them into your diet. But, if they decide you do have GD, they will give you lots of direction more specific to your situation. Don't worry though - lots of people fail the first glucose test and do fine on the 3 hour one - myself included!

I was just diagnosed as well and it is an adjustment. I met with the nutritionist at my OB/GYN and some stuff that she told me was: Multiple smaller meals/snacks are good, vegetables are sort of "free" food and don't count, very low carb if any and sugar, and add protein to your diet, ie. eggs, meats, peanut butter. And when reading the nutrition info on the side of the package, under carbs it usually also lists dietary fiber, the higher that is the better because that can be subtracted from the carb count. So you don't have to take it all out, just try and limit it and add a little more protein. For most of my snacks and breakfast I'm suppose to be from 15-30 carbs, lunch 30-45, and dinner 45-60. That is different for everyone, but there is a lot of room for adjustment. I've had to check my blood sugars and I've been able to do pretty good even with eating out a couple times so far.
I do agree it isn't an easy adjustment.

Try to see if you can get an appointment with the Dietician at the hospital where you'll deliver. They should be able to give you advice.
Good Luck!

Dear K.,

Since February, I have eaten a diet that is free of grains (except oatmeal), dairy, and sugar, and I feel great. My doctor has been suggesting this diet for her patients for over 30 years, and has seen magnificent results over and over again. Now, I am one of those success stories. I am helping her family with the text for an interactive web site so that people will be able to share favorite recipes, suggestions, and the stories of their experiences.

What can you eat? Just about anything that's fresh and tasty! Almost all vegetables are OK (potatoes and corn are very high in sugar, though), meats are OK, too (if you like them ~ I don't), and most fruits are alright too. Please see the suggestions below.

I've been assisting with the text for a web site about this health plan, so I just happen to have this already written up and ready to print. :) Here are excerpts from the notes I made when I started this plan:

Foods to avoid:

• Avoid consumption of high glycemic index carbs (no wheat, rye, potatoes, rice, or other starchy foods. Oats only for now).
• Avoid sugar.
• Eat vegetables. Fresh when possible, frozen when convenient.
• Eat a regular breakfast. Oats with coconut milk with soaked walnuts w/ cinnamon and a little stevia or honey (for sweetness, if desired). This can also serve as an evening snack.
• Eat several smaller meals a day rather than three big ones.

• Avoid animal fat, including dairy. Dairy feeds yeast (and is not appropriate for humans anyway).

Foods to Enjoy:

Fruits (avoid bananas), vegetables (avoid potatoes), meat, poultry (free range if possible), fish, oatmeal, nuts and seeds, pro-biotic yogurt, herbs, spices, water, tea, organic eggs. Concentrate on fresh veggies and fruits (eat frozen when fresh is not available). If you want to drink, have a half a glass of wine with your meal.

• Salad. Can also have a couple of Morning Star Farms sausage patties or links (look for wheat or gluten on label first!), a Veggie Burger, or organic vegetarian soup.

• Sautéed veggies with nuts or with a small piece of fish

• Tuna salad (or other fish salad) on a large bed of greens.
Note : Make salads with yogurt (with active cultures) or mustard and herbs.

• Veggie Burgers.
(I like Dr. Praeger’s Tex-Mex Burgers with salsa. Dr. Praeger’s Veggie Burgers are made with oats instead of wheat).

• Fruit, veggies, and nuts.

• Almost any vegan soup (My favorite is an organic Ginger Carrot Soup). Add a handful of nuts or veggies for texture if desired.

• Guacamole made with one large avocado and salsa with lemon juice and herbs, served on a bed of lettuce or as a dip for crudite.

• Apples slices with organic peanut (or other nut) butter.


Eat several smaller meals a day rather than three big ones.

Instead of using sugar to sweeten things, use stevia, maple syrup or honey.

Use olive oil or organic coconut oil instead of other oils.

Restaurant eating tips:

It’s easy to eat out if you know what to ask for. Most restaurants are glad to substitute a salad or vegetable for the starchy side dish.

* Italian: Order a salad topped with fish or meat instead of a pasta dish.

* Mexican: Skip the chips, tortillas, and beans (high in fat). If they don’t offer a salad, order fajitas and don’t eat the tortillas. (Chipotle’s salad prepared with no rice, beans, or dairy products, but with carnitas, salsa of choice, and a big ol’ scoop of guacamole is fabulous). If you are vegetarian or pescatarian, order the black beans in place of the meat.

* Chinese: Request no MSG! Order almost anything you want, but skip the rice. You’ll be surprised by how flavorful it is when there’s no rice to cut the flavors.

Keep an open mind, and expect to find something that will fit into the parameters of this plan. If all else fails, I’ve found that telling a server that I am on a medically supervised diet usually convinces them to make alterations or substitutions for me.

Hi K.,
When I found out that I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant. The nutritionist told me that I can still eat pretty much what I wanted, just not so much more sugar. Also to eat slow and smaller bites. If that doesn't change your sugar level, stick to fiber based foods. Also he said that if I ate more, but less meal time..like snack all day when I get hungry..not to eat or drink so much sugar. I was horrible, because my fiance and I loved going to the mall and just walk around looking at baby stuff and all, and he's got a major sweet tooth, so we always end up grabbing something from Cinnabon. I always liked their smoothies. bad idea, unless you don't put alot of sugar or any sugar in them. I ended up having to have a c-section with her. Not that its a bad thing, just that he upped my due date, because she got too big. Anyhow, I don't know if anyone had told you that gestational diabetes do go away..but the bad thing...the baby can end up with the full blown diabetes..and that's not really good at all. Because it can cause problems for them. So the good thing is that your doing something now. (Not trying to freak you out), the baby will be fine...due to the fact that your doing something about the diabetes. I'll shut up now, I probably said something horrible...sorry. I really need to go back to bed...I also want to say congradulations on your little one. And have a great day/night...Good Luck.

Hi K.,

I had gestational diabetes with both of my pregnancies. I actually had to take insulin shots to keep it under control. My advice would be to stay away from anything with a high amount of sugar. Candy, pop, Chinese food with high sugar sauces, ice cream, etc.

Limit pop to one per day if you crave it... I'd stick to Sierra Mist or Sprite... no diet.

Good luck! I hope the test comes out okay. Gest. diabetes is manageable. Mine went away the second the babies were born too.


Dear K.,
They gave me a list of what I could eat for meals at home and in restaurants. The only sweets that I ate were graham crackers. Don't drink drink nutrisweet or any other artificial sweetners. If you drink fruit juice, it should be very little. It will be hard but it will be worth it because your baby is worth the sacrifice! L. J

Follow a diabetic diet. A good resource is Diabetes for Dummies. Not saying you're a dummy, but I have a few of the 'dummies' books (I like to use them for teaching) because they explain things in terms that are easy to understand and provide information that is simple to apply.

I did not fail my 3-hour but was 'borderline'. To begin with, quit eating processed foods (i.e. anything from a box or found in the aisles of the grocery store - shop the perimeter) and refined sugars. Pack your diet full of foods that are prepared/eaten closest to their natural state like lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains. You cannot nor should not eliminate sugar completely; however make sure you are eating whole grains or complex carbohydrates. They take longer to break down in the body so large amounts of sugar aren't quickly and violently released into the bloodstream. Finally, try to eat 4-6 smaller meals instead of the usually 3 big meals. This ensures that your blood sugar levels will remain consistent as opposed to having highs and lows (that are accompanied by cravings and crashes).

Good luck to you! I switched to a diabetic diet at 7 months and found it completely easy to do. Just a few simple changes made all the difference in the world.

I feel for you K.. I also had GD and everything seems to have carbs and sugars. I ate a lot of proteins (eggs, nuts, and meat) and veggies. Avoid eating too much fruit especially banannas (which I craved). I researched on google and found some helpful sights that listed the carb counts for fruits and veggies. There are yogurts that are low in sugar that don't taste too bad after getting use to them and some really good sugar free ice creams out there. Good luck to you!

Get moving. Even walking a 1/2 mile or a mile a day can help control your insulin levels. You should get moving. Exercise is the best way to keep your sugar levels in check. Exercise keeps your levels steady for up to 24 hours (which is why you should move at least a little bit a day). Even if you haven't exercised before in pregnancy you can walk (unless you are on bed rest). You don't have to walk fast just walking gets your blood pumping. I am over weight (considered slightly obese with #3, BMI was 30.5) and I am sure exercise kept me from getting diabetes and high blood pressure during all 3 of my pregnancy. My SIL isn't overweight at all but she didn't exercise the third time around and got diabetes. She exercised the first two times and no diabetes. Best of luck.

K. - no need to fret. I failed my 1 hour glucose test but passed the second one with flying colors. You do not need to nor should you eliminate carbohydrates. The biggest thing to remember is portion size. A dietician will be your best friend. try eating about 60g of carbohydrates per meal and 15-30g for snacks. Label reading is another tool to use. Look at the nutrition information on food packages. The total carbohydrates is what you need to look at when calculating the number of grams to eat. You do not have to eat low carb foods. You can still eat what you like but just watch the portion sizes. Hope this helps!

VEgetables are your best bet. For snacks eat raw cut up veggies. For meals, eat things like chili, veg soups, stir fry. Use lots of spices to make them take better. It is hard to change eating habits, but once you do you won't want to go back to the old ways.

Hi K.,
I had gestational diebetes with my daughter. I met with a nutritionist and she gave me some guidelines. She recommended 3 meals and 2 snacks each day (to keep blood glucose levels even). I wasn't supposed to consume more than 45g of carbs at each meal, and 15-30g of carbs at snacks. Absolutely no fruit in the morning (afternoon and evening are fine as long as it isn't more than 30g of carbs). She also suggested exercise (if allowed by my ob). I had to monitor my blood sugar 4x a day (finger stick tests when I first woke up and one hour after each meal). Also, in the final trimester, I had to have non-stress tests twice a week and ultrasounds every other week to make sure she wasn't getting too big.

I also want to add that very often the mother's weight doesn't have anything to do with developing GD. My sister in law is morbidly obese and didn't have any complications with her 2 pregnancies. A friend of mine is very thin and had it. There has been research that indicates that the father's genes play a role in it (they contribute to placental formation and the placenta is what causes GD). I just don't want you to blame yourself if you do have it.

The other ladies are right, though. Some women fail the 1st and pass the 2nd. Hopefully you don't have it. But if you do, don't worry too much. I strictly followed the guidelines and my daughter was born a healthy 7lb 5oz. She is almost 2 1/2 now and has been at the 50th percentile for her weight for her entire life. I wish you lots of luck!

All my best!

Well on the contrary! You should be eating carbs but in the right amount. Our bodies need some of that,I am type 2 diabetes myself and have to eat three carbs a meal plus one protien. A carb consists of 15 grams of carbohydrates,if you read the labels you will see what I mean.They instructed me in a hospital setting that our bodies need a certain amount of sugar too. I hope they put you through the schooling that I went thru it worked wonders for me. hugs L. Good luck with you beautifull children.

First of all even diabetics need a certain amount of carbs and natural sugar comes in all forms.
I am pre-diabetic with a family of history of the problem so I can remember all of the diets very clearly! Exchanges are allowed and in fact encouraged.
Breakfast needs to include a fruit of some sort, juice, half an apple, a small orange, berries, whatever. You can have toast with a tablespoon of peanut butter, an egg, two strips of bacon, oatmeal, dry cereal, and always remember to drink your milk.
Mid-morning is snack time. Cottage cheese, veggie sticks, or your fruit from breakfast.
Lunch needs to be protien (sp) of some sort cheese, eggs, meat, veggies, fruit and or bread/potatoe/rice/noodles.
Mid-afternoon snack - again veggies, cottage cheese, fruit, or you can have a small bag of microwave popcorn in the single serving size if you did not have your bread/carbs for lunch.
Dinner is again a protien, veggies, starch, and fruit.
Night time snack is yours to decide on. You are allowed two starches for dinner so we usually saved one for the evening snack.
There are a lot of freebies on this diet, raw celery, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, and believe it or not you can eat a whole jar of dill pickles if you want with no effect on your blood sugar. Carrots are a sugar fruit as are peas, beets, sweet potatoes, potatoes, etc. so you have to really watch consumption on those.
Chips/nuts/etc are exchanges for the breads.
I used to wonder at dinner when you are allowed a whole cup of green beans how anyone could eat that much and still have the protien, starch, and fruit allowed. Mind boggling to me!
They gave me a copy of this new diabetic diet and exchange list a couple of weeks ago. I find it very confusing!!! I am using my mom's old diet but I remember this from the older doctors and believe it to be true----
You have to eat a proper balance of foods for your body to burn correctly. I believe it because even before when I wanted to lose weight I would go on the diabetic weight loss diet limiting myself to 1200 calories a day and balancing out my meals correctly. I would lose the weight and it would take a year or two to put the weight back on!
Remember to take your sugar tests 1 1/2 to 2 hours after you have eatten to get the correct reading.
I took my blood sugar from 153 at 9 a.m. (not fasting) on a Monday to 121 at 8 a.m. 10 days later (fasting) by watching my foods and cutting out the candy/chips/and nuts. I ate a breakfast instead of skipping it and lost 6 pounds as well.

I had GD with both pregnancies. They put me on this "diet."
Breakfast: 30 carbs
AM snack: 15 carbs
Lunch 45 carbs
PM snack 15 carbs
Dinner 45-60 carbs
Evening snack 15 carbs
It's not about totally eliminating carbs, it's just keeping your blood sugar level.

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