Light Breakfast and Snack Ideas for Gestational Diabetic

Updated on September 14, 2009
M.K. asks from Lomita, CA
12 answers

I was just diagnosed with gestational diabetes yesterday and I don't see the dietician for another 1 1/2 weeks. I ususally don't eat in the morning and sometimes run out of time for lunch, so eating 6 small meals a day is going to be a huge change. I would love to hear from other diabetics about easy snacks I can eat at work that won't raise my blood sugar.

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answers from Los Angeles on

You need to eat breakfast. Check out it's a free service to use and you can print out a list of snacks - note: the zone diet is diabetic friendly. I'm going to paste the zone snack list below. If you want more meal ideas (like breakfast (-:, visit the site and click on the eating tab then woman's 7 day menu planner. Best wishes! M.

Easy Zone Snacks

Snacks are like mini-meals on the Zone Diet. Each one contains a small portion of protein, carbs, and fat. You can create an infinite variety of your very own Zone-favorable snacks by mixing and matching 1 protein, 1 carbohydrate, and 1 fat choice from the lists below.


• 1/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese
• 1 ounce part-skim or "lite" mozzarella
• 2 1/2 ounces part-skim or "lite" ricotta cheese
• 1 ounce sliced meat (turkey, ham, chicken)
• 1 ounce tuna packed in water
• 1 string cheese
• 1 1/2 ounces deli meat


• 1/2 apple
• 3 apricots
• 1 kiwi
• 1 tangerine
• 1/3 cup "lite" fruit cocktail
• 1/2 pear
• 1 cup strawberries
• 3/4 cup blackberries
• 1/2 orange
• 1/2 cup grapes
• 8 cherries
• 1/2 nectarine
• 1 peach
• 1 plum
• 1/2 cup peaches
• 1/2 cup crushed pineapple
• 1 cup raspberries
• 1/2 cup blueberries
• 1/2 grapefruit
• 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
• 2 cups sliced celery
• 4 cups sliced cucumber
• 2 red or green peppers, raw
• 1/4 cup hummus
• 1/2 cup salsa
• 1 1/2 cups snow peas, raw
• 2 cups cherry tomatoes


• 3 olives (green or black)
• 1 macadamia nut
• 1 tablespoon guacamole
• 1 tablespoon avocado
• 3 almonds
• 6 peanuts
• 2 pecan halves
• 1/2 teaspoon almond butter
• 1/2 teaspoon natural peanut butter



answers from Los Angeles on

I also had gestational diabetes and what the dietician instructed me is that gestational diabetes differs from "regular" diabetes in that we have our highest sugar levels in the morning whereas Type II diabetes have highest sugars in the evenings. That was definitely my experience. So, it is suggested that you really watch what you eat in the morning but you do definitely need to eat. No milk products or fruit until later in the afternoon. If I had these in the mornings my sugar sky rocketed. So, for breakfast, I would scramble and egg with a half of piece of whole wheat toast. You also really have to watch your portion sizes. I was amazed at what I was supposed to eat for carbs. Examples are, a piece of fruit you eat should only fit into a 1 cup measuring unit and no more than 2 fruits a day and a serving of pasta or rice COOKED is only 1/4 cup! I am sure your dietician will let you know all these details and also give you sample menus but the key for me was really watching what I ate at breakfast (try and stick with more protein at this time) and portion sizes as well as walking every day even if it was only for 20 minutes. I was able to control my gestational diabetes with diet and exercise alone. Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

I had gestational diabetes while hospitalized for high risk pg (bleeding problems). Son born premature 32 weeks.

Long Beach Memorial follows Sweet Success Diet. I was on meds as soon as my blood sugar went over 104. Milk/dairy will raise blood sugar especially in morning. I was not allowed milk in the morning but cold cereal requires milk (4 oz max). Stay away from pasta especially lasagna makes blood sugar go high.

I ate fruit veggies and protein. I had problems with before bed snack hospital served me a sandwich and fruit or peanut butter and cracker (6 crackers). I didn't mind peanut butter and crackers but a sandwich before bed was too much.

How do you go until after lunch without eating? Don't you get nausated? Baby needs food and so do you. Eat something at least for breakfast and lunch. Find a fruit you like and snack on it. Make up baggies at night with fruit or veggies to snack on (whatever you like) during the day. I ate a apples, dryed toast, peanut butter and crackers. Drink a lot of water.

Hope all goes well for you and your pg. Please let me know how it works out.



answers from Honolulu on

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answers from San Diego on

these are snacks I had:
*almonds and cheese
*blueberries are a great fruit choice - they hardly changed my blood sugar at all. same with sugar free CoolWhip - might sound gross, but hey when you can't have normal deserts - it's not too shabby
*i had to cut out juices all together, so I started drinking some of my water with crystal light... water all the time got very boring for me, and crystal light didn't affect ym blood sugar.
*those prepackaged baby carrots
*I think i could have like 7 wheat thins, with cheese - i pre-packaged little zip lock bags the day before

this should last you until you meet with your dietician... then you get to test your blood sugar all the time too, and really find out what foods are affecting your levels.



answers from Los Angeles on

Eating 6 times a day

I have coached many moms, feeding your body right now is SOOOOO important. YOU MUST FEED THE BODY. It should not matter how hard ti might seem. Eting 5-6 small meals a day is a MUST for EVERYONE. Our body is designed to metabolize every 3-4 hours. We can digest ONLYUP TO ABOUT 600 calories at one time (that is with optimal digestion - which most people don't have). Does that mean we have to eat 600 calories every 3-4 hours????? NO! What it means is every 3-4 hours we need food. And it even more important now that you are pregnant.

MK, here is the thing. You are now sustaining two lives. Imagine if your 2 year old came to you and said he was hungry, would you feed him right away or wait “until it was more convenient or easier” for you? What if he came to you every 3 hours and said he was hungry...would you feed him even if you were busy? Of course you would. Well, the baby inside of you can't "talk" to you. So you must listen to those who know.

Here is how simple it is:

7 AM: Nutrition Shake for breakfast - not a "meal replacement" from the store - I am talking over 200 vitamins, minerals, nutrients, balance of fats, carbs and proteins, all natural, organic. (I am sending you a private email with that info)

10:00 AM piece of fruit/serving of veggies

12:30 Lunch - this is the best time to eat your bigger meal. Your metabolism and brain power are at it's peak. Feed both. With a women's multivitamin - NO NOT just any from the store. – again this info will be in the private email.

3:00 PM fruit/veggie snack - not prepackaged - fresh not processed in any way AND another nutrition shake

6:00 PM Dinner - eat a well rounded meal of LESS THAN 600 calories. - your plate should be 1/2 veggies, 1/4 side and 1/4 meat (if you eat it)

8:00 PM - Fruit / veggies ONLY - no junk snacking. Your body can not handle it this late at night. If you NEED the cookies or something, eat them in the middle of the day when you body at least has the time and energy to process all the garbage in them.

MK, you say this “will be a huge change” well, as you well know, so is having a baby. You may as well start now.

Family Wellness Coach

PS: I forgot to mention healthy snack ideas:
pasta salad
pita bread with hummus
greek salad
protein bars - **again not store bought
toast with almond butter or apple butter
yogurt, granola and fruit
nuts - mixed - Make sure there are Cashews! Did you know a handful of cashews has about the same medicinal properties as 1 fav antidepressant???? I know!
fruit salad

I could go on forever!!!



answers from Los Angeles on

You've already gotten lots of great suggestions. I would like to add what my ob/gyn told me about skipping meals.
If you let too many hours go without eating, your liver releases stored sugar (glycogen I think it's called) because your body needs sugar consistently regardless of whether you have 'time' to eat. The only problem is that you don't control how much sugar it releases, thus high blood sugars in the fasting state.
I also had getstational diabetes and eventually had to start insulin. My morning breakfast became a habit, before walking out the door; a slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter or cottage cheese. Morning snack was a small fruit, yogurt, and string cheese. Lunch I would load up on veggies, usually a large salad with lots of protein and a couple of slices of bread, afternoon snack nuts (trail mix) and a fruit/ yogurt.
Dinner was similar to lunch, late night snack at bedtime (I was usually not even hungry for, but would force my self to eat) a few ginger cookies with a cup of milk.
Best of luck to you and you can adjust, just don't give yourself the choice.



answers from Los Angeles on

I am a type two diabetic. I also had gestational diabetes in my third pregnancy and had a 10lb 11 oz kid. Ouch. Be careful now to follow the diabetic diet because a high percentage of women who have it during pregnancy, develop it later. In my case about 11 years later.

Try some of these:

Cottage cheese and berries, 1/2 cup each. Whole wheat or multigrain toast. about 220 calories

Oatmeal one cup. 1 cup nonfat milk. some raisins or berries, handful. This will fill you up, and is good for diabetics and cholesterol.

I eat fish for breakfast a lot. I love salmon 2 oz. Toast. Fruit.

Underwood chicken or turkey spread in a can. This is a compact, low cholesterol of 4 oz of protein. Eat with celery sticks or carrots or handful of multigrain crackers.

Raw unsalted nuts. 8 almonds is a quick satisfying snack. No cholesterol. High fat content, but good fat. I buy cans of the raw vacuum sealed unsalted almonds. Can also try trader joes.

Unsweetened yogurt and add your own fresh fruit, berries are low in sugar and calories. Toast.

Pack vegies and fresh fruit (berries and melons are great, low in sugar, taste wonderful) in single serving sandwich bags. Snack all day on green stuff like celery, pea pods, soy beans, bell peppers, green beans, etc. Green is good. Green and leafy is even better. Pack in a lunch cooler with ice to keep cold. Pack each snack singly so you can grab one baggy and go.

Hope this helps.


answers from San Diego on

Two things are REALLY important to understand at this time:

(1) You should eat a SUBSTANTIAL breakfast, not just a "light" one. One of the reasons you have developed gestational diabetes is from a habit of not eating breakfast. Recent studies have shown that there is a much higher risk of developing diabetes among people who don't eat breakfast. So, now is the time to break this habit and develop a new one...which is much healthier for your whole lifestyle. Don't be afraid to eat protein foods at breakfast, not only eggs but also fish, sausage, etc. as some of the other moms have mentioned. And, it will give you added benefits such as better mental power throughout the day, which as a teacher you can use!

(2) Even after your baby is born, please stay in the habit of eating a good breakfast every day. Again, it will lessen your chances of becoming a long-term diabetic later on...did you know that women with gestational diabetes also have a higher risk of developing chronic diabetes later in life? But you don't have to become a statistic. The reason a solid breakfast is important is that when you eat nothing in the morning, your body receives the message that it should go into starvation mode. As a result, you burn fewer calories the rest of the day, no matter what you eat later. This sets the stage for insulin resistance and high blood sugar later on. You will actually burn MORE calories, and faster, by simply changing your food intake habits to include breakfast.

Hope this helps...and here's to you and your baby-to-be!

S. Ihrig, L.Ac., HMA
Lotus Wellspring Healthcare
456 E. Mission Road, Suite 100
San Marcos, CA 92069
[email protected]



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi MK,

My favorite snacks were popcorn and a cheese stick or a piece of turkey breast and slice of cheese rolled up in a tortilla shell. For each meal you should have protein: meat, natural peanut butter, cheese. Avoid fruit during the morning and early afternoon. I would buy the packages of cheddar cheese sticks and have them for all my snacks and just change the carb (cup of popcorn, 20 small pretzels, 25 wheat thins) . It was a huge change in my diet when I started but if you package little snacks for a couple of days it can really help. Breakfast was usually half an english muffin with natural peanut butter (doesn't add sugar) or unsweetened oatmeal.
Make sure to drink plenty of water! Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

You must eat more... not only are you needing to feed yourself but you are needing to feed the baby.
Head toward the proteins, complex carbs, vegetables and fruits (lmit the fruits to 1-2 pieces a day total).



answers from San Diego on

General tips: Do not eat carbohydrates without protein. NO juice at all. Read all labels and portion sizes. Eat only low sugar and low carbohydrate foods (15gm or less per serving is a goal).
My typical GDM meal plan from when I was pregnant:
Breakfast - Kashi go lean cereal, flax seed meal, soy milk (NO fruit and NO regular cows milk in the morning). Eggs also a good choice
Snack - cheese stick and low carb crackers (Crackerwise from Trader Joes, triscuits)
Lunch - Peanut butter on Ezekial bread (no jelly) or tuna and one fruit serving
Snack - celery/other veggies or fruit and cottage cheese or nuts
Dinner - fish, chicken, salad, veggies, etc.
Snack - fat free sugar free pudding and almonds OR veggies with cheese melted on top and walnuts sprinkled on

It's not easy, but totally doable. I had average fasting sugars in the 80-90 range and 1 hour after eating < 120 except rare occasions. Most women have GDM from genetic predisposition (diabetes in family members) or being overweight. I have never heard what was posted about not eating breakfast putting you at higher risk for diabetes. Of course, I have read studies indicating people who eat breakfast maintain weight better and live up to 2 years longer than those who do not and I fully believe it is a good thing. Remember, what you do for your kids you should do for yourself - 3 meals, snacks, healthy choices, sitting at the table, sunscreen every morning, etc.

Good luck!!

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