Gestational diabetes is a condition affecting pregnant women, resulting in high blood glucose levels. A healthy diet and nutritious snacking are crucial for managing this health issue associated with pregnancy changes. There are a variety of healthy choices when it comes to choosing healthy food for your snacks.
Consuming snacks rich in protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates is essential for gestational diabetics. These snacks should also be low in added sugars and refined carbohydrates. Examples of appropriate snacks include lean proteins, whole grains, and low-sugar dairy products. Navigating the world of gestational diabetes-friendly snacking can be overwhelming, but knowing what options are available will help pregnant women maintain healthy blood sugar levels and lessens potential complications.
Best Gestational Diabetes Snacks
Gestational diabetes requires careful planning of meals and snacks to maintain optimal blood sugar levels. Here are some delicious and healthy snack suggestions for gestational diabetics.
Greek Yogurt And Chia Seeds
A combination of Greek yogurt and chia seeds offers a good amount of protein, fiber, and healthy fats, which help in controlling blood sugar levels. This snack can be easily customized by adding fruits or nuts.
Vegetables and Hummus
Raw vegetables like carrots, celery, and bell peppers paired with hummus make for a nutritious and crunchy snack. Hummus provides a good source of protein and fiber, while the vegetables bring essential vitamins and minerals.
As a whole grain, air popped popcorn is a healthier alternative to traditional movie theater popcorn. Remember to check the label of any product you buy and monitor your carbs.
Celery With Peanut Butter
This simple and classic option has a low amount of carbohydrates and is unlikely to cause high blood sugar levels when eaten in moderation.
Greek Yogurt and Berries
Another tasty option is Greek yogurt mixed with berries. The combination offers plenty of protein, fiber, and antioxidants while helping satisfy a sweet craving without causing a blood sugar spike.
Cottage Cheese And Low Carb Crackers
Cottage cheese serves as an excellent protein source, and when eaten with low carb crackers, it provides a balanced snack for managing gestational diabetes.
Handful Of Peanuts
Nuts and seeds are great sources of healthy fats, proteins, and fibers. Peanuts have a low glycemic index when compared to cashews.
Handful of Almonds
Almonds are also a nut that has healthful fats and a low glycemic index
Handful Of Walnuts
Don’t like peanuts or almonds? Walnuts are also a good choice.
Arugula And Parmesan Salad With Lemon
Easy and quick to make, mixing arugula with shaved parmesan slices and a lemon squeeze is an easy and fasts salad you can snack on.
Roasted Chickpeas And Yogurt
If you’re craving a more savory and hearty snack, roast some chickpeas with salt and olive oil and mix with yogurt.
Cheese and Whole Grain Crackers
Pairing cheese with whole grain crackers creates a well-balanced snack that includes protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates to help stabilize blood sugar levels.
Hard Boiled Eggs
Hard boiled eggs are a quick and easy snack, providing a good amount of protein, vitamins, and minerals while being low in carbs.
Apple Slices and Peanut Butter
For a sweet and savory snack, try apple slices with peanut butter. The combination of complex carbohydrates from the apple and protein from the peanut butter helps maintain steady blood sugar levels.
Egg White Omelette
A nutritious snack option for gestational diabetics is an egg white omelette. Customize it with your favorite low-carb veggies and cheese for a satisfying and protein-rich snack.
These snack suggestions are suitable for gestational diabetics, focusing on whole foods and nutrient-dense options. Experiment with fresh ingredients and combinations within the recommended diet to keep your blood sugar levels stable and your taste buds satisfied.
Be sure to check the label for exact carb content, but this is also a good option for a midday or bedtime snack for this type of diabetes.
Sliced Avocado With Olive Oil Drizzle
Another simple option is to slice avocados and drizzle them with some olive oil that has been mixed with salt pepper and a small amount of lemon juice.
You can easily find this in the frozen section of most grocery stores and it’s an easy to reach for snack. You can top it with a little salt to make it extra tasty.
Cream Cheese And Cucumbers
Spread cream cheese on sliced cucumbers for a fast snack that is low in carbs. Avoid cream cheeses that have added sugar like strawberry-flavored cream cheese.
Cabbage Wraps With Lean Protein
If you really are hungry, you can make a lettuce or cabbage wrap using a lean protein like chicken or turkey.
Cottage Cheese And Fruit
A classic option is having cottage cheese with fruit. Use blueberries with have a low glycemic index.
Guacamole With Low Carb Chips
This is a great option that you can store in the fridge.
Berry And Yogurt Smoothie
On the go or having a sweet tooth moment? A blueberry or raspberry and yogurt smoothie has just enough of a sweet taste to satisfy cravings and also is packed with Vitamin C. You can add some vanilla extract to add more dimension to the flavor and add flax or chia seeds for additional texture.
Spinach And Artichoke Dip
Use a homemade recipe so that you can monitor how many carbs are going into the recipe, but this is a great savory option for your gestational diabetes diet.
While you should avoid sweets in general with gestational diabetes, having a sweet snack to reach for that is a good option is a good idea. The chocolate should be 70% or higher cocoa content.
Importance of Snacking for Gestational Diabetics
Snacking plays a crucial role in managing gestational diabetes, as it helps maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day. Pregnant women with gestational diabetes need to be mindful of their carbohydrate intake, while ensuring they consume enough nutrients for both themselves and their growing baby.
Choosing the right snacks can be challenging for gestational diabetics, as they need to focus on foods that are high in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, while staying low in sugar, sodium, and saturated fat. By consuming smaller, more frequent meals and including healthy snacks, they can prevent sudden spikes and drops in blood sugar levels.
Snacks containing protein and healthy fats can help reduce the rapid rise in blood sugar levels, as they slow down digestion. This also means that those with gestational diabetes can feel fuller for longer and be less likely to overeat, which can help prevent excessive weight gain during pregnancy.
In summary, snacking is important for gestational diabetics as it helps in:
- Maintaining stable blood sugar levels
- Preventing excessive weight gain
- Providing essential nutrients for the mother and baby
Ideal Snack Characteristics
When looking for the best snacks for gestational diabetics, it’s important to consider the nutritional benefits and how they affect blood sugar levels. The ideal snacks should have a low glycemic index, be high in fiber, and be a good source of protein.
Low Glycemic Index
Snacks with a low glycemic index (GI) are preferable for gestational diabetics, as they release glucose more slowly into the bloodstream, preventing sudden spikes in blood sugar levels. Low-GI foods have a rating of 55 or less. Some examples of low-GI snacks include:
- Fresh fruit (avoid tropical fruits which have a higher GI)
- Plain yogurt, especially Greek yogurt
- Nuts and seeds
High in Fiber
High-fiber snacks are beneficial for gestational diabetics, as they slow down the release of glucose, promoting better blood sugar control. Additionally, fiber keeps you feeling fuller for longer periods, making it a great option for preventing overeating. A few high-fiber snack options include:
- Non starchy vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and leafy greens
- Wholegrain crackers or bread
- Legumes (e.g., chickpeas, lentils)
Good Source of Protein
Protein-rich snacks can help balance blood sugar levels by slowing down the release of glucose into the bloodstream. They also keep you feeling full and satisfied, which is helpful for managing weight during pregnancy. Choose from the following protein-packed options:
- Cheese, such as cottage cheese or string cheese
- Nut butter on wholegrain toast or crackers
- Hard-boiled eggs
Remember to consult with your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian to create a personalized meal plan that includes suitable snacks for your individual needs during pregnancy.
Snacking Tips and Tricks
When it comes to snacking, controlling your portion sizes is very important to manage your blood sugar levels effectively. Consuming snacks in smaller quantities will prevent spikes in your blood sugar. For example, choose a handful of nuts, about 1/4 cup, as a nutrient-dense and satisfying option. You may also pair a small serving of fruit, such as 1/4 of an apple, with whole-grain crackers and a piece of cheese.
Planning your snacks in advance can help ensure you always have convenient, healthy options on hand. Stock your pantry with wholesome options such as veggies and hummus, unsalted seeds, or nuts. This way it is easy for you to stick to your gestational diabetes meal plan.
Pay attention to food labels when you are buying snacks and ready to eat snacks. Look for snacks that are high in grams of protein and are low carbohydrate foods.High protein content and high dietary fiber content can help keep your blood sugar in a healthy range and help to keep you feeling full. Avoid high sugar foods like fruit juice, cookies and candy.
Higher Risk Pregnancy
The diagnosis of gestational diabetes means that you are now considered a high risk pregnancy. Gestational diabetes can lead to potential complications for both the mother and baby if not managed properly. Complications of gestational diabetes can include high blood pressure, preeclampsia, C-section delivery, large birth weight, early birth, low blood sugar for baby on birth, and an increased risk of still birth. It can also cause seizures or a stroke in the woman during labor and delivery and there is an increased risk of mom developing Type 2 diabetes later in life if she has a gestational diabetes diagnosis during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, hormonal changes can cause the body to become resistant to insulin, making it difficult for the body to process glucose efficiently. It is essential for pregnant women with gestational diabetes to maintain healthy blood sugar levels to reduce potential risks, and maintain a healthy pregnancy.
Insulin resistance is a core issue in the development of gestational diabetes. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, which plays a vital role in allowing glucose to enter the body’s cells for energy. During pregnancy, the body naturally becomes more insulin resistant to ensure adequate glucose supply for the growing fetus. However, for some women, this insulin resistance becomes too high, leading to gestational diabetes.
Best Snacks For Gestational Diabetes: Summary
The most important thing for your baby’s health, when you have gestational diabetes, is making lifestyle changes that decrease your risk of complications from GDM. Women with gestational diabetes can manage their blood sugar levels by following a well-balanced diet, incorporating regular physical activity, and closely monitoring their glucose levels as advised by their healthcare team. Consuming healthy snacks and meals can help maintain consistent blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of complications. The snack ideas above can help to keep your blood sugar in a normal range. The good news is that after birth, the pregnancy hormones subside, and gestational diabetes typically resolves. It is important to follow up with your health care provider as a new mom to make sure that your blood sugar levels have normalized in the weeks following the birth of your baby.
We discuss products we think are useful to people. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. Remember to check with your personal physician to see if a product recommended is right for you.