Were you recently diagnosed with gestational diabetes, feeling hungry all the time, but nervous about what to eat?
Do you feel like you are trying your best but still not seeing your target numbers after your snacks?
If you answered yes to any of these questions….keep reading!
In this post I will share with you some key strategies for having a snack that will not only taste good, keep you feeling full until your next meal, and help keep your blood glucose numbers under control.
What Affects Our Blood Glucose Levels
Your blood glucose levels are affected by consuming carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are found in foods like bread, rice, pasta, fruits, starchy vegetables, dairy, or sweets.
Eating something really high in carbs, will ultimately raise your blood sugar levels. The goal of treatment for gestational diabetes is to avoid spikes in your blood sugar levels. We all need carbohydrates for energy, so we do not want to completely avoid these foods. Instead we need to figure out how to prevent your sugars from going too high too quickly (or too low!).
So, there are a few strategies I like to use to help ensure we can enjoy the foods we love and crave, but still see the numbers we like.
There are two main components to help avoid blood glucose spikes when thinking of snack ideas for gestational diabetes management.
- Portion Size!
- A snack is a snack – not a meal. Keep this in mind. Your RD will help you determine how many portions of carbohydrates is appropriate for you throughout the day. So don’t overboard when it comes to a snack. Typically, 1-2 servings of carbs at a snack time should do the trick.
- Don’t Let Your Carbs Go It Alone!
- The absolute key to optimal blood glucose management is what you have with your carbs.
- Add a source of protein or fat to your snack (or both!). This is what helps to slow your digestion and avoid that quick rise in blood sugar levels.
Quick and Easy Snack Ideas for Gestational Diabetes
Once you start to get the hang of how your body reacts to certain foods, it will become second nature when satisfying your craving and keeping your numbers in check. However, here are some of my favorites to help get you started.
- Greek yogurt
- Protein packed granola bar
- Apples and peanut butter
- Veggies with hummus or guacamole
- Dark chocolate with almonds
- Whole wheat crackers with cheese
- Fruits with a hard boiled egg
- Fruit smoothie with PB and protein powder
- Trail Mix
Of course, the above examples are just suggestions and a starting point. Before you know it, you will be a pro at managing your blood sugar levels and creating your own favorites when it comes to snack ideas for gestational diabetes!
A few more key take aways…
While it is possible to have all your favorite foods and still manage your gestational diabetes well, you should still keep in mind a few basic principles.
When reading food labels, you want to be looking at the total carbohydrate content. Some people only focus on the sugars or added sugars. All carbs eventually are digested into sugar, so use the total carbohydrate total when determining your portion size and carb count.
That being said, still pick options that are lesser in added sugars and higher in dietary fiber. Remember when I said to combine your carbs with protein or fat? Dietary fiber acts the same way in slowing the digestion of carbohydrates (and sugar) into your blood stream. High fiber choices will help keep your blood glucose levels steadier. Sugary sweets (or foods with high added sugars) are easily digested which means the sugar enters your bloodstream quickly – this is NOT what we want.
Let’s Wrap It Up
Being pregnant can be hard enough. There is no need to let your gestational diabetes diagnosis make it that much more challenging.
Keep these simple tips and ideas in mind when planning for your next snack!
Remember, while I am a Registered Dietitian, I am not your Registered Dietitian. Always speak with your doctor or healthcare provider before making any diet and nutrition changes.
If you want to work together, contact me to find out more about my nutrition coaching program!