What Should I Eat With Gestational Diabetes? Recommendations for Nutrition

Pregnancy is a critical time for balanced and targeted nutrition. What you eat is important for your baby’s brain and organ development, as well as for your own health during pregnancy and beyond. If you have gestational diabetes — a condition that causes high levels of glucose in the blood during pregnancy and usually goes away after birth — what and how you eat is especially critical. Work with your midwife or OB to best understand how to manage gestational diabetes and create a specific diet plan. Depending on your dietary plan, you may be able to incorporate the following recommendations for snacks and meals. 

A diet for someone with gestational diabetes should include four critical components: lean sources of protein, lots of of non-starchy vegetables, healthy fats, and portioned complex carbohydrates. See examples in each category below.  

Lean Protein

  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Turkey
  • Tofu
  • Bison
  • Lean beef

Non-starchy Vegetables

  • Broccoli
  • Cucumbers
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Salad greens, greens (collard, kale, mustard, turnip)
  • Artichoke, artichoke hearts
  • Asparagus
  • Baby corn
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Beans (green, wax, Italian)
  • Beets
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage (green, bok choy, Chinese)
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Daikon
  • Eggplant
  • Hearts of palm
  • Jicama
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Pea pods, sugar snap peas
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Sprouts
  • Squash (cushaw, summer, crookneck, spaghetti, zucchini)
  • Tomato
  • Turnips

Healthy Fats

  • Olives
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Nut / Seed butter
  • Avocado
  • Seeds
  • Fatty fish
  • Dark chocolate
  • Eggs
  • Full-fat dairy

Complex Carbohydrates (less than half of your calories should come from this group)

  • Beans
  • Berries
  • Brown rice
  • Greek yogurt
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Whole-wheat bread
  • Barley
  • Quinoa
  • Potatoes
  • Oatmeal
  • Millet
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spelt
  • Butternut squash
  • Kamut
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