Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Gestational Diabetes Diet

I developed gestational diabetes with this, my 4th pregnancy, and I've written some about it in a previous post. You can click here to read it.
I told you that I would post some info about the diet that I have to follow to keep my blood sugar levels under control. It's pretty restrictive, but it has helped me feel better even if I have had to feel more hunger pains than I would prefer.
After attending a three-hour instructional class on gestational diabetes, I was given a specific diet plan based on my weight and height (pre-pregnancy). The main thing to watch for is carbohydrates and realize that most desserts are pretty much not an option.

I'm going to type in my meal plan
Main Goal: Distribute the recommended grams or choices of carbohydrates throughout the day in smaller meals and snacks while achieving adequate calories and optimal nutrition.
*The reason why I feel fortunate to have learned about this is because I think that EVERYONE should be eating according to a diabetic meal plan. It's much healthier and it keeps your blood sugar even all day long--no more sky-rocketing and crashing.

Each day I can have 193 grams of carbs or roughly 13 choices. One choice= 15 grams of carbs. That is for a 2000 calorie diet.

Breakfast: Carb grams: 30 or 2 choices, Protein 1 oz., Fat: 2 servings
The ideal balanced breakfast that keeps my blood sugar low is one egg, one piece of whole wheat toast, and 1/2 a glass of milk.
Cereal is pretty difficult because if you'll take a look at your cereal's nutrition stats you'll see that most cereals have around 25 or more carbs--Raisin Bran has 45 g for one serving!!! And since milk is actually counted as a carb because of the lactose (sugar) it contains, it's difficult to have cereal with milk under 30 carbs and then you still need your protein. I have ate cereal a few times by mixing Fiber One Cereal with a low-carb Special K and then topping it with chopped almonds for proteins--but you have to measure your cereal to make sure you're not eating too much. Yeah, breakfast is tricky!

Mid-morning snack: Carb grams: 15, Protein 1 oz.
A couple crackers and string cheese make the perfect snack for me here.

Lunch: Carb grams: 45 or 3 choices, Protein 2-3 ozs., Fat 2 servings
This meal is much easier to add variety. I can have a sandwich, or a small portion of other types of food with a salad. I like using Wonder's Light Whole Wheat Bread because 2 slices of bread = 1 Carb choice and so then I can still have a handful of grapes (15 grapes= 15 grams of carbs) or maybe 7 Dorito chips if I'm really craving food in that "naughty" category.

Mid-afternoon snack: Carb grams: 30 or 2 choices, Protein 1 oz.
Here I like to have cottage cheese with fruit or if you hate cottage cheese, here's an interesting idea that my hubby told me he found from a different diet book. Mix cottage cheese in with your yogurt and then you have the perfect blend of protein and carbs. It really is good. I've been giving that mixture to my kids to help them have a balanced snack and they gobble it up!

Dinner: Carb Grams: 45 or 3 choices, Protein 3 ozs, Fat: 2-3 servings
Again this does provide a lot of options. The biggest thing for me is that I have to pay attention to serving size and realize how many carbs are in a roll, slice of bread, taco shell, etc. As long as I control my portions then my blood sugar seems to be within range. And green vegetables, non-starchy vegetables are free foods so I can eat as many as those as I want.

PM Snack: Carb grams: 30 or 2 choices, protein 1 oz.

*Let me tell you about the PM snack. If you don't have gestational diabetes you can eat this snack any time in the evening you would like. You could have dessert a little bit more for dinner, whatever as long as it's accounted for. But for gestational diabetes, the evening snack must be delayed until only 10 hours or less exists between the snack and the time of breakfast in the morning. If breakfast the following morning is expected at 8 am, the evening snack should be eaten no earlier than 11pm.
This is all because when you are pregnant you don't want extra ketones in your blood stream because they've been proven to harm development of the baby's brain. You can read more about ketones here and ketoacidosis--although that condition isn't what would be seen with gestational diabetes, it's more just the presence of ketones in the blood stream.

For other people without diabetic problems, it's fine for their body to go into the fasting state and burn fat--you want that to happen. But for me, I need to get my PM snack ready pretty soon!

Oh, and I'll share my favorite PM snack for you here!
One graham cracker, spread with one tablespoon of creamy peanut butter, 2 squares of Dark, Dark chocolate (preferable Dove dark chocolate) broke up in bits over the cracker. 1/2 glass of milk and 1/2 a banana. This is just about 30 grams of carbs and it hits the spot!! The problem is waiting until 10pm to eat it because this baby of mine really tugs on my hunger chords in the evening.

I hope this info helps you if you're suffering from gestational diabetes like me and if you're lucky enough not to have this problem, I hope it still helps you to take another look at your diet and make it a little more balanced and healthy.
Good luck!

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