A lot of pregnant women are going to experience a variety of drastic changes to their bodies. Most of the time, these changes are geared towards ensuring that the fetus they’re carrying will be in good condition, even after giving birth. One of the most noticeable changes when it comes to the changes in the body of a pregnant woman is their diet, the shift and change in hormones, and
For the most part, a pregnant woman won’t necessarily have any health complications as long as they have a healthy and well-rounded diet that will benefit her and her child. However, a pregnant woman’s dietary needs can get complicated, especially those that have gestational diabetes.
But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. What is gestational diabetes? How do you design meals for a woman that does have gestational diabetes? Here’s what you’ll need to know when preparing balanced mean and snack ideas for an individual who goes have gestational diabetes.
What Is Gestational Diabetes?
As the term implies, women with gestational diabetes will need to be careful about what they take in their body and be limited in their food choices, especially when they need to ensure that their glucose levels in their bloodstream stay within normal thresholds.
Naturally, most would just cut out meals with too much sugar and salt in meal plans, right? Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Most pregnant women are known for having cravings for certain types of food, especially when they need to meet their children’s nutritional needs to keep them healthy.
Right before we get into the act of preparing our meals for those with gestational diabetes, or just diabetes in general, we have to discuss some essential guidelines since there might be meals that can spice blood sugar in those with diabetes.
So what can we do in terms of planning meals? Here’s a guideline that you can follow:
- Instead of having large meals, you can divide these meals into frequent small ones.
- It’s important to ensure that they do not skip any meals since this can cause hypoglycemia.
- Instead of having calorie-rich starchy food such as potatoes and other tubers, you can have non-starchy foods such as leafy vegetables, “good” types of fats such as avocados, lean meat, high-protein food, whole grains, and fresh fruits from local produce.
- It’s important to regulate the number of sweetened products taken in, such as dried fruits, which are often preserved with sugar, sweet cereals, ice cream, jams, and dairy products.
- Most of the time, fruit juices will usually contain a ton of sugar and should be strictly avoided. Instead, drink plenty of water that can help flush out toxins and excess amounts of salt and sugar. Fortunately, there are packs of water infused with vitamins and minerals while just having the right amount of tanginess and sweetness.
- If they eat carbs, it shouldn’t be eaten alone and should always be paired with high-protein food and natural fats. Pairing food is a great way of mitigating the increase of glucose in the blood.
Another important factor when preparing meals is the portion sizing of food. When you’re creating a meal, it’s important to have a portion that’s just enough for healthy sugar levels in the blood. You might want to try the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s diabetes plate method. Using a regular 9-inch plate, you can have the following:
- 50% of it should be non-starchy veggies
- Divide the other 50% into two parts
- 25% of the dish should be whole grains or vegetables that are starchy, such as tubers.
- 25% should be lean meat or anything high in protein.
It’s also not a problem if you want to add fresh produce in the form of fruit or dairy that’s 1% skim milk. Of course, water should always be a necessity after every meal to flush out salt and toxins.
Ideas for Meals
Naturally, a person will need to eat three times a day to stay fit and healthy. A pregnant woman who needs to provide the necessary nutrients and vitamins to their fetus will also need to eat various dishes. Monotonous dishes can often increase the risk of health complications while also “boring” the person.
Still, you will need to at least check in with a professional medical practitioner regarding accurate measurements.
- For breakfast, you can have a whole-grain toast that’s paired with high-protein food such as eggs, poultry, cheese, and legumes, or even peanut butter. You can also have some scrambled egg that’s added in with cheese, ham, and bits of herbs like basil, paprika, garlic, and onions.
- For lunch, you can have mixed salads as a substitute for high-calorie dishes. You don’t necessarily have to omit sources of energy such as potatoes. You might want to try adding leafy vegetables, sliced pieces of egg, cheese, and meat substitutes such as tofu. For a more high-protein diet, you might want to try having tuna that’s mixed in with mayonnaise for your salad. Mushroom and chicken soups are also great for cold seasons and weather conditions.
- Dinner is all about having a hearty meal, so you might want to try out some low-calorie and high-protein dishes in the form of skinless chicken breasts, some low-fat sour cream, and broccoli salad. Some would also suggest cooking some beef stew with beans and lentils.
For many pregnant women who are suffering from gestational diabetes, the number of dishes that they can eat might seem restricted, but there are still a lot of tasty and delicious meals that they can eat. Ultimately, the main goal is to get them well-balanced and healthy meals that can ensure that they’ll have the right energy for the day while also meeting the fetus/baby’s nutritional needs while still in the womb.