At 29 weeks pregnant, my 1 hour glucose test came back with a big F. I also was shocked to see that I had gained 12 lbs since my 24 week appointment. At 30 weeks pregnant, I failed the last 2 blood sugar tests of the 3 hour glucose test.
Diagnosis? Gestational Diabetes.
Not going to lie, I was pretty upset at first, thinking I had done something wrong and had been creating an unhealthy environment for my baby. But the doctor reassured me that there was really nothing I could have done to prevent it – it’s all hormones!
Since then, I have been following California’s Sweet Success Guidelines for my diet.
Thankfully, with a change in diet and more walks after meals, I have been able to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and do not need insulin shots. Having GD also entails pricking my finger four times a day, logging every meal, meeting with a dietitian and heavy duty meal planning.
My doctor said that for many women, this is a life-changing experience because it really makes you realize how many refined carbs we eat on a day-to-day basis. So true! It’s absolutely insane. I am now that person who looks at the label on every single food item at the store. I have always eaten pretty healthy but there are so many things that I’ve realized have extra, unneeded “fluff” that I don’t need.
That said, I have come up with meal and snacks that I enjoy, fill me up and work for me. Trial and error with testing blood sugars an hour after anything new has helped me to figure out what I can and absolutely not get away with so I can’t say that all of these will work for everyone.
Now for the GD recipe ideas:
Rule of thumb: always pair a carb with a protein. And follow up each meal with a 10-15 minute walk.
1 carbohydrate = 15 grams
1 protein = 7ish grams
1 protein + 1 carb
No dairy or fruit with breakfast?? That one really threw me for a loop. Already gone are the days of a runny egg with toast or chilaquiles or all things good with eggs unless they are scrambled due to the whole no-raw-things pregnancy diet.
Breakfast has never been my favorite meal of the day so I typically stick to eating cereal and brown sugar or apple oatmeal packets for the most part. Welp, scratch both of those!
On the bright side, I feel much more full after eating my GD breakfast options. Although I could go for a second slice of avo toast…
- 2 egg bites + 1 slice of whole wheat toast
- 2 scrambled eggs on 3/4 whole wheat English muffin (but who wants just 3/4 of an English muffin?!)
- 1-2 eggs with salsa and avocado on 1 Mission Carb Balance tortilla. Thank god for these tortillas…I am the queen of flour tortillas and definitely am not a corn or whole wheat kind of girl. I am able to get away with these which totally totally fulfills my love for tortillas.
- 1 hard boiled egg, + 1/3 avocado on 1 slice toast or 3/4 whole wheat English muffin Top if off with cherry tomatoes, Everything But the Bagel seasoning, arugula, scrambled egg, salsa – the options are endless! I’m not able to just eat avo toast due to it having to much fat and not enough protein but when pairing it with a protein, we are in luck!
- Bean, eggs and cheese burrito.
- Peanut butter toast on 1 slice toast or 3/4 whole wheat english muffin sprinkled with cinnamon. Sneak a dash of honey on if it doesn’t make your blood sugar go too high. Mix it up: Use almond butter, cashew butter, sunflower seed better, etc.
- One Vans Protein waffle with peanut butter or butter.
- Plain oatmeal with 2 TBSP peanut butter and cinnamon. Blah, I know…
1 protein + 1 carb
Snacks, snacks and more snacks. With three snacks a day, it’s easy to get bored of the same thing over and over. But luckily, now is the time to add in dairy and fruit – hooray!
- Cheddar cheese + whole grain crackers. Mix it up with goat cheese or fancy hard cheese.
- Dried apricots + walnuts. Switch it up with other dried fruit or different nuts and DIY your own trail mix packs.
- Fancy cheese (any hard cheese) + an apple
- 1/2 banana + 2 TBSP peanut butter
- One apple + 2 TBSP peanut butter. Switch it up with another fruit + peanut butter or almond butter.
- 1 protein shake with 1 cup milk, protein powder or 2 tbsp peanut butter, 1/2 cup berries, 1/4 banana, and a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder if you want a chocolate version. Add spinach if you want to be really good. I can’t do milk so I substitute almond milk or oat milk.
- Celery + 2 TBSP peanut butter + raisins (Kindergarten fav brought back to life!)
- Carrots + hummus + crackers + beef stick
- Lara Bar (there are a couple with no chocolate if that makes your sugar levels go too high) or Clif Bar Whole Lotta. I am obsessed with the Spiced Almond Ginger one!
You’re not supposed to skip any meals, even if you’re not very hungry or out and about, which can make it a little harder. Or if you’re like me and need a small second afternoon snack to stay full until dinnertime, carbs may not be the best bet.
So when in doubt, throw down some protein.
- 1 Protein shake with Protiva scoop + water + dash of cinnamon. Switch it up with a dash of unsweetened cocoa. My doctor had me take Protiva but I honestly hate the taste so I tried it in a bunch of different things. Cinnamon or a little cocoa seemed to do the trick. There are other protein powders that probably taste much better – just make sure they are pregnancy safe!
- Grass fed beef stick
- Cheese stick
- Hard boiled egg
- 1/3 avocado with Everything But the Bagel seasoning from Trader Joes
- 2 spoonfuls of peanut butter. They sell packets of almond butter and the like that will do the trick!
Dessert Snack Ideas:
Officially making this a new category because when deprived of ice cream and cookies, us pregos definitely need a little treat…in moderation of course! Trial and error may give you additional sweet options.
- Almonds + dark chocolate pretzel slims from Trader Joes.
- Skinny Dipped Dark Chocolate Almonds. I’ve never had these but they are AH-mazing! You can get them at Target usually with a coupon too!
- 3/4 cup greek yogurt + one cup of berries. Mix it up: Use raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or mixed berries, and add pecans/nuts and/or a dash of honey if you can get away with it.
- 2 Bon Bons from Trader Joes + a protein, like 2 spoonfuls of peanut butter. I was lucky enough to be able to eat 2 Bon Bons at 7 carbs each and my blood sugar was fine in the morning.
Lunch & Dinner Ideas:
1-2 protein + 2-3 carb (one coming from veggies)
I find lunch particularly difficult because I have a hard time getting away from sandwiches every day and getting enough protein in. I’ve found the easiest thing is to eat dinner leftovers for lunch or opt for tuna. But not too much tuna because that’s bad too *eye roll*.
Lettuce is pretty much a free for all so I have it with dinner almost every night with dinner and top it with different things like tomatoes, cheeses, carrots, etc.
- 2 chicken + lettuce + tomato + cheese wraps with balsamic vinaigrette on Carb Balance Tortillas. You can get creative with what all you put on these.
- Baked salmon + asparagus + 1/3 sweet potato. On a baking sheet, I squeeze lemon juice on top of the salmon and rub with dijon mustard, letting it sit for about 30 minutes. Drizzle EVOO over the aspragus and top with a dash of kosher salt + pepper. Pop in the oven at 405 for 13 minutes and voila!
- Salmon leftover + brown rice + salad.
- Grilled chicken thigh + caprese salad + brown rice.
- Tuna sandwich: 1 can tuna with cottage cheese (or mayo) + dijon mustard + celery + pepper on whole wheat bread. Salad on the side.
- 1/2 Board & Brew Turkado sandwich on squaw bread. This is one of my favorite things ever so I did go against the no-deli-meat rule of pregnancy because I figure their meat is at least sliced fresh.
- Chicken, beans, cheese and rice burrito.
- Peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread with 1/2 banana cut up. Add cinnamon and a tiny drizzle honey if you can.
As you can tell, I go through peanut butter like no other. Cinnamon and other spices are fair game so that’s definitely the best way to make anything taste better and more exciting.
So what am I looking forward to most after baby is here?
Orange juice, BBQ sauce, ice cream sandwiches (these guys right here), blackberry jelly, having more than two Cuties at a time, not having to count out my almonds and Wheat Thins one by one and not scrambling for a protein at each meal, even when it doesn’t “go” with my carb.
However, this experience has been very educational for me and something I plan to continue to a way less strict scale. I will be more diligent about reading labels, adding protein and steering clear of foods with lots of added sugar.
If you have GD, I wish you the best of luck and hope you come away with the many positives that I have. Life altering for sure!