Conquering Gestational Diabetes: Recipe Ideas for All Six Meals

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

Breakfast Ideas:

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.
  • Plain oatmeal with 2 TBSP peanut butter and cinnamon. Blah, I know…

Snack Ideas:

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

On-The-Go Proteins 

1 protein

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!
  • 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! These also can cover your carb portion too.

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!
  • 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*.

I’ve also noticed that eating out

Lettuce is pretty much a free for all so I have it with dinner almost every night with dinner and topped 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!

 

ClaudettesCorner

Easy-Peasy Hearty Chili

Let’s hear it for the easiest dinner (yet least photogenic hence no photo) ever: crockpot chili! Matt had quite a few things or moreso “mmMMM” sounds to say about my latest batch so I figured I should add it to the blog.

So let’s get right to it. Easy-peasy recipe below:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 1 package of ground turkey (or ground beef)
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilis or jalepenos (or whatever “with BLANK” your heart desires!)
  • 10 oz tomato paste (1/3 of the large 32 oz can)
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 2 TBSP Kinders BBQ Rub (Matt threw this in when I wasn’t looking – great call!)
  • 2 TBSP Spicy Chili Powder (some sort of mix of chili powder and garlic and some other good stuff)
  • 1 TBSP onion powder
  • 1 TSP sugar
  • 1 TSP cumin
  • 1 few grinds of pepper

Toppings:

  • sour cream
  • cheddar cheese
  • avocado
  • cilantro
  • tortilla strips

Directions:

  1. Brown the ground turkey in a pan.
  2. Toss all of the ingredients in the crock pot.
  3. Give it a good stir.
  4. Put on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8.
  5. Serve with cornbread! Our fav is from Trader Joes – surprise surprise.

 

ClaudettesCorner

Easy Weeknight Dinner: Oven Baked Hash

I don’t know about you, but I’m super into easy, but delicious weeknight meals. If you have time to wait for dinner to be ready while you clean, shower, or work out, I have the perfect recipe for you. What I call “hash” is definitely one of our go-tos featuring pretty much any leftover veggies or meats that can be baked.

You can easily get in your protein, carb and veggie into one easy meal. Just chop, arrange, and add seasonings (salt/pepper, Italian seasoning blend, garlic, cayenne pepper, etc.) to your mix. Then pop that bad boy in the oven at 445 for 40 min or until a fork can easily go through a potato/brussel sprout and voila! Dinner is served…in a bowl.

Below are some of my favs to bake into hash:

  • Brussel sprouts
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Chorizo (or Soy Chorizo from TJs is bomb.com)
  • Chicken apple sausage
  • Green apples
  • Cherry tomatoes

 

ClaudettesCorner

Eating Our Way Through Paris in 2 Days

Honeymoon Part 4

Our final stop after the Amalfi Coast, Tuscany, and Western Switzerland was Paris, the city of love…and foodgasms. Leaving miles and miles of walking for last day may have been a little crazy since we were totally pooped after 14 days gallivanting all over Europe, but it was worth every last second bite.

Overall, Paris was surprisingly cheap. At least compared to where we had already been. They even have free water (woahhhhh crazyyyy). After two weeks of purchasing it everywhere, this was pretty exciting.

Okay, back to the trip…after a lot of research, I was torn between which area to stay in. I finally chose St. Germain, which turned out to be an up-and-coming neighborhood in walking distance to pretty much everything. Our 2-CV local tour guide even said we picked quite a cool place.

While in Paris, we basically just bar and appetizer-hopped our way around the city for two days and had a spectacular time doing so.

Foodie Favs

  • Breizh Cafe. The crepes here are so so so good. Salmon and goat cheese is to die for.
  • Eggs & Co. Matt found this place on Yelp and I would venture to say it’s pretty hipster, with the hole-in-the-wall type of look. Yet, it’s decorated tres cute and the food is great. I had the benedict and au plait eggs with bacon, chives, and parmesan plus they give you salad and yummy mini potatoes.
  • Odette. Definitely stopped here because 1. it looked cute and 2. because it rhymes with my name. Turns out they have yummy cream puffs and I don’t even like cream puffs!
  • Les PhilosophesTwo words. Foie gras. I didn’t know what exactly I was eating until I had finished, but holy s*** it was good. Who knew duck liver + jam on toast could be so tasty? We also had the french onion soup, because well, France.
  • Paul. I think this must be a chain since I saw two of them, but they’ve got some great pastries.
  • Escargot. Turns out, not a fan. We ordered half a dozen, tried to thoroughly chew 2 and were unsuccessful. Also had to awkwardly ask the waiter how to get those suckers out of the shell with the clamp. Everyone in the restaurant had a good laugh.

Favorite Hoods & Must Dos

  • Le Marais. A cute historical neighborhood in the 3rd Arrondissement with plenty of shops and food, notably Les Philosophes.
  • Rue de Boci. Another super cute neighborhood with outdoor cafes, live music in the street, and great people watching.
  • 2 CV Tour. Matt’s dad said we HAD to check out this 2-hour night-time tour and he was totally right. Riding around Paris in a lavender-colored, French version of the VW bug with no roof was seriously the coolest thing ever. Our tour guide was a local French woman who was a bit crazy behind the wheel but very entertaining and knowledgeable. Not only did we get to see all of the big features in Paris lit up, but we got a great lay of the land on night one.

We will definitely be back and I can’t wait to continue exploring and EATING!

Cheers Claudette 2

4 Days in Tuscany: Wine Country Itinerary

Honeymoon Part 2

Let me first just say that we still can’t decide where we liked best in Italy. Amalfi vs. Tuscany? Can you really even compare them?

After making our way from Positano to the Napoli train station, we cruised up to Florence where we rented a car and had a hellofa time navigating the roundabouts and making it out to the highway. While in the southern region, we stayed in Chuisi for three nights and took day trips to Montalcino, Pienza, and Montepulciano, all of which I would highly recommend visiting. On our last night, we stayed in Florence, so we stopped in Siena on the way back up north. I wish had more time there, but we overslept and had to rush back to return our car on time. Guess we just have to go back!

Before I get to the highlights of our trip around Tuscan wine country, here are a few things to note:

  • A little PSA about the Autostrade. This is a toll road where you take a ticket on your way on to the highway and insert that ticket into the machine when you get off on an exit and then pay a fee based on the distance you went. Make sure not to go through the express lane and also follow signs for change versus card since they are two different lines.
  • If you like history, many historical places don’t have much information about them. Thank goodness for Matt’s international plan or he wouldn’t have known what year the church of Pienza was built in!
  • While driving on the straight roads in Chiusi, we oddly felt like we were in Lodi, CA.
  • Brunello comes from Montalcino. Sangiovese from Montepulcino. More on that later.

Chiusi

We spent three nights at Poggio Piglia in Chiusi, which was such a treat. First of all, the property is absolutely amazing. Grape vines and olive trees galore, a large vegetable garden, tons of lavender, sage and rosemary, and plenty of space for morning and evening walks. The service is incredible, the breakfast display was almost too pretty to dig in (but we did of course), and while it’s pretty far south, it forces you to drive all around the region which I would say is a great thing. Poggio Piglia was also the only hotel we stayed at that didn’t nickel and dime us for small extras like a poached egg in the morning, tea at night.

Montepulciano

Montepulciano is essentially the wine capital of Tuscany. Italian wineries must follow strict rules based on their region. Here, they produce wines with at least 75% Sangiovese. Wines labelled DOC have an even higher Sangiovese content and DOCG is the highest at 100%. Most importantly, we learned that because of this high quality stuff, it was literally impossibly to get a wine hangover. In the US, winemakers don’t have to follow rules like this, so it’s no wonder that after 3 glasses, you might end up with a pounding headache.

Another thing to note about wine tasting in Tuscany…you might think this would be incredibly easy and you can just show up and be welcomed with wine and charcuterie platters. However, it’s quite the opposite. A lot of wineries have certain tasting hours and only take reservations. We were turned down by multiple during their open hours because they already had a few people there. Being used to America where restaurants and bars are all about packing the house, Italy was all about quality of service and never overcrowding their spaces.

This is nice and all, but where can a girl get a glass of vino?! Luckily, after about an hour and a half of driving around, we ended up finding three wineries right in a row that were not only open, but also open to having us there.

Needless to say, Google isn’t always right. It isn’t always open a the time it says it is, there isn’t always food. Just play it safe and call ahead. Also, most wine tasting rooms don’t have snacks and they also have you tour the cellar before you taste…without a glass of wine.

  • Cantina Tombesi. 5 euros for a glass of nobile and 9 euros a cheese and meat platter while you sit and chat in a cute little cellar/market.
  • Veduta Panoramica. While wondering the streets of downtown Montepulicano, we saw a sign that said Panoramica. I don’t speak Italian very well, but I definitely know what that means. Picture time!
  • Talosa Tasting Room. Great wine and a huge cellar that seems to never end, complete with an old tomb.
  • Avignonesi. I would say we have pretty high standards for cheese and charcuterie platters. Avignonesi’s light lunch chef’s platter blew every pleasant thought about any other board out of the water. I’m talking about mmmm’s and oh my god’s in between each bite. We topped that off with their delicious Avanti Sangiovese/Merlot plus a wasp sting on the side. Sorry Matt!
  • Poliziano. Wine so good, we just had to ship ourselves some. Still hoping we weren’t just drunk and thought it was better than it really was.
  • La Grotta. My coworker recommended this restaurant as the best meal he had in Italy. We were running a bit low on energy by the time we had dinner here so we took most of our meal to go but it was quite good.
  • Vino Mobile. Next door to La Grotta, this cute little shop is run by the sweetest woman ever. Turns out her husband is from Brea, CA so we sure had a lot to talk about! Takeaways include cured meats, pasta seasoning mixes, spicy chocolate, and a bunch of other delicious items.

Other Tuscan Favorites

Bagno de Vignini. Okay, this was so cool. Bagno de Vignini is one of the many Tuscan hot springs and happened to be located on our way to Montalicino. Matt was very skeptical about the coolness of said hot spring, but I was determined to find it. It didn’t help that Google Maps had us take a very sketchy back road to get there (second dirt road after you turn off the main highway) and we weren’t sure if our tiny smart car would make it back up the way we came. Turns out there’s a paid parking lot above, where you can overlook the hot spring, but we thought it was pretty awesome to be able to cruise around below, even though portions of the walkway were flooded.

Pienza. Pienza is a small town with an incredible long walkway overlooking the hills of Tuscany below. It’s definitely worth a stop for some gelato or a quick snack!

La Fortezza in Montalcino. This old fortress charges 2 euros to take in some breathtaking views. It’s quite the maze inside, with various rooms connected by tunnels…so cool!! There’s also a wine tasting room inside.

Cafe Corsini in Montalcino. Located somewhere in a small park with some weird dolls in Montalcino, this cafe was cheap, had GREAT food and there were a lot of locals eating there. Yes, the dolls sound weird and they were, but the outdoor cafe is really quite lovely. I got the tartufina (panini with prosciutto, truffle cream, and argula) and braesaola salad (thinly sliced raw beef, salad, pine nuts, tomatoes, and balsamic cream sauce) and was in heaven. Are you drooling yet? Oh and the brunello. Don’t forget the brunello.

Florence

We arrived in Florence at about 2:30 pm on a Friday and had to take the 9:00 am train to Milan so we didn’t get much time there. In our short time there, we walked all over the north side of the river. It’s truly an amazing city full of breathtaking architecture. I already can’t wait to go back and see more of it.

Sesto Rooftop Bar at Westin Excelsior. I know, I know…the Westin is not a legit Florence bar, but hey, we’re all about rooftop drinks. With views of the river, duomo and city, we couldn’t ask for more. Ask for the cookies with your drinks. Yum!

Uffizi. A couple we met in Positano said we had to go here and luckily, we were able to buy tickets at the door and cruise around. Although we didn’t realize the entire museum showcases heads and statues made of marble, it was amazing! But let’s be honest…there’s really only so much time you can spend looking at various people from the shoulders up before you start going dizzy.

Palazzo Gamba. I didn’t realize this when I booked, but this apartment looks directly at the Duomo. There’s nothing in between you and the Duomo except the street below. Needless to say, we thought this place was pretty rad. Since it’s located right in the middle of Florence, it’s a bit loud, but totally worth it for being central. Did I mention you can stare at all the intricate details of the Duomo from your bedroom and living room windows?!

Until next time, Italia!

P.S. You can read my Amalfi Coast recs for Positano, Sorrento, and Capri here.

ClaudettesCorner