I’ve chosen to share a list of nutritious lunch suggestions for women with gestational diabetes. Since many people I know are dealing with gestational diabetes, I’ve been considering this. Because my wife has it, I’m motivated to support her and other others who also have the condition.
While pregnant, you obviously want to make healthy decisions, but sometimes it can be difficult to come up with the perfect lunch recipe. No longer! You can use the lunch suggestions in this post if you have gestational diabetes.
Healthy Lunch Ideas For Gestational Diabetes
A gestational diabetes diagnosis can be both perplexing and unsettling. The good news is that gestational diabetes can be treated, and you have access to more resources than ever before. Gaining knowledge about this type of diabetes can enable you to have a healthy and safe pregnancy.
10% of pregnancies in the United States are affected by gestational diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association1.
Understanding Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is a condition where a person has their first diabetic symptoms while pregnant. 2 Generally speaking, blood sugar levels that are excessively high are a sign of diabetes. These elevated blood sugar levels in gestational diabetes are brought on by the body’s inability to produce enough additional insulin to fulfill its increased demands. Pregnancy-related hormonal changes may be to blame for this. A family history of gestational diabetes increases a person’s risk of developing the illness.
How Does Insulin Work?
When we consume carbs, our digestive system converts them into glucose, a type of sugar that enters the circulation. As blood glucose levels rise, the pancreas releases the hormone insulin as a result.
Similar to a key, insulin. Insulin widens cell membranes, allowing glucose to enter and be used as fuel by the cell. Blood sugar levels quickly return to normal when this system is functioning properly because glucose is either utilized up by cells or stored as energy for later use. 3
Blood sugar levels in gestational diabetes persist for an excessively long time. This could put the mother’s health at danger and complicate the pregnancy. When the body is unable to produce enough insulin to satisfy the increased demands of pregnancy or when insulin resistance develops during pregnancy, both of which can happen, gestational diabetes can happen.
Performing a glucose challenge test is a standard component of prenatal care. This test is typically finished between weeks 24 and 28 of pregnancy. 4 This is how your doctor will assess how well your body can process a significant amount of sugar.
Before entering the testing room, instructions should be given to you. At the lab, you can anticipate receiving a sweet-tasting beverage. You will need to wait either 1 or 2 hours after consuming it before having your blood sugar levels checked. Before determining that you have gestational diabetes, your doctor may request that you undergo a second 3-hour follow-up glucose tolerance test, depending on your test findings.
Treatment for Gestational Diabetes
Your doctor will want to monitor your blood sugar more closely for the balance of your pregnancy if your blood sugar readings don’t fall within the acceptable ranges for the follow-up glucose tolerance test. It’s possible that altering your diet or increasing your physical activity will be sufficient to keep your levels within advised ranges. Medications might be suggested if not. In either case, you will have a regular regimen that includes checking your blood sugar.
Blood Sugar Guidelines
Ideally, your blood sugar during pregnancy should be:1
- Fasting (first thing in the morning before eating): 95mg/dl or less
- One hour after a meal: 140mg/dl or less
- Two hours after a meal: 120mg/dl or less
Eating for Diabetes Management
Consultations with a qualified dietician may be one of the first recommendations made by your doctor (R.D.). Dietitians have received specialized training in advising patients on nutrition. Blood sugar, which is essential for every part of our bodies—including our brains!—is created from carbohydrates. This means that in addition to a supply of protein and fiber, it’s crucial to incorporate carbohydrates at meals and snacks.
Three meals a day, together with two snacks, can assist to keep blood sugar levels stable. At every meal or snack, include a source of fiber-rich carbohydrate in addition to protein to assist maintain more stable blood sugar levels. Eating meals and snacks regularly spaced out throughout the day is a smart first step to regulating blood sugar levels if you’ve previously skipped meals or snacks.
Good sources of carbohydrates high in fiber include:
- 100% whole grain bread, crackers, tortillas, cereal, etc.
- Whole grains, such as quinoa, whole wheat, oatmeal, and brown rice
- Whole fruit, including frozen options
- Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes or yams, winter squash, and corn
- Beans and lentils (these also contain some protein)
Everybody’s body reacts differently to various factors when it comes to gestational diabetes. You can find the best meal plan for you by keeping track of your blood sugar at home and talking to your doctor and an RD.
Try the Plate Method
Utilizing the “plate technique” is a useful strategy to make sure your meals are balanced with respect to carbs, protein, and fiber. 6 Start by putting non-starchy veggies on one-third of your plate (asparagus, eggplant, cucumber, carrots, etc.). Fill the remaining third of your plate with protein and the following third with starches (such as peas, potatoes, beans, maize, whole-grain crackers, etc). (such as chicken, fish, tofu, or eggs).
If you’d like, add a whole piece of fruit or a cup of dairy (such as yogurt or cottage cheese) on the side. However, keep in mind that incorporating protein in the meal or snack helps to regulate blood sugars even if you occasionally choose a lower-fiber carb alternative. Choosing higher-fiber types of carbohydrates is preferable for blood sugar management.
Balanced Snack Suggestions
When selecting snacks, try to include a source of protein in addition to a carbohydrate that is high in fiber. Here are a few concepts to get you going: 7
- Veggie slices with hummus and nuts
- Apple slices with peanut butter
- Cottage cheese with fresh or frozen fruit
- Dried fruit and nut mix
- A hard-boiled egg and a piece of fruit
- Popcorn and a piece of cheese
- Whole-wheat crackers with cheese
Regularly checking your blood sugar will help you understand how your body responds to various foods. Everyone reacts differently, once more. It can be overwhelming to receive a gestational diabetes diagnosis. Asking your doctor for assistance can make you feel more supported and might give you suggestions for meals and snacks. This assistance may include a meeting with a qualified dietician.
How Exercise Affects Blood Sugar
There are many health advantages to exercising while pregnant, as well as little risks to the mother or growing fetus. 8 Don’t discount physical activity as a component of your plan to manage gestational diabetes if you are able, even though you should always discuss appropriate exercises to do while pregnant with your doctor as well as exploring movement that you enjoy.
By referring to exercise as “movement,” many more daily movement options may become available. Additionally, you can begin from wherever you physically are. A wonderful place to start is with 10 minutes of daily walking and progressively increasing as you are able.
The easier it may be to continue with a pregnancy physical activity program throughout all three trimesters, the earlier you start. However, if you’re further along in your pregnancy and want to start moving more right away, don’t let that deter you. Consider low-impact exercises like swimming, Pilates, or prenatal yoga. You might even run into some other soon-to-be parents.
Medications for Gestational Diabetes
Your blood sugar levels may continue to be too high throughout pregnancy even after you make changes to your diet and exercise routine. Similar to how having gestational diabetes in the first place was not your fault, this is not your fault. To control your blood sugar levels, keep working with your doctor. Your pregnancy will have the best results if you do this.
Insulin is the preferred treatment for gestational diabetes.
You don’t need to be concerned that insulin will harm your unborn child because it does not pass the placenta. You’ll probably be told to check your blood sugar levels on a regular basis at home to maintain the right dosage because blood sugar levels might change over the course of pregnancy. Be at ease; your doctor will guide you through the procedure step-by-step.
The Dangers of High Blood Sugar
Controlling your blood sugar levels is crucial for a healthy pregnancy. Making some modifications as soon as you are diagnosed might help you prevent difficulties during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period. It could seem simple to overlook elevated blood sugar because we can’t always feel it.
Ignoring gestational diabetes can result in serious problems, such as a bigger baby, which might necessitate a C-section, or excessive bleeding and more severe tearing during a vaginal delivery.
2 Babies born to mothers with untreated gestational diabetes are more likely to have low blood sugar, respiratory problems, or jaundice (liver problems). A stillbirth is also more likely.
A Word From Verywell
Controlling gestational diabetes is doable with your doctor’s assistance. Use the services offered by your doctor’s office if you feel overwhelmed by a new diagnosis. Please keep in mind that you are not handling this condition alone. Contrary to popular belief, gestational diabetes doesn’t have to control your life. It is still very possible to have a healthy pregnancy.
Lunch and Dinner Ideas for Diabetics
Finding dinner ideas, or worse yet, coming up with a dinner menu, might be difficult in a society that values carbohydrates highly. Budgeting is a frustrating issue that consumes excessive amounts of effort, time, and mental capacity. Let’s not even discuss lunch options, which have more stricter requirements because they must be quick, simple, portable, and occasionally on-the-go.
Because most quick, simple, portable, and on-the-go foods are high carb, extensively processed foods that aren’t good for the diet, many people question what you can eat for lunch when you have gestational diabetes. Then, when you do find a few things that work, you consume them so frequently that they rapidly grow monotonous and unappealing. We provide you with enticing and nutritious diabetic meals to solve this issue.
Our low-carb vegan tuna salad, diabetic taco dish, and healthy egg salad are all excellent make-ahead lunches that will aid in your weekly meal planning. Each recipe contains the portion size and carb count because a lunch with gestational diabetes is often allowed between 30 and 40 carbohydrates.
In order to help you meal plan and simplify your life, we’ve done the same with dinner recipes. Dinner carbs for gestational diabetes can range from 30 to 60 grams, although 45 grams is the most typical amount. Check out the pressure cooker ropa vieja, the simple smothered burritos, or this wonderfully simple diabetic salmon meal.