FREE Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan with Recipes - The Gestational Diabetic (2024)

Easily manage your blood sugar with this done-for-you meal plan made up of delicious meals and snacks WITH recipes, tips, nutrition info and more!

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1. This page gives a brief overview of the gestational diabetes diet and how to navigate it. For a more in depth explanation, visit the gestational diabetes diet page.

2. This downloadable meal plan includes meal and snack suggestions, and is the first plan in a series. Weeks 2, 3 and 4 offer dinner options only, and week 5 and up have meals and snacks.

3. If after the first week you feel confident in what to eat, continue with weeks 2 through 4 for inspiration.

4. If you want to continue with full meal plans, go to week 5.

5. If you like services like Blue Apron, Sun Basket, etc. check out the Diabetic Food Delivery below.

What is gestational diabetes?

In a nutshell, gestational diabetes is high blood sugar in pregnant women, and it poses harm to the baby.

Gestational diabetes is unique from Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in that it is first discovered in pregnancy, and it lasts until the pregnancy is over.

Some mothers continue on with diabetes, but it is no longer classified as gestational. After the pregnancy has ended, it becomes Type 2 diabetes.

How is gestational diabetes treated?

Gestational diabetes is treated through three basic methods:
1. a healthy carb-conscious diet.
2. exercise.
3. medication or insulin.

Diet and exercise are the best treatments for a few reasons:

1. they’re natural.
2. they allow you stay in control of what happens to your body.
3. they help you adjust to a new lifestyle of being proactive and preventative (lowering your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes after pregnancy).
4. medication is synthetic and has side effects.
5. insulin has to be self-injected daily.

Sometimes diet and exercise alone can't bring blood sugars to a safe level. In this case, your doctor will prescribe medication or insulin as needed.

In some cases,a mother may require medication immediately, and that’s okay. The goal is to keep the baby safe.

Timely and proper treatment lessens the possibility of potential dangers.

A Carb-conscious Diet for Gestational Diabetes

Carbohydrates are the nutrient that raise blood sugar, so the gestational diabetes diet requires that youchange four major things:

1. the amount of carbs you eat.
2. the type of carbs you eat.
3. the frequency you eat carbs.
4. what you eat with carbs.

Carb Amounts / Limits for Gestational Diabetes

Reducing the number of carbs you eat helps your body’s natural insulin to be more effective.

Breakfast and snacks are normally limited to 15g – 20g of carbs, and lunch and dinner are limited to 30g – 45g carbs.

MealCarb Limit
Breakfast15g - 20g
Snack15g - 20g
Lunch30g - 45g
Snack15g - 20g
Dinner30g - 45g
Snack15g - 20g

Types of Carbs in Gestational Diabetes

Simple carbs are processed quickly by your body. In other words, they rush into your system causing your blood sugar to raise quickly (spike).

Simple carbs include:
- sugars
- juices (even 100% fruit juice)
- corn syrup
- white grains (flour, rice, bread, etc.)
- and more

Simple carbs are most commonly found in heavily processed foods - the food in the middle of the grocery store aisles.

Eat less simple carbs.

Complex carbs are digested more slowly. Theywill still raise your blood sugar, but at a slower pace, which allows your natural insulin to be more effective.

Complex carbs include:
- whole fruits
- whole grains (quinoa, whole wheat bread, brown rice, etc.)
- beans
- non-starchy vegetables
- and more

Eat more complex carbs, but stay within your carb limits.

How Often to Eat with Gestational Diabetes

When you eat, you tell your blood sugar what to do.

If you eat simple carbs, you tell your blood sugar to give you a quick pick-me-up, and if you eat complex carbs you tell it to sustain your energy for a while.

But what happens when you don’t eat?

When you don’t eat, your blood sugar decides what it wants to do. It may drop low or spike high. (This is why the fasting glucose is the trickiest.)

Since you want your blood sugar to be as steady as possible, you must tell it what to do – meaning you have to eat every few hours.

Eating every 3-4 hours tells your blood sugar to remain steady, in a safe range.

Ideally, snacks are eaten about 3 hours after a meal, and at least 2 hours before the next meal.

Eat Protein with Carbs for Gestational Diabetes

Protein acts as a stabilizer so your blood sugar doesn’t spike. So when you eat carbs with protein, the carbs are processed more slowly, preventing your blood sugar from spiking.

No matter how much protein you pair with carbs, you should still stay within your carb limits.

Protein Food List

  • meats
  • poultry
  • fish
  • beans (moderate carbs)
  • cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • nut butters
  • nuts
  • eggs
  • seeds
  • tofu

What Foods to Eat

  • all vegetables (especially green ones)
  • fruits
  • fish (especially salmon)
  • meats (with skin)
  • yogurt
  • cheese
  • nuts
  • any real food

Foods to Avoid

Generally speaking, every real food is good for you, but some things you should avoid eating in excess (portion it) or avoid it altogether to not spike your blood sugar.

  • juice
  • sugar
  • fried foods
  • candy
  • white products (rice, flour, pasta, etc.)
FREE Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan with Recipes - The Gestational Diabetic (1)

More gestational diabetes meal plan ideas and recipes at the end!

Exercise for Gestational Diabetes

Whether it's five minutes or 15, walking or strength training, once a day or three times a week; exercise! Something is better than nothing, and inconsistency is better than never.

It's best to move your feet!

Make it as regular as you can, because exercise works the sugar out of your blood. It is the quickest way to lower your blood sugar.

Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan for a Week

This sample meal plan gives you gestational diabetes meals and snacks for a week, with recipes.

But let's be real - who's going to cook everyday and never eat fast food or a protein bar?? NO ONE! The reality is life is hectic and sometimes we just need a break.

So even though this meal plan accounts for every meal, it's totally understandable and EXPECTED that some meals will be McDonald's, a TV dinner, or just plain skipped.

Here are the benefits of the week-long plan:

  • you learn what a low glycemic meal looks like.
  • you learn to eat without obsessing over counting carbs.
  • the meals include lots of freebie veggies that won't spike your blood sugar.
  • the meals are satisfying and delicious.
  • they all have common ingredients.
  • they're not a lot of hands-on time in the kitchen.
  • leftovers are factored in.
FREE Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan with Recipes - The Gestational Diabetic (2)

Diabetic Food Delivery

Breakfast Idea Recipes

  • Diabetic Breakfast Casserole
  • Diabetic Biscuits
  • Pumpkin Pancakes
  • Asian Scramble
  • Coconut Banana Bread

Dinner Idea Recipes

  • Beef Smothered Burritos
  • Grilled Stuffed Burritos
  • Ropa Vieja
  • Vegan Coconut Curry
  • Healthy Shrimp Tacos
  • Tomato Soup
  • 3-Ingredient Salmon Dinner

Dessert Idea Recipes

  • Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake
  • Strawberry Shortcake for Diabetics
  • Healthy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Snack Recipes

  • Snack Ideas
  • Almond Berry Smoothie
  • Blueberry Coconut Cookies
  • Sweet Pecans

More Info

FREE Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan with Recipes - The Gestational Diabetic (2024)


What is a good dinner for someone with gestational diabetes? ›

Evening meal

Beef stew with sweet potato, lentils or beans. Chicken thighs, wrapped in bacon and roasted, served with a couple of new potatoes and green beans. Fajitas made with any meat, Quorn or tofu, sliced peppers, onions and spices served in a wrap with guacamole (or avocado), fresh diced tomato and sour cream.

What is the best takeout meal for gestational diabetes? ›

American Food Restaurants

While there are many options to choose from, try to order a plain dish such as meat, fish, steamed vegetables, or plain potato. Choose broiled meat, fish, and poultry. Avoid cream sauces, gravy, and casserole dishes. Choose broth-type soups.

What is the best food for gestational diabetes? ›

Gestational diabetes diet
  • Plenty of whole fruits and vegetables.
  • Moderate amounts of lean proteins and healthy fats.
  • Moderate amounts of whole grains, such as bread, cereal, pasta, and rice, plus starchy vegetables, such as corn and peas.
  • Fewer foods that have a lot of sugar, such as soft drinks, fruit juices, and pastries.
Apr 1, 2023

How many carbs should I eat for dinner with gestational diabetes? ›

Lunch and dinner should include both: 2 to 3 servings (or 30 to 45 grams) of carbohydrate. Minimum 2 to 3 servings of protein.

Can I eat mashed potatoes with gestational diabetes? ›

Potatoes are high in carbohydrates, making them a vegetable that raises blood glucose levels rapidly. Mashed potatoes can be even harder to tolerate as the potatoes have been peeled, removing additional fibre from the flesh and cooked.

Can I eat scrambled eggs with gestational diabetes? ›

An easy source of protein and low GI carbs. Choose a wholegrain bread and make sure eggs are cooked through. A wholegrain wrap filled with scrambled eggs and vegetables such as spinach, tomato and onion and a little cheese makes a filling and delicious breakfast which is ideal for gestational diabetes.

Can I eat pizza if I have gestational diabetes? ›

TLDR: Pizza and Gestational Diabetes

Oftentimes pizza can be a balanced meal itself (especially if you choose the right crust), but you also have the option to ADD and pair pizza with other foods.

Can I have Mcdonald's with gestational diabetes? ›

High fat and the late spike in levels

Whilst takeaways are nice as a treat every now again, they should not become a regular part of the gestational diabetes diet. Many takeaway foods are high in saturated fats and transfats.

What is the best easy breakfast for gestational diabetes? ›

The majority of dietitians and hospital dietary info. will suggest a suitable gestational diabetes breakfast as one of the following; Weetabix, Bran flakes, All Bran, Shreddies, Shredded Wheat, Granola, No added sugar Muesli, or porridge oats with semi-skimmed, or skimmed milk.

How to bring gestational diabetes sugar levels down while pregnant? ›

Eat more fiber

Include split peas, lentils and any type of bean: pinto, red, black, or garbanzo. These foods are high in fiber and help to keep your blood sugar levels lower than when you eat refined grains such as white bread and white rice.

How can I reverse gestational diabetes while pregnant? ›

Can you get rid of gestational diabetes while pregnant? No, you can't get rid of gestational diabetes once you have it. After you're diagnosed with the condition, you're not tested again for diabetes until after your baby is born. It's recommended to get tested for diabetes within 12 weeks after your baby is born.

What should diabetics drink first thing in the morning? ›

Drinking enough water is important for everyone, but it's especially important for people with diabetes. Aim for at least eight cups of water per day and try to drink a glass of water first thing in the morning.

When does gestational diabetes peak? ›

Pathophysiology of GDM

As pregnancy progresses, the levels of a host of hormones such as cortisol and oestrogen increase and this leads to insulin resistance. The peak effect of these hormones is seen in the 26th to the 33rd week of gestation. Cortisol for example has a very strong diabetogenic effect (2).

How many eggs can a diabetic eat in a day? ›

How Many Eggs Can People With Type 2 Diabetes Eat? Both research and health experts indicate that individuals living with type 2 diabetes, or at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, can include between 6 - 12 eggs per week as part of an overall healthy diet. So you can enjoy up to 2 eggs, 6 times a week.

What happens if you eat too many carbs with gestational diabetes? ›

High GI carbohydrates raise your blood sugar levels quickly, which is not good if you have gestational diabetes. These foods include: sugary drinks and processed foods (such as cake, biscuits, sweets, ice-cream)

What is the evening meal for gestational diabetes? ›

Meat and Quorn has a high amount of protein and iron. Meat with lots of green vegetables or salad and a small portion of carbohydrate such as 2-3 egg sized new potatoes, 3-4 tbsp of rice, pasta or couscous makes for a good gestational diabetes meal. Try the following meats: Steak; beef or venison.

How do you stay full with gestational diabetes? ›

You should also try to:
  1. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables – aim for at least 5 portions a day.
  2. Swap cakes and biscuits for healthy alternatives, such as fruit, nuts and seeds.
  3. Eat lean sources of protein, such as chicken, fish, tofu or beans.
  4. Choose lower GI options by swapping white bread for wholegrain.

Can I eat pizza with gestational diabetes? ›

TLDR: Pizza and Gestational Diabetes

Oftentimes pizza can be a balanced meal itself (especially if you choose the right crust), but you also have the option to ADD and pair pizza with other foods.

Can I skip dinner with gestational diabetes? ›

Eating too much at one time can cause your blood sugar to rise too much. It is very important that you do not skip meals.

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