I may have eaten out more in the past two weeks than the last year combined, but for the most part, I’m a homebody when it comes to mealtime. Planning and preparing my own food has been key in maintaining a healthy gestational diabetes diet. A friend recently asked for a peek at what my diet looks like, so I thought I’d share a few of my go-to items for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks with their estimated carbohydrate totals. These are some of my favorites, based both on my personal tastes and what I’ve learned works for my body. Everyone’s different, though, so learning what works for you may take some trial and error. (Talk to your doctor or dietician, too, about your carb goals for each meal — this is what was recommended for me but may not be what’s right for you!)
BREAKFAST (GOAL: 30 GRAMS)
Fruit is, unfortunately, a morning no-no for me — and I can’t tell you how much I’m craving gallons of orange juice after the baby is born. In the meantime, breakfast is a high-protein affair.
- One slice of whole wheat toast (11 grams) with natural peanut butter (3 grams)
- One container light Yoplait yogurt, any flavor (16 grams)
- Egg sandwich: 1-2 eggs, scrambled or pre-baked as scrambled egg “muffins” (2 carbs), 1 slice of whole wheat toast (11 grams), 1 slice cheddar cheese (0 gram), 1 tablespoon ketchup (4 grams)
- ½ cup skim milk (11 grams)
MORNING SNACK (GOAL: 15 GRAMS)
I pack a couple of snack options to take to work and choose whichever I’m in the mood for at my morning snack time. I try to eat the snack right after my post-breakfast blood sugar test, whether I’m super hungry or not, so that I don’t give into office-snack temptation (those M&Ms!).
- String cheese (0 grams)
- Satsuma orange (11 grams)
- Apple (19 grams)
- 2 Tablespoons peanut butter (6 grams)
- Light Yoplait yogurt (16 grams)
- 2 oz dry roasted peanuts (12 carbs)
- String cheese
LUNCH (GOAL: 45 GRAMS)
My blood sugar tends to peak after lunch, so it’s important for me to try to plan my meals ahead of time instead of grabbing leftovers or takeout. Lunch meat is somewhat frowned upon for pregnant women, so I have been roasting a turkey breast in the oven every week or so to make just-like-the-day-after-Thanksgiving sandwiches. They’re a big hit with Hubby, too.
- 2 cups green salad with ranch dressing (4 grams)
- 2 slices cheddar cheese (1 gram)
- ½ cup grapes (15 grams)
- 1 slice whole wheat toast with peanut butter (14 grams)
- Roast turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread with cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo (24 grams)
- Satsuma orange or other fruit (11-19 grams)
AFTERNOON SNACK (GOAL: 15 GRAMS)
A different option from the morning snack list. Again, I try to eat my snack shortly after my after-lunch blood sugar test, so that I don’t get the munchies and face the temptation of less healthy snacks.
DINNER (GOAL: 45 GRAMS)
Really, if I watch my portion sizes, just about anything goes for dinner. Carbs, though, definitely need to be the side dish, not the entree. I’ve found I can have a bit of couscous or rice alongside a heartier meal. My body, however, doesn’t seem to process pasta well (even the whole wheat version), so I’ve found it very inefficient as a meal or side. We’re big on burritos, carnitas and quesadillas in my home, but tortillas also spike my blood sugar, despite their relatively acceptable carb content. If dinner has a Mexican theme, I’ll have one tortilla at most or just skip it and put the filling on a salad.
- 1 baked or grilled chicken breast (0 carbs) or fish (2 carbs)
- Steamed broccoli (7 carbs)
- ¼ cup whole wheat couscous (33 carbs)
- Tuna melt on whole wheat bread (23 grams)
- ½ cup tomato soup (17 grams)
- Beef roast (0 grams) with ¼ red potato (8 grams) and baby carrots (3 grams)
- ½ cup peas (10 grams)
- 4 Ak-Mak crackers (16 grams) with spreadable Laughing Cow cheese (1 gram)
- Homemade chicken soup with gnocchi (29-40 grams)
- Green salad (4 grams)
EVENING SNACK (GOAL: 15-30 GRAMS)
This tends to be where I splurge, depending on how much I’ve eaten throughout the day. For me, nighttime is the best time for a sweet snack, like a bit of ice cream or even a cookie (I’m really luck that I can handle a modest amount of processed sugar). However, it’s important to get something a little healthier in before bed, too, because if your sugar drops during the night, you’re body will over-compensate, likely reading to a high fasting level in the morning.
- Anything from the morning/afternoon snack list
- 1 slice whole wheat toast with peanut butter and/or homemade jam (14-30 grams)
- ¼ pkg sugar-free pudding made with skim milk (16 grams) with or without 6 Nilla Wafers (18 grams)
- 8 oz homemade smoothie with frozen berries, Greek yogurt, banana, skim milk (33 grams)
This recipe makes more than 8 oz. That’s important, because a whole banana in 8 oz of smoothie would be way too many carbs!
- ½ cup ice cream (19 grams) with or without diet rootbeer (0 grams)
- 2 oz (before popping) air-popped popcorn (18 grams)