fbpx
Help Please!

Sample Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan + Tips

Rate This Recipe

Save this recipe for later:

If you’ve just been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you’ve come to the right spot! After going through gestational diabetes, I created this gestational diabetes meal plan along with plenty of resources, reassurance, and tips from my own experience to make your journey a little easier. I’m here for you!

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Sample Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan

After thousands and thousands of visits and meal plan downloads, I realized a lot of you were just like me. Frustrated with the gestational diabetes plans found online. The meals felt dated, focused on highly-processed foods, and like “diet” foods – ALL things I was not interested in when creating a healthy environment for my baby.

Gestational diabetes meal plan image in ipad

So I created the ultimate gestational diabetes meal plan guide for YOU. If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed with a recent GD diagnosis, you’ll want to grab this guide.

It’s packed with whole-foods focused recipes, easy dinners you can make (and the whole family can eat), and plenty of nutritious foods like lean protein, whole-grains, produce, and more.

If you’re looking for a real food for gestational diabetes meal plan, this is it.

Disclaimer: This post and the easy gestational diabetes meal plan ideas are just that – IDEAS to help you navigate! As always, run everything by your Doctor.

Signs of Gestational Diabetes

There aren’t many symptoms or signs of gestational diabetes, but increased thirst and urination are possible symptoms according to The Mayo Clinic.

Which is essentially a pregnancy symptom, so I didn’t think anything of my increased thirst and need to use the restroom. 🙂

Diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes?

It can come as quite a shock, but you’ll get through it! When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I failed both the one-hour and three-hour glucose tests, and was subsequently diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I was very surprised to say the least.

I went into a frenzy of figuring out how this happened, what I needed to eat (and not eat), how it would affect the baby, and anything else that I could worry about at the time. I know quite a bit about type-1 and type-2 diabetes, but didn’t have much experience with gestational diabetes until it happened to me! Now that I have lots of practice and personal experience, I hope that I can help you eat well through your diagnosis. Here’s some helpful background info about gestational diabetes from Mayo Clinic.

What to do After A Gestational Diabetes Diagnosis

Breathe: The upside of being diagnosed with gestational diabetes is that you can now make sure your glucose levels stay within a healthy range – good for baby and good for you! And this is definitely something to be grateful for.

And the diabetes will most likely be over in a matter of months. Stress can affect blood sugar levels, so don’t stress about this, and find ways to minimize the stresses in your life. Meals, snacks, and food will take up a lot of time, so maybe it’s getting help with housework, childcare, working less, etc. (Easier said than done, I know.)

You’ll go see specialists. Write down all of your questions and concerns – they have all of the answers! After my gestational diabetes diagnosis, I was referred to both a Doctor and a Registered Dietitian who specialize in gestational diabetes. I was surprised when they recommended that I start testing my blood sugar – even before I saw them – but it’s easier than you think and the first prick is the worst. I promise!

Your dietitian will determine how many carbs you should be eating and will help you find a diet that works for you – and make tweaks when necessary. Your Doctor will monitor you lots, which can feel worrisome at the time, but it is all worth the extra precautions and many hours spent at the Doctor’s office. Upside: you’ll get to see and hear your baby a lot!

Healthy Recipes for Gestational Diabetes

What to Eat: I love food and I hate diets, so the restricted diet was the hardest aspect for me. (I wrote a little about this here.) It’s not that the diet you’ll follow doesn’t allow carbs (quite the opposite!) but they do need to be the right carbs, counted, and eaten at the right times.

I wasn’t thrilled with what I found after some internet searching for gestational diabetes diet plans, so that is really the reason for this whole post. I eat a diet that consists mostly of whole, real foods and I wanted that emphasis to continue. Obviously you’ll need to follow whatever recommendations you get from your Doctor and/or RD, but here are some meal ideas (staples in my gestational diabetes diet!) to get you started.

Gestational diabetes meal plan image in ipad

Gestational Diabetes FAQs

How many carbs in gestational diabetes diet? 

This answer is going to depend on YOU. When you go visit your Doctor and Dietitian, they’ll give you a range of what you should be aiming for. Everyone is different so there is no strict number on this one.

Because my body was very sensitive to carbs, I was on a pretty strict gestational diabetes diet plan of:

  • Breakfast: 15-20 grams carbohydrates
  • Lunch/Dinner: 30 grams carbohydrates
  • Snacks: 15-20 grams carbohydrates (3-5 snacks a day)

**Remember, these aren’t necessarily the levels that YOU will follow, just wanted to give you a general idea. 

What causes gestational diabetes? 

Rumor has it that it’s our fault for getting gestational diabetes, but that’s WRONG! According to Hopkins Medicine:

Although the cause of GDM is not known, there are some theories as to why the condition occurs.

The placenta supplies a growing fetus with nutrients and water, and also produces a variety of hormones to maintain the pregnancy. Some of these hormones (estrogen, cortisol, and human placental lactogen) can have a blocking effect on insulin. This is called contra-insulin effect, which usually begins about 20 to 24 weeks into the pregnancy.

As the placenta grows, more of these hormones are produced, and the risk of insulin resistance becomes greater. Normally, the pancreas is able to make additional insulin to overcome insulin resistance, but when the production of insulin is not enough to overcome the effect of the placental hormones, gestational diabetes results.

Hopkins Medicine

Eating Out with Gestational Diabetes

I kept things simple when eating out, but we ate at home a lot. Partly because we have a toddler and don’t go out much and partly because I like to sample and share food when I go out, and that makes tracking carbs a little tricky! When we did eat out, I relied on entree-sized salads or protein (usually fish) entrees with low-carb sides (veggies, coleslaw, etc.).

Movement + Gestational Diabetes

Activity levels definitely play a role in glucose levels, so stay active and if you aren’t, get out walking! I made an effort to get out for short walks at least twice a day. You don’t need to be running 5 miles to see an improvement – so it’s worth it!

It was also recommended that I take a walk after dinner if I had high readings, but I honestly didn’t do that this much as I was usually exhausted at the end of the day.

Insulin + Gestational Diabetes

A common question is, will I have to take insulin? And it will totally depend on your body. Many women are able to control their gestational diabetes with dietary changes.

I was not one of those women, even though I was incredibly diligent with my diet and carb intake.

I share that because it’s important to note that even if you follow your gestational diabetes diet plan perfectly and do everything right, you still might not be able to control it on your own, and may need to take insulin.

When I had to start taking insulin, I was so disappointed and frustrated, but later realized I didn’t need to feel that way because it wasn’t an indication that I was doing a bad job. My body just wasn’t able to produce enough insulin on its own. The beauty of having another human in the equation is that you are forced to get over yourself and your own issues. 🙂 (And sometimes it helps to have a therapist who can point that out like I did!)

Does Gestational Diabetes Go Away?

In most women, gestational diabetes goes away right after delivery. This would be a great question to discuss with your Doctor if you are concerned.

In my case, I was able to guzzle down a huge cup of juice (It’s a Cedars-Sinai special!) and my blood sugar didn’t spike. (I tested it because I could hardly believe it.)

Onto the recipes for gestational diabetes during pregnancy…but if you need to have a pity party or complain to someone…you know where to find me! 🙂

Gestational Diabetes Breakfast Ideas

Here are a few ideas for some nutritious breakfasts. Depending on your carbohydrate recommendations, you may need to adjust some of these recipes to fit your own guidelines.

  • Sour Cream Scrambled Eggs – Took a trick from Anthony Bourdain, and it’s a genius one!
  • Banana Sushi – Breakfast or snack, these can be topped with nutritious crunchies like chia seeds, hemp hearts, or chopped nuts.
  • Summer Avocado Toast – This is a great breakfast or lunch and includes a few greens!
  • Banana Oatmeal Pancakes – Just 5 ingredients to make these nutritious and satisfying pancakes.
  • Egg Sandwiches – Because my carbs were quite restricted for breakfast, I had 1/2 of a sprouted english muffin, Trader Joe’s meatless breakfast patty, slice of cheese, and a fried egg a LOT. It was satisfying and tasty.

Gestational Diabetes Lunch Ideas

These gestational diabetes lunch recipes are designed to be prepped ahead so that you don’t have to make them each and every day.

  • Israeli Breakfast Bento Box – Switch up your lunches with this make-ahead meal.
  • Tuna Salad Snack Plate – You can also make this with canned salmon.
  • Sausage and Lentil Soup – Make this nutritious soup with pantry staples.
  • Mexican Chicken Taco Soup – This simple soup takes the flavor of tacos and turns it into a soup! Made with my secret soup ingredient.
  • Tuna Melts – I ate these a LOT when I had gestational diabetes as it was a filling meal on one or two slices of sprouted bread.
  • Salads – Make sure your salads are filling enough and have protein, fats, and carbs.

Gestational Diabetes Dinner Recipes

Simple and quick dinner ideas for gestational diabetes are a must, and here are a few favorites:

Check out my cook once, eat twice recipes to really maximize your time in the kitchen.

Gestational Diabetes Diet Menu Plan

Click here if you’re looking for a done-for-you gestational diabetes sample meal plan (I know I was!) that has breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes along with FAQs, tips, and a 7-day sample meal plan.

Gestational diabetes meal plan image in ipad

Reader Interactions

Did you like this recipe? Please leave a review and let me know what you thought! I appreciate it so much.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments

  1. Kelsey

    Hi! I’m a first-time mom to be and fellow blogger and I’m thrilled I stumbled across your site and that it is a recent post! I take my 3-hour test next week after having elevated levels at my 1-hour test and I’m truly freaking out. I already try to eat as healthy as possible and I was shocked/lost/confused when I failed the 1-hour test, so reading your post has literally saved my day! I hadn’t even failed the 3-hour test yet and I already feel like I failed my baby. I’m saving your meal plan just in case and will be trying out some of these recipes anyways in the meantime because they sound awesome!

    • Emily

      Hi Kelsey,
      I could have sworn that I responded to this, but it must not have gone through. Or I’m going crazy…which could totally be the case! How did your test go? Hope you are feeling well, and that you don’t have to deal with gestational diabetes, but I can help you get through it if you do. 🙂

  2. Melissa

    Thank you for this post. I felt distraught with my recent GD diagnosis (during my 10th week of pregnancy), since I am an active person that eats well. I too was shocked with the diagnosis. I have been worried about needing medication since I was diagnosed so early and I know that it can get progressively worse. I just want to say thank you for the line about how needing insulin was not an indication of you doing a bad job.

    • Emily

      Hi Melissa, congrats on your pregnancy! I know how you feel and totally remember that if you do need insulin, it’s not your fault. You can blame it on the hormones. 😉 Easier said than done, but important to remember.

  3. Cris

    Hi, I was also one of those moms with gestational diabetes. Had it with one pregnancy of 4. However, I am now pre-diabetic. I followed the gestational diabetes plan from my doctor which worked great keeping myself on track. I’m looking for that same plan now, not because I’m pregnant but to guide me with meal planning, loosing some weight and from becoming diabetic. Do you have something?
    Thanks for your help,
    Cris

    • Emily

      Hi Cris! Are you looking for personalized help? Feel free to email me (emily @ myeverydaytable.com) *no spaces otherwise, I would probably recommend the meal ideas above!

  4. Robin Hicks

    Hello, I signed up for the emails and I am getting emails but I never received the meal plan link. Can you please send it to me? Maybe it got spammed and I missed it? Thanks!

  5. Lisa

    I was diagnosed with gd yesterday after a one hour test. I had my blood drawn and it showed my levels were at 200. I was shocked but when i think about how i have eaten majority of my pregnancy (im 34 wks), i shouldnt be surprised. I love my sweet iced tea and processed carbs. It’s so discouraging to learn i have gd now. I wish i got tested at 28 wks, but i thought it would be a waste of money since this is my first pregnancy and i havent had complications. I switched to a midwife and she got me to test and now im not sure if i can have a natural labor and delivery at a birth center.
    A year and a half ago, i started the GAPS diet (aip), and i lasted about 6 mns, then tried keto for a couple months. I have played with aip diets before i learned i was pregnant so i wonder if my body never normalized its hormones, since i have eaten whatever ive craved the last 6-7 mns. I just hope i can manage these meal plans for the last 6 wks of pregnancy. I really dont want to have to prick my finger. But then again, its not the end of the world. We are actually fortunate to have all this medicine at our grasp, praise God, but still feeling down.

    • Emily

      Hi Lisa, SO sorry to hear this, I know it’s not what you wanted to get back from the Dr. It’s super frustrating to get the diagnosis, but also great news so that you can take care of yourself the way your body needs. And just remember that even if you need insulin, you shouldn’t feel bad!

  6. Chelsea

    I am so glad i stumbled upon your site today! I sat through my three hour GTT today and then was so anxious because I had not heard from them by 330 this afternoon. I called them and then they finally called me back and told me that I had failed my test and they were sending me to a RD who specializes in GD. I bursted out into tears.I had a feeling that I had failed but I didn’t want to believe it. I haven’t ate the healthiest during my pregnancy but it also hasn’t been horrible. My doctor told me it has nothing to do with my eating but had to do with my placenta blocking my bodies ability to produce the insulin I need for me and baby. But I still can’t help but feeling like somehow it’s my fault, that I could have prevented this. The diabetes educator is supposed to call me with an appointment but I want to start being proactive in the mean time and start eating the way I am supposed to. I know she may tweak some things when my husband and I meet with her but I want to get the ball rolling.

    • Emily

      Hi Chelsea, I’m so sorry! It’s never a fun diagnosis, but now you will be able to take good care of yourself and baby! It’s definitely not your fault, but I know it often feels like it is. Hope some of the meal ideas help you out. Congrats on your pregnancy. 🙂

  7. Audra

    Hello, I signed up for the emails, but have not received the download for the plan. Is there anyway you could send it to me? Thanks!

    • Emily

      Hi Audra, did you get it ok? Sometimes it takes a few minutes/hours to send out to you but it looks like you got it from my end.

  8. Emily M

    I am currently borderline for GD after the 3 hour test with my 3rd baby. My doctor told me that I just needed to modify my diet and as long as everything else stayed ok (I’m assuming my weight and the baby’s measurements is what he meant) he wouldn’t want any more testing. He then proceeded to tell me “no fruit” and obviously everything else worse than that. I did it for 8 days nearly perfectly and then I couldn’t function. Physically my arms were to heavy and weak to want to move them and mentally I wasn’t functioning like me. So, I started to allow myself 1 fruit at most a day and I felt improvement quickly. I also bought some low carb ice cream and stuck to portions when I really needed a treat. I lost 2 lbs in those 3 weeks between doctor appointments and I mentioned the fruit part to the doctor, leaving out the ice cream, and he cautioned me about it as my 3 hr number was high (at 184 – higher than my 1 hr number). I went back for a check up 2 weeks later and I lost 2 more lbs (at 34 weeks and 2 days). I wish he sent me to a nutritionist and/or had me checking my levels. I still feel weak frequently and am wondering if I am not getting enough carbs. I am really tired of eggs and meat for breakfast too! I’m really hungry in the morning but the options I have are quickly losing appeal. I’ve been fine without bread or pasta (which I do love), but I’m slowly losing it. How do I know if I’m getting enough and should I be concerned about any ramifications if I’m not?

    • Emily

      Hi Emily! If he’s suggesting that you should be that strict with your diet, I would 150% recommend going to see a Dietitian and checking your levels so that you know what is working for you. Ask them to refer you to a Dietitian! You could also have them request the blood sugar monitors so that you can check yourself and stay on top of it, but really a dietitian and/or doctor is the one who will tell you what your levels should be. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself! Good luck. <3

  9. Christin Carolina

    Hi Emily, I’m a student at ArtCenter in Pasadena and I’m currently working on a project for gestational diabetes. I was wondering , how were you able to create a meal plan that would be suitable for you, your husband and your child? I know that disagreements arises especially when the significant other simply doesn’t like the food?

    • Emily

      I’m not sure I quite understand the question! I do all of the meal planning at our house so if my husband didn’t like something he could fix something himself.

  10. Jessellyne

    Hi Emily,
    I was diagnosed with GD in my 28th weeks.indidnt pass my 3hour OGTT test that’s why my doctor sent me to a dietitian and gave me a meter to test my blood sugar 4x a day. I was doing well on my diet at the first 3 weeks,(blood sugar level is controlled)
    but later on I got 3 high blood sugar result after dinner at my 39 weeks of pregnancy.i.couldnt help my self to eat fruits at night before I go to bed.should I be worry about this?I feel like I failed myself and my baby. I’m almost there..3weeks to go and the baby will come out! I was worried if my baby will likely to have diabetes once I gave birth to him. 🙁

    • Emily

      Hi Jessellyne! Hang in there, you are so close! It sounds like you’re doing a great job, but definitely ask your dietitian or doctor if you have specific concerns. They’ll be able to look at your numbers and help!

    • Emily

      Hi Shelly! I love sprouted bread (all the time) because it has more protein and fiber (which can help even out blood sugar) and makes toast more filling. It’s not always the best for sandwiches (depends on the brand) as it can be a bit dry, but I love it as toast. I found that it was a carb that worked well for me and didn’t cause my blood sugar to spike like others did (ahem, pasta!).

  11. Génesis Day

    I found out today that I have GD. I was so distraught about the whole thing. I quickly started researching on what to eat and can upon your website and diet. I feel more at ease knowing that I’m not alone in all this. Thank you

    • Emily

      I’m so happy to hear that it helped, Genesis! You are certainly not alone, thought it may feel like that sometimes! Hope you found some helpful recipes + meal ideas.