What You Need to Know

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A gestational diabetes diet doesn’t have to be stressful! Here is everything you need to know about this diet, what to eat, and a few sample meal plans!

Gestational diabetes diet

One of the biggest challenges with gestational diabetes is knowing what and how to eat.

I searched the internet for the best recipes and tips on eating. I love to eat and at first it felt like all I could ever eat in the last 16 weeks of my pregnancy was spinach and chicken breasts.

Fortunately, I realized that was not true. I’ve shared my list of gestational diabetes in the past with tons of ideas – but if you’re looking for something great this place.

What is a gestational diabetes diet?

A gestational diabetes diet is a special type of diet designed exclusively for pregnant women with gestational diabetes. It can vary from woman to woman, depending on the guidelines of their medical team – and what their body prescribes.

Here are some factors that are generally included on a gestational diabetes diet plan.

  • It is usually well balanced with lots of whole foods
  • It contains many healthy foods, including vegetables and leafy greens.
  • It contains a moderate amount of healthy fats and lean protein.
  • Some people believe that you can’t have carbohydrates, which is not true. Most will find that their carb limit is much lower than they are used to, but it can be anywhere from 100 to 200 grams per day.
  • It should be very low in sugar and processed carbohydrates as these can cause large spikes in sugar
  • It’s usually recommended to have smaller meals throughout the day – my typical day was:
    • breakfast
    • Morning snack
    • Having lunch
    • Afternoon snack
    • dinner
    • Snacks before bed

Can You Have Carbohydrates With Gestational Diabetes?

As mentioned earlier, some believe that if you have gestational diabetes, you need to cut out all carbohydrates completely.

That’s just not true – you need carbohydrates. I think most are told they have around 175 grams of carbohydrates per day, although for some women (myself included) that might actually be too many. The guidelines are pretty out of date, and for some, having fewer carbs can be valuable. I recommend the book Real Food for Gestational Diabetes for a great discussion on this topic.

Which foods should you focus on?

Here is a list of all the foods to say yes to for gestational diabetes:

  • Lean meats like chicken and turkey, beef
  • Low-mercury fish such as salmon
  • whole grain products
  • Brown rice
  • Leafy vegetables
  • vegetables
  • Low-fat milk and yogurt
  • Boiled beans, chickpeas
  • Fruits that are rich in vitamin C.

For even more tips and advice on the topic, don’t forget to check out our list of Gestational Diabetes Foods.

Gestational Diabetes Nutrition Plan Ideas

When it comes to WHAT to eat, it can be a little trickier. I recommend checking out lots of great ideas in our gestational diabetes cookbook – but for those who just want some basic ideas, here are some simple plans:

Gestational Diabetes Nutrition Plan 1:


  • 1 slice of whole wheat toast
  • 1 hard-boiled egg
  • 1 cup of low-fat or fat-free milk


  • 5 to 6 whole grain crackers
  • 1 ounce cheddar cheese

Having lunch

  • 2 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 3 ounces turkey
  • Tomato and lettuce
  • 1 cup of raw vegetables like carrots, cucumber, etc.
  • 1 cup of mixed berries
  • 1 cup of low-fat or fat-free milk


  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 1 small apple


  • 4 ounces fried chicken breast (skinless)
  • 1 medium baked potato
  • 2 tablespoons of low-fat sour cream
  • 1 cup broccoli salad

Gestational Diabetes Nutrition Plan 2:


  • Whole grain English muffin with peanut butter
  • 1 cup of low-fat or fat-free milk


  • 1/2 banana
  • 2 tablespoons of mixed nuts
  • 1/2 cup of regular Greek yogurt

Having lunch

  • Whole wheat chicken sandwich with avocado and tomatoes
  • ½ bowl of farro and kale salad


  • 1/3 cup hummus
  • Vegetable sticks like 1 celery stalk, 1 carrot, 1/2 cup peas, and 1/2 red bell pepper


  • 3 ounces of salmon
  • 1 grilled peach
  • 1 ounce goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup arugula

A word of caution

Gestational diabetes requires following a proper eating plan. You still need to closely monitor your blood sugar levels even if you think you are perfectly following your diet. With proper diet and exercise, there is a high chance that your blood sugar levels will remain controlled.

However, failure to follow a gestational diabetes feeding plan can cause problems if you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. It is ALSO possible that you are doing everything right and still need medication to control your diabetes.

So if you have gestational diabetes, take care of yourself and follow a healthy pregnancy diet so that you can have a smooth delivery and a healthy baby.

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