How This Helps

Gestational Diabetes is a pretty common condition in pregnant women, provided most of them were not diabetic before pregnancy and the term was coined by the American Diabetes Association. It is the condition when pregnant women have high blood sugar levels. The best management of Gestational Diabetes is possible through a balanced and healthy diet and proper physical activity which will ensure the balance of blood sugar levels. Having a personalized gestational diabetes meal plan can help.

Food cravings (especially for high calorie and sugar-rich foods) are normal during pregnancy. This can lead to unwanted weight gain and eventually lead to harm to the baby. Statistics reveal that 50 to 90 percent of pregnant women experience intense food cravings at some point in their pregnancy period. Consumption of healthy and fiber-rich foods (like vegetables and fruits) can be the best solution for such cravings along with bringing good health for the mother and the baby.

Science and Research

Gestational diabetes is elevated blood sugar (glucose) that begins during pregnancy. Eating a balanced, healthy diet can help you manage gestational diabetes. The diet recommendations which follow are for women with gestational diabetes who don't take insulin.

Recommendations

To get a balanced diet, you will need to eat a variety of healthful foods. Read food labels so it can help you make healthy choices during your shopping trip.

If you're a vegetarian or have a special diet regimen, talk to your health provider to be sure that you're getting a balanced diet.

Generally, you should eat:

- Lots of whole fruits and veggies

- Limited amounts of lean proteins and healthy fats

- Controlled amounts of whole grains, such as cereal, bread, pasta, and rice, plus starchy vegetables, such as corn and legumes

Fewer foods with a lot of sugar, such as soft drinks, fruit juices, and pastries

It would be best if you ate three small- to moderate-sized meals and one or more snacks every day. Don't skip meals and snacks. Keep the amount and kinds of food (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) about the same from one day to the next. This routine can help you keep your blood sugar stable.

At first, meal planning might be overwhelming. But it is going to get more comfortable as you get more knowledge about foods and their effects on your blood glucose. If you're experiencing difficulties with meal planning, speak to your health expert.

The 1800 calories meal plan

Gestational diabetes is defined as diabetes that's diagnosed during pregnancy. It's generally diagnosed with pregnancy, and if you were diagnosed earlier in your pregnancy, you might have had undetected diabetes before becoming pregnant. While your dietitian or doctor should always personalize a gestational diabetes diet, some gestational diabetes diet principles can help you keep your blood glucose under control:

You will most likely have to restrict your carbohydrate intake. Carbs are still essential to your and your baby's growth (never go below 175 g per day while pregnant), but too much carbohydrate at the same time can cause your blood sugar to spike. Your dietitian can help you think of a plan to fit your personal needs.

Fiber can help to slow down your blood sugar spikes. Aim for foods like vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, legumes, lentils, and fruit.

Protein and fat may also help slow down blood glucose entry into the blood, so make sure to include those foods at each meal and snack.

The meal program below is a good example of adding high fiber foods into every meal and how to couple carbs with protein and healthy fats. Use this information along with the advice and recommendations from a dietitian or diabetes educator.

With gestational diabetes, portion sizes of carbohydrate foods matter, and an individualized program based on your current blood glucose levels should be given to you by your supplier, your diabetes educator, or your dietitian. Choosing snacks and meals from the choices listed below will help make sure you consume foods that may help you manage your blood glucose and include nutrients required for your baby's growth and development.

Characteristics of the meal plan: 
This meal plan is going to provide 1800 calories as you will not need more calories during the first trimester of your pregnancy. But your choices must be changed into nutrient-dense food from the 5 food groups which will be helpful in fueling your baby’s growth.  
Women with gestational diabetes must choose foods that are low in carbohydrate, sugar, and GI. This plan presents meal ideas for women suffering from Gestational Diabetes during the first trimester of their pregnancy.

See: Signs of diabetes in women

Breakfast, lunch, dinner & snack ideas

Breakfast:     Low Fat Yoghurt + Berries+ Flax Seeds + Oats
Ingredients needed for this dish are 1 cup of low-fat yogurt with ½ cup of berries with ½ cup of oat and 1 teaspoon flax seeds.
You have to mix all the ingredients together, sprinkle the flax seeds over the dish and start your day with a healthy meal. 
 


Nutrition Facts:
Yogurt supplies an excellent source of calcium, probiotic, as well as high-quality protein and is thus one of the best choices for pregnant women who are suffering from Gestational Diabetes.
Fiber-rich Berries make your breakfast healthier by adding them to naturally sweeten your meal. Berries are a diabetes superfood as they are low in glycemic index.
Colorful berries are full of antioxidants for their colors and they come loaded with vitamins as well as fiber. Raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, and blueberries are the top five best fruits for diabetics. Omega-3 fatty acid in flax seeds is great for the brain development of your baby.

Morning Snack:    1 cup of low-fat milk with a small apple.

Nutrition Facts
According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), pregnant women need to consume three cups of milk each day for the required amount of calcium, protein, and vitamin D to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy. 
Eating apple during pregnancy is nutritious for both the mother and the baby. It contains several health benefits and being low in the glycemic index it is for sure that it will be safe for pregnant women with gestational diabetes.



Research:  In 2006, Professor Robert Moses and Professor Jennie Brand-Miller, co-authors of The Bump to Baby Diet, conducted a study that ultimately showed that pregnant women who followed a low GI diet were 10 times less likely to deliver a large baby (with all the potential complications that are involved) and that their babies had a significantly lower percentage of body weight - and these indications suggest a reduced potentiality for childhood obesity.


Lunch: Chicken with brown rice and veggies:
To make this dish, you will need 60 gr grilled chicken drizzled with lemon juice along with 1 cup of whole-grain rice. This is to be served with 1.5 cups of various vegetables like steamed broccoli, carrot, kale, eggplant or zucchini. 



Nutrition Facts: 
Low GI food will prevent large fluctuations in blood glucose levels and help you manage your blood fats and weight. Whole grain rice is low in glycemic index and is a healthy choice for carbohydrates. Vegetables generally do not raise blood glucose. They supply several nutrients and fibers for mother and baby. Try to add dark green leafy vegetables to your lunch. Kale, the king of vegetables can be the best choice as it comes loaded with all the nutrients that are important for your growing baby. Eating eggplant during pregnancy is an excellent option for expectant mothers with Gestational Diabetes because its glycemic index is very low (15 out of 100).

Afternoon Snack:  
1/2 large grapefruit, 6 almonds (unsalted) along with 3 celery sticks:


Nutrition Fact: 
This afternoon LGI snacks can support your body with several vitamins, minerals, fibers and antioxidant which are important for your body during pregnancy. You can increase the intake of calcium and vitamin D with the almonds. 

Dinner:  Lentil-Avocado salad:
You will have to mix the lettuce, spinach and 30 grams of lentil with fresh mushrooms, cucumber, and tomatoes. All you have to do is mixing the ingredients and dress the salad with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice. The salad dish is to be topped with slices of lemon and avocado. 




Nutrition Fact: 
Adding high-fiber legumes like lentil to your salad is a good choice to make sure that you take your daily amount of protein, fiber, and LGI carbohydrates.
The presence of monounsaturated fat in avocado makes it a good fighter against bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases the availability of good cholesterol. 

Research:  According to the Dietary Guidelines 2010, good fats are those that can lower bad cholesterol levels and are beneficial when consumed in moderation. Avocados contribute good fats to one's diet, providing 3 grams monounsaturated fat and 0.5 grams polyunsaturated grams fat per 1 ounce of serving.
Notes:
•    1 teaspoon = 5 grams
•    1 tablespoon = 15 grams 
•    Your daily water intake should be 8-9 cups. It is better to drink 1 cup of warm water on an empty stomach 20 minutes before breakfast.

See: Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan for Vegetarians

References

References: 
http://www.nutritionremarks.com/2012/02/26/craving-sweet-foods-and-its-link-to-diabetes-in-pregnancy/
http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/gestational/what-is-gestational-diabetes.html
http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome
http://www.coles.com.au/babyclub/articles/pregnancy/low-gi-pregnancy-diet
http://diabetes.about.com/od/nutrition/a/My-Top-5-Best-Fruits-For-Diabetics.htm
http://diabetes.about.com/od/nutrition/qt/eggplantcarbs.htm
http://www.avocadocentral.com/nutrition/avocados-good-fats-heart-health

Photos references: 

http://www.diabeteszone.org/diabetes-in-women
http://mcparkerhouse.blogspot.com/2012/06/farmshare-berries-granola-with-greek.html
http://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-2437856-stock-footage-a-glass-of-milk-and-a-red-apple.html
http://s3.amazonaws.com/dietforu/chicken-brown-rice-and-vegetables-diet.html
http://sipofstarrshine.com/2014/04/13/foods-i-used-to-avoid/
http://www.denverpost.com/portlet/article/html/imageDisplay.jsp?contentItemRelationshipId=3530841
http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art69987.asp
 http://www.weeknightbite.com/sweet-home/lentil-avocado-salad-w-pesto-dressing

See: Yoga Helps You & Your Baby For Gestational Diabetes

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