When I got the diagnosis, I didn’t change my diet in any way–mainly to see how my numbers were doing before I did anything drastic. I needed a baseline in my head. My numbers were pretty good, mostly within the range it was supposed to be. I had one big spike the night we ate cheese pizza for dinner. And then throughout the next week or so, I had some mild raises in different readings depending on what I ate.
For example, I knew carbs were an issue but wondered if homemade sourdough would be processed differently than store bought bread. Night 1- I ate half a BLT on my homemade sourdough with a side of cottage cheese. Great numbers. Night 2- ate a burger with the same amount of my homemade sourdough and a side of carrots. Number was a little elevated. Wasn’t sure what happened. The nurse said it could be carrots. Basically you can eat the same exact meal every day and get different blood sugar readings.
The numbers are affected by medications, sleep, whether you are sick, if you are stressed, etc. So it’s not like you can eat the same thing and always have the same number. Which is FRUSTRATING. Like if Meal A worked perfectly yesterday, why isn’t it working today?
When I started reading more about Gestational Diabetes, there were a lot of pregnancy chat groups, and a few blog posts here and there. There wasn’t a TON out there. GD is more common in non-white pregnant women, women with PCOS, a history of diabetes in the family, women over 35 years old, etc. (It’s not just weight that causes GD.) It effects 10% of pregnancies. But there still isn’t a ton of personal stories out there.
I wanted to share some of the foods I’ve been eating in a post. And share things that have worked for me. I am still experimenting.
Go-to snacks for me:
*Apple slices with cheese or peanut butter
*Cheese with olives and nuts
*Cottage cheese (sometimes with pineapple chunks)
*Kind bars, especially paired with some cheese
*Nature’s Valley Granola Bars (they come with 2 in a package and if I have one and pair it with cheese it works well)
At bedtime, I have to have a small snack. Per the nurse, going too long overnight changes your morning fasting numbers.
“Why are my blood sugars high in the morning? The dawn phenomenon: In the early hours of the morning, hormones, including cortisol and growth hormone, signal the liver to boost the production of glucose, which provides energy that helps you wake up. This triggers beta cells in the pancreas to release insulin in order to keep blood glucose levels in check.”
I’ve experimented with a few different things. The first is a slice of seeded bread with peanut butter and a small glass of almond milk:
I had great fasting numbers with that snack. I’ve also done 1/4 of an apple with that peanut butter and almond milk and it worked pretty well, too.
For lunch, especially at work, I’ve been doing tuna on these lower-carb crackers with a cheese stick and sometimes sugar free jello, or some nuts.
A lot of the “keto” friendly foods and snacks work well for GD. Nuts, low carb “Crackers”, the Whisps crackers (made out of cheese), celery and peanut butter.
Breakfast Things I Do:
*Scrambled eggs with cheese and 1/2 an English Muffin with butter and jam (my Blood Sugar actually doesn’t spike from the jam!)
*Plain Greek Yogurt with blueberries, chia seeds, flaxmeal, and Keto Granola.
*Fried eggs with sautéed kale (this was my go-to keto breakfast)
*Oatmeal with chia seeds, peanut butter, walnuts and a splash of milk.
Surprisingly, Oatmeal does not freak my blood sugar out. Years of low carb and keto restrictions made me think I needed to cut carbs–especially oatmeal–out completely. But that is NOT the case. You just have to eat the “right” oatmeal. Meaning, not packed with sugar. I do Steel Cut Oats. I’ve done regular rolled oats. I prefer the Steel Cut and it’s nice that you can get quick cooking kind. I use this:
Dinners seem to be a bit more of a challenge for me. We haven’t changed our dinner menus radically since the GD diagnosis, other than not eating pizza. But we’ve had a rotation of doing spaghetti and meatballs a few times a month and I don’t think pasta is the best choice right now. I will be experimenting soon with alternative pasta options to see if that works.
Our standard dinner is a protein and a vegetable. This past year we’ve been doing rice once or twice a week as a side with dinner and sometimes that spikes my blood sugar, sometimes it doesn’t. I usually do brown rice, but now I am experimenting with quinoa and barley and farro instead. (Farro seems to be the winner!)
Quest pizza works great!
Trial and Error
A lot of this process is trying something and then testing. So far, most things that are standard in my current diet are testing ok.
My favorite thing–Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi’s–do not change my blood sugar! Woohoo!! I absolutely love them as a side for dinner and we eat them maybe once a week. I am super glad it’s not something I have to give up.
The Morning Star Spicy Black Beans burgers–which are sort of high in carbs but good in fiber– are “safe” for me to eat (no bun).
I made vegetarian enchiladas with low carb tortillas and was surprised that even with the low carb tortillas, my blood sugar spiked! That was pretty frustrating! So the few times I’ve had low carb tortillas now, I do not like my numbers. I can’t explain why it doesn’t work, but it doesn’t.
Another one I can’t do — bananas. I kind of assumed they’d be a no-no but I googled it and saw some articles saying bananas were ok as long as they were paired with something like PB. So for my bedtime snack I tried half a whole wheat english muffin with peanut butter and 1/2 a banana sliced on top. The next morning my fasting number was too high. So no bananas. Whomp Whomp.
But…mashed potatoes don’t seem to spike my numbers??
This whole thing is just trying stuff and seeing if it works. So far my numbers are only slightly elevated once in awhile. I am glad there is never a number totally off the charts.