Is Gestational Diabetes Preventable?

Is Gestational Diabetes Preventable?

Gestational diabetes can happen to anyone who is pregnant. Although there are factors that increase the risk of gestational diabetes in a pregnant woman, there are some people who still get afflicted with this condition even though they have no prior risk to it. Hence, there is really no guarantee that you can prevent gestational diabetes, but having healthy lifestyle habits before you get pregnant can still make a difference. Even if you have gestational diabetes now, these healthy habits can help you prevent developing gestational diabetes in your future pregnancies. They can also help you avoid type 2 diabetes later in life.

If you want to prevent gestational diabetes, follow these simple tips:

  • Have a healthy diet. Since one of the risk factors of gestational diabetes is being overweight, the food that you eat counts a lot in preventing gestational diabetes. Opt for healthy choices, such as foods that are low in fat and sugar but high in fiber. Fatty and sweet foods can make you gain weight, and if you do not control what you eat, you are well on your way to becoming overweight, or worse, obese. On the other hand, high fiber foods promote better digestion and elimination, thus helping you lose weight. Eat a lot of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, since they are packed with vitamins and minerals and low in fat. Eating the same kinds of food can be boring, but the key is to strive for variety so that you can still eat nutritious food without compromising your health.
  • Exercise regularly. Diet always goes hand in hand with exercise. Although you can lose weight by simply eating smaller portions and healthier foods, your body will only be toned through exercise. Moreover, exercise is good for heart health. This is needed to prevent gestational diabetes complications such as hypertension and heart attack. In exercising, you can start with 30 minutes of moderate activity at least three times a week. Since you are pregnant, you don’t have to do high impact exercises. Simple walking, jogging, biking, and swimming already count as exercises. You can also chop your 30-minute exercise sessions into shorter periods throughout the day if you find the former tiring.
  • Lose weight before pregnancy. If you have plans of getting pregnant, make sure that your body is in tip top shape before you carry out your plan. That means you should make sure that you are not overweight so that you do not run the risk of developing gestational diabetes. Losing weight will not only benefit you in terms of your gestational diabetes, but also in terms of heart, muscle, and bone health. This can also improve your self-esteem dramatically. Doctors usually do no recommend losing weight while you are pregnant unless there is a necessity to do it, so you have no other time to lose weight but right now while you are still planning for your pregnancy.

To learn more about gestational diabetes and its causes, risk factors, prevention, and treatment, please subscribe to our newsletter and get my FREE Ebook!

Gestational Diabetes Bread and Starches-Common Portion Sizes of Carbohydrate Choices Part 1

Gestational Diabetes Bread and Starches

gestational diabetes breadA very important part of gestational diabetes therapy is watching your diet. As in any type of diabetes, the food that you eat should be moderated in order for you avoid sudden spikes of glucose in your blood, as your body’s insulin cannot cope up with the amount of glucose in your body. Carbohydrates are the main sources of glucose, but this does not mean that a woman with gestational diabetes is no longer allowed to eat carbohydrate-rich foods. A gestational diabetic can enjoy any type of food, as long as she controls the portion sizes of every food she eats.

If you are planning your gestational diabetes menu, here are the serving sizes of the most common breads and starches. All of the amounts here are equal to one serving, and each serving contains about 15 grams of carbohydrates.

Gestational Diabetes Bread

Size of One Serving

Whole grain bread 1 ounce slice
Cooked cereal ½ cup
Cooked rice or pasta 1/3 cup
Cooked beans, peas, or lentils ½ cup
Corn ½ cup
Large baked potato ¼ portion
Mashed potato ½ cup
Flour or corn tortilla 1 to 6 inches
Low fat crackers 6 squares
Hamburger or hot dog bun, English muffin, or frozen bagel ½ portion
Popcorn 3 cups
Rice cakes 2 pieces
Graham crackers 3 pieces
Concentrated bran 1/3 cup
Dinner roll 1 small portion
Broth-based soup 1 cup
Pretzels, potato chips, or tortilla chips 3/4 ounces
Sweet potatoes or yams ½ cup
Pancake 1 piece, 4 inches

It would also be very helpful if you consult your dietitian regarding your numbers of servings per day of carbohydrate, since this varies from person to person. However, in general, you can choose one kind of starch and have a maximum of three servings per meal, or you can choose several combinations of starches for a bit of variety.  If you find a gestational diabetes meal plan is helpful, you can read more about planning in our gestational diabetes diet meal plan.

Tips on Including Starches and Bread in Your Diet

  • If possible, choose pasta, cereals, and whole grain bread, since they are made of complex carbohydrates, hence not causing sudden spikes in blood glucose levels.
  • Fried and high-fat starches, such as tortilla chips, potato chips, and biscuits, should be eaten sparingly. Instead, you can opt for baked potatoes, pretzels, and low-fat muffins.
  • Instead of using sour cream on baked potato, try using a low-fat or fat-free yogurt.
  • For your dips and bread fillings, remember to use low-fat or fat-free substitutes, like low-fat mayonnaise or light margarine.
  • Use skim or low-fat milk together with your cereals.
  • If you are buying foods from the market, check out the nutrition facts on the food labels so that you have an idea how much carbohydrate and other nutrients are stored in the food that you eat. (remember, one serving carbohydrate = 15 gm of carbohydrate)
  • Check the serving sizes using measuring cups and spoons. You can also use a food scale if you have one.

Remember that planning your diet is an integral part in coping up with gestational diabetes.

For more information on how to create a meal plan for women with gestational diabetes, you can sign up to receive our newsletters.

What Makes a Good Lunch for a Gestational Diabetic Diet?

Eating Lunch At Work?  Try To Make & Take Your Meals-lunch for a gestational diabetic diet

lunch for a gestational diabetic dietWomen with gestational diabetes should make some lifestyle modifications, and that includes modifying their diets. Although you can still eat whatever types of food that you want, the key is to limit the portions that you eat, especially foods that increase your blood sugar levels. In order to watch your diet, it is advisable to plan your meals accordingly. Here are some tips in creating a meal plan and lunch for a gestational diabetic diet that is suited for women with gestational diabetes.

How to Create a Meal Plan-lunch for a gestational diabetic diet

There are a few basic ideas that you need to keep in mind when making a meal plan. The first concept is the importance of carbohydrates in your diet. Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates need to be included in your meals even though they are the main sources of glucose. Besides, it is hard to totally eliminate carbohydrates from your diet since all foods, more or less, contain a combination of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The only thing that you need to remember when it comes to carbohydrates is that you have to regulate your intake of carbohydrate-rich foods. Unlike fats and proteins that take a long time to affect the blood sugar levels, carbohydrates can cause sudden spikes in blood sugar levels, so that is why they need to be measured.

Another idea that you need to keep in mind is that you have to promote nutrition through a balanced diet. Healthy food choices are very important, since you are not just thinking about your health but also of your baby’s. Aside from good choices, you also need to consider the timing and portions of your meals, as everything has to be taken in moderation.

Controlling Blood Glucose Levels

Here are some helpful tips in meal planning that can help you control your blood sugar levels:

  1. Eat small, frequent feedings. You need to eat at least every 2 to 3 hours so as to spread the amount of glucose that you take throughout the day.
  2. Include proteins in your diet. Proteins help even out your blood glucose, plus it also gives you energy to last throughout the day.
  3. Eat high-fiber foods. Foods that are high in fiber include cereals, whole-grain breads, beans, and fresh and frozen vegetables. You can also include fruits in your afternoon or evening meals since these are also good sources of fiber.
  4. Avoid sugar and sweets. These can easily raise your blood sugar levels since these are composed of simple sugars. Although it is okay to take them every now and then, do so sparingly. Avoid fruit juices, soft drinks, and desserts.
  5. Limit fats. This is especially needed if you are watching out for weight gain. Choose only foods that are low-fat or fat-free.

Sample Lunch Meal Plan

In order to help you in your meal planning, here is a sample meal plan for lunch that you can also do one of these days:

  • 2 to 3 ounces of turkey (protein)
  • ½ cup of low-fat milk (protein and carbohydrates)
  • 1 small orange (vitamins and fiber)
  • Carrot sticks with lettuce and tomato (fiber and carbohydrates)
  • 2 pieces of wheat bread (starch carbohydrates)
  • 1 tablespoon of light mayonnaise (fat)

If you want to learn more on how to create a meal plan, you can subscribe to our newsletter on gestational diabetes and get 3 days of dinner meals and a great booklet about gestational diabetes.

Healthy Eating Out at Restaurants For Gestational Diabetes Moms

Wondering What You Should Do When Eating Out?

English: McDonald's Restaurant, Bermuda Park A...

Having gestational diabetes is not the end of the world for a pregnant woman. In fact, you can still enjoy much of the foods that you normally eat, but always in moderation. That being said, eating out at restaurants is not a total no-no for you, as it still remains one of your options. In fact, the choices that you have for eating out can still be the same choices that you have at home. As with eating at home, remember that you also need to have a balanced diet once you decide to dine out. Here are some guidelines that you need to remember to still keep healthy while eating out at restaurants:

  • Select the “right” restaurant. Before you go to whatever restaurant to eat out, you can research their menu beforehand so that you know what kinds of food to expect. Choose restaurant that have healthy food options, such as those with low fat and low sugar content. In fact, some restaurant websites contain nutritional and caloric information about their foods, so you can already plan what to eat even before you step into the restaurant. If such information is not available, you can instead opt for a restaurant where you can ask the chef to prepare low fat food for you.
  • Be mindful of the servings. There are some restaurants that offer large meal portions, so you need to control how much you eat by opting for smaller servings. You can also share with your partner if there are jumbo servings. Avoid supersizing your meals since this can lead to an exacerbation of gestational diabetes symptoms.
  • Avoid the freebies. Oftentimes, restaurants serve free bread, crackers, or chips while you are waiting for your meal. You can already skip these appetizers, especially since they are usually full of calories that will further increase your blood sugar levels. If you really want to have an appetizer, a safe choice would be a vegetable salad.
  • Use gravy and dressings sparingly. Both salad dressings and meat gravy are very high in fats, so you should not pour these over your meals like there’s no tomorrow. Instead, ask the waiter to serve it on the side so that you can control how much gravy or dressing you put into your food. If there is any low-fat dressing, that would be a good choice.
  • Substitute unhealthy foods with healthy ones. You can request from the chef or the waiter that instead of giving you fries as sides, they can just serve you garden salad instead. You can also substitute hash browns with fresh fruits.
  • Take note of what you drink. Your blood sugar levels might rise with sodas, fruit juices, shakes, tea, and coffee. While it is best to just drink plenty of water, you can still indulge in other drinks, provided that you only consume a little amount of those drinks.
  • Avoid fried foods. Remember that an average fast food restaurant serves food that have a lot of calories, fats, and salt, since the way that they cooked their food was almost always deep fried. Instead of eating fried foods, opt for baked or grilled foods instead.

You can sign up to receive all of my email updates on gestational diabetes and receive information about gestational diabetes and as my FREE gift you get my Ebook on Gestational Diabetes!

I do offer a full gestational diabetes meal plan that is downloadable to your computer, $10.99, 14 weeks worth of recipes and diet information!

Click Here To Buy