I'm in my 26th week of pregnancy and have just been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. What should I eat?
If you find out you have gestational diabetes, a registered dietitian can develop a personalized meal plan to keep your blood sugar levels stable and within normal levels.
Your diet doesn't need to be much different from the diet recommended for pregnant women—well-balanced and nutritious, with regular meals and snacks. Eating three meals and three snacks a day that contain a combination of foods, including carbohydrates, protein, and fruits and vegetables, will help keep blood sugar levels stable. Daily exercise can also help control your blood sugar; in general, thirty minutes per day is recommended. But check with your doctor to be sure what’s right for you.
Other helpful tips include the following:
- Eat plenty of low-fat, high-fiber foods and limit foods that are high in sugar.
- Be careful of too many carbohydrate foods at once—fruit, grains, starchy vegetables, and milk. Instead spread them throughout the day.
- Check ingredient labels on food packages. Avoid foods that have sugar listed first, second, or third on the ingredient list. Remember that sugar may be listed as honey, brown sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, or high-fructose corn syrup. Usually, ingredients ending in "-ose" indicate a type of sugar (like sucrose).
- Eat a small snack before bedtime to keep blood sugar stable overnight. Try a snack that contains a little protein and complex carbohydrate, like cheese and whole-wheat crackers, or half a turkey sandwich.
For more detailed diet advice, see a registered dietitian who can recommend a specific eating plan that is tailored to your needs.
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