Gestational diabetes affects more women than we think. The question is what can be done from a dietary perspective to assist a mom and baby with gestational diabetes?
The higher the pregnant mom’s blood sugars are the greater the risk to her unborn baby. The more glucose fluctuations the greater the risk to the growing baby and the higher the insulin spikes the greater the risks.
Here are some nutritional tips for an expecting mother with gestational diabetes
1. Cut ALL sugars, refined starches and white carbs out of the diet.
2. Drink only water, no fizzy drinks or fruit juices
3. Eat a range of fresh veggies, both green and orange veggies.
4. Eat only seasonal, fresh whole fruit. Avoid dried fruit, fruit juices and canned fruits.
5. Keep fruit portions to 3 per day of which berries should make up two portions.
6. Include some healthy fats at each meal and snack time. These would include tree nuts like almonds, hazelnuts and cashews. Include seeds like flaxseeds, chia seeds and sunflower seeds.
Olives, olive oil, avocado and coconut fat can be included daily to add healthy and sustainable calories.
7. Protein is very important for placenta health and the growing baby as well as mom. Protein foods include eggs, all meats and fish, dairy products also include protein but make sure they are the least processed available . That means, full cream, unsweetened, no colorants or flavourants added. Yogurt, milk, butter and cream cheeses.
8. Only eat natural unprocessed grains and include a max of two portions a day. These include quinoa, oats, spelt, millet, sorghum.
9. Have three meals and two to three small snacks a day.
10. Include a protein, dairy and/or two green and one orange veggie per meal . At one meal include a grain. And distribute the three fruit portions over the day. Include a fat portion at each meal and snack.
Drink lots of fresh water throughout the day! And find ways to manage your stress in a healthy way. Include some light consistent exercise as this also helps manage blood sugar and gives you a sense of well being.
Kath Megaw - paediatric dietician and co-author of Feeding Sense