Have you just been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes and now wondering what you should eat? In this blog we discuss some quick and easy diet tweaks that you can make to optimise your diet if you have GD.
Rates of Gestational Diabetes are sky-rocketing, so if you’ve been diagnosed with GD, you’re not alone. Although it’s challenging, I’ve had many women confess to me over the years that it was actually a blessing in disguise – being diagnosed with GD actually made them pay much more attention to their diet and lifestyle than they were doing, and now they, and their baby are much healthier as a result.
So, for those who are confused about what GD actually is, it’s when your body is no longer producing the right amount of the hormone insulin to maintain the right amount of glucose in your blood stream.
Think of it like this: You want to get from home to the city. You walk down to the train station, and wait for the next train. Finally, the train turns up, but it’s so jam packed that there’s no way you can squeeze on, so you have to wait for the next train. As you wait again, more and more people are crowding the platform. By the time the next train arrives, a few people manage to squeeze on, but now there’s more people on the platform, than there is room on the train!
That’s what it’s like with GD. You want to get the glucose out of your blood stream and into your cells so that it can do it’s job, but it gets stuck in your blood stream because there’s not enough trains.
The next question becomes, what can you do about it? Well, let me give you a few suggestions…
Number one – reduce the number of people allowed onto the platform.
By building a gate at the entry to the platform which only allows one person through at a time, it slows down the number of people allowed on the platform. We can do this with your diet. Glucose is found in carbohydrates, so instead of eating all of your carbohydrates at once, you need to snack on them in small, amounts throughout the day.
For example, let’s look at the diet’s of Sally and Kelly.
Sally skips breakfast, grabs a latte for lunch, then gets home from work and downs 4 crackers with cheese, a bowl of pasta, 2 slices of bread, followed by a tub of yoghurt.
Kelly, on the other hand has crackers with cheese for morning tea, a sandwich made from 2 slices of bread at lunch, a tub of yoghurt in the afternoon, followed by a bowl of pasta for dinner.
Although they’ve both eaten the same food, Sally ate hers all at once, so her glucose will have a traffic jam, and she’ll end up with high blood glucose level readings, whereas Kelly spread her carbohydrates evenly across the day.
So, my suggestion is to plan your meal and snack times. Aim to have a nutritious meal or snack every 3 to 5 hours. You may like to set an alarm on your phone to remind you until you get into the habit.
Tip number two – allow important people onto the train first.
If you can’t get everyone to their destination, it’s more important to allow the doctors and nurses to get to work than those who are just heading to the city out for a day of sight-seeing.
Dietary-wise, we need to prioritise carbohydrate foods that provide our body with important nutrients that our baby needs. This means, prioritising wholegrains that provide our baby with B vitamins, dairy foods which provides our baby with calcium and fruit which provides our baby with vitamins, over foods like potato chips, sugar and sweet biscuits which don’t contain much nutrition.
THIRDLY, don’t clog up the train with luggage.
If the train is full of bags and luggage, there’s not much room left for people.
What I mean from a nutrition perspective is that if we fill our diet up with fat, that’s going to impact how our body processes carbohydrates.
So in summary:
- Eat small, regular meals and snacks every 3 to five hours
- Focus on eating nourishing foods like fruit, wholegrains and dairy, and
- Minimise your intake of junk food.
Hopefully, this will be enough to optimise your glucose levels to allow for a healthy pregnancy. If you’re glucose levels still aren’t within the recommended range, the next step is to start measuring your carbohydrate intake using a calorie counting app, then book in to see a dietitian who can help you with your diet.
As always, if you have any questions, please type them in the comments below.
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