My first diagnosis with gestational diabetes (GD) was a huge blow. I was so completely clueless about the meaning of the illness. As soon as I was diagnosed, I went out and bought a ton, like an insane amount, of veggies. Think Costco. I thought carbs were forbidden and I was stuck eating greens for the rest of my pregnancy. And sweets? Forget it. Oh, I had so much to learn and boy did I ever thanks to the registered dietician.
This time around, since it’s my second pregnancy with gestational diabetes, it’s like a walk in the park. (OK, not quite. There’s still those pesky needles.) I think it’s easier because the first time around changed the way I thought about food and I discovered different coping techniques when things got rough. So if you are finding yourself in the unknown when it comes to your diagnosis, I’ve put together some tips that I hope will help you understand this new adventure to babyhood.
Keep in mind that I have a moderate case of gestational diabetes and I’m able to control it with diet and exercise. Every case is different, but I hope you will find something useful and encouraging in what I’ve written.
Coping With Food Restrictions 1 of 11That sucked for me so I decided to start writing down all of my cravings and I gave myself permission to eat everything on the list after the baby was born and I was in the clear. I brought a bunch of food from my list with me to the hospital (my food bag was bigger than my personal bag!). I munched at all hours on my goodies and eventually, after over a month, I crossed everything off the list. That felt good.
Food Scale 2 of 11Buy a cheap food scale if you are given a diet that requires ounces of protein. I got one at target for $5, it's not digital, but it works fine. I even took it in my purse and measured meat at restaurants! This time around I don't need the scale as I'm so used to the portion of meat I need to eat.
Get your own food scale at Target for $5
No Snacking 3 of 11Put down that snap pea, don't pop that grape in your mouth. I couldn't believe how much I actually snack during the day, little things like when I'm getting the kids a snack I might have a bite too. While I cook, I'm always sampling and that counts towards your carbs or protein. Sure you can have a snack, but it must come at a certain time between meals and have the appropriate-for-you carb/protein balance. The good news is that this will keep you from gaining extra pounds!
image credit Zweet Sports
Myths About Carbs and Gestational Diabetes 4 of 11Carbs ARE allowed, in fact they are necessary. The first time I was diagnosed I thought I had to say goodbye to anything with a carb in it. Not true. Your registered dietician and doctor will tell you how many carbs you are allowed per meal (they may be more than you realize). In the morning I can have a piece of whole wheat bread with a protein like eggs or veggie sausage patty and cheese. Meat and cheese sandwich for lunch and for dinner a lean protein with ¾ cup of rice or pasta and as many veggies as I want. Not so bad, right?
image credit The Health Culture
Find Your Treats! 5 of 11I'm used to grazing and having treats (I've been known to sneak those dark chocolate covered fruit balls throughout the day, mmmm), so finding a treat that satisfies was extremely important for me. I also save my treats for at night, my late night snack, so it gives me something to look forward to all day. I've found that vanilla Haagen Dazs does the trick. I eat about 12 almonds and have a half a cup. Ice cream works well with my system as it contains protein as well as carbs. I choose Haagen Dazs because it is very rich and creamy and a little goes a long way. Or I will have almonds with the dark chocolate balls. I love my daily treat!
Image credit Haagen Dazs
Fruits 6 of 11Fruit is a carb. I love fruit and I also love carbs like pasta, bread and rice. If I eat fruit during a meal, then I can't have what I like to think of as a â€˜real' carb. That's why I save my fruit servings for my 2 daily snacks. My tailored for me snack is either string cheese or almonds with a piece of fruit (I'm loving that nectarines are still available). You've always got to combine a protein with a carb. There are lots of protein sources too, I just happen to be a picky eater so my choice is almonds or string cheese.
Image credit Eating Soulfully
Gum Or Tic Tacs 7 of 11When I have a craving for something to snack on or after a meal and I just want something sweet, I pop in a piece of sugar free gum. My favorite is bubble mint. Yes, gum chewing is a gross habit, but I do what I can to survive my pregnancy chewing cravings. If gum does the trick, then smack-smack! Sometimes I'll have a tic tac too. Sounds sad and pathetic, but whatever works, right?
Image credit Earnest Holistic Health
Needles 8 of 11Needles Oh the joys of pricking your finger four plus times per day. I'm not gonna lie, it sucks, but it's not that bad either. You see, it's just a teeny, tiny needle, not the lancet that looks like a razorblade in your doctors office. You get to pick the depth it penetrates too. I have mine set on 1.5 out of 6. It really only takes a tiny drop of blood. As far as where to poke, my finger of choice is my left ring finger on the side closest to the thumb. This finger seems to have the least pain and the best results. I end up using this one as much as possible with breaks here and there to prevent it from getting sore.
Image credit Holly Whitney
Recipe And Food Ideas 9 of 11This all depends on what your doctor and registered dietician tells you and what specifically will work with your body. I'll just give some examples. For breakfast things like veggie and cheese omelet, toast with peanut butter, oatmeal with a side of lean protein like turkey bacon or veggie sausage or egg. I eat an English muffin with a veggie sausage patty and cheese every day. I like it! Lunch can be chopped veggie salad with chicken and chick peas and a slice of bread or croutons, a peanut butter and reduced sugar jelly on whole wheat bread, meat and cheese sandwich with veggies on wheat bread. Dinner options are lean protein (chicken breast, fish, pork chop, tofu) with a carb of choice and lots of veggies. Beware of sauces with hidden carbs! For snacks your protein can be string cheese, almonds, cottage cheese, plain or low sugar yogurt, with a carb like fruit.
Image credit A Better Bag Of Groceries
Exercise 10 of 11You will not believe how much a 20 minute (at least) brisk walk a day will do to help lower your blood sugar. I like to take 2 shorter walks a day around 20 minutes each. The kids can ride their bikes next to me or when they are in school I get a nice peaceful walk to clear my head.
Image credit Steady Health
Going Out To Eat 11 of 11It may seem daunting at first, but it's totally doable. Once you have your personalized diet, just order accordingly. For lunch I like to order salads with chicken and eat some bread. Dinner just get a lean protein, but make sure it's not slathered in carb filled sauce and eat it with a carb of your choice in the portion that's right for you. Think rice or potatoes or pasta and it's really all about portion control (bring a measuring cup and a scale if you need to).
Image credit Former Fat Guy Blog
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