10 Savvy Snacks for the Gestational Diabetes DietJacqueline Tourville
If you’ve got gestational diabetes, you can still get the nutrients you and Baby need and keep your blood glucose levels under control. Enjoy these 10 healthy, diabetic-friendly snacks during pregnancy.
Who says diabetic snacks mean zero taste? These zesty nachos are tantalizing to the taste buds, provide approximately 29 grams of carbohydrates, and are a good way to work in a little calcium and a serving of vegetables into your prenatal diet.
Here’s how to make them: Layer 10 corn tortilla chips—just over 1 ounce in weight—on a baking sheet and top with 1/4 cup of grated cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup of chopped green pepper (or use hot peppers, if preferred). Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove from oven and transfer to plate. Top with 1/4 cup of tomato salsa and a tablespoon dollop of low-fat Greek-style yogurt.
Health Tip: Because flavored tortilla chips tend to contain lots of sodium and, even worse for moms with gestational diabetes, added sugar, stick to plain corn tortilla chips.
Cheese and Crackers
Perfect for a healthy, carb-controlled snack break at home or work—and easy enough to pack up for eating on the go—change up your choice of fruit and cheese to keep this snack classic fresh and exciting. These options are paired with a cup of low-fat milk for added calcium and just enough carbohydrates to reach 30 grams:
- 10 whole grain baked “thin snack crackers” (approx. 8 g of carbs); 1 ounce of cheddar cheese, sliced; 1/2 medium apple, sliced (10 g) and 1 cup of low-fat milk (12 g)
- 4 pieces of whole grain melba toast (15 g of carbs); 1 tablespoon reduced-fat cream cheese (1 g); 1/4 cup sliced strawberries (3 g) and 1 cup of low-fat milk (12 g)
- 5 round whole grain crackers (10 g of carbs); 1 ounce of Swiss cheese, sliced; 5 small pear slices (less than half a small pear: 8 g) and 1 cup of low-fat milk (12 g)
Health Tip: Eating carbohydrates in combination with protein and/or fat slows down the rate at which carbohydrates break down into glucose and enter the bloodstream. Fats and protein also leave you feeling full and satisfied.
Need a replacement for your mid-afternoon soda fix? Wet your whistle with this smoothie made with fruit and yogurt and just a hint of honey added sweetness.
Here’s how to make it: Blend together 1 cup of plain yogurt (12 grams of carbs), 1 cup of fresh strawberries (12 g), 1 teaspoon of honey (6 g), and 1/2 cup of crushed ice.
Health Tip: Because blood sugar can be hard to control in the morning when insulin production is sluggish, even the small amount of honey in this recipe may be difficult for your body to handle in the AM.
Easy to slip into your purse for a quick snack almost anywhere, power bars—especially those made with nuts and seeds—can be a good source for added fiber in your prenatal diet. To give your snack carbohydrate count a little wiggle room, look for brands that offer around 15 grams of carbohydrates or less per bar. Pair with a small piece of fruit to reach a filling 30 gram total.
Health Tip: Check labels carefully! Avoid products made with unnatural ingredients and artificial sweeteners. And make sure the serving size is one bar—if not, you may be eating more carbs than you intended.
Toast with Almond Butter
A slice of crunchy whole grain toast (12 to 15 grams of carbs) spread with creamy almond butter (4 g) and washed down with a glass of milk (12 g). Who could ask for more from a 30 gram snack?
Health Tip: Sure, you can sub in the old standby of peanut butter and keep the carb count the same, but almond butter is a tasty change—and provides such good-for-pregnancy nutrients as monounsaturated fats, magnesium, zinc, and calcium.
Pita Wedges and Carrots with Tahini Dipping Sauce
Keep hunger at bay with this flavorful, Mediterranean-inspired snack that uses tahini, a nutty paste made from crushed sesame seeds.
Here’s how to make it: To make the dipping sauce, mix together 3 tablespoons of tahini (9 grams of carbs) with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and a sprinkle of salt. Serve with half a whole-grain pita (15 g), further cut into wedges and 1/2 cup carrot sticks (6 g). Dig in!
Health Tip: If tahini is too nutty a taste for you, swap out for 2 tablespoon of hummus. Essentially tahini mixed with fiber-rich chickpeas, hummus contains just under 5 grams of carbs per tablespoon.
Snack on soup for a wonderfully warm between-meal tummy filler. Try a cup of low-sodium garden vegetable soup (approximately 22 grams of carbohydrates) sprinkled with parmesan cheese and served with a few crackers (8 g) for true “mini meal” satisfaction!
Health Tip: Tomato-based vegetable soups, made without cream, noodles, or added rice, are the best way to stretch your carbohydrate budget. If you do have room for a few extra carbs, you can always add these ingredients to your soup; just measure out amounts before adding.
Pizza for one? It’s possible with this English-muffin based pizza snack treat.
Here’s how to make it: On a whole grain English muffin half (12 g), spread 1 tablespoon of pizza sauce (2 g) and top with 1/4 cup of grated cheese and a few slices of green pepper. Bake in a conventional or toaster oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees F until cheese is melted and bubbly and bread is toasted. Remove from oven and transfer to plate before serving.
Health Tip: Hitting your carbohydrate count goals for every meal and snack is an important part of maintaining good blood glucose control. What to do with the rest of your carb budget for this snack? Snack on a small apple (15 g) or a cup of carrot sticks (12 g).
Half a Sandwich
If you find sandwiches satisfying, try a half sandwich at snack time to keep you filled until your next meal. One slice of bread contains approximately 15 g of carbs per slice, so how about a half chicken salad or roasted turkey and lettuce sandwich? Wash down with a glass of milk (12 g) or follow with a small crunchy apple (12 g).
Health Tip: Whether for snack or for lunch, a sandwich is a good place to sneak an extra serving of vegetables into your prenatal diet. Try adding a 1/2 cup of cucumber slices or fresh baby spinach for a negligible number of carbohydrates and plenty of added nutrients.
Cottage Cheese and Fruit
At 5 grams of carbohydrates per 1/2-cup serving, cottage cheese can be eaten alone or mixed with your favorite fruit to create a balanced and satisfyingly sweet snack. Try adding a 1/2 cup chopped cantaloupe or honey dew melon (each contains 8 grams of carbohydrates per 1/2-cup serving). For a more substantial snack, spread a 1/2 cup of cottage cheese on a slice of whole grain toast and top with half an apple (sliced) and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Health Tip: Limited evidence suggests that cinnamon may help regulate blood glucose levels in men and women with diabetes. Too much cinnamon could upset your stomach, so don’t go crazy. But if the flavor fits, go ahead and sprinkle on a little spice.