The doctor tells you that you have gestational diabetes but you have to wait to speak to a dietitian. "Um, hello?! What am I supposed to do until then?" I don't think they realize the immense stress this places you under. "You're telling me that my baby is in danger, but you're not helping me with a solution for days or weeks?! Why are you just now testing for this anyway?!"
These 5 tips to get started are the beginning to controlling gestational diabetes naturally with diet. The goal is to keep you away from insulin, if at all possible! Implement these tips for peace of mind until you speak with a dietitian and get a glucose monitor.
I was there! I get it! Here are a few tips to give you peace of mind while you wait for your next appointment.
5 Tips to Get Started
1. Keep a food log (affiliate link).
Why? A lot is going on in life and at your appointment you'll get flooded with information. The food log will help the dietitian bridge the gap between your current eating habits and how you should eat on the diet. That'll be a big help for both of you. Also, it'll help you narrow down which foods your body doesn't like. If you don't want to log it, just snap a picture before each meal.Why? The longer you go without eating, the whackier your blood sugar will react. Eating every 3-4 hours helps maintain it at steady levels. You don't want it to drop too low or spike too high. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, and have a snack after each meal. Have a protein and carb each time you eat. Click here for more guidance. Get as much fiber as you can (especially since constipation is normal) and don't be afraid of fat. These nutrients work together to stabilize blood sugar.
2. Eat Every 3-4 Hours
Why? The longer you go without eating, the whackier your blood sugar will react. Eating every 3-4 hours helps maintain it at steady levels. You don't want it to drop too low or spike too high. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, and have a snack after each meal. Protein and fat are blood sugar stabilizers, so include them every time you eat. Get as much fiber as you can (especially since constipation is normal). Check out the gestational diabetes diet page for more guidance, and if you need ideas, check out Gestational Diabetes Snacks on the Go.
3. Bedtime Snack
Don't skip it! Why? The morning/fasting blood sugar is very important and very sensitive. Remember, your blood sugar needs to be as stable as possible, and that's why you're eating every few hours. The bedtime snack shortens your fasting period, giving your blood sugar less time to get whacky. If you go from dinner to breakfast, your blood sugar will likely be too high in the morning. Since the morning blood sugar is notoriously tricky, make this snack protein-heavy.
As a side note, sometimes a protein-heavy snack doesn't do the trick, so I suggest joining a Facebook gestational diabetes support group. The moms in there can give real-time suggestions and testimonies of what works for them.
4. Eat a Sensible Breakfast
Breakfast sets the tone for the day; both hunger and blood sugar wise. Eat good proteins and fats; blood sugar stabilizers that also keep you fuller, longer. Avoid empty carbs like white flour. Keep carbs around 15g and below if you can, until you get a better idea of what you can handle.
5. Avoid Processed Foods
As many as you can. Why? Because processed foods normally have added sugar and empty (not nutritious) carbs. Of course, you're probably not going to make your own bread or pasta, so just make better choices at the store, like seeded or whole grain bread and protein fortified or vegetable pasta. To learn what better choices are available, see the What Not to Eat page.