Tired of cheese sticks and protein shakes? These real-life gestational diabetes snack ideas are categorized so you can quickly find what suits your savory or sweet tooth. No matter what you like, you'll find something here.
A healthy diet with essential nutrients is important for everyone, but a balanced diet is especially important for pregnant women to have a healthy pregnancy.
Whether you have gestational diabetes or not, insulin resistance worsens the further along you are, so eating healthy snacks focused on blood sugar control is a good practice.
The purpose of snacks is to keep blood sugar levels steady so they don't spike or crash.
What snacks are OK for gestational diabetes?
Gestational diabetes snacks should ideally have at least 6 grams of protein, 15 to 20 grams of carbohydrates, fiber, and magnesium. Choosing complex carbs over simple carbs ensures fiber is present and limits added sugars, and magnesium lowers fasting glucose.
35 Savory Snack Ideas
These are the best snacks I could think of. Some need to be prepped ahead of time, but some are grab-and-go or store-bought.
1. Shrimp and cauliflower fried rice - It's packed with non-starchy vegetables and has no added sugar.
2. Low carb wraps - Pick your wrap (store-bought best low carb tortillas, lettuce, collards, cabbage, etc.), pick your protein (egg salad, chicken salad, taco beef, chicken strips, etc.), and add in some crisp veggies (fresh bell peppers, shredded carrots, etc.)
3. Corn tortilla taco - A simple taco has all the protein and carbs you need. The corn tortilla is a great choice in diabetes and is high in resistant starch. The 6-inch tortilla gives 19-21g carbs.
4. Egg with toast - Large eggs have 6g of protein and 5g of fat. The carbs will come from the bread. If you need bread options, several are covered in this article, Is Dave's Killer Bread Healthy?
5. Cream cheese filled baby peppers.
6. Deviled eggs - Turn a hard-boiled egg into a deviled egg for some razzle-dazzle. A serving of 2 has 6g of protein and 5g of fat. Pick a carb like crackers or veggies.
7. Rice cake with avocado pico de gallo (or avocado and salsa) - Plain rice cakes are only 7g carbs, and the pico is 9g carbs with 5g of fiber! Top it with ¼-cup non-fat Greek yogurt (very similar to sour cream) for 6g of protein.
8. Crustless quiche - A favorite! Super easy to make and reheat. Each slice packs 11g protein, 12g fat, and 10g carbs.
9. Vegetarian taco - I almost always have sauteed bell peppers on hand because they're such an easy add to a lot of meals. Sometimes I'll grab a low carb tortilla, fill it with peppers, dollop on ¼-cup non-fat Greek yogurt for 6g of protein, and maybe add a few slices of avocado.
10. Chicken salad with bread or crackers.
11. Sardines with crackers - Sardines are a nutritional powerhouse, and a great source of protein (23g), along with 11g fat, and zero carbs.
12. Low carb pizza - Try bell pepper pizza bites or use a low carb tortilla to make your own pizza.
13. Chickpea salad with non-starchy veggies and avocado to make it filling.
14. "Homemade" lunchables (Love this!) - I take whole-grain Ritz crackers (because they're my favorite), spread on Chive & Onion cream cheese, and top with honey turkey sandwich meat. If I have them, I'll garnish with fresh green onions.
15. Leftover Chickpea Spinach Curry with an over-medium egg. About a ½-cup of curry with the egg will give 15g carbs, 10g protein, and 14g fat.
16. Lazy sushi bowl - 100g cold salmon or shrimp with ½ of a medium avocado, 1 medium cucumber, ½-cup shredded carrots and nori strips. For a dipping/drizzle sauce, mix together 2 teaspoons rice vinegar, 1 to 2 teaspoons hot sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and ⅓-cup low-fat mayo. You're looking at 24g of protein, 16g carbs, and a bunch of micronutrients. Fat will vary depending on the shrimp or salmon.
17. Egg salad with toast or crackers - The egg salad is 13g protein and only 4g carbs; plenty of room to add your carb of choice.
18. Caprese salad with a side of broccoli - The broccoli can be swapped for anything low carb with protein, like nuts.
19. Spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce
20. Spaghetti noodles - Use protein or chickpea pasta and add your favorite sauce.
21. Toast with nut butter of choice.
22. Popcorn - 3 cups, air popped, is 18g carbs. Add your protein of choice.
23. Roasted broccoli - 3 cups worth gives you 18g carbs, 9g protein, and a bunch of vitamin C.
24. Pasta salad - Use chickpea, lentil, or protein pasta and you're set. Plus, cold pasta has more resistant starch than hot pasta, so this is a win without a doubt.
25. Cold bean salad like this red beans salad.
26. Mini quesadilla - A low carb, corn, or whole wheat tortilla with cheese, shredded chicken or beef, and southwestern dressing.
28. Roasted chickpeas or edamame.
29. Turkey roll-ups - Lay sandwich meat flat and layer cheese and pickles, then roll them up.
30. Avocado toast with nutritional yeast - The amount of protein in nutritional yeast varies significantly by brand. The highest I've found is Anthony's from Amazon: 8g for every 2 tablespoons.
32. Chicken or beef jerky with your choice of carb.
33. Nuts or seeds - Packed with essential vitamins and minerals! Walnuts, pistachios, almonds, peanuts, pepitas, etc.
34. Milk - Great if you're not really hungry! Dairy without added sugar is well balanced in macros. An 8-ounce glass of whole milk has 11g carbs and 8g of protein and fat. Fairlife Lactose-free milk has the same amount of fat, but only 6g carbs and a whopping 13g of protein!
If you avoid dairy, check out the high protein low carb milk options.
35. Egg drop soup - A good way to get your eggs in with 7g protein and 10g carbs.
36. Hummus or other bean dip
38. Dill dip
For low-carb/low-glycemic chips, try corn tortilla chips, blue corn chips, or bean chips. Bean chips have more protein than other chips! I love the Beanfields and Beanito brands mentioned earlier.
You can also use whole grain crackers, nut crackers, Harvest Snaps, or non-starchy veggies (cucumber slices, baby carrots, bell peppers, celery sticks, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.)
16 Sweet Tooth Snacks
Healthy snack ideas with a sweet taste.
40. Overnight oats - Uncooked rolled oats have even more resistant starch than corn tortillas! Be sure to use a low-glycemic index sweetener like agave or stevia, and low carb and low glycemic fruits like berries. Add nuts or protein powder for protein.
41. Chia pudding - Same rules apply here as the overnight oats, but you have more room to play since chia seeds have less carbs than oats.
42. Watermelon - Despite how it may appear, there are actually few carbs in watermelon; though, almost all of the carbs are (simple) sugar(s). Nonetheless, it's nutritious and hydrating, so let's balance out the carbs with watermelon salad.
Side note - If you've ever had pickles marinated in Kool-Aid. Try watermelon submerged in pickle juice for 10 minutes. Thank me later 🙂
44. Homemade trail mix
45. Protein pancake
46. Protein smoothie
48. Protein bar
49. Cottage cheese with fruit
50. Fruit dip - Great with raw carrot chips, pecans, and/or berries.
51. Apple & peanut butter - Classic, simple, no-prep!
52. Rice cake with nut butter & berries
53. Chickpea cookie dough - She uses maple syrup but you can swap for honey or agave to be lower glycemic.
54. Mug cake or muffin
55. Dark chocolate & nuts - Great for a bedtime snack since it's light and no-prep; plus, dark both have magnesium which is proven to help fasting sugars.
Healthy Fats to Add
Fat helps you feel full and stay full. These healthy fats are quick and easy additions if you need something extra. If you're just starting out with GD and find yourself hungry before it's time to eat, try adding one of these fats to your meal or snack.
- coconut oil
- full fat Greek yogurt (contains carbs as well)
- fatty fish - salmon, trout, sea bass, sardines, etc.
- nut butters
- whole milk (contains carbs as well)
- pumpkin seeds get a special mention due to their high magnesium.
- seed butters
- flax seed (source of fiber)
- chia seeds (also high in magnesium and has 4 grams of fiber per tablespoon)
Snacks with protein, complex carbohydrates, and magnesium are great for fasting blood glucose: nuts, beans, chia pudding, trail mix, glass of milk, etc.
Eating with gestational diabetes means a low glycemic diet of lean proteins, whole grains, complex carbohydrates and a bunch of non-starchy veggies.
Air-popped popcorn is the "healthiest" choice of popcorn because it doesn't use oil, but any popcorn without excessive butter, sugar, or flavorings can work. Three cups air-popped equals 18g carbs. Eat with your choice of protein.