Planning healthy meals for gestational diabetes
There is only a slight increase in the amount of food you need to eat while you are pregnant. There is no need to eat for two. However, you do need more of certain nutrients, so it’s important to make healthy choices to make sure you’re getting everything your body needs.
Your dietitian and diabetes educator can help you come up with healthy meal and snack options that are right for you. It’s best to make small changes and swaps to the food you already eat rather than taking up a whole new diet. It’ll be easier to stick to. Check out our tips on food swaps for gestational diabetes.
The below meal plan is just an example of how you can evenly spread out your carbohydrate foods across the day and ensure that you get enough of each of the different food groups. You might need slightly bigger portions or slightly smaller portions depending on your individual situation. It isn’t meant to be a strict guide of what to eat, just ideas of balanced meals and snacks. It’s food for thought.
You’ll find more on healthy eating for gestational diabetes here.
Gestational diabetes meal plan
Here are some examples of healthy choices and general portion sizes for meals and snacks
|Breakfast||Two slices of toasted wholegrain bread |
One poached egg
Mushrooms and tomato
|Chicken and vegetable noodle stir fry |
(Aim for 1 quarter chicken, 1 quarter noodles and half vegetables)
|1/2 cup muesli |
One small grated apple
Three tablespoons of low-fat Greek yoghurt
|Snack||200g low fat yoghurt |
1/4 cup natural muesli
|Sliced apple with tablespoon of peanut butter |
|2 slices of sourdough bread |
½ medium avocado with squeeze of lemon and pepper
|Lunch||90g of tuna and salad on a wholegrain roll |
A piece of fresh fruit
|Small bowl of chicken and veggie soup |
Seeded bread roll
|2 serving spoons of chilli con carne made with beef and red kidney beans |
1 cup rice
1 cup cooked vegetables
|Snack||Slices of reduced fat cheese on three wholegrain crackers |
Cup of fresh fruit salad
|2 cups plain popcorn with cinnamon||Cup of cherry tomatoes, cucumber and carrot sticks |
Three wholegrain crackers
Cubes of reduced fat cheese (about 2 matchbox size)
Two tablespoons of hummus
|Dinner||130g roast lamb |
1.5 cups of steamed non-starchy veggies
A medium potato
|100g fillet baked fish |
Freekeh or quinoa salad (1 cup freekeh or quinoa) with spinach, sweet potato, tomato and eggplant
|170g pan fried firm tofu with ginger |
1 cup pickled vegetables 1 cup salad
1.5 cups rice
|Snack||1 cup reduced fat milk |
1 slice raisin toast
|200g Greek yoghurt |
Drizzle of honey
|Baked pear with cinnamon and three big dollops of low-fat Greek yoghurt|
How to put together a healthy meal
Include half a plate or two cupped hands worth of non-starchy vegetables and salad in different colours. E.g. some carrots, eggplant, mushrooms, tomato, lettuce or spinach.
- Include a quarter of a plate, or palm sized portion of lean protein. This could be fish, skinless chicken, beef, tofu (170g), eggs (2 eggs), nuts or seeds.
- Have a quarter of plate or fist sized serving of lower GI carbohydrates. This could be rice, pasta, wholegrain crackers, beans or sweet potato. You can explore more low GI swaps here.
Tips for stir frys, casseroles, curry or stews
- Choose lean cuts of meat or trim the fat from meat before you add it in when cooking
- Measure out your oil using a teaspoon per person, rather than pouring it in from the bottle. Or use a spray oil.
- Add a can of beans or lentils to your meal to increase the number of servings it makes. This will reduce the cost and increase the fibre.
- Choose reduced fat coconut milk, it will help to reduce the kilojoules you are eating and make it easier to maintain a healthy weight gain.
- Try to aim for a quarter of the bulk of your pot, wok or pan to be carbohydrates like rice, noodles or potatoes, a quarter lean protein and the other half non-starchy vegetables. Take a ladle or spoon full when cooking and see if the amounts of each ingredient fit that guide.
For more tailored healthy eating advice for gestational diabetes, it can be useful to see a dietitian. You can find a dietitian near you by visiting www.daa.asn.au.
Or call our helpline to speak to a health professional that knows about gestational diabetes on 1300 342 238.
Gestational Diabetes Support Service
Diabetes NSW & ACT offers a Gestational Diabetes Support Service to provide you with additional support for a healthy pregnancy and connect you with others living with gestational diabetes.
“This service is outstanding! For me, the gold was in the survival guide because it really helped me to understand Gestational Diabetes in a way that I wanted to take it seriously, but also felt supported on the journey – and far less alone. It’s a small cost for a lot of reassurance!”
Sarah, 38, mum of twins
Sign up today or contact us on 1800 177 055 to speak to a health professional that knows about gestational diabetes.