Simple food swaps for gestational diabetes

Swap: white bread for grainy or seeded bread

Why: Grainy bread is lower GI, meaning it digests more slowly and will cause less of a spike in your blood glucose levels, helping you hit those targets more often.

Swap: Ghee or coconut oil for olive oil or canola oil

Why: It’s recommended to reduce your saturated fat when you’ve got gestational diabetes, and these oil swaps will help you do that.

Swap: Toasted muesli for untoasted muesli

Why: Untoasted muesli uses less fat than toasted. Better yet, make your own at home with some oats, dried fruit, your favourite nuts and a sprinkle of seeds.

Swap: Regular white or Brown rice for low GI rice eg brown doongara or brown basmati rice

Why: Brown rice might have the whole grain, but it still digests quite quickly in the body. Low GI rice is available, which may help you with your ‘after meal’ blood glucose levels.

Swap: Quick oats for rolled oats soaked overnight

Why: Quick oats are highly processed and can digest quickly in the body, causing blood glucose levels to rise quite fast. Choose plain old rolled oats (usually $1 per bag) and put them in a container in the fridge overnight, just covered with milk to soak. Microwave in the morning.

Swap: Muffin or banana bread for piece of fruit toast

Why: Muffins and banana bread can be loaded with added sugar and fat. Fruit toast helps you get that sweet taste with less kilojoules and less of an impact on your blood glucose levels. Keep some in the freezer to toast with a cup of tea or mid afternoon pick me up.

Swap: Croissant for sourdough toast

Why: The luxurious breakfast option without the extra saturated fat. Traditional sourdough is low GI, is digested slowly and has less of an impact on blood glucose levels. Try a slice with an egg or some avocado, lemon and a sprinkle of dukkah.

Swap: Chocolate bar for apple slices with peanut butter

Why: Unfortunately, chocolate doesn’t fit into the every-day healthy foods for gestational diabetes, but apples and healthy fats from peanut butter do. Slice up an apple into 8 pieces and add a thin smear of peanut butter to each. Stick to a total of one tablespoon of PB.

Swap: Beef mince for turkey or chicken mince or lean beef mince

Why: Turkey and chicken mince have less saturated fat, which means they’ll have less kilojoules too. This can help you maintain a healthy weight gain when you have gestational diabetes.

Swap: rich and creamy fruit yoghurts for plain low-fat Greek yoghurt with added fruit

Why: Fruit yoghurts can have a lot of added sugar which isn’t friendly to blood glucose levels. The yoghurt section can be a minefield so grab a big tub of plain low-fat Greek yoghurt and add your own swirl of honey, some nuts and some chopped fruit at home.

You can find more information on healthy eating for gestational diabetes here. Or to see examples of healthy meals and snacks, and more tips on meal planning, here.


Need more information?

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.


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