Gestational Diabetes Snacks to Fuel your Pregnancy
Before we talk about gestational diabetes snacks, let’s first talk about pregnancy. Pregnancy alone is a rollercoaster of emotions. Never before do you have to second guess everything you put in your mouth because now you’re growing a human and how could this affect them? Can I have x food or y ingredient? Every ache, pain, symptom has you second guessing. I tend to overthink everything, so pregnancy was a wonderful, yet slightly anxiety provoking time in my life.
Add a failed glucose tolerance test to the mix and now you may be stressed out and wondering, well what can I eat? You are not alone. For those with gestational diabetes, snacks can be helpful to keep your blood sugars more stable. The contents of that snack are important though. We want a snack that is satisfying, enjoyable, energizing, and good for your blood sugar.
How do we build gestational diabetes snacks?
What kind of snack is energizing and enjoyable? Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy. Carbohydrates are also delicious. Yes, we have to be cautious with the portion of carbohydrate for the snack, but that doesn’t mean you have to avoid it completely. Typically, I’m aiming for 15-20 grams of carbohydrate for the snack. The type of carb can help too. The more fiber the carb has, the slower it is digested and it will reduce how quickly your blood sugar rises after eating. Look for carbs that have at least 3 grams of fiber. The more sugar content of a carbohydrate food, the more quickly it can raise your blood sugar. I try to aim for less than 10 grams of sugar in most foods.
What kind of snack is filling and satiating? That’s where protein (and/or fat) comes in to play. In general, I’m aiming for 6-10 grams of protein in a snack. Why does a gestational diabetes snack need protein? It helps slow down digestion which in turn slows the rise of blood sugar. It also helps you feel fuller, longer so that you don’t become ravenous before your next meal.
16 Gestational Diabetes Snack Combinations
- 6 Triscuit crackers + 1 oz sharp cheddar + 1/4 Granny Smith apple thinly sliced
- 3 Lundberg Thin Stackers rice cakes + 1 tbsp peanut butter + 1 tsp chia seeds + mini chocolate chips
- 1 cup baby carrots + 2 tbsp hummus + 2 tbsp Greek yogurt dip (ranch, artichoke, etc)
- 2 cups popcorn + 1 oz Skinny Dipped dark chocolate almonds
- 1 oz Hippeas + 1 cheese stick
- 1 small peach with 1/2 cup cottage cheese or Greek yogurt
- Smoothie with 1 cup berries, 1 cup kefir, 1 scoop protein powder
- 1 cup bell pepper slices with 2 wedges laughing cow cheese
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese with 1 tbsp mini chocolate chips and 1/2 cup raspberries
- 1 thin slice Dave’s Killer Bread with 1/2 cup chicken salad
- 1 serving black bean tortilla chips with 3 tbsp guacamole
- 1/2 cup low sugar Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup protein granola
- 2 Belvita biscuits (1/2 packet) with 2 tbsp almond butter
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, 1 oz mozzarella, chopped basil, 1 tsp balsamic glaze
- 1 small tortilla, 1 oz chicken, 2 tbsp shredded cheese
- 1 Kodiak frozen waffle + 1 tbsp peanut butter
9 Packaged Snacks for Convenience and On-The-Go
- Sargento Balanced Breaks
- Nature Valley Protein Chewy Bars
- RXBAR Mini Protein Bars
- Orgain Shakes
- Chobani Complete Yogurt Shake
- Protein Power Balls
- Biena or Bada Bean roasted bean snacks
- Trail Mix
- Harvest Snaps
If you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you were probably given a glucometer and are now asked to test your blood sugar constantly. It can feel overwhelming at first. It is important to keep blood sugars under pretty tight control while pregnant, so your care team needs to know what your blood sugar numbers are. But how does eating affect them? Do you have to avoid carbs to keep them in the goal range?
Pregnancy can feel very overwhelming and like everything rests on you. Working closely with a treatment team, including a dietitian, can help take off some of that mental load. We can help you plan your meals and snacks, adjust depending on your blood sugar readings, and help make the process of figuring out what to eat just a little bit easier.
An award winning recipe developer, Dietitian Kaitlin’s mission is to empower others to reach their health goals by encouraging them to get back into the kitchen. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating and Cooking with Diabetes.