Gestational Diabetes Diet Guidelines

A gestational diabetes diet may be recommended by your doctor during pregnancy. When you gain too much weight during pregnancy, blood sugar levels tend to rise higher than normal, triggering gestational diabetes. This condition is caused by insulin deficiencies in the body, and generally clears up after childbirth, though it does increase your risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life.

What to Eat
Managing calories and controlling the amount of sugar you get are the primary goals of a gestational diabetes diet. These goals do need to be balanced with the extra nutrition your body requires during pregnancy. Avoiding certain foods is necessary, but you'll also need to find alternative sources of nutrients.

Fat is high in calories; it has nine calories per gram. Only a small amount of fat calories are needed during pregnancy. Protein and carbohydrates only have four calories per gram and can be used in place of fat calories. A mother can still get all of the nutrition needed by cutting out most of the fat calories from her diet.

Choose the leaner cuts of meat, such as lean beef, lamb and pork. Watch the fat content in hamburger, which is marked on the package. If you see a number that says 70/30, the hamburger is 30% fat. Choose leaner ground beef, such as 85/15.

Eating more poultry and fish is a good idea, but be careful of the types of fish you eat. Some fish is high in mercury, which is bad for both the mother and baby.

Prepared and Processed Foods
Do not fry your foods. Baking or grilling is best. Foods that are fried in oil, such as fries, potato chips and doughnuts, should be avoided. Potato chips that are baked or fried in no-cholesterol oil are fine to eat, but a much better choice is popcorn or pretzels.

Many vegetable sauces use cream, butter or salt pork for seasoning. Avoid these prepared side dishes. Purchase plain frozen vegetables or fresh vegetables instead, and season them with herbs. Avoid mayonnaise and oil for salads and sandwiches. Use low-calorie salad dressings instead.

Cut down on dairy products or use low-fat milk and dairy products instead of whole milk and full-fat cheese. The calcium content in the low-fat choices is almost the same as regular milk and cheese. You can still get the 1,200mg of daily calcium you need with lower-fat foods, just be sure to check the amount of calcium on food labels.

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