Maternity Care Nutrition

Holiday Eating with Gestational Diabetes

December 22, 2020

Holiday Eating with Gestational Diabetes

Living with gestational diabetes can feel overwhelming at any time of the year, but especially during the holidays.  While it is important to practice mindful eating, meals over the holidays can still be enjoyable.  Use these tips to help you feel confident and comfortable this holiday season!

1.) Reasons to Be Healthy

Remember the ‘why’ or reason behind practicing mindfulness – you and your baby are worth it!

2.) Have a Plan

This often helps individuals to feel more comfortable and in control.  When eating away from your home, ask what is on the menu so you can plan ahead.  Consider bringing a dish to the dinner party that you feel comfortable eating.

3.) Have Regular Meals

Avoid skipping regular meals and snacks in order to eat larger portions at later meals.  Ideal blood glucose stabilization stems from eating similar amounts of food and nutrients throughout the day.  It is not recommended to deprive the body of nutrients and energy at any time during the day while pregnant.

4.) Enjoy in Moderation

Practice mealtime moderation.  Follow the USDA MyPlate model to ensure adequate nutrient intake and blood glucose control.  This model encourages filling at least half of your mealtime plate with produce, one-fourth with lean protein, and one-fourth with complex carbohydrate.  Rather than avoiding favorite foods, enjoy small portions of those foods and make sure they fit on the balanced plate.  Also consider using smaller plates to encourage portion control.

5.) Limit Carbs

Consider carbohydrate counting if helpful for you.  Limit to between 45 and 60 grams of total carbohydrate intake per meal.  Read food labels or use online references to ensure you are meeting your goal.  All included desserts and beverages should fit into this range as well.

6.) Protein and Veggies Keep Blood Glucose Down

Load up on lean protein and non-starchy vegetables as they do not spike blood glucose levels.  These foods help with blood glucose control when paired with carbohydrates at meals and snacks.  Consider simple protein or vegetable meal swaps like cauliflower mash in place of white potatoes.

7.) Hydrate

Stay hydrated with sugar-free beverages.  Aim to drink at least 64 ounces daily. Consider drinking at least 1 cup of water before and after each holiday meal.

8.) Work in Some Activity

Move more!  Go for a walk after holiday meals as physical activity lowers blood glucose.

9.) Pregnancy Food Safety

Remember food safety guidelines!  Skip out on the shrimp, soft cheeses and deli olives as they pose a risk of food borne illness during pregnancy.

10.) Don’t Focus on Mistakes

Do not feel guilty for your mealtime actions.  If you overindulge at mealtime, focus on adhering to recommendations in the future and move forward.

11.) Remember the Reason

Focus on the reason for the season and spending time with loved ones.  Engage in conversation prior to reaching for second helpings of food as it takes at least 20 minutes to feel full after we start eating.

Do you have more questions about healthy eating with gestational diabetes?  Talk with your OBGYN or one of our CHI Health Dietitians.

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