When I was first diagnosed with gestational diabetes, I did a ton of googling to find food inspiration. So just in case it helps anyone, here's what I've been eating. First, I should say that everyone has varying degrees of GD, or so it seems, and what I can eat might not be what others can eat, and vice versa.
I'm "allowed" up to 45 carbs at breakfast. This is the hardest meal of the day for me. First because for some reason my glucose numbers are higher after breakfast than other meals no matter what I eat, and second because I don't like savory foods in the morning. We eventually found a recipe for low carb blueberry pancakes, and I mostly eat one of those with butter and a few drops of no-sugar-added syrup. And then I spend a couple hours being hungry until snacktime.
Other things I occasionally eat: Jimmy Dean's egg, sausage & cheese biscuits, peanut butter toast (one piece) with a small amount of "sugar free" jam, a piece of toast with a hard boiled egg, one frozen waffle with butter and a few drops of the no-sugar-added syrup.
We found some Sara Lee bread that only has 9.5 carbs per slice, so that helps with all the toast, though I still limit myself to just one in the morning. And don't be fooled: the syrup and the jam still have a decent amount of carbs, just not as many. Like I said, breakfast is a struggle and leaves me hungry every morning. But I just can't choke down a fried egg or bacon most days.
I'm "allowed" 75 carbs at lunch. This one is easier because I usually eat leftovers from dinner throughout the week. The hard part is planning it all. Mike and I spend Sundays meal planning for the week, coming up with dinners I can eat and coordinating them with what our evening plans are and how long they take to prepare, and also coordinating with what my days at work look like and how much time I'll have for lunch and whether I'll have access to a fridge right away, etc. It's a pain in the ass.
See Dinner below to see what I eat for lunch most days. When I don't have leftovers, I often eat a tuna or egg salad sandwich, or maybe salami and cheese with fruit. I almost never eat lunch out right now because there are hidden carbs everywhere!
I'm also "allowed" 75 carbs for dinner. The only reason dinners work is because of my husband. He does all the cooking, always has. If it was just me or if I was the meal preparer in our house, I'd be so screwed. So thanks to him, we eat delicious, low carb meals all week.
Some things that work for us:
- Tacos - we eat tacos regularly anyway, so this was easy
- Salads - we've always enjoyed big salads, but now we cut the croutons
- Burgers - we use the thin buns with fewer carbs, and eat the burgers with a veggie or two on the side
- Chicken or fish with rice or sweet potatoes, and a vegetable
- Meatball open face sandwiches on the low carb bread with a veggie side
- Crock pot meals that involve a protein (usually chicken) and vegetables
- Chili - beans can have a lot of carbs, but they can also have a lot of protein
- Sandwiches - the low carb bread with lots of proteins and greens (turkey, bacon, cheese, fried egg, avocado, lettuce, etc.)
- Chicken sausage saute with vegetables (zucchini, onion, peppers, etc.)
I even eat pizza! I was sad to give up our Friday night pizza tradition, so one Friday we tried it and I ate two pieces, skipping the end crust. And my blood sugar was fine!
I can eat 15-30 carbs per snack. Mostly I try to combine proteins and carbs, so I eat cheese and berries, cheese and crackers, hummus and pita chips, cottage cheese and fruit (separately, I'm not a cottage cheese and fruit mixer). I don't like peanut butter except with jelly (or baked into delicious things), but peanut butter and an apple are another good choice. Almonds, too. I don't like raw almonds, so that was out for me, but I see that suggestion a lot.
One of my favorite things has been protein shakes. We buy the Atkins brand in mocha latte, and there are 3 net carbs. I usually have a shake as a "first" afternoon snack. I can't make it from lunch to dinner with only one snack, so I down the shake around 3:00, have a small snack when I get home from work, then we eat dinner around 7:00.
Before bed I eat a Breyer's Carb Smart ice cream bar. They are incredibly satisfying and so far my fasting numbers in the morning have not been negatively impacted by them.
What do I miss the most? Several things, mostly super sugary things. It's a lie that if you cut down on sugar your cravings go away after a few weeks. I still want all the sweets!
Cupcakes - shortly after my diagnosis someone offered me a cupcake, which I had to turn down, and I have dreamed about that cupcake ever since.
French fries - pizza at least has redeeming qualities like the protein in the cheese, but fries have nothing going for them. I can't wait to eat a huge plateful!
Pop - I'll take a big fountain Pepsi with my fries please!
Cereal - all I want is cereal for breakfast. And in the middle of the night when I can't sleep and I'm hungry. I cannot wait to eat cereal again.
Yummy coffee drinks - I drink a small cup of coffee with a bit of creamer every morning, but I want a Chai or vanilla latte now and then.
I already told everyone that when they come visit me and the baby, they are required to bring treats. I know I can't gorge on trash food forever, but after 10ish weeks on a GD diet and then pushing out a baby, bring on the carbs!