Gestational Diabetes Diet: Which Snacks Should I Eat?

It’s important for women who develop gestational diabetes to take excellent care of their health as well as that of their unborn baby. Managing gestational diabetes with smart and well-timed food choices is a large part of maintaining health during pregnancy.

Understanding the importance of snacks between meals can help to manage blood sugar levels while pregnant. Of course, choosing healthy and appropriate snacks is key if you have gestational diabetes.

Have you considered clinical trials for Gestational diabetes?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Gestational diabetes, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a high blood sugar condition that affects women during pregnancy.

While it is normal for the body to become more resistant to insulin to provide the fetus with more glucose, some women's bodies experience exaggerated insulin resistance. 

If the insulin released by your pancreas is not sufficient, then there is a high chance that you'll have too much glucose in your blood, leading to this gestational condition.

What are the symptoms of gestational diabetes?

It is rare for gestational diabetes to cause symptoms. If you do experience symptoms, they will likely be mild, such as feeling thirstier than normal or having to urinate more often.

Risk factors for gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes risk factors may include:

  • Women that are older than 25 years

  • Having a family history of diabetes

  • Having high blood pressure

  • Ethnic groups like Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander, or African American

  • Having a congenital disability

  • Gaining too much weight during pregnancy

  • Having too much amniotic fluid

  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome

What are the best healthy snacks for gestational diabetes?        

Maintaining a consistent blood sugar level requires eating carbohydrates regularly and managing what and how much you consume. Having a perfect meal plan during pregnancy can help you make healthy choices when you shop.

A balanced diet is fundamental to properly managing gestational diabetes. More specifically, individuals with gestational diabetes should focus on their food choices, particularly in terms of carbohydrates, fat, and protein consumption.

Eating as often as every two to three hours is vital in managing blood sugar levels. A planned carbohydrate-rich meal such as milk, starches, yogurt, and fruit will inhibit high blood sugar.

Your food plan will likely incorporate three meals and three or four snacks daily. 

One to two servings (15-30g) of carbohydrates at breakfast or snack-time, and two to three portions (30-45g) of carbohydrates with protein at lunch or dinner, forms a healthy diet.

Your dietitian can assist you with ideas for meals and snacks that work with your schedule and match your needs.

Here is a sample plan that can help you manage your gestational diabetes:

Meal schedule for one day

  • Morning breakfast: 1 cooked egg, 1/2-1 cup cooked old-fashioned oatmeal

  • Mid-morning snack: 1oz cheese, a small apple, 1 tortilla

  • Lunchtime: 2 slices whole-grain bread, mustard, 1 cup salad with 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 2oz turkey slices, tomato, oil, pickle, lettuce

  • Mid-afternoon snack: 1oz nuts, half a banana, 6 whole-wheat crackers

  • Dinner: 1 small potato, garlic, 1/2 cup steamed broccoli, 3oz baked chicken

  • Evening snack: 1 cup nonfat milk, 1-2tbsps natural peanut butter, 1 slice of whole-grain bread

Healthy snacks diet plan

Planning and eating healthy snacks can be challenging for women during pregnancy.

Here are healthy snack ideas that can help you maintain 30g of carbohydrates with 1oz of protein:

  • A sandwich made with two slices of whole-grain bread with one egg, meat, mustard, tomato, 1oz cheese, lettuce, and mayonnaise

  • Two 6-inch corn tortillas, avocado, tomato, 1oz cheese, salsa, lettuce

  • Half a sandwich with 1 cup of milk

  • One 6-inch corn tortilla, dhal, 1/2 cup beans, 1oz cheese, avocado, tomato, salsa, meat, low-fat sour cream

  • Ten wheat crackers, 1oz cheese or 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter

  • Muffin pizza made with one whole-wheat English muffin, sugar-free tomato sauce, vegetables, 1oz cheese

  • One whole-grain pita bread, 1oz hard cheese, onions, tomatoes, lettuce

  • One small hamburger or cheeseburger, 1 cup of soup, six Saltine crackers

  • One small bag of pretzels or baked chips, 1oz nuts

Snacks are significant in maintaining and stabilizing your blood sugar levels. Hence, consuming the right quantity with proper nutrition is the key to managing gestational diabetes conditions.

Foods to avoid

You'll want to keep away from highly processed foods and simple carbohydrates because they rapidly increase your blood sugar.

Some foods to avoid:

  • Potatoes

  • White rice

  • French fries

  • Candy

  • Soda

  • Juice

  • Sweetened beverages

If you are unsure about other foods to avoid, ask your doctor. They can identify what to avoid and give you a variety of alternatives to satisfy your tastes.

The recommended diet for someone with gestational diabetes

As stated earlier, an individual diagnosed with gestational diabetes needs to eat various healthy meals.

Vegetarian women or those who adhere to other special diets should consult their doctor to ensure that they are getting a balanced diet.

However, generally, your diet should include:

  • A moderate amount of whole grains, such as bread, pasta, and cereal, in addition to starchy vegetables like peas

  • Whole fruits and vegetables

  • Moderate amounts of healthy fats and lean proteins

You should eat three small-to moderate-sized meals and one or more snacks daily. You shouldn't skip meals and snacks. Maintain the same amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fats daily.

Grains and starchy vegetables

Eat six or more servings daily, and one should contain at least:

  • One English muffin

  • 1oz (30grams) ready-to-eat cereal

  • One slice bread

  • ½ cup cooked pasta

Always aim for food rich in vitamins, fiber, carbohydrates, and minerals. They include:

  • Whole grain cereals

  • Beans

  • Starchy vegetables like corn

  • Whole-grain bread

  • Brown or wild rice

  • Whole grains such as oats

Use either whole grain flour or whole wheat in baking and cooking. Opt for low-fat bread like pita bread and tortillas.


In this category, you should eat two to four servings a day, and one serving of the following :

  • ½ cup chopped, cooked, or frozen fruit

  • ¾ cup fruit juice

  • One medium whole fruit such as an apple or banana

It is worth noting that your fruit selection should entail whole fruit, citrus fruits like tangerines and oranges, fresh fruits and juices, and fruit juices without added sugar.


In this category, high-fiber, whole-grain carbohydrates are recommended. Ensure that your meal contains at least 30g of carbohydrates.

You should limit your fatty food intake by:

  • Avoiding foods high in saturated fat like cooking oil, margarine, and salad dressing

  • Maintain healthy oils such as olive oil, safflower oil, and peanut oil, as well as avocado


Your protein choice should incorporate:

  • Poultry and fish

  • Trim all visible fat from meat

  • Grill or bake rather than fry

Food from this category is rich in vitamin B, iron, and zinc.

The lowdown

Gestational diabetes is a condition of high blood sugar caused by insulin resistance that affects some women during pregnancy. Although this condition is highly associated with obesity, a family history of diabetes, and other factors, diet plays a relevant role. Therefore, having a healthy snack diet plan is an effective approach to preventing it. 

Carbohydrate-rich meals that incorporate starches, fruits, and proteins will help balance your blood sugar levels. At the same time, you have to avoid highly processed and simple carbohydrate foods like potatoes, soda, candy, and sweetened beverages as they lead to a quick increase in your blood sugar levels. 

Be sure to follow your doctor’s nutrition plan carefully if you have gestational diabetes. You can consult a healthcare provider to help you identify foods to avoid and suggest different options to satisfy your diet.

Have you considered clinical trials for Gestational diabetes?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Gestational diabetes, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

Discover which clinical trials you are eligible for

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