Snacking When You Have Gestational Diabetes

African American pregnant woman outsideHigh blood glucose levels during pregnancy can impact the health of the mother and baby. Keeping blood glucose levels close to normal can prevent a problematic birth and decrease your baby’s risk of developing diabetes.

When you eat foods containing carbohydrates, like cornbread, grits, peaches, milk, or even collard greens, your body breaks these foods down into sugar called glucose. The more carbohydrate-containing foods you eat at a meal or snack, the more glucose will enter the bloodstream.

Your health care provider may suggest that you spread out your carbohydrates throughout the day. Eating small amounts of carbohydrate all through the day will help keep your blood glucose from rising too high after a meal. Women with gestational diabetes should eat at least three small­ to medium­ sized meals and two to four snacks every day.

Choose Your Snacks Wisely

Choosing the right snack can be challenging when you have gestational diabetes. Your snacks should be healthy, keep blood sugar in the target range and prevent excessive weight gain. A healthful snack is one that is high in protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals and low in sugar, sodium, and saturated fat. Protein foods such as unsalted nuts like pistachio nuts can make your snacks more satisfying without causing blood glucose levels to spike.

In fact, results of a new study presented at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ 2017 Food & Nutrition Conference & ExpoTM in Chicago, Illinois show that eating pistachio nuts may help manage blood sugar levels in women with gestational diabetes.

“Our study is the first to show that eating pistachios may help women with gestational diabetes control their blood sugar levels after eating,” said Sheng Ge, M.D., lead investigator, Chief Physician and Director of Clinical Nutrition at the Sixth People’s Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, China, where the study was conducted. “The results highlight pistachios as a smart food choice for women with gestational diabetes as they aim to manage their illness.”

In the study, women with gestational diabetes were given…