Gestational diabetes Mellitus, commonly referred to as GDM is Diabetes during Pregnancy. I had GDM during both my pregnancies. I was able to keep my sugar levels under control with my diet plans that I figured out with the inputs of my Nutritionists, Endocrinologists and the output of my Glucometer. I am just sharing the diet plan that I followed which worked well for me. But, every pregnancy is different and so is every human body. Be mindful about your sugar levels and go for relevant diet plan discussing with your doctor. This post is just a guide to give you some ideas. You shall pick whichever is applicable for you and omit the rest.
To brief about my condition, my fasting sugar levels were normal in both pregnancies. My Post-Prandial(PP) blood sugar showed slight hikes. I was given a chart to jot down my PP sugar levels taken one hour after every main meal. If there were continuous red marks for 2 to 3 days, then I was advised to take a tablet to control my sugar level. I had a home Glucometer to check my blood sugar. I was asked to mark anything that exceeds 138(140 is the max limit) post one hour of a meal, in RED. Please note that GDM sugar value checks differ from normal sugar value checks. So, pls discuss with your doctor for right values.. I was able to maintain blue 90% of the time. But last 2 weeks before delivery, I couldn’t resist from taking tablets as it was Red, on and off. But, I was happy that it was just 2 weeks, as I maintained blue for nearly 3 months just in diet changes.
I have heard stories of many GDM moms starving for food with the fear that eating might increase sugar level and harm the baby.. My doctor told that it is just ignorance.. U can eat well but just split and eat .. U can even eat 24 times a day 😜 The point is to eat right portions every one hour .. U can eat so many veggies with lunch but avoid white rice.. I had 1 green/Keerai and 2-3 veggies for lunch with 1/2 cup millet rice.. Veggies(except carrot, beets, yellow pumpkin & root veggies) do not increase the sugar level.. GDM diet is such a nutritious diet and is far better than non-GDM mom’s diet as they tend to eat more carbs & so automatically veggies quantity will be lessened.. So, GDM diet is actually good for mom and the baby..
Below was my split meals schedule that I followed in my last trimester with GDM.. This meal plan is specially customized for me as per my sugar levels and weight.. Please plan one for you with the help of your Dietician and Endocrinologist..
👉6.30 AM – 1 glass low fat milk with homemade powder of badam(soaked , peeled and dried) + saffron + cardamom + turmeric.. No sweetener.. Click here for detailed recipe, but just avoid the sweetener added in it.
👉7.20 – 8 AM – 40 mins walk
👉8.30 AM – Mainly Millet based tiffin with no-oil, no-coconut, chutney or dal-based veggies or greens.. Click the links for Millet pongal(link ), Millet Kichdi(link), Millet dumplings(link), Millet roti(link) recipes.
👉10 AM – Iron tablet with lemon juice – no sweetener.. Iron + Vitamin C will increase the absorption of iron.
👉10.30 AM – 1 boiled egg without yolk
👉11.30 AM – Half apple or 1 small pear or 1 small guava(unripened) or 1/2 cup loosely packed pomegranate arils or 1 small orange(not the sweeter one) or 1 cucumber ..
👉12.45 PM – 1/2 cup Millet rice , 1/2+ cup dal+greens(link), 1/2 cup veggies.. Fish or chicken but not Mutton. Fish and chicken will not shoot up sugar levels and at the same time supply the needed protein, folic acid & required minerals.
👉2 – 3 PM – Nap 😴 ..
👉3.30 PM – Calcium tablet ..
👉4 PM – 1/2 cup sundal (legumes/chana) – You shall temper with very lil oil.
👉5.15 PM – Just 1 gooseberry or fruit as mentioned in 11.30 schedule as per the appetite..
👉5.45 – 6.30 PM – Walking ..
👉7 PM – Millet based dinner just like breakfast ..
👉8 PM – Iron and Folic Acid tablets – I was prescribed 2 iron tablets as my Hb level was low.
👉9 PM – 😴 ..
- 🥛Can have half glass of milk before bed, if hungry..
- 🥛Can have buttermilk in the morning or evening with an hour break before and after having it.. Same applies to soup – Moringa dal soup is recommended..
- 🥗 Can have a salad(link) in the brunch time instead of soup or fruit..
- 🥙Can have 1/4 cup cooked bittergourd as bittergourd is a natural insulin. But avoid bittergourd juice. Just eat as a vegetable cooked in curry or as a side dish. Avoid deep-frying it.
- 🩸You can have 3 to 5 Jamun fruits/Naaval pazham a day, as it increases insulin secretion. Try taking 1 or 2 after every big meal.
- 🥬 Have greens/keerai(link) daily and watery veggies(Neer kaaigal) – all gourds…
- 🍠 No root veggies like potato, carrot , beets, yam varieties..
- 🍌No banana but you can have banana stem and banana flowers as they help to lower cholesterol and sugar levels.
- 🍉 No sweet fruits..
- 🧁No sweet cookies, cupcakes, muffins, pastries, sweets, chocolates, ice-creams.. Stay away from anything that is sweet. No Jaggery based sweets, as well.
- 🥩 No Red meat/Mutton as it is too fatty to keep the sugar levels under control.
- 🥣Avoid Porridges(Koozh/Kali/Kanji) as thin carbs increase the glycemic index(GI), thereby shooting up sugar levels.
- 🚶♀️After every main meal, 15 mins very light walk.. My doctor advised this and this was very helpful.
These are the food plan and pointers that I followed and my sugar was well under control.. Everyone’s health condition is different.. So, Please speak with your doctor and plan your meal.. Even with GDM, we shall eat healthily .. If you are prescribed for sugar tablet, pls take it as it doesn’t harm the baby.. If mom’s sugar levels are out of control, it directly affects the fetus and fetal developments. So, don’t ignore GDM as it might threaten the tiny baby’s health, growth & delivery..
In my meal plan, I mentioned that you can eat half apple.. One reader pinged me in instagram, if she should eat just half apple a day.. The answer is, U shall eat the next half, after 1 hour.. Just “split and eat” is the rule.. For me, I had observed that dal increased my sugar level.. But I found that half cup dal was my limit per meal.. So, I had dal in 2 of my main meals.. Totally 1 cup dal a day which met my protein needs along with egg white and legumes that I had in different times of the day.. Pesarattu/Moong dal dosa worked best for my breakfast /dinner.. I used to club it with any dal based greens or veggies or Mint+coriander chutney, tomato or brinjal gotsu or cooked & sautéed veggies depending upon my appetite.. Mixed dal Adai seemed to be lil heavy but I was able to have one at a time .. My doctor told little oil is ok but be careful with carbs.. I completely avoided rice in any form(idli/dosa/pongal) but replaced rice with nutritious Millets. Barnyard Millet/Kudhiraivaali worked like a charm with respect to my blood glucose.. Some food like finger millet, wheat might spike sugar levels for some people.. So, experiment which works for you..
GDM is not a lifetime disease. It will vanish once the baby is born. I checked my sugar levels after 1 month of delivery and they were completely normal. My baby is now 2 years and still my sugar levels are normal. But GDM is a warning to lead a healthy life as GDM moms have more chances to get diabetes in future. GDM is a push to eat healthy & exercise regularly.. So, vent out the stress & just enjoy the pregnancy 😁 Have a safe and happy pregnancy 🤰