9 Principles of Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan

Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a condition in which abnormally high blood sugar levels are detected during periods of pregnancy that usually disappear after giving birth. 

It’s not uncommon; about 10% of all pregnancies are affected by Gestational Diabetes every year.

It can happen at every stage of pregnancy but usually tends to occur in the second or third trimester, most commonly around 28 weeks of gestation.

This condition requires timely diagnosis and a proper management plan since it can affect the development of the fetus and increase the risk of pregnancy-associated complications.

To prescribe a meal plan for GDM, the doctor needs to see the glucose tolerance test results.

Diet and lifestyle adjustments are first-line management plans to help cope with a woman’s high blood sugar levels.

As a point of fact, approximately 60% of women with gestational diabetes don’t require medications and can manage their condition with lifestyle changes and close monitoring.

This article will focus on the gestational diabetes diet and lifestyle tips. We also have prepared a sample gestational diabetes diet plan for you to have a general idea. As mentioned earlier, consult your doctor before following this diet plan.

A gestational diabetes diet plan is based on the following principles:

1. Begin Counting Carbohydrates

To manage your blood sugar, you will learn to count carbohydrates. This technique helps you balance meals and snacks throughout the day.

Make sure to read the Nutrition Facts labels for “Total Carbohydrates”. Your target will likely be 30-45 grams for meals and 15-30 grams for snacks.

A self-control diary, in which blood glucose readings are recorded with the date, time and a detailed description of the food taken, is a good idea for beginners.

You should carry this diary with you to appointments with your physician. 

2. Regular Sugar Monitoring 

To control Gestational Diabetes with a diet, all measures must be taken to keep your blood sugar within the normal range throughout pregnancy. As recommended, goal readings should be:

              Before a meal (Fasting glucose) –  no more than 95 mg/dl

              One hour after eating – no more than 140 mg/dL 

              Two hours after eating – no more than 120 mg/dL

Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan

3. “Eat for Two” – Avoid Calorie Deficits 

Nutrient needs significantly increase during pregnancy and the energy requirement increases by about 300 calories a day during the last 2 trimesters.

It’s essential to follow a well-balanced diet without experiencing a calorie deficit.

For a pregnant woman, a normal diet should consist of 2,200 to 2,500 calories per day.

If you were overweight before pregnancy, you might want to limit your daily calorie count according to your doctor’s recommendations. 

4. Go for High Protein Meals

Doctors advise consuming 75 to 100 grams of protein daily in lean meats, nuts, legumes, beans, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. 

Proteins are essential parts of a healthy diet. Most protein-rich foods don’t contain carbohydrates and won’t cause a blood sugar spike.

Besides that, proteins have a good impact on the growth of fetal tissues, including the central nervous system.

It also helps your uterine tissue and breasts develop properly during pregnancy, significantly increasing blood supply.

5. Physical Activity

Regular light or moderate physical activity has been shown to help manage high blood sugar levels in gestational diabetes.

The activity guidelines for pregnant females are 150 minutes each week. Perring muscle-strengthening activities involving all major muscle groups is also recommended twice weekly. 

The risk of physical activity causing low blood sugar levels is very low unless you’re taking sugar-lowering drugs. 

 Talk with a doctor before starting or continuing any exercise routine while pregnant.

Gestational Diabetes Diet with Meal Plan

Gestational Diabetes Diet with Meal Plan

6. Limit the Amount of Fruits 

Even though fruits are considered a healthy source of carbohydrates and are full of antioxidants, they can still cause blood sugar spikes.

Especially troublesome can be canned, dried fruits, and fruit juices. 

Avoid Sugar for Breakfast 

Controlling blood sugar levels in the morning is probably the most difficult because of physiological fluctuations in hormone levels.

That’s why it’s better to start a day with low-carb, high protein foods with a mid-morning snack about 2 hours later.

7. Eat Smaller and More Frequent Meals

Doctors agree that eating smaller meals more frequently positively affects blood sugar levels.

Instead of eating many carbohydrates at a single meal, spread carbohydrates throughout the day.

Don’t skip meals. It’s important to meet nutritional requirements and have a balanced diet schedule for the baby’s proper development.

8. Eat more Leafy Greens 

Despite being a very diabetes-friendly food with low carbohydrate and calorie count.  Leafy greens like spinach, kale, broccoli, asparagus, lettuce, etc, are full of folate.

Folate is key in decreasing the risk of neural tube defects in infants, such as spina bifida. It’s an especially significant nutrient in periods of preconception or the first trimester of pregnancy.

Doctors recommend consuming 600 to 800 micrograms daily. 

9. Have regular appointments with your healthcare provider

These are general recommendations for gestational diabetes. Consulting with your physician or licensed nutritionist is the best idea to diagnose, manage your condition, and assess your baby’s health.

Any drastic changes in a diet should always be discussed with a doctor.

Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan

Recommended Foods List:

  • Raw and boiled vegetables (except starchy)
  • Rye bread;
  • Lean meat (chicken, turkey, beef) cooked with a minimum of fat;
  • Nuts;
  • Dairy Products;
  • Cereals (except semolina);
  • Greens;
  • Fruits (With Low GI): strawberries, currants, blueberries, raspberries, apricots, peaches;
  • Legumes.

You can drink water, tea, and coffee any time of the day. Make sure they’re sugar-free.

Gestational Diabetes Diet Plan


Foods to Limit

  • The following foods should be excluded from the GDM diet menu:
  • Sausages,
  • Sugar,
  • Jams and preserves,
  • Honey,
  • Bakery and pasta made from white flour,
  • Buns,
  • Fruit juices,
  • Sodas,
  • Starchy vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes,
  • Processed products,
  • Ice cream,
  • Sweet fruits with high GI and carbohydrate content (persimmons, figs, melon, dates).
  • Butter should also be limited.

Gestational Diabetes Diet with Meal Plan

Day 1


  • 2 Boiled eggs, cucumber, broccoli, 1 cup of boiled asparagus
  • 2 slices of toast 


  • 10 pecans
  • Greek yogurt with berries 


  • 1 cup of Avocado salad with canola oil
  • Apple slices with Peanut butter


  • 1 Chicken fillet with cauliflower salsa sauce 
  • 1 slice of rye bread 
  • 2 slices of low-fat cheese 


  • 3 tablespoons of Guacamole and celery stalks
  • 1 banana 
  • 60 grams of macadamia nuts 

Total Calories of the Day: 2211

Day 2



  • 2 cups of Fresh Fruit Salad 194
  • 100-gram Pistachios 569 


  • Salmon toast with mashed avocado
  • Half cup Cottage cheese with apple and cinnamon 


  • 1 bowl of Pumpkin Soup 
  • 200 grams of Zucchini noodles with mushrooms and shrimp 
  • 2 slices of rye bread 


  • 1 cup of Air-popped popcorn 
  • 5 whole-wheat crackers 
  • 1 cup of chia pudding 

Total Calories of the Day: 2257

Day 3


  • 1 cup of avocado salad 1 toast 


  • Whole oatmeal with pumpkin seeds and coconut pieces
  • 1 taco 


  • 1 cup of Tuna salad 
  • 50 grams of pistachio
  • 100 gram Kale Chips 


  • 1 bowl of Chicken soup 
  • Garlic Bread 
  • 1 oz Edam Cheese
  • 10 salted crackers 


Total Calories of the Day: 2298

Day 4


  • 3-egg Omelette with kale, green onions, and bell pepper 
  • 2 slices of gouda cheese
  • 1 toast


  • Hummus with cucumber and carrots
  • 50-gram pistachios 


  • Turkey Sandwich
  • 5 apricots 


  • Roasted Lamb and spinach stew with canola oil
  • 2 slices of rye bread


  • 5 plums
  • 2 stalks of Celery dipped in peanut butter 
  • 10 cashews 

Total Calories of the Day: 2302

Day 5


  • 1 bowl of Green salad with 50 grams of roasted chickpeas
  • Half a cup of Cottage cheese with almonds 


  • 5 Turkey roll-ups
  • 100 grams Low-fat Greek yogurt with blueberries


  • 1 bowl of Cabbage soup 
  • 1 slice of white bread
  • 1 slice of cheese 



  • Roasted peppers stuffed with feta cheese and oregano 
  • 10 strawberries dipped in 2 tbsp of low-fat cream cheese 

Total Calories of the Day: 2204

Day 6


  • Avocado Toast with cherry tomatoes and half a cup of feta cheese 
  • 10 almonds


  • Veggies (non-starchy) and guacamole
  • 10 crackers 


  • Quinoa Salad bowl with chickpeas
  • Whole Wheat cereal with milk and 10 blueberries 


  • 1 cup of chicken Caesar salad
  • 6 Turkey Meatballs with tomato sauce 


  • 1 whole grapefruit 
  • 5 pieces cooked shrimp with lemon sauce 

Total Calories of the Day: 2243

Day 7


  • 2 Poached eggs with mushrooms and bell pepper
  • 1 slice of white bread 


  • Peanut Butter toast 
  • 10 cashews 
  • 10 grapes 


  • Grilled chicken with kale and spinach 
  • 1 oz of gouda cheese 
  • 5 crackers


  • 3 oz of Roasted beef with broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, garlic sauce, and olive oil 
  • 1 slice of Rye bread 


  • 50 grams of walnuts 
  • Parmesan roasted cauliflower 
  • 1 medium-sized apple

Total Calories of the Day: 2216

Postpartum Period

The goal is tight glucose control during the first 6 weeks after delivery.

Females with GD should have a 2-hour glucose tolerance test at 6 to 12 weeks postpartum to determine whether the diabetes has resolved.

Even though gestational diabetes disappears after birth, it leaves females with a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus later in life.

Therefore, it’s recommended for females with a history of gestational diabetes to have regular check-ups with their physicians and follow a lifelong balanced diet and exercise. 

See Also

Diabetic Diet Food List

7 Day Insulin Resistance Diet Plan

Dash Diet for Diabetes Type 2

7 Day Keto Meal Plan for Diabetics

7 Day Low Cholesterol Meal Plan

500 Calorie Meal Plan

Flexitarian Meal Plan

1200 Calorie Meal Plan