You need to eat and drink at least 12 carbohydrate choices each day. Most women need 14 carbohydrate choices each day to maintain the desired weight gain of one-half pound each week. If you follow a vegetarian diet, you need 15 to 16 carbohydrate choices each day to get enough nutrients.
Protein can help control blood glucose. Try to eat protein with each of your meals and snacks.
Blood glucose is hard to control in the morning when the hormones that boost your blood glucose levels are released. To help, follow these breakfast tips:
Most vegetables do not raise blood glucose. Vegetables supply many nutrients for both you and your baby. Try to eat at least four servings of vegetables each day.
Make sure you measure out your servings of vegetables that can raise your blood glucose. One-half cup of the following vegetables is equal to 15 grams of carbohydrate (one carbohydrate choice):
All other vegetables are "free" foods:
Eat foods that contain protein with each meal. This will help you to:
Some types of fish and seafood can contain contaminants (mercury or PCBs) that can harm a developing baby. Learn more about food safety.
Protein is important for you and your baby. Protein helps build cells, helps with growth and healing, and helps hormones work. Most pregnant women need six to eight ounces of protein each day.
Dried beans and lentils contain protein but they must be counted as carbohydrates. Examples of protein foods are:
Fat contains calories to help supply energy to you and your baby. Fat helps your body absorb vitamins A, D, E and K. Fat also gives you essential fatty acids, which helpyour baby's brain and nervous system develop.
It is important to focus on eating healthful fats. The following foods are good sources of healthful fats:
One serving equals 12 ounces of a beverage or one 6- to 8-ounce carton of yogurt that contains an artificial sweetener.
Avoid saccharin (Sweet'N Low® or Sugar Twin®).
It's OK to eat two or three servings a day of foods that are sweetened with these artificial sweeteners:
Many artificially sweetened foods contain more than one of the above listed sweeteners. They are safe for pregnancy, but do not eat too much. Ask your health care provider how much you can eat if you are not sure.
Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Gestational Diabetes: When You Have Diabetes During Pregnancy, third edition, ISBN 1-931876-21-6
Reviewed by Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts