Delicious Recipes For Expecting Mamas With Gestational Diabetes

Written by Rama Manikumar on Tue, 05 September 2023 — Fact checked by GHBY Team

Key Highlights

  • Pregnant women often run the risk of having gestational diabetes owing to hormonal changes.  
  • With a firm gestational diabetes diet plan formulated with the doctor, this condition can be tackled head-on, and with the least hassle.
  • It’s crucial to remember to limit the consumption of foods that are generally unhealthy and be even more mindful about sneaky little additives in others.  

You're probably worried if you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. You're already adjusting to various changes in your body during pregnancy. Not only is receiving the diagnosis difficult but there's also the problem of adopting the lifestyle changes that will help you manage the disease during your pregnancy.

Take solace in the fact that you will not only be able to maintain a healthy pregnancy, but you will also be able to do it without adhering to a rigorous diet, through some simple gestational diabetes food ideas.

Continue reading to find out what causes gestational diabetes, how to eat healthy when pregnant, and how to make simple yet delicious recipes and meals. The goal is to develop long-term behaviors that are easy to manage and stress-free while yet allowing you to maintain a healthy blood sugar level during this joyful period.

What is gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes occurs when there is a rise in blood sugar in pregnant women. Insulin is the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels, but when the body becomes resistant to insulin or cannot produce enough insulin, gestational diabetes can develop.

Many women face it, and it’s a common disease that accompanies hormonal changes during pregnancy. Often, these bodily changes work together to keep things in check, but sometimes, they can create imbalances inside.

While there are precautionary steps that one can take, it’s really about tweaking one’s day-to-day routine that goes on to help. When devising recipes for gestational diabetes it’s important to prioritize nutrient-dense foods that are minimally processed, and limit intake of refined carbs and sugary foods.

With a couple of nifty tips and quick meal plans, this disease can be overcome with ease.

Tips for creating a gestational diabetes diet plan

Tips for creating a gestational diabetes diet plan

A gestational diabetes diet plan focuses on maintaining stable blood sugar levels while also providing adequate nutrition. It involves balanced recipes for gestational diabetes, portion control, and monitoring carbohydrate intake.

Some general ways of approaching a gestational diabetes diet are:

1. Balanced meals

Include a mix of proteins, healthy fats, and carbs in every meal. This helps slow down the absorption of glucose and promotes better blood sugar control.

Examples of balanced meals include a guilt-free breakfast for gestational diabetes with whole grain cereals and fresh berries, a hearty lunch comprising a quinoa bowl, and a light dinner, with a snack in between.

2. Carbohydrate counting

Monitor carbohydrate intake by counting grams of carbohydrates consumed in each meal or snack. This helps ensure consistent and appropriate portions of carbohydrates.

Ensure that snacks for gestational diabetes during pregnancy contain items that are less fattening, like nuts and seeds which help you deal with cravings.

3. Complex carbohydrates

Focus on consuming complex carbohydrates with a low glycemic index, as they have a slower impact on blood sugar levels.

Examples include oats, quinoa, whole wheat bread, legumes, non-starchy vegetables, and fruits in moderation.

4. Portion control

Pay attention to portion sizes to avoid overeating.

Use measuring cups, a food scale, or visual cues to estimate appropriate portion sizes for gestational diabetes recipes.

5. Healthy fats

Include avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds in your food. These fats help promote satiety and provide essential nutrients.

6. Regular meal pattern

Maintain a regular eating schedule with a balanced gestational diabetes diet plan and include snacks spread throughout the day.

This helps stabilize blood sugar levels and prevents prolonged periods without food.

7. Hydration

Drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Limit or avoid sugary drinks and opt for water, herbal tea, or unsweetened beverages.

8. Regular physical activity

Engage in regular physical activity. Exercise can help improve insulin sensitivity and aid in blood sugar control.

However, be sure to consult your doctors about exercises that are safe for you during pregnancy.

Foods for mothers with gestational diabetes

While gestational diabetes recipes should always be customized (by a dietitian or diabetes educator), there are some general guidelines that can help you keep your blood sugars in check:

Fiber aids in the reduction of blood sugar increases. Vegetables (with the skin on if possible), whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, and fruit are all good choices.

Your carbohydrate consumption will almost certainly need to be restricted. Carbohydrates are still essential for your and your baby's development (never go below 175 grams per day when pregnant), but eating too much at once might cause blood sugar to surge. Your dietician can assist you in developing a plan that is tailored to your specific needs.

Protein and fat can also assist to decrease the entry of blood sugar into the system, so incorporate them into every meal and snack

Some Gestational Diabetes Recipes

Be it gestational diabetes breakfast ideas or complete meal prep for healthy and delicious meals, these recipes are a fantastic way to navigate your pregnancy time.

Plant-based, flavorful, and nutritious, these recipes can make tackling gestational diabetes as an expecting mama much less stressful.

1. Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers

Quinoa-Stuffed Bell Peppers


  • 4 bell peppers
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Cut the bell peppers and remove their seeds.
  • In a bowl, mix together cooked quinoa, black beans, tomatoes, onion, corn kernels, cilantro, cumin, salt, and pepper.
  • Stuff the bell peppers with the quinoa mixture, place in a baking dish, and cover with foil.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  • Serve hot and enjoy! This is one of the quickest gestational diabetes recipes you can whip up.

2. Lentil And Vegetable Curry

Lentil And Vegetable Curry


  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooked brown rice or quinoa (for serving)


  • Rinse the lentils and set aside.
  • Fry the onion and garlic.
  • Add the carrots and bell peppers, and cook for a few minutes until slightly softened.
  • Stir in the lentils, coconut milk, curry powder, turmeric, salt, and pepper.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20-25 minutes until lentils are tender.
  • Add the chopped spinach and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until wilted.
  • Serve over cooked brown rice or quinoa, and this healthy meal for gestational diabetes is ready to be savored.

3. Zucchini Noodles With Tomato Sauce

Zucchini Noodles With Tomato Sauce


  • 2-3 medium zucchinis, spiralized into noodles
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish


  • Heat oil over medium heat.
  • Add garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, dried oregano, and dried basil, along with salt, and pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • In a separate pan, lightly sauté the zucchini noodles for 2-3 minutes until slightly softened.
  • Serve the zucchini noodles with tomato sauce and fresh basil on top. This recipe will definitely be a delicious addition to your gestational diabetes vegetarian diet.

4. Berry Chia Pudding

Berry Chia Pudding


  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fresh berries for topping


  • In a jar or bowl, mix together almond milk, chia seeds, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.
  • Stir well to combine and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  • Stir again to prevent clumping, then cover for at least 2 hours until thickened.
  • Serve chilled with fresh berries on top.

Looking for gestational diabetes breakfast ideas? Refrigerate the chia pudding overnight, and slurp it up in the morning for a healthy and tasty start to your day.

Meals to avoid if you have gestational diabetes

Jar sauces, for example, might have a lot of sugar in them. Make your meals from scratch so you know exactly what is in them.

Tomato ketchup, brown sauce, and BBQ sauce are examples of table sauces. Gravy granules and sauce thickeners contain a lot of sugar, even the low-sugar varieties, so try to avoid them and instead use mayonnaise or creamy sauces. Due to the flour and thickeners used in these gravies and sauces, some women may find them difficult to handle.

For gravies, try stock cubes, and look for sauces that don't require flour or thickening agents. As natural thickeners, use celery, butter beans, lentils, chickpeas, and butternut squash in stews and soups.

For some mothers, tomatoes might be difficult to tolerate. Many recipes call for chopped canned tomatoes or tomato puree. Compare product labels to find the ones with the least amount of total carbs. Increase the quantity of protein in the meal by including a lot of meat, keep the number of starchy carbs low, and give it a shot. You'll never know unless you try.

Keep a watch on your carb intake! With larger meals, it's easy to double carb without even realizing it, so pay special attention to what starchy carbohydrates are on your plate, then consider the additional types of carbs you might be adding on top, such as carb-heavy vegetables like root vegetables.

Remember to include a complex unrefined carb on your dish, such as Spiralizing zucchini spaghetti is a terrific way to increase your vegetable intake while lowering your carb intake, but your body (and baby) require a tiny quantity of carbohydrates for energy and to keep ketosis at bay.

After supper, avoid having a dessert or pudding. Larger amounts of food will be difficult for your body to handle, so wait an hour, test your blood sugar levels, and then enjoy dessert as a treat.


It is important for pregnant women with gestational diabetes to monitor their blood sugar levels in order to reduce the risk of complications and ensure a healthy pregnancy. Treatment routines for this often involve a combination of healthy meals for gestational diabetes, regular physical activity, and, in some cases, insulin injections.

By making mindful choices and prioritizing a healthy gestational diabetes diet plan one can set the stage for a positive pregnancy journey and lay the foundation for a healthier future - both for mother and baby!

Frequently Asked Questions

Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy. It’s a condition that usually starts around the 24th to 28th week and is caused by hormonal changes and increased insulin resistance. It calls for a lot of vigilance and dietary changes, with special importance being placed on sustainable gestational diabetes recipes.

The exact cause of gestational diabetes is not fully understood, but it is believed to be a combination of hormonal, genetic, and lifestyle factors. Things like insufficient insulin production, pre-pregnancy weight, body mass index, and even age play a role in this. In addition, any previous pregnancy with the same can also lead to it developing again.  

While it may not be possible to completely prevent gestational diabetes, there are steps one can take to reduce risk. Maintaining a healthy weight, switching to guilt-free snacks, and staying active physically can help.  

If one has gestational diabetes, it's important to follow a balanced meal plan that helps regulate blood sugar levels. A gestational diabetes vegetarian diet typically includes more whole foods, complex carbs, and proteins that are plant-based and extremely nutritious. Recipes for gestational diabetes during pregnancy usually also pack in a lot of healthy fats and liquids. 

There are no specific recipes for gestational diabetes that need to be kept in mind before undergoing a test. However, it is recommended to follow specific dietary instructions given by your doctor. The instructions may vary depending on the test being conducted. Some general guidelines may include fasting before a test, and hence not consuming anything but water for some period of time. Others may be told to avoid too many carbs or minimize the amount of sugar consumed.  


Rama Manikumar

Rama is a nutritionist and a lifestyle consultant. Having worked in the health industry for more than 20 years, her expertise in health and well-being brings a fresh and healthy approach to everyday habits- food and lifestyle. She walks the talk and delivers excellent quality nutrition, and helps develop habits that peak health & Well- being. Rama Holds a Batchelor’s degree in Biology; Extended/Specialized degree in Nutrition & Dietetics (Pennsylvania State Univ. USA).

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