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Pregnancy Complications

Gestational Diabetes

Carbohydrate Management

Diet recommendations for diabetes management during pregnancy usually targets total carbohydrate to be around 50-55% of calories. In some women, the recommendation is slightly less. This is not considered a low carbohydrate diet, but rather a carbohydrate managed diet. The objective is not to overly restrict carbohydrate but to make wise selections of carbohydrate foods, both starch and sugar forms, and to spread these carbohydrate foods throughout the day.

Below are general guidelines only. Be sure to follow any individual meal plan prescribed by your obstetrician and developed for you by a dietitian.

Avoid Excess Carbohydrate
Add lean protein to each meal Skinless poultry, fish, shellfish, very lean red meats, cottage cheese, skim milk, skim milk cheeses and soy products. Protein increases the satiety value (fullness) of a meal or snack. When protein is eaten along with carbohydrate, less carbohydrate is needed to feel satisfied. For example, a pasta meal is more satisfying when turkey meatballs are added than when pasta is eaten alone or with vegetables.
Add cooked dry beans and peas to meals Black beans, red beans, navy beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, pinto beans, lentils, split peas, bean salads, bean soups Dried beans and peas contain protein, and more. They increase the satiety value of a meal because of the combined effect of their protein, soluble fiber and starch-blocking (anti-amylase) components. A meal always seems to last longer and be more satisfying when legumes are included.
Add a little unsaturated fat to menus Avocado, olives, almonds, almond butter, peanuts, peanut butter, walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachio nuts, sunflower seeds, olive oil, canola oil, walnut oil, sesame oil, canola oil mayonnaise, salad dressing.

Fats, along with protein and legumes, increase the satiety value of a meal and can also lower the amount of carbohydrate needed. It is important to remember, though, that unsaturated fats are much healthier than saturated ones. When selecting foods or oils that add fat to a meal, choose olive, canola, nuts, seeds and avocado more frequently.

Take most of your carbohydrate in whole food forms Fresh, raw fruit and vegetables and whole grains Whole foods, or those which are close to their natural form and unprocessed, usually take longer to digest and contribute more fiber to one's diet. This enhances satiety and can lower the glycemic effect of meals.
Minimize intake of foods concentrated with sugar Cut back on the amount of table sugar, brown sugar, honey or syrup. Fruit juices are also a concentrated source of sugar. Read labels for sugar and total carbohydrate per serving. A lower carbohydrate version of the food may be available. If not, it is best to eat small portions of concentrated sweet foods in the context of a mixed meal.

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