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If you have gestational diabetes, you may be wondering what to eat for snacks.
Snacks are important to keep your blood sugar levels stable and your energy levels up.
They can also help you meet your nutritional needs for pregnancy and prevent excessive hunger that may lead to overeating at meals.
However, not all snacks are created equal.
Some snacks may spike your blood sugar levels or provide little nutritional value.
To choose the best snacks for gestational diabetes, you need to consider the amount and type of carbohydrates, protein and fat in your food.
What are the best snacks for gestational diabetes?
The best snacks for gestational diabetes are those that contain a balance of complex carbohydrates (including fiber), protein and healthy fat.
These three components work together to slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, which helps prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes.
They also help you feel full and satisfied for longer.
Complex carbohydrates are those that have a low glycemic index (GI), meaning they raise your blood sugar levels more slowly and steadily than simple carbohydrates.
Examples of complex carbohydrates are whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and lentils.
Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues, hormones and enzymes in your body and your baby’s body.
It also helps regulate your blood sugar levels by stimulating the release of insulin, a hormone that lowers blood sugar.
Examples of protein sources are eggs, cheese, yogurt, nuts, seeds, meat, poultry, fish and tofu.
Healthy fat is important for your brain health and your baby’s brain development. It also helps you absorb fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) and provides a source of energy.
Examples of healthy fats are avocado, olive oil, nuts, seeds, fish and nut butters.
How much should I eat for snacks?
The amount of food you need for snacks depends on your individual needs and preferences.
However, a general guideline is to aim for about 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates per snack, along with a source of protein or fat.
This can help you keep your blood sugar levels within the target range recommended by your health care provider.
To estimate the amount of carbohydrates in your food, you can use food labels, online databases or apps.
You can also use your hand as a guide: one fist is about one cup or 15 grams of carbohydrates; one palm is about three ounces or 21 grams of protein; one thumb is about one tablespoon or 14 grams of fat.
What are some examples of healthy snacks for gestational diabetes?
Here are some examples of healthy snacks for gestational diabetes that you can try:
- Veggies and hummus: Dip raw or cooked vegetables (such as carrots, celery, cucumber, broccoli or cauliflower) in hummus (a chickpea-based dip). Hummus provides protein and healthy fat, while veggies provide fiber and vitamins. One cup of veggies with two tablespoons of hummus has about 15 grams of carbohydrates .
- Apple and peanut butter: Slice a small apple and spread one tablespoon of natural peanut butter on it. Peanut butter provides protein and healthy fat, while apple provides fiber and vitamin C. One small apple with one tablespoon of peanut butter has about 20 grams of carbohydrates .
- Greek yogurt and berries: Mix half a cup of plain Greek yogurt with half a cup of fresh or frozen berries (such as blueberries, raspberries or strawberries). Greek yogurt provides protein and calcium, while berries provide fiber and antioxidants. Half a cup of Greek yogurt with half a cup of berries has about 15 grams of carbohydrates .
- Cheese and crackers: Enjoy one ounce (one slice) of cheese with five whole grain crackers. Cheese provides protein and calcium, while crackers provide fiber and B vitamins. One ounce of cheese with five crackers has about 15 grams of carbohydrates .
- Popcorn and nuts: Pop some popcorn kernels in an air-popper or microwave (without oil or butter) and sprinkle some salt or spices on it. Add a handful of nuts (such as almonds, walnuts or pistachios) for extra crunch and flavor. Popcorn provides fiber and antioxidants, while nuts provide protein and healthy fat. Three cups of popcorn with one-fourth cup of nuts has about 20 grams of carbohydrates.
Snacks are an important part of managing gestational diabetes. They can help you keep your blood sugar levels stable, prevent excessive hunger