Diabetes

A Best Gestational Diabetes Vegetarian Meal Plan – What Should You Follow?

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Pregnancy is a time when the body will experience a lot of changes and it will take a bit more time to adapt than expected. When the blood sugar level rises during the pregnancy period, we call it gestational diabetes.

It is better to keep a routine check-up between week 24 to 28 to make sure everything is going right. There are 2 types of gestational diabetes. Those coming under category A1 can treat the condition with a balanced diet and workout. For those under category 2, insulin and other medications are a necessity to keep the normality of diabetes.

Gestational diabetes will vanish after giving birth to a child. But the child will tend to have diabetes. Women after surpassing the pregnancy period will have more chances of getting Type 2 diabetes than other women.

It is always better to take precautionary measure to stop you and your child from having diabetes. Taking a medical check-up will let you know if you have a gestational diabetic condition. Changing your diet by adding a well-balanced plan of natural superfoods including a lot of green veggies will be an ideal choice for you to make.

A Best Gestational Diabetes Vegetarian Meal Plan

If you have met a doctor regarding your gestational diabetes symptoms then he must have definitely asked you to change your diet plans and take a little bit of extra care. Eating a variety of healthy foods will help you keep a balanced diet. If you already eat a veggie diet, then it is better to have a conversation with your dietician or a specialist doctor so that you will know what more vegetables are to be added to your diet plan.

Below, I would like to recommend a few common diets plans that pregnant women must take to have better health to normalize the gestational diabetes condition. 

  • Whatever has more protein must be added along with your meal
  • Add carbohydrates like beans and grains instead of white rice and white bread carbohydrates
  • Consume lean proteins instead of fat proteins
  • Processed food must be completely avoided, eat a very minute portion even if you eat.
  • Take-in veggies and fruits in abundance
  • Low fat dairy products must be preferred
  • Eat snacks throughout the day to normalize the blood sugar level
  • Plenty of whole fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid carbonated drinks, drinks with sugar content, pastries and other foods with sugar.
  • An intake of at least 3 average-sized meals is to be practised. At least 2 snacks per day will be a good idea to have a steady flow of metabolism during pregnancy time and keeping the sugar level normal.

    Skipping these meals and snacks will not be a great idea and keeping control of the food and eating a limited amount of carbohydrates, fats and proteins will be a healthier option for the overall betterment of the foetal development. This controlled diet will keep your blood sugar level stable.

    When it comes to gestational diabetes, keeping it controlled during pregnancy is safer for the mother and the baby. Meeting a dietician is the best answer. If in case you don’t want to do that then I will be suggesting you a vegetarian diet plan below and you can ease off diabetes and keep it low. Before that, know what you have to take in and know what you have to avoid


  • 100% whole grains
  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • A few starchy vegetables (like potatoes, corn and peas)
  • 1-2 servings of fruit per day
  • Beans and Lentils
  • Nuts like walnut and almond
  • Unsweetened yoghurt
  • Oils like Avocado oil and Olive oil
  • Seeds like Chia seeds Flaxseeds

  • Desserts and sweets
  • Aerated drinks
  • Juices that are artificially made
  • White bread/pasta
  • Refined grains
  • Highly processed foods
  • Fast food, Fried foods or Baked foods
  • Candies
  • Alcohol
  • Main Elements of an essentially vegetarian diet plan are:

    • CARBOHYDRATES 
    • VEGETABLES
    •  FRUITS
    • BEANS
    •  GRAINS
    •  FAT
  • CARBOHYDRATES 

  • carbohydrates

    Not more than half the calories you consume must come from Carbohydrates

    As we all know that carbohydrates are found mostly in sugary food products including bread, pasta, cereals, rice, potatoes, corn, fruit, fruit shakes and juices, milk and yoghurt, cookies, candy, aerated drinks, and other sweets.


    Healthy High-fiber and whole-grain carbohydrates are complex carbohydrates and are recommended to consume. Simpler carbohydrates are not to be taken as complex ones are healthier and safer to prevent the increase of diabetes.


     Simple carbohydrates are the ones that we must avoid from the diet plan while preventing gestational diabetes.  Simple carbohydrates include French fries and potatoes, white rice, candy, carbonated drinks and other sweets. These food items will give you a sudden rise in the blood sugar level which will have adverse health problems as soon as you eat.


    Vegetables are natural and give you a natural improvement to your health. The green leafy vegetables are to be eaten more and more as much as possible. The more, the better. This will help you with the overall health of your body.

    Since the carbohydrates are measured in grams, you can count the number of carbohydrates you consume as there will be a control over the number of carbohydrates you eat daily.

    VEGETABLES and FRUITS 

    VEGETABLES and FRUITS

    Vegetables and Fruits are the natural health benefitting elements that are present all around us. Eating a lot of these naturals are always the best idea of keeping control of the gestational diabetes problem.


    Avoiding anything that is altered using fruits are considered unnatural. Things like fruit juice made of additives, their artificial flavours, canned fruits etc are all transformed into a different version but does not do any health benefit. Instead, they have so much sugar content that will worsen health.

    If you think of the fruits and vegetables, they contain natural advantages of detoxifying unwanted substances present in our body and purifies the blood.


    They improve the metabolism in our body and increase the energy level. There will no more be an imbalance of hormones in our body, the estrogen levels will be in balance. Vegetables like broccoli, lettuce, asparagus, green beans, etc. are all important for a woman to stabilize her diabetic condition.

    VEGETABLES to add to your diet


    Considering the plan, you must follow the given guidelines and change your eating habit to stay healthy. It does not matter if you increase the quantity of what you eat, Vegetable intake must not go down. You must eat at least 3 to 5 servings a day. One serving equals:


    • 1 cup of (around 345 grams) green vegetables like lettuce or spinach are desirable but you can choose anything available near you. All it matters is that it must be green and natural.
    • 1 cup (around 345 grams) cooked or raw green leafy vegetables ( kale or spinach)
    • 3/4 cup (around 260 grams) vegetable juice ( beet, cucumber or carrot)
    • 1/2 cup (around 175 grams) of  vegetables cut into pieces, either they are cooked or in its natural form(broccoli, asparagus)
    • Healthy vegetable choices include:
    • Fresh veggies over frozen ones are preferred without any additional sauces, cheese, or stuff that add taste (carrot, corn, beans)
    • Thick green and yellow vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli, lettuce, carrots, and peppers

    FRUITS


    Eat 2 to 4 servings a day. One serving equals:


    • 1 medium whole fruit (such as a banana, apple, or orange)
    • 1/2 cup (170 grams) chopped,  cooked fruits like pineapple, apple or papaya(canned are not recommended)
    • 3/4 cup (180 millilitres) fruit juice made from watermelon, sweet melon or orange( only naturally made with a juicer)
    • Healthy fruit choices include:
    • Whole, natural fruits. They have more fibre. Fruits like watermelon cool the body, apples are good and grapes are tasty.
    • Citrus fruits, such as oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines.
    • Fruit juices without added sugar.
    • Dark coloured berries like raspberry, blueberry and strawberry are rich in  vitamins
    • Fresh fruits and juices are more nutritious than frozen or canned varieties.

    BEANS AND GRAINS

     

    BEANS AND GRAINS

    These are naturally harvested and are good for your healthy diet. It is important to stay healthy during pregnancy especially when there is a fear of gestational diabetes. A pregnant woman must have 6 servings of each of these foods below. The below listing is based on a single serving. Reduce baked foods and add more that are natural.


    • One slice of a bread 
    • A single ounce (28 grams) of cereal that are made ready for eating
    • Half cup(105 grams) of cooked rice, wheat pasta (not recommended to eat uncontrollable amount)
    • One piece of English muffin
    • You must be able to identify foods filled with a larger amount of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and healthy carbohydrates. They include:
    • Whole-grain bread and crackers
    • Cereals that are whole grained
    • Whole grains- barley or oats(good cholesterol will increase)
    • Beans are healthy
    • Brown or wild rice is healthier
    • Whole-wheat pasta
    • Starchy vegetables, such as corn and peas( eat less as they increase diabetes level)
    • Use whole-wheat or other whole-grain flours in cooking and baking. Eat more low-fat bread,

    SWEETS

     

    SWEETS
    • Sweets are very dangerous if not controlled. They contain fat and sugar in abundance and hence known for a serious diabetic condition to pop out. It is always better to eat sweets very less. Having control is recommended. Even if you order anything that has a lot of sugar and fat, try to share it among those with your pals around you so that the intake is a lesser quantity and hence its safe.
    • Sugarfree sweets are also not free from risk. They contain a lot of carbohydrates and fats that are responsible for gestational diabetes to stay unbiased.
    • If you get to eat desserts, do not eat it alone. Try to share it with others and this will reduce the sugar stuffing in your body.

    FATS

     

    FATS

    In general, you should limit your intake of fatty foods.


    • You must avoid food products that contain more butter, margarine, cooking oil, salad dressing and desserts. Everything has a lot of fat.
    • High saturated fat foods like foods burger, bacon, other foods with cheese and butter.
    • Adding an essential amount of fat and oil to your diet is essential for the baby's healthy development and brain cells. So do not completely avoid fatty foods as these foods have a rich energy source.
    • Choose healthy oils, such as canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, and sunflower oil. Include nuts, avocados, and olives.

    Other Changes to keep the gestational diabetes stable

    • Exercise regularly 3 days a week at least for 30 minutes to keep blood sugar level normal
    • Regulate blood sugar level by eating a snack every 2 hours.
    • Do eat healthy snacks and do not skip any foods so that it will be very hard to keep the sugar level normal.
    • If it is hard to do exercise, walking will be the best exercise

    Staying healthy is the perfect motivation you could give to yourself. For that this information might help you choose the right amount of food to your daily diet.

    Try to increase the good cholesterol level too by eating the good fat. Do remind yourself for a regular checkup so you will know that you are in perfect control.  You will have a craving for unhealthy foods. Try not to eat them, even if you eat, just eat very little and think about what you can do for your baby. 

    You can stop being selfish for the little one. Try not to forget about walking around your home or anywhere near to your home. So, keep it going steady and slow. Take control of your life in a healthy way.

    Dr. Shin Fen Chow is an American Board of internal medicine certified doctor and a dedicated and diligent internist serving the community of West Orange. Dr. Chow obtained her medical degree from the University of Columbia and then completed her residency in internal medicine at Mayo Clinic, Rochester. She is a part of BHMG- center for Asian health and received many awards and scholarships like Dr. Charles F. Hamilton award in pulmonary medicine and Mead university scholarship from Columbia University in 1991 and 1987 respectively.

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