Gestational diabetes diet: Foods to control diabetes in pregnant women

Published on Nov 08, 2022 05:07 PM IST

Complex carb, pulses and legumes, vegetables, fruits and good fats - all are important to maintain healthy sugar levels in pregnant women. An expert tells more.

 If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, the right diet can help control it.(Freepik)
If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, the right diet can help control it.(Freepik)
By, New Delhi

Pregnancy a life-changing phase for a woman can cause a series of hormonal changes in her body which may also put the expecting mother at risk of several diseases. Gestational diabetes is one such condition where insulin sensitivity is developed and if the blood sugar levels are not controlled, one may be at risk of complications during pregnancy or childbirth. Gestational diabetes many a time do not have clear symptoms and it is often detected during blood test. Increased thirst and urination may be some of the symptoms. If you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, the right diet can help control it. (Also read: Gestational diabetes: Myths and truths you need to know about)

"Becoming a mother is a wonderful phase in a woman’s life. With the change in body there will also be a chemical change from the start to pregnancy up till delivery. One such change is rise in blood sugar levels which is known as gestational diabetes that can develop due to insulin sensitivity caused due to the hormonal changes. It is essential to maintain the food habits to keep the blood sugar in check," says Susmita S, Executive Nutritionist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Bengaluru, Bellandur.

Here are some foods that can help manage gestational diabetes:


Complex carbs are most important to manage the blood sugar levels. Refined cereals like maida and white rice have to be replaced with unpolished cereals like whole wheat, broken wheat, oats, millets, quinoa, sorghum, semi polished rice, bajra which prevent sudden spike in blood sugar post meal.


Whole lentils and legumes must be a part of daily meal. Due to low amounts of carbohydrates, blood sugar will not be spiked, however it’s better to consume them in cooked form to avoid bloating.


Include varieties of non-starchy veggies as a part of the meal in the form of gravies, salads or veggies. The fibre in vegetables will provide slow release of starch from grains. Avoid all kinds of roots and tubers like potato, carrot, yam, tapioca and sweet pumpkin on general basis.


It’s a general notion to avoid fruit when blood sugar spikes. It’s recommended to intake 200g of fruits a day but any kind of juice should be avoided. Recommended fruits are apple, orange, mausambi, guava, muskmelon, and strawberry, plum, and pomegranate, avocado.


Unsweetened dairy products like curd/yogurt, milk, paneer provide good source of calcium, Vitamin D as well as protein. Good bacteria in yogurt promotes good gut health and digestion.


Have good quality protein as a part of your food. Whole egg, skinned out chicken, non-mercury fishes and other sea food, lean meat are all to be incorporated on regular basis as they are good sources of Vitamin B, zinc, and iron. Avoid any kind of processed meat and fried preparations.


Include ghee, butter and cheese in moderate amount. Roasted nuts (almonds, walnuts, pista, peanuts), seed (pumpkin, sunflower, watermelon, cucumber, sesame) can be an alternative as a healthy snack.

Fried foods, margarine, Vanaspati, dalda must be avoided.


• Have small frequent meals instead of heavy meals.

• Include sources of protein and non-starchy veggies in all meals.

• Choose grilled, baked roasted or steamed food rather than fried food items. Choose 1 portion of fresh fruit/salad for desserts or plain yoghurt instead of sugar laden sweets.

• Choose water instead of regular soda, fruit mock tails, sweet tea and other sugar-sweetened drinks. Have 3-4 litres of water a day.

• Avoid creamy toppings, like mayonnaise. High-fat topping on salads, dressings, cheeses.

• It’s all about portion size. No fasting No feasting. Pair your carbs with protein and veggies to maintain blood sugar level.

• Switch to healthy snacks instead of unhealthy junks food.

• Maintain your meal timings

• Include fatty non mercury fishes anchovy, sardines, salmon, and herrings to get the benefit of Omega acids.

• Walking 30-45 minutes a day and permitted exercise will help further control blood sugar. Do get in touch with physiotherapist for further details.

"It's important to have a balanced diet and do physical activity to keep blood sugar under control. Talk to your nutritionist for a personalised diet plan. Medication and insulin may be required in some cases but diet and exercise have to be the first priority to have a healthy diet," says Susmita S.

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