The Best Gestational Diabetes Dinner Ideas

10 Gestational Diabetes Dinner Ideas- Great for Prenatal Nutrition

family making gestation diabetes friendly dinner

Gestational diabetes affects over 1 in 10 women during pregnancy (1). Planning meals to help control your blood sugars can feel daunting, especially at dinner time. In this blog, we’re making life a little easier by reviewing easy gestational diabetes-friendly dinner ideas.

Creating the Ideal Gestational Diabetes Dinner

The key to the gestational diabetes diet is balance. A balanced meal will help slow digestion and give you the best odds of keeping normal blood sugars.  The four components of a balanced meal are high-fiber carbohydrates with proteins, healthy fats, and non-starchy vegetables.

  1. High-fiber carbohydrates include foods like (but not limited to) pumpkin, butternut squash, fruits, peas, corn, beans, lentils, and whole grains such as wild rice, quinoa, bulger, millet, amaranth farro, and barley.
  2. Healthy fats include foods such as nuts, seeds, avocados, fatty fish, and olives.
  3. Proteins include foods such as plain Greek yogurt, skyr, paneer, cheese, lentils, beans, beef, chicken, turkey,  fish, shellfish, eggs, cottage cheese, ricotta, and nut butters.
  4. Non-starchy vegetables include cucumbers, leafy greens, celery, tomato, eggplant, summer squash, peppers, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, green beans, and artichokes. 

Even if they contain fiber, eating carbohydrate foods alone may raise blood sugars above normal due to the insulin resistance created by placental hormones. Including protein and healthy fats at each meal slows digestion and reduces how quickly carbs are broken down to sugar.

When creating a meal that promotes good blood sugars, pick a meal with higher grams of protein and healthy fat than carbohydrates. This will ensure that you have a slow digestion of all macronutrients. Add vegetables to further boost your fiber intake and slow digestion even more.

By including healthy fats, proteins, high-fiber carbohydrates, and vegetables at every meal, you can help your blood sugar and boost your prenatal nutrition. In the second and third trimesters, a pregnant person needs 1.52g of protein per kilogram of body weight (2). A baby’s brain is 60% fat, making eating healthy fats imperative for proper brain development and function (3). Eating a diet high in healthy fats and proteins helps ensure you are meeting your nutrition goals.

The Importance of Dinner Timing

Timing your dinner can significantly impact blood sugar management. Eating earlier in the evening allows for better blood sugar control and provides the opportunity for a bedtime snack. This strategy supports a steady glucose level and can reduce the likelihood of the liver releasing too much sugar overnight, causing high fasting blood sugars. A good rule of thumb is to eat dinner 3 hours before bed.

10 Gestational Diabetes Dinner Recipes

stuffed bell peppers perfect for gestation diabetes diet
  • Turkey and Black Bean Stuffed Peppers
    • In this recipe by Skinny Taste, you can enjoy a mix of cooked beans, veggies, and turkey topped with cheese. 
  • Italian Lentil Soup
    • Top this delicious lentil soup by The Harvest Kitchen with parmesan cheese and enjoy a balanced vegetarian dinner. 
  • Grilled Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs
    • These chicken kabobs by Katlyn’s Kitchen are a great meal plan option. Pair these kabobs with a side of black beans for a perfectly balanced meal.
  • Eggplant Chickpea Curry
    • This recipe by Little Sunny Kitchen is the perfect meatless gestational diabetes dinner. It uses high-protein chickpeas, eggplant, and tomatoes in coconut milk and curry spices. 
kabobs
  • Salmon with Roasted Winter Squash and Kale
    • This sheet-pan recipe by dietitian Dena is a great, easy dinner. Simply Roast butternut squash cubes and serve with grilled salmon for a dose of healthy fats and fiber.
  • Vegetable Stir-Fry with Tofu
    • Minimalist Baker does it again with this easy, meatless gestational diabetes dinner idea. Stir-fry tofu and a variety of colorful vegetables. Serve over wild rice or cauliflower rice, depending on your carb tolerance.
  • Stuffed Acorn Squash with Turkey
    • Roast acorn squash halves and stuff with a mixture of quinoa, cranberries, nuts, and spices for a festive, nutritious dish.
  • Black Bean Pesto Pasta
    • Black bean pasta is a great swap for regular pasta. With about 13g of fiber and 24 g of protein, it is loaded with blood sugar-friendly nutrition. Try this recipe from The Beet for a delicious twist on black bean pasta.
  • Shrimp Cauliflower Fried Rice
    • Pulse cauliflower in a food processor until rice-sized. Stir-fry with eggs, peas, carrots, and soy sauce for a low-carb take on a classic.

Conclusion

Eating well-balanced dinners is a cornerstone of managing gestational diabetes. Incorporating high-fiber whole-food carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of vegetables into your meals can significantly improve your blood sugar levels. Timing is also crucial; eating your dinner earlier can provide more stable blood sugar levels throughout the night. Try these 10 gestational diabetes dinner recipes to bring variety, flavor, and health to your dinner table.

For more help and guidance, check out my Better Pregnancy Gestational Diabetes Course and support program. For more meal ideas, get the Food Guide here (FREE in the program or purchase separately). 

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Ginger Cochran is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, functional medicine practitioner, Certified Diabetes Educator & Care Specialist, Certified Wellness Coach, Certified Exercise Physiologist, and owner of Nutritious Ginger, an integrative and functional nutrition practice focusing on full body self-care and nourishment. Ginger’s primary specialty is women’s health, with a special emphasis on gestational diabetes, weight management, infertility, digestive wellness, and overall health + happiness.
Ginger serves on the board of director for the Nutrition Care Manual by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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