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Oh Joy Pregnancy

Oh Joy Pregnancy

I'm not gonna lie guys, being pregnant can be really unfun. I do like being pregnant most of the time…I love the feeling of a growing baby inside your belly, people are really extra nice to you, Bob will never say no to my request for a back massage, and of course, the prize you get at the end is awesome. I like being pregnant maybe 75% of the time, but the other 25% of the time, it just kind of sucks. I run out of breath really quickly, I have trouble sleeping, I've peed in my pants more times than I'd like to admit, and my body eventually just can't keep up.

When I was pregnant with Ruby, I developed gallstones and had to have my gallbladder removed soon after she was born. And yesterday, I found out that I have gestational diabetes. Which means little to no carbs and no sugar until this baby comes out. To a person whose day is based around what I'll have for dessert, it was a pretty sad thing to hear.

So, here I am all-of-a-sudden having to go on a diet, while pregnant—the one time your body wants just a little bit more to eat and needs a little bit more energy to get you through the day. Yes, I am super bummed. But I know it's for my own health and the health of our baby and that I have to get on track with this new plan even if it wasn't part of the old plan.

So, friends, if you have any amazing protein-based, veggie-based food or recipe suggestions for me, I am all ears. Or if you've had gestational diabetes before and have any tips for me, I need all the help I can get!

{Photo by Bob Cho. I tried to find a photo of me with a "thumbs down" but had no luck.}


  1. hey Joy…I’m pregnant with my first and found out about a month ago that I have GD too..saddest day ever. outside of pregnancy I eat very clean, but I found out that my baby really wants me to have ice cream…all the time! So you know the devastation when they tell you that sweets are out. My doctor actually gave me the go ahead as long as i don’t overdo it. the thing about GD is you just have to learn the balance of carb and protein that your body needs. I still can eat about a quarter cup of icecream after dinner as long as I’ve balanced it with enough protein. also just being prepared for the whole day has really saved me. figure out your meals and snacks ahead of time and make them in the morning…it’s much easier to stick to it that way. Just listen to your body. Trust me, you’ll get the hang of it and before you know it your babe will be here and you’ll be right back to cupcakes and ice cream!

  2. Hang in there, Joy! Just wanted to say I’m 35 weeks and totally with you – sometimes, being pregnant is just plain annoying. I tell people I give it a 7/10; mostly I feel lucky, happy, excited. But some days I want a normal body back, and these months never seem to end. Sending support and hugs your way! xo

  3. You should check Ella Woodward blog, she makes great receipes, veggie based, sugar, carb and fat free. All natural and everything looks good!

  4. Oh no… I’m so sorry to hear that!! I’m pregnant with my first now, and I have my glucose test tomorrow so I’m a little worried about the outcome. Like you, those little treats are what get me through the days, and I don’t know what I’d do without them to look forward to. 🙁 The good thing is this time has passed a lot more quickly than I thought!! Here’s hoping these last few months fly by, and in the end you’ll have both a beautiful baby girl and ice cream to celebrate her arrival!! xo

  5. I had gestational diabetes and found that it was really a blessing in disguise – it forced me to eat healthier, which translated into less weight gain, which meant better sleep, less back pain, no sciatica, better skin, easier weight loss after baby, etc.
    Like Kristen said, all is not lost when it comes to dessert. You have to *count* your carbs, but you do not have to eliminate them. In fact, there were some meals/snacks where I had to tack on a few crackers just to keep my carb levels up. If you don’t already have an appointment, I’d highly recommend getting in touch with a nutritionist, perhaps one who works for your endocrinologist (if you have one of those yet). My nutritionist appointments were really eye-opening and made me hopeful that I wouldn’t have to subsist on salads for the remainder of my pregnancy.
    A few things I loved to eat – quesadillas with egg and avocado for breakfast; Luna Protein Bars, greek yogurt with a little bit of honey, and whole grain chips and guacamole for snacks; for lunches/dinners, Real Simple’s Chicken Souvlaki, Whole 30’s chicken curry (with some brown rice on the side), and burritos. Trader Joe’s makes great 100% whole wheat tortillas that are the perfect amount of carbs and I probably ate two per day… And then (the best part!) was that my nutritionist said I needed to have a post-dinner snack before bed. Sometimes that was a smoothie of some kind made with whole milk, sometimes a small serving of either full-fat ice cream or greek frozen yogurt, sometimes a handful of nuts and a few berries.
    At the end of the pregnancy, I was really really excited to eat macaroni and cheese and donuts and banana splits and whole pieces of fruit, but I also came out of the experience with some pretty solid nutritional knowledge that I didn’t have before (and I consider myself to be a pretty healthy person…)
    Good luck!

  6. I had GD with my second pregnancy too and it was the pits. The good news is it kept my weight gain to a minimum so getting my pre-baby body back took much less time. Silver lining! My fave GD sweet treat was graham crackers with cream cheese.

  7. I had gestational diabetes with both of my pregnancies. The second time worse than the first time (which is normal). I found the easiest way to deal with it was to eat every couple of hours and keep to small meals. My doctor also insisted (I found this hard) to eat BEFORE going to bed – cheese, nuts, bowl of cereal with nuts, ham etc. Eating before going to bed keeps the blood sugars level through the night and allows for a smoother transition in the morning. That was hard, but also hard was then to eat a ‘very’ small meal first thing in the morning to avoid spiking my blood sugar.
    Truth be told the plan I got from my doctor’s office was really what the Canadian Food Guidelines tell you to eat and it would be a perfect diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle post pregnancy as well, but as soon as my babies were out I asked for Ice Cream 😉
    Good luck!

  8. Every recipe, and I mean EVERY recipe that Deb Perelman over at Smitten Kitchen scribes works, is delicious, and is worth it. She is a phenomenal blogger and a great recipe writer.
    Try her one pot farro recipe; easiest fridge dill pickles are a great snack…and generally, just look into her recipe index and dive into the gluten free or veggie section (
    Of course she has AMAZING sweets, but…maybe you’ll get to those some other time.

  9. Almost forgot! Deb’s Kale and Quinoa salad with toasted almonds, cherries, and a honey mustard dressing is AMAZING.

  10. Hello,
    When i was pregnant with my first child i also had GD.
    In France, it is really taken seriously : i had to test my glucose before and after each main meal and report it to my endocrinologist… (don’t even think to snack! Ah! Ah! Ah!)
    And since i did not have always have good results the doctor wanted me to have insulin injection (though i had a really strict diet), I asked for another option that is how i started having a 45 minutes walk eveynight after dinner (meaning at 9 or 10PM) …
    And It worked!
    The other trick i used when i was craving for something sweet was to mix frozen rasperry with yogurt…
    And yes the good thing of GD is that i did not put on too much weight!
    I hope it helped!

  11. Joy. Thank you for posting this. While
    I think I enjoy about 45% of this pregnancy I am absolutely miserable and sometimes I feel like a horrible person for not enjoying this time. I’m only 18 wks but not sleeping, peeing 24/7 (this is almost literal), extreme gerd, exhausted and emotional. It really helps to hear others who have similar feelings. I don’t have food suggestions but a coworker I know who had GD said she made roasted veggie sandwiches w cheese everyday and was able to manage it well. Good luck.

  12. Hi Joy,
    First of all, I want to tell you how much I appreciate your site; I have been a long-time reader, and, now that I am pregnant myself, I have been having even more fun following your posts!
    I am a Registered Dietitian, and I hope I can reassure you by letting you know that carbs and sugar are definitely not off limits when you have GD. In fact, it’s important for you to eat carbs throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels steady. Everyone’s body is different, so it will most likely take some trial and error to figure out which foods (and portion sizes) are best for you to eat. In the beginning, I recommend keeping a food diary, where you can also record your blood sugar levels; that way, you can see how certain foods affect your blood sugar. To keep in mind, eating protein or fat along with carbs (cheese with crackers, nut butter with apple slices, eggs with toast) will lessen the carbs’ effect on your blood sugar. In addition, blood sugar levels tend to be higher in the morning, so eating less carbs at breakfast is usually advised. Desserts are still allowed, as long as you control the portion size. I hope this helps! Best of luck!

  13. I had gd with both of my pregnancies. The first time I really cut out carbs and it was so hard. During my recent pregnancy (my son is now 6 weeks old) I wasn’t so drastic. I made sure to use my carb allowances and it left me feeling much happier even if I couldn’t have absolutely everything I wanted. Both ways I ended up with a healthy baby and a donut in my hand as soon as possible!

  14. You would have to limit these…they are sweetened with dates; but obviously fruit is high-ish in sugar. But, they are incredible!! Homemade Peanut Butter M&M’s
    Also, while not natural, sugar free jell-o chocolate pudding (the stuff from the box is way better then the pre-made plastic cups) and the sugar free cool whip can be a pretty great snack if you’re desperate for some dessert 🙂
    One more! This is my go to protein low carb lunch: California Quinoa Salad:

  15. I’m sorry to hear you have gestational diabetes. I know it’s not easy, especially since you like sweets. I’m the same way. Being pregnant is hard, I’m sure. But hang in there. You’ll be ok.

  16. Fudgcicles every night as a late night snack! Very little carbs, but a much-needed chocolate treat at the end of a day filled with watching very closely what you eat. I think I ate one every night during the 3rd trimester and my blood sugar stayed level.

  17. I here you! I loved my first pregnancy until that last 6 weeks where my body was just over it. Sorry to hear about your GD! I’m sure that makes the joys just a bit less joyful (no pun intended). I’m vegan and, like I said, felt great for most of my pregnancy. If you haven’t been to, check out Angela’s blog. She’s currently pregnant too, so she has some great veggie options for mamas! Her cookbook is also amazing. All vegan and mostly gluten-free without the use of refined sugars. Still plenty of yummy treats though!

  18. Look into Paleo desserts. Some without sugar – just nuts, coconut oil and a little dark chocolate (or none).

  19. I was diagnose with GD as well when I had my little one 5 years ago, its not as bad as it seems. Its a blessing in disguise, it will help you avoid gaining tons of weight and you will be a lot more conscious about what you put in your body, but its only for a short while. Of course, you are entitled to a cheat meal here & there as long as you walk it off after. =)

  20. So sorry to hear about your diagnosis. It only makes things harder, and, yes, I agree, pregnancy is about 75% great/fine and 25% not fun. That last percentage increases as the due date gets closer.
    Check out Weelicious for some good, nutritious recipes. It’s the best website for cooking for kids, too. Greek yoghurt will be your savior. You can do so much with it to satisfy your dessert cravings.

  21. Oh man. GD really is no fun. I had it with my daughter who is around the same age as Ruby. I found that I could still eat the occasional sweet thing (strawberry milkshakes!) but it was more about balance of foods. This equated to smaller portions of carbs, with higher protein and veggies. If I knew I really wanted fruit or dessert I’d cut the carbs totally. I had some extensive conversations with a dietician about it to better understand ratios. If they haven’t recommend you see one, definitely seek one out.

  22. Joy, I had gestational diabetes and it’s not too bad. My nutritionist told me the Weight Watchers diet is similar to what a diabetic should be eating. Always pair a protein with a carb. You are still going to get carbs, just in smaller amounts and with protein. Also, you need to eat more frequently, so snacks are essential. I found my sugars were the worst in the morning when I woke so I had to eat a protein before going to bed. You also HAVE to work out every day if you want to keep your sugar down. On the plus side, you won’t gain too much weight. Remember too, this makes you more likely to get type 2 diabetes when you are older so it’s like an early warning sign to stay fit for your future health.

  23. I am sooooooo with you. I feel lucky to be able to carry a baby, and I love feeling my little dude all day (and all night), but I will never be one of those women who says, “I just looooooove being pregnant”. Despite being able, our bodies are not actually that well adapted to pregnancy. As each new symptom/side effect pops up (seemingly daily), I have started repeating a new mantra “I will not be pregnant forever; I will not be pregnant for much longer”. Even though I have 14 weeks to go, it seems to be helping to remind me that I can do this. And so can you. 🙂

  24. That pretty much sucks! I’ve never been pregnant (and therefore never have had gestational diabetes) but I do remember and awesome recipe for grain-free granola on Elise’s blog and I LOVED it! It was super yummy and filling.

  25. Try It’s a lot of dessert recipes, vegan (I think), uses low amounts of unrefined sweeteners, and a lot of the recipes are nut-based. You can probably swap in dairy and eggs–not sure if it’ll work for you, but worth checking out.
    Also, if you freeze bananas and then blend them in a food processor, it makes a decent ice cream by themselves: I think fruit may be restricted for you, but perhaps it’s allowable in moderation.
    Quinoa, like everyone has mentioned, is great. There are also some good noodle stand-ins, like tofu noodles and shirataki noodles.
    Good luck! GD can have long-term health ramifications if left untreated, so it’s great that you’re taking care of yourself now.

  26. Joy, listen up: Spring for chicken breasts at Whole Foods.
    I too, am a carb addict, but I’ve been trying to cut out how much bread and sweets I eat, which often means some sort of salad at lunch. I used to shun grilled chicken. It’s a super healthy choice, but also super un-fun and rarely flavorful.
    This all changed when I bought some organic, Whole Foods chicken. It’s not even that much more expensive than what you’d get at Trader Joe’s or another supermarket, but MY GOD IT HAS SO MUCH MORE FLAVOR! I swear, it will help you enjoy your salads so much more. Go out of your way to get it.
    Also, Jenny at Dinner: A Love Story swears by marinating chicken in yogurt before you eat it. I haven’t tried it, but she raves about it, and I’ve been meaning too. Apparently, it makes grilled chicken really tender and delicious.

  27. I was also on the GD train with my last pregnancy. I made it better by buying a stunning array of crackers and keeping a great selection of cheese on hand. I would cut up the cheese into ounce portions and make variations of this as my before bed snack to keep my blood sugars in check, and keep my tastebuds content.
    Also I really think the nutritionists need new fake plastic food, those sad worn fake slices of american cheese are just shabby and make no one feel like they’re making a positive diet change. I don’t care if they’re meant to show portion sizing, they just don’t make a person want to eat ever again.

  28. I had GD too. Like many have already mentioned, it’s all about balancing what you eat. I learned that some things would make my sugar spike more than others – for example, corn was a big no no for me, but I could eat apples and most fruits without a problem. I ate a ton of almond butter to help curb the sweet tooth since it is low in sugar. Best of luck!

  29. My typical go tos when i had GD were: plain 0% greek yogurt, with either 1 tsp of jam or peanut butter, Luna Fiber bars in Blueberry flavor did not spike my blood sugar, kind bars either. I was fine with any corn based anything- but no rice or carbs at all for me. You just need to eat different things, check your sugar, and figure lut what works best for you!

  30. I have GD right now too. I eat pretty healthy and exercise anyway, but carbs and sugar are SO hard for me to cut back on -adding in lots of extra protein really helps curb my hunger. Taking time to make scrambled eggs with yummy things like cheese and avocado added in helps me stay full all morning.
    Trader Joe’s has lots of great snack items (sugar-free chocolate covered almonds!). Any time we have a super carb-filled meal, I try to go on a walk immediately afterwards to balance things out. I think it’s all a big pain in the booty and plan to treat myself to a giant slice of cheesecake right after she is born. 😉

  31. Just find a really good nutritionist-clinical dietitian, and they will give you a program and suggestions on snacks, and new recipes to try out. 🙂 It’s going to be over before you know it, really, and you will only remember the best moments of it! 🙂

  32. Aww, I don’t have any recipes to share but thought I’d let you know I completely agree with you on how “unfun” pregnancy can be. Wishing you luck as you’re getting very close to meeting your 2nd princess! 🙂

  33. I had gestational diabetes, too, and I was shocked because I’ve always eaten healthy and ate 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. I was barely over the cut off, and so that’s why I was diagnosed with it. I visited a nutritionist and she gave me a food chart basically explaining to me that it’s all about the number of carbs you have in a day. Basically, I was eating too much fruit because I was watching what I ate and didn’t want to eat high caloric foods while pregnant. I always ate a lot of kale, but then I started eating extra kale. I also liked to eat avocados, too. I had to stay away from fruit in the morning (boohoo) and had to decrease my fruit intake. 🙁 I feel for ya, Joy. It wasn’t fun being on that diet! Thankfully, the doctor wasn’t too concerned with the gestational diabetes after he saw my blood sugar levels recordings!

  34. So sorry to hear of your challenges. I also had gestational diabetes and was forced to be on insulin during my twin pregnancy. I cried when I first found out, but soon learned to adapt and add lots of protein to my diet. I especially liked smoothies enhanced with additional protein powder. In the end, everything worked out – I was blessed with two sweet, healthy girls and have no lingering health issues. Good luck! 🙂

  35. oh sweet mama! just delivered my 5th (+ final) babe and totally get the hole love/hate relationship with pregnancy! try these corn fritters for an easy happy hour snack that’s full of protein, healthy fats and veggies:… also love snacking on meat (nitrate free) and cheese platters during pregnancy:
    so fun following your journey and can’t wait to “meet” your new little one… your so close!

  36. To echo Sam’s recommendation above, Kind now has a line of nut bars that are really low in sugar (4 grams in one). The dark chocolate with sea salt is my favorite – totally addictive and tastes like a candy bar, with a good amount of fiber and protein to offset the carbs. I haven’t been as keen on the other varieties that I’ve tried, but others seem to like them. I find that making sure I have plenty of other yummy snacks around, like Trader Joe’s Marcona almonds, macadamia nuts, Greek yogurt and fruit, etc. on hand helps too. Good luck!

  37. Pretty much all of the other ladies that have had it got the same advice I did when I had it.
    I would occasionally test high if I over did sweets or carbs but you can balance them fairly easily if you aren’t in insulin terrritory. Mine was controlled by diet. Thankfully I never had to go to insulin.
    Any sweets or carbs in small does coupled with a protein will balance your blood sugar and keep it from spiking. A quick walk 15-20 minutes after a meal will also help even out levels. Some days I just walked the halls of my building at work when I couldn’t get outside.
    I was so upset when I first found out but I quickly realized it wasn’t terrible. I just made sure I balanced everything carefully and could still eat most things I wanted.

  38. Hi Joy! I gave birth to my little girl, Sydney, 3 weeks ago and was also diagnosed with GD at 28 weeks. My favorite low carb recipe that kept my numbers down was Ina Garten’s Lentil Soup: I added chicken sausage for some protein as well. My favorite snacks were dried fruit and nuts, apple and peanut butter and Cliff Mojo bars. I love ice cream, so I would splurge every once in awhile. Anytime I ate something that I thought might effect my numbers, I would take a 10-20 minute walk after the meal. One other thing that stressed me out was the growth ultrasound. A week before I gave birth they did an ultrasound and estimated that my little girl would weigh around 9lbs 5oz. There’s a large margin for error with those ultrasounds, they say it’s give or take a 1lb and a half. I was hoping for a vaginal delivery, but they thought I may need a c-section based on her size. My doctor even said there was no way I was giving birth to a 7lb baby based on the size of my bump. Sydney weighed in at 7lbs 2oz and I had a perfect delivery. So, just keep that in mind. If you get the same type of news, take it with a grain of salt.

  39. I developed GD in late pregnancy with baby #2. Went on the Kaiser exchange diet, lost 12 lbs., increased exercise. Slept better and generally felt like a million bucks. Delivered a 9 lb. 12.5 oz. super healthy baby. Actually continued to eat everything I wanted but had to calculate every bite and when I reached the max allowed, NO MORE. I’ve kept these eating rules ever since.

  40. Totally hear you – I had GD with both pregnancies, the second time they made me go in the diet starting Week 12! The magic trick for me for my fasting #s was to have a Haggen Daz bar (Choc w Almonds over Vanilla) right before going to bed – seriously – something about the high fat content and protein from the dairy kept my #s in check – the nutritionist said if it works, go for it! good luck! Otherwise it was lots of yogurt, nuts, and salads – and walks after meal -which just didn’t happen the 2nd time around since it was a race to bedtime w the toddler, etc.

  41. I lived on turkey/bacon burger patties and swiss chard salad while pregnant with my now 3yo boy. Oof, I remember that sickly sweet orange syrup pregnant ladies have to drink before the GD test…oh boy that was unpleasant!

  42. I second this! I had GD and was back in my pre pregnancy jeans a week after giving birth…. Yes I am that person! I also second the graham crackers. I liked mind dipped in a glass of milk…. But you’ll figure this out. It’s hard, but not forever.

  43. Joy! I had GD when I was pregnant with my daughter and although scary at first, it turned out to be just a small bump in the road. My biggest tip is to pack your snacks and lunches for the day before leaving the house. If I had food with me, I could easily stick to a schedule and eat only good foods for the recommended diet. However, if I had to rely on restaurants or trying to grab food on the go, it was much harder. Good luck!

  44. Hey chica,
    That sucks! But, knowing you, you’ll turn it into a challenge and adventure.
    I’ve never been pregnant but you may remember I am a diabetic. And, to be honest, the food choices issue still kicks my butt. However, I will second the few who’ve mentioned exercise and reduced stress as ways to lower and/or maintain blood sugars.
    The diet is critical as well but if you can get even a 20 minute walk in the morning and in the evening, it’ll impact your blood sugars. And if you can add some meditation, yoga and/or deep breathing exercises, you’ll see a difference with them too. Diabetes, whether gestational or otherwise, is a tricky bitch. You can replicate all your behavior exactly from one day to the next and end up with totally different readings.
    Just take it one day at a time and be gentle on yourself. xo

  45. Two things recommended to me by a nutritionist when I had GD…eas advantedge carb control protein shakes (comes in chocolate fudge…put over ice and it becomes a super satisfying sweet tooth fix) and jello with sugar free whipped cream and berries. Both got me through my sugar cravings!

  46. I’ve been type 1 diabetic since I was 8 years old, and felt deeply stressed about it through my entire pregnancy. I don’t want to scare you, but the complications of poorly controlled diabetes are no joke. While I was pregnant, I avoided carbs like the plague. I found that my insulin resistance went way up at that time in my life, and there were certain foods I just could not eat. Pay attention to your body, and learn your high and low blood sugar symptoms. When I’m high I feel lethargic, thirsty, sometimes have headaches and just generally feel crummy. When I’m low, I yawn uncontrollably, feel a bit dizzy and on occasion even a bit confused. Chin up, at least for you this condition is most likely temporary! If you have any diabetes questions, feel free to email me any time.

  47. Thank you for your honesty, especially as that honesty isn’t all negative. I don’t yet have children but all you seem to hear from people is how rough being pregnant is.
    Gestational diabetes seems incredibly common and will definitely suck, fortunately its not for long and carbs will be waiting for you on the other side.

  48. I’m so sorry! I’m 33 weeks pregnant and also have GD. The best quick desserts I’ve found are: Weight Watchers English Toffee Crunch bars and sugar-free jello pudding. For snacks: trail mix, string cheese, and Wheat thins. I eat a lot of Morningstar veggie products for breakfast, along with eggs and the Thomas brand light multi-grain English muffins topped with peanut butter.
    I was devastated when I found out about the GD, but it’s possible to get through it. It just takes a LOT of planning.

  49. I gave birth to my son 1 month ago (today!) and had GD at the end of my pregnancy, too. I was able to control my blood sugar through diet without any medication, which was a relief! I took a class on GD management and it really helped with how I approached eating and cravings, and also relieved the intense guilt I felt about my diagnosis. I was allowed to treat myself every once in a while–in fact the diabetes educator advised against deprivation. It was all about balance and moderation. A tiny serving here and there. I found a few squares of really good chocolate paired with a handful of nuts felt like a huge treat and didn’t cause my blood sugar to spike! I learned that my body didn’t react well to even small servings of bread or pasta, but did well with dairy based carbs like yogurt. I loaded up on vegetables and protein. I misty missed and craved fruit the most! It’s really a cruel joke that women can develope gestational diabetes when all they want is to indulge in cravings, ha! Good luck and good health to you and your little one!

  50. I totally feel ya! I wish pregnancy wasn’t so long! I had to get tested early on for GD and then again at week 26….luckily I did not have it this time. I’m so sorry for you! 🙁

  51. Aw, I feel for you. I’m pregnant with my second too and just had a slightly elevated diabetes screening… going in for a second test in a few days. Of course when I got my results I broke down in tears! Haha pregnancy hormones, 90-degrees-plus weather (orange county), a toddler in her terrible twos, can take its toll! Go take a nice bath with your feet up, mama, you’re doing a great job!

  52. My family and I stick to a low carb diet, full time. We all started when my mom was diagnosed with fatty liver disease due to too many carbs.
    I just got the Nom Nom Paleo cookbook and it’s awesome. A wide variety of recipes that all look really good. Their blog is great – All kinds of ideas for kids too.
    Hope the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly. In the meantime, it will be fun to try some new foods 🙂

  53. Hi Joy!
    I am a registered dietitian and I specifically work with women (and men) with fertility issues as well as with women who have gotten pregnant and want to learn proper nutrition for that time. My biggest tips to you:
    – Always, ALWAYS make sure to balance each meal and snack with a blend of protein and complex carbohydrates. Protein digests slower than carbohydrates and also slows the absorption of glucose (from the carbohydrates) into your blood stream. Protein could be any meat or fish, nuts or nut butter, seeds, dairy (especially Greek yogurt) or even a whey protein powder. Complex carbohydrates would be more fibrous (think brown in color) grains such as brown rice, whole wheat bread or wraps, quinoa, whole grain pasta, or even starchy vegetables like potatoes, peas or corn. The fiber also slows the the absorption of the carbohydrates much like protein does. Healthy fat (such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado or fat found in nuts or seeds) also is good to incorporate as it is digested slowly – so it helps slow that carb absorption but also helps keep you satiated/full.
    – At meals use the plate method to keep your portions in check! Aim to fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables (these can be steamed veggies, roasted, grilled, a veggie-based soup or a salad), a fourth of your plate with those complex carbohydrates and a fourth of your plate with protein. Feel free to add some of that healthy fat (ex: 1/4-1/2 of an avocado, 2 tsp healthy oil) for good measure. It will give you the benefits mentioned earlier and also will help you get the extra calories you need during pregnancy. At breakfast you may not get that half your plate of veggies but aim to get it at your lunch and dinner.
    – Think about incorporating a probiotic into your daily supplement regimen. They have been found to help regulate blood sugar levels. I recommend finding something with at least 10 billion live, active cultures. Aim to purchase a probiotic that is refrigerated in the store.
    Personally I often tell clients that they can still have an occasional sweet treat – just to aim to have it with a meal that has protein. However, if your doctor said to completely stay away from those sweets you should abide by those recommendations.
    Hope that helps! Good luck to you – I am 14 weeks with our first little bubs. 🙂

  54. I’m a big fan of OhSheGlows (vegan cooking blog) and she’s pregnant right now too, so she’s posting healthy vegan recipes and updates. Her cookbook is amazing. I got it last week and I’ve tried a ton of recipes already. All simple, and all delicious!

  55. I had GD during my second pregnancy and my advice is to set a weekly meal plan and have your husband help prepare meals. It’s a bit lonely and scary but when you feel like you’re in it with your partner it seems to help. I was bummed until my husband started helping me. Also, I could eat something sweet mid-morning and my sugar levels would be totally fine. Anything after 1 or so I needed to be super vigilant.

  56. I feel ya! I’m 33 weeks into my second pregnancy, and have GD for the second time. I remember being so shocked the first time, as I figured that since I had gained very little weight, I would ace the glucose tolerance test. But my hormones had other plans! This time I was mentally prepared to have it again. For the second time I am successfully controlling my GD through diet alone.
    What I find helps is to not think of it as a “diet” in the conventional sense of the word, as weight loss or weight management is not a goal of the GD diet, blood glucose level control is – and calorie counting isn’t really necessary for this. It is more of a minor lifestyle change. Carbs play an important role in the GD diet, so be sure not to eliminate them Atkins style. You may actually be surprised at how many carbs you can have with each meal. Breakfast is really the only meal where you have to be super, super strict with your carb intake. I’m limited to between 30 & 45 g of carbs for breakfast, depending on my fasting glucose levels.
    What I struggle with is the fact that the GD diet does not allow for spontaneity, nor for absent minded eating. There’s no room for grabbing a handful of M&Ms just because you’re craving them (sigh). All eating needs to be intentional, and scheduled, and measured, which is not how I usually roll. I’m more of an eat what I want, when I want it kind of gal (waist size be damned!).
    So here are some things that work for me at the two trickiest times of the day for ladies with GD:
    Breakfast: Weekdays, it’s ALWAYS 2 slices of Ezekiel bread, with crunchy peanut butter, a tiny drizzle of honey, and a glass of milk (Tip: lactose free milk has less carbs per cup). Weekends, when I have more time, it may be a tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, grated cheddar cheese (no carbs, yay!), and a healthy dollop of salsa.
    Snack before bed: Here I’m allowed 30 g of carbs, so there are a lot of options, but I always have one cup of Kashi Go Lean with a little milk. No problems with my fasting glucose levels in the morning when I stick to this.
    Oh, and I always allow myself a half cup serving of vanilla ice cream for dessert :).
    You can do it pretty lady!

  57. Pregnancy is rough! My Mom had gestational diabetes with both me and my sister, therefore I watched myself closely during my pregnancy. I made a point of combining crabs with protein. This might include a hard boiled egg as a snack, or peanut butter with my oatmeal. I also worked hard to eat more complex crabs. Both my Mom and a friend were required to measure or weigh their food. I didn’t need to do this, but I was never actually diagnosed (though close). It is a tough diet, but well worth it in the end. Best of luck! You are almost there!!

  58. Oh man, I feel ya, girl! I’m nursing my second son, who is currently 3 weeks old, and he had been vomiting in a really scary way, so I was advised to go on a no-dairy diet. As a major foodie, this has been SO hard for me!
    I’ve started a Pinterest board of recipes that fit this diet to try. I will be adding to it in the next few months, and most of the recipes I’ll be trying will be sugar free and usually carb free too.
    I love bon appetit magazine (and their website) – the recipes are always hits and they are often veggie and protein centered. As I’m sure you know, Asian foods tend to fit both your diet and mine as well! 🙂
    Best of luck, and it will get better!

  59. i’m on my 4th pregnancy and was again diagnosed at 12 weeks like my 3rd, but this time i’ve been on 2 types of insulin for a few months now. this time around i’ve had a hard time regulating my sugar levels and am “carb sensitive” so, i feel your pain. oh, how i wish for a sweet treat especially during the summer. but i found that i can have a little cool whip or tofu pudding with sweet ginger or a carb control yogurt for a quick sweet fix.

  60. after trying 15 kinds of protein snacks at night, i also discovered i had to eat icecream to get those morning numbers right. yes, i made that sacrifice 🙂

  61. Ive had GD with my second baby. In fact it was so bad I had to inject myself with insulin 2x a day in my last trimester! Pricking to see sugar level 3x a day and injecting my thighs. Oh man, it was so bad. Seeing a nutritionist helped a lot with my diet, actually it was not cutting back, I found theres so much protein needed than I cared to take before. My biggest takeaway from that session however is to avoid FRUIT JUICES. Can u imagine? Theres so much sugar in juices apparently, even the pure juice ones.

  62. GD is very common with pregnancies… have no fear, it tends to go away once Moms are over their pregnancy I’ve heard. The good docs and nutritionist will guide you, and from the looks of the comments above the readers already know the way… I really love your thumbs up pose… really made me crack up hysterically. Please do more of those! I’d say rest(ha)and laugh more… Laughter heals everything!;)

  63. Dear Joy,
    same situation here, I had GD during my pregnancy too. I have to say that food is only in your mind, if you put something higher than it (like your baby for example), your body will simply forget it. I ate extremely by the diet plan, never ate anything out of it. But, I felt amazing knowing that I do it for me and my baby’s health. Focus on purpose and your body will accept it 🙂 Plus, I lost 15 kilos which is the best part 🙂
    Take care and remember, everything is in our head 🙂
    Kisses to your amazing Ruby!

  64. My absolute favorite food blog for nutrition, savings, and variety is by Beth Moncel. Just go on there and click around until you find something you like, there are so many categories of delicious recipes. She also syncs each recipe with an app called ziplist, so if you create an account there, one click and grocery planning = done. I’ve basically let this site be my meal planner for the past year, and it consistently checks all the boxes. Inexpensive, easy, nutritious, and delicious. Good luck with this new speedbump, you can do it!

  65. Joy! Thank you for posting this. It is important for women to come together and realize that pregnancy can be really difficult in addition to being a fun new excuse to buy maxi dresses 🙂 Thanks for your honesty and transparency – we all need to see that even our blog heroes like you who seem to have a charmed life that’s perfect 24/7 still have lots and lots of behind-the-scences struggles (and triumphs, I’m sure!).
    I eat a low-carb, nearly sugar free diet most of the time and it can be SO HARD, but here are my absolute favorite resources for amazing recipes that don’t feel like you’re missing out (for realz, I wouldn’t lie to you!)…
    3. (her recipes usually include the carbs/serving which is awesome)
    Plus there might be some great paleo delivery/food trucks/etc. in your area so you don’t have to cook absolutely every meal you eat 🙂

  66. Ooh, I’m going to follow your board! I’m 30wks right now and have noticed that while I’ve never had a lactose issue before, I’ve been getting horrid stomach cramps whenever I eat dairy 🙁
    Have you checked out She has posted some dairy-free recipes that look fabulous.

  67. Isn’t Nom Nom Paleo fab-u-lous?? I never feel ‘deprived’ when I cook her recipes. In fact, I feel a little fancy, even if the recipe was super simple to pull together. 🙂 You may already have these, but my other two fave cookbooks are Against All Grain (plus she has another book coming out soon!) and Well Fed. Mmmmm.

  68. This is great advice, Emily! I’m 30wks and don’t have GD but have been doing daily guided meditation/relaxation as part of my hypnobirthing prep. It’s been way more amazing on my stress and general well being than I ever thought possible. I hope to continue it after the baby is here!! 🙂

  69. I am the mom of 5 and with 3 of my wonderful babies, I had GD…It was many years ago and the science and information has improved. I found a session with a nutritionist to be the most helpful thing ever. I did end up with insulin shots with my last one, I was 43 which didn’t help the situation but I followed instructions and diet guidelines and within 24 hours of delivery each time, I was back to normal blood sugars….
    My advice, learn what you need to do to manage your levels, get some diet help and then try to enjoy the pregnancy even with this looming over your head. Find the treats that you are allowed and incorporate them into your diet. It will be okay. I had normal happy and healthy babies with the help and guidance I needed…<3

  70. I’m so sorry, Joy! I had the same thing happen to me. I didn’t have GD with my first pregnancy, but I did have it with my second. It was REALLY HARD physically and it also hurt my pride. I’m normally a skinny white girl, so when they said I had GD, I was shocked. I cried at the first meeting with a specialist when they told me it was not my fault that I had GD. I really felt like it was my fault, so that it was not was a relief because I had been questioning myself a lot and wondering if I had only exercised more or drank less juice, then maybe this would not have happened? When I switched my diet I found that sparkling water with an ounce of juice in the morning was a good substiute to have a cup of OJ every morning. Trader Joes sells this sprouted rye bread that is actually pretty low carb and I would have that every morning with melted cheese or avocado. My best friend was dark chocolate covered almonds. At night, after my last blood reading I would eat a bowl of fruit and some cheese or nuts and my blood sugar was always fine by the time I woke up in the morning. That is what got me through! I realized that having GD was a wake up call to take care of myself and take some time away from work, housework, and my child to go for a short walk after every meal and just have some me-time. Oh, and one more thing–checking the blood on the soft pads on the sides of your hands is much better than the tips of your fingers. Love on yourself and take care of that sweet little one inside you! 🙂

  71. Yup, Yup and Yup. I’ve been there with the Gestational Diabetes. Because I was pregnant with twins I found out really early (20 weeks) that I had it. The best advice it to figure out certain meals that just work and repeat so you don’t have to count carbs and stress about your blood sugar. I saw a nutritionist and that really helped and I tracked all my meals and blood sugar counts in “My Net Diary” app and that allowed my nutritionist to see what meals were potential triggers.
    I was a huge fan of vanilla or chocolate protein powder (Whole Foods Whey Brand) 1% Milk and ice blended. It was like a milkshake with a serious protein punch. I also did whole wheat bread with peanut butter, blueberries worked well for me and satisfied my sweet tooth. It ends up being a boring routine, but it doesn’t last forever! Good luck.

  72. Hi Joy,
    First off, you are so beautiful inside and out!
    A great vegetable recipe is the golden beet salad; roasted golden beets,topped with goat cheese and walnuts. It’s normally served with a fresh basil vinaigrette, but if you are unable to have it, its still incredible without.
    All the best!

  73. As I’ve never been pregnant– much less pregnant with GD– I was scrolling through the comments to see if anyone had yet mentioned your blog, Elise. You beat me to the punch!

  74. I feel for ya. I’m 28 weeks with twins right now and already HUGE, because I literally am. I have (hopefully) at least 10 more weeks to go and seriously have no idea how my body can handle any more inches around my belly. Sleeping is already not fun and my back kills. Unborn babies can sure give you a run for your money! I always have to remind myself “this too shall pass!” Hang in there girl!

  75. Acupuncture did wonder for my GD! I can’t recommend it enough. I found lots of fun things I still could have – fajitas as a bowl, chicken salad, peanut butter on ezekiel bread, and for a treat – so delicios coconut ice cream almond bars, they have 15 carbs so they may be an okay treat if you talk to your endo doc! Good Luck! I swear I lost the baby weight fast because of the extra care with eating, and felt SO much better. I did mourn the cookies 🙂

  76. You can follow @healing_belle on Instagram, it’s a super nice an healthy account, and also she has the whole pantry app, with LOTS of yummy and healthy recepies. good luck girl! XXOO

  77. I feel for you, Joy! I, too, had gestational diabetes with my second. I suggest taking a short walk immediately after each meal, especially if you feel like you may have gone over your carb/sugar allowance. It REALLY makes a huge difference in your reading. I would “treat” myself to a flavored sparkling water (ooh! I know…) when a sweet craving struck. Honestly, having GD sucked, but it was over before I knew it. And the best part? I gained way less than I probably would have. Hang in there!! You can do it!

  78. I’ve made this one and second the recommendation! Deb’s recipes are my absolute favorites. She makes a hummus recipe that is out of this world. I don’t know if beans are okay for GD, but if they are, I highly recommend it if you have the time. She shells the garbanzo beans, which maybe Ruby could “help” with? I’m just out of my first trimester with my first and am terrified that my diet of bagels and potato chips to cope with my nausea will haunt me in the end…

  79. I had GD in both my pregnancies and I agree with others here who say it forced me to eat healthier, put on less weight and lose the weight after baby faster. I followed a very strict diet of lentils and vegetables with mixed grain flat breads (made from garbanzo, wheat, barley, millet etc). A little yogurt and 2 fruits a day. All butter, oil, ghee was out too, so grilled and baked were good options. The doc said I could have a piece of dark chocolate but it should be right after a meal not in between them. And most importantly, I walked for 30 minutes after each meal. This is really important as tiresome as it can seem.

  80. I’m so sorry to hear that! Luckily there are a ton of resources for your through the Paleo diet – nomnompaleo, paleoomg, ans clothesmakethegirl are my favorites. Good luck!

  81. I guess my input is more materialistic: I would go nuts and buy all the most inspiring cookbooks I could find. In lieu of eating the treats, buy some (and stay healthy).
    In a week or so you should feel a bit more adjusted to being sugarfree. Then that nice healthy feeling should set in.
    You’re doing a great job. Stay strong!

  82. My mom had gestational diabetes too. When my dad brought my brother to this hospital to see me for the first time, they brought along a chocolate cake for my mom. She still believes it was one of the best cakes of her life. Not that this makes the next months any easier, but perhaps you could have a cake (or other celebration sweet) to look forward to after delivery!

  83. I’m in my last few weeks of my pregnancy and yes I have GDM too. It sucks to say the least but it is a blessing in disguise – that’s what I’m telling myself anyway. For a really long time I was very upset with myself, doing whatever the dr / dietician / nurses tell me to do but in the end, it was out of my control and here I am taking the insulin. It’s ok. It’s for baby and it’s only temporary! My advice is that u can still have your delectable sweets as long as u eat it after your meal and it’s part of your carb count! You can do it!!

  84. Hi Joy,
    I’m 8 1/2 months pregnant and was diagnosed with gestational diabetes a month ago.
    To be honest, I cried every day for a week… I love to eat and only gained 2 kilos so far. I thought that I was doing a good job!
    I’ve learned what everybody’s supposed to eat (quantity wise) and most people don’t (I didn’t). This is what French doctors say:
    – size of your palm if you eat meat or size of your hand if you eat fish or eggs,
    – size of your 2 fists of carbs for the lunch and less for the diner,
    – size of your thumb of dairy.
    – 2 fruits per day and
    – vegetables at will.
    I had to reduce the fat because it helps to fix the sugar.
    Another lesson learned: not 2 people will react the same sugar-wise, so you have to try to find what your body will accept to balance your diabetes and you might be able to eat some sugar.
    Biggest lesson learned: stress can increase your GD! It increases mine a lot and I have to slow things down and let my man mostly take care of our dynamic 3 years old son.
    It is not always easy, but at least we know how long and why we have to make these sacrifices!
    Hope it helps!

  85. Lots of beans and Nuts. I like to add smoked paprika to mine!
    Sorry to hear you have GD, but on a more positive note I think your dress is lovely and i want it!

  86. Hi Joy! Having GD is no fun… I had it with my second as well. I found that my body couldn’t handle the amount of carbs outlined by the dietician…so my advice would be to obviously do what works best for your body and experiment with diff combos of carbs, etc. Eating protein at meals and frequent walks after meals always kept me on track and I never had to take medication. For sanity’s sake find a few meals that work for you…wash and repeat. I felt so much better once I had to change my diet (which wasn’t all that bad in the first place). Good luck!!

  87. Hi Joy, I completely understand. When I was pregnant, I had a number of complications including GD. I understand the frustration of not being able to do what you used to in all aspects. It’s good to have family support and a good husband by your side 😉 As far as GD, measuring your meals and eating sugars in moderation helped me. Yes, I did enjoy some ice cream but in small portions. Trust your Dietician, s/he knows how to help balance your meals so you don’t feel hungry, and don’t skip your snacks. Also I found an In-n-Out burger did not bring up my sugars (watch out for the fries though) and included all food groups. Hang in there mama, you are doing a great job!

  88. Just make sure you follow the diet. I also had gestational diabetes with my third son and he was born full term 9lbs. It was a really rough delivery. Also some dr will induce at 37 weeks, I wish mine had bc my son was born with a tear in his lung. It’s very hard but believe me it is worth following? Also I ate in reverse toward the end when I had a hard time controlling my blood sugar. Dinner for breakfast, very low carb, fruits and lots of veg for lunch, a long nap, lemon water, then breakfast type foods for dinner, still low carb and low sugar but your body can handle more towards dinner time and it basically stopped all my late night cravings and gave me more energy in the morning.

  89. Just now catching up on your blog. I had GD with my 2nd, too. It was a bit of a bummer, but pretty manageable. I ate a lot of cheese and nuts. Almost every night I had Greek yogurt and some nuts and a tablespoon of semi-sweet chocolate chips. I also found a tiny ice cream drumstick that was low enough in carbs for me to have every so often. That was fun for my older daughter who cried, “But, I like to sit outside and eat Popsicles with you!” I also made this pb cookie- 1 c pb, 1 cup Splenda (I know, but mama had to have some sweets!), 1 egg, and 1 tsp vanilla cook at 325 for about 8 minutes. Those were my spe cis
    Hands off GD treats!
    Best wishes!

  90. Hi, my little girl yesterday turns five months old. She is my first child and while 21 weeks pregnant my doctor told me i had gestational diabetes. At first i was shocked, than angry and at last i thought: okay, i can handle that without insulin and ao i did. I bought a few fruits, a lot of vegetables and some fish, meat and a lot cheese and nuts. Thats what i ate. No sweets, no grapes, no bananas, no orange juice, no milk and so on. I worked and after my pregancy the diabetes was gone! I loved salad, cream cheese, cottage cheese amnd almonds, they were the perfects “sweets”. What helped me was also to write everything, i ate, down. So i could identify the things i can ate and the things that didn’t worked for me. And whats really good are recipes for cake without sugar and flour or quark (the german word, i don’t know the english one right now…?) with half an apple. You just need to try and in the end it’s not that bad and when your pregnancy is over you can eat all you want ?, so make a list what your husband shall bring you after giving birth ?. Lovely greets from germany.

  91. Hi Joy-
    I had gestational diabetes with my first baby, and like everyone said- it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I think I was much healthier than I would have been without the diagnosis. The part I was most scared about was having a giant baby, but mine was just 6 lbs. My baby and I had no glucose issues after the birth, everything just went back to normal:) I’m sure everything will turn out well!
    Maybe paleo pancakes (made with eggs and banana) would be good! Or peanut butter banana soft serve?!

  92. Hi Joy,
    I too had GD. The day after I found out, they had a birthday breakfast at my work for some co-workers with three different cakes and I kept getting asked why I wasn’t having any. On the third time I broke down sobbing in front of the whole team 🙁 I’m not gonna lie, it’s so hard, but I definitely feel like I eat healthier now than I did pre-GD.
    A few things that I ate on a regular basis:
    – Eggs
    – Cottage Cheese
    – String Cheese
    – Apples w/ peanut butter or almond butter (as an afternoon snack only)
    – Wheat thins (I think you can eat about 10 per meal)
    – As many raw veggies as you’d like
    Good luck with everything, and know that it’s only a few more weeks til you get to meet your beautiful baby girl!

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