Health

Indian Diet Plan For Pregnancy With Gestational Diabetes

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Pregnancy is a happy phase in any woman’s life where she eats without worrying about calories as it is popularly believed that “a pregnant woman eats for two”. So she indulges herself in all kinds of food items that she craves for during pregnancy. But the sad news is, if the pregnant woman is diagnosed with diabetes during pregnancy, this same happy phase turns out to be more serious and troublesome.With changing lifestyles, gestational diabetes or high glucose during pregnancy is becoming more common. Nowdays about 6 to 8 percent of pregnant women are diagnosed with diabetes during pregnancy. Experts predict that this will increase to 8 to 10 percent in the near future. We all know that a proper diet plays a major role in managing diabetes. Women with diabetes during pregnancy ought to meet an authorized nutritionist to design the best diet for her so that she gets proper nutrition for herself and the baby growing inside her.Keep reading to know more about the right diabetic diet during pregnancy that a pregnant woman should follow.
pregnant woman mixing salad


Meal Planning For Pregnant Women With Diabetes

The good news is that if a pregnant woman strictly follows the diabetic diet designed for her, she can definitely keep the harmful effects of diabetes at bay and have an uncomplicated pregnancy and a healthy baby. Follow these guidelines for your meal plan during pregnancy:

  • Low glycemic index: The glycemic index (GI) indicates a number. It shows how fast your body changes the carbs in that food into glucose. An interesting fact is that two foods with the same amount of carbohydrates can have a different glycemic index. Smaller the number, lesser will be the impact of that food on your blood sugar. Lower the index, slower the digestion takes place, therefore, the blood sugar levels will increase slowly and steadily. The food with glycemic index:
    • 55 or less is considered as low (good)
    • 56- 69 is considered as medium
    • 70 or higher is considered as high (bad)
  • Therefore, before buying any food or drink, look for the glycemic index on the label.


  • Low Glycemic load: The glycemic load (GL) of food is a number that tells how much a particular food item when consumed will spike a person’s blood glucose levels. We have to multiply the GI of the food by the number of carbohydrate grams in a single serving and then divide the given number by 100.
    • A GL between 1 and 10 is low
    • A GL between 11 to 19 is considered moderate
    • A GL which is 20 or higher is considered high
  • For those with diabetes, you want your diet to have low values of GL.

  • Insulin index: The insulin index refers to the capacity of the food to raise the level of insulin after 2 hours of intake
A Few Tips To Remember While Eating During Your Pregnancy
  • Carbs are not only found in food with processed sugars like soft drinks, but also in food containing natural sugars like milk, fruits, yogurt etc
  • Preferably have Greek yogurt which is all the rage right now for all good reasons. Greek yogurt is a natural cultured yogurt which is high in protein, lower in carbs than regular yogurt and rich in calcium and has probiotics,the good bacteria that can help in digestion during pregnancy
  • If you eat high carb food in one meal and then avoid it in other meals, it will still raise your blood sugar level. Therefore, always stick to recommended carbs in your diet
  • Never skip a meal as skipping a meal can make you feel very hungry and you tend to eat more in the next meal
  • Eat small meals, preferably every 2 to 3 hours. You can have a healthy snack, salad, fruits in between. However, make sure at least one and a half to two hours of gap is maintained between snack and the next meal
  • Prefer sweet potato to potato as sweet potato has a low GI
  • If you are a rice eater, always prefer brown rice to white rice due to its low GI
  • If you feel uncomfortable after eating any food item or have developed red rashes, stop consuming that food item and speak to your doctor about it
  • Have salt in moderation as consuming more salt can lead to water retention and further increase swelling during pregnancy and can also lead to gestational hypertension which along with gestational diabetes can be very risky for both the mother and the baby
  • Try to consume home cooked food as much as possible
  • If you are buying ready to eat packaged meals or drinks, make sure to check the date of manufacture and expiry and also the list of ingredients and make sure it has not added sugar in them
Some Do’s And Don’ts In Your Diabetic Diet During Pregnancy
  • Include less starchy vegetables as they are rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins
  • Include protein rich food like eggs, seeds, nuts, fish, meat, etc. These foods not only make you feel full but also will not spike your glucose levels
  • Select lean meat and dairy products with low fat
  • Drink 9 to 12 glasses of water every day and keep yourself well hydrated
  • Eat fresh fruits rather than fruit juices
  • Include two servings of fruits and vegetables every day in your meals as they are loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals
  • If you are a strict vegetarian then include dals, cereals, pulses, nuts and whole grains in your diabetic diet as a source of protein
  • Don’t eat deep fried food
  • Don’t eat junk food
  • Don’t drink soft drinks
  • Reduce the intake of oil and butter

pregnant woman checking sug

Sample Indian Diet Menu For Diabetes During Pregnancy

Here is a sample diabetic diet menu during pregnancy that ensures the required nourishment for the baby and controls the glucose level of the pregnant woman. Eating on time and ensuring enough gap between the meals are equally important when it comes to a diabetic diet. Once you have a general idea on how to select the food, you can make appropriate changes to the food items as per your doctor’s advice and also keep monitoring your sugar levels.

  • Early morning (6:30 to 7am)
    • Start the day with a 250 ml glass of milk (without sugar). If you prefer flavored one, you can add cardamom, cinnamon or kesar
    • You can also have dry carbs like whole grain rusk or digestive biscuits (sugar free). Limit it to just one piece
    • Soaked almonds 4 or 5 will provide protein and omega 3 for a good head start
  • Breakfast (8:30 to 9am)
    • Any of these – Vegetable upma/ three idlis/ two plain dosa/ two vegetable stuffed chapatti
    • A bowl of sambar/ mint chutney/ curd as accompaniment
    • One boiled egg (optional)
  • Mid morning (11am)
    • One medium sized fruit. Jamun, pear, guava, musambi, pomegranate, etc. are perfect to have during this time
    • You can have tender coconut water or a glass of lemonade
  • Lunch (12:30 to 1pm)
    • Small bowl of vegetable salad
    • Two plain chapattis and three table spoons of pulao made out of brown rice or just three plain chapattis
    • Dal tadka/ fish curry/ chicken curry/ sambar/ rasam
    • Stir fried vegetable/ egg bhurji/ paneer
    • One teaspoon ghee
  • Mid afternoon (2:30 pm)
    • Butter milk/lassi
  • Evening (4 to 4:30pm)
    • One glass of milk
    • Snacks – cheese sandwich/ multi grain french toast/ khakara
    • Salted nuts (6 numbers)
  • Late evening (6 to 6:30pm)
    • A bowl of cereal with milk. muesli, wheat flakes, oat flakes without sugar etc./ a bowl of sprouts
  • Pre-dinner (7:30 to 8pm)
    • Vegetable soup/ chicken soup
  • Dinner (8 to 8:30pm)
    • Two medium size multigrain chapattis/ 3 idlis/ three table spoons of brown rice
    • Paneer mutter/ sambar/ mixed vegetable curry/ moong dal/ palak paneer
    • One teaspoon ghee
  • Bedtime (at least one and half hour after dinner)
    • A glass of warm milk

After meals do have a 15 minutes walk. Consider it also as a part of your diet. You can make necessary changes to the items mentioned above according to your taste and preference and in consultation with a nutritionist. Here are a few more tips:

  • Fibers are available in the market. Adding it into the chappati or roti dough ensures the required fiber intake
  • You can add hand full of soaked soy beans while making batter for idly or dosa
Some Recommended Low Sugar Indian Snacks
  • Whole grain plain dosa
  • Wheat and methi khakara
  • Ragi roti
  • Mint chutney as dip or spread
  • Digestive biscuits

No matter what you want to eat, make sure that you consult your doctor or a nutritionist first. Some food items that agree well with someone else who is pregnant may not be good for you.