This is in no way meant to be medical advice, just some friendly ‘girl chat’.
It was about 4 or 5 days between finding out I had GD and going to the dietician. Trying to decide what to eat between times was immensely frustrating. Although I didn’t turn to the internet, I figure someday someone might, so I’d throw my 2 cents out into the www. So…the first thing is to make an appointment with a dietician and diabetes educator. Let me say that it was definitely educational, but they were LONG appointments. I definitely suggest if you already have kids to beg anyone to take them so you aren’t trying to listen around whining or screaming. What do you do in the meantime though? Here’s some quick tips and tricks (again, LISTEN TO YOUR DOCTOR) that I’ve learned in the last week. My biggest problem is HUNGER! Most people won’t have too much of an issue, because they eat a lot of things I don’t! Until you can get into see the dietician, this will help you if you’re feeling ‘helpless’.
-stop eating added sugar (I mean, duh. No cake/ice cream, candy, soda, or immensely sugar sweetened stuff). Detox now. Thank me later.
-start thinking about what you are putting in your mouth if you don’t already. keep a journal.
-mentally prepare yourself for lots of needle sticks.
-be prepared to think about food in a whole new way. Basically everything that isn’t meat is a carbohydrate and is about to become your ‘frenemy’. Drinks, too.
-Become a label reader. Your dietician is going to give you a diet based on your weight, stage of pregnancy, etc. and it’s going to rotate around ‘carb servings’ aka 15 total carbs is a serving for the most part. Use a measuring cup. Be prepared to freak out. What’s a serving size on the box may have more than 15 carbs, so in processed foods especially, you’ll have to follow either the label (using division to get a proper serving size) or what the dietician tells you. For example, mine told me that a small apple, 1/2 cup of mashed potatoes, a slice of bread, or 1/3 cup of cooked rice is about a serving.
-Serving sizes become problematic for dining out. Portion sizes are SO overblown. I’ve pretty much resolved NOT to eat out until after the baby is born. This is annoying of course because we would typically eat out a couple of times just due to our appointment times, and feel really decadent–knowing we’ll be ‘in’ after the baby is born. Not anymore!
– Casseroles, especially if you are using your own ingredients, can be a double edged sword. Even if it’s stuffed full of veggies, it’s going to limit what else you can eat by a lot. So things like grilled meat with limited sauce are going to be your friend. Anything cooked individually basically, because it’s easier to measure and you’ll get more volume for filling up.
-Unlike a fat-free diet you might be used to, things like butter, sour cream, or cream cheese aren’t off your radar. In fact they are going to become your friends as you try to fill in the nooks and crannies that subtracting carbs has left in your diet.
-If you eat salad, you will be much happier. I don’t eat greens at ALL. None. So obviously I have trouble feeling full because I’m subtracting a lot without adding things back in…
-leftover (free) veggies are your friend, especially if you’re in a hurry, so cook twice as much as you normally would and then portion them out for easy grab and go servings. Not all veggies are considered ‘free’ though, corn, peas, potatoes-they are all ‘starchy’ and count as carbs, so look out!
-there are such things as carb free pickles and jello. That will hit your sour and sweet buttons in between meals, but don’t overdo on these, obviously.
-You can still eat the things you love, but they’re going to be much smaller portions than you’re probably used to. Savor every bite and eat slowly.
-Everything counts. Sauces, bites, nibbles, licks. Don’t finish your kids’ plates. Don’t let them eat off of your plate and then fill in with something else. If you eat something like a cookie, remember it’s taking away 1 or 2 healthy foods from your baby so be careful!
Hopefully this will help someone while they’re waiting to see their doctor/dietician. It’s obviously NOT medical advice and not to be used as a substitute, but just something to give you an idea of how the whole thing works and what to expect once you see them. Congratulations, good luck and try and enjoy the rest of your pregnancy.