Saturday, 27 July 2019

Food Ideas for Gestational Diabetes: What to Eat If You Have GD


What my friends and I ate during pregnancy after we got diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

Just failed your OGTT? If you’ve been told by your gynae that you have gestational diabetes (even if you merely failed 1 out of the 3 readings, like I did), don’t worry and take a deep breath. There’s no need to panic or fret out over what you can or cannot eat from here, because the choices are in fact wider than you think.

In fact, while gestational diabetes (GD) sounds like a completely depressing news to get at this point in time, it doesn’t need to be that bad. Your food choices also still remain aplenty!



My experience

I failed my first-hour reading during my OGTT and was diagnosed with borderline GD during my pregnancy. It seems like I’m not the only one – and more people I know are starting to get diagnosed with the same, whether or not they failed just one or even all three readings. Fortunately, my gynae let me off the hook given that I only failed the test marginally (because based on the previous guidelines, the one-hourly reading wasn't even tested in the past), and I wasn’t required to visit a dietician as long as I kept my diet in check.

But my close girlfriends (who coincidentally got pregnant a few months after me) had to visit one for a personalised consultation. The cost isn’t that pricey though; expect to pay anywhere between $70 - $150 for the consultation i.e. similar to what you would pay your (private) gynae for each session anyway.

Instead of seeing GD as a curse, I looked at it as a chance to eat healthier, which was good for both my baby and my own body! Thinking positively about the condition can help J

If you’ve GD, you’ll probably be wondering what you can and cannot eat, so I thought I’ll share about some tips and meal plans we followed, and hopefully these will be of help to some of you mothers-to-be!


Tips:

1. Reduce your portion sizes

Having GD doesn’t mean you have to completely stop eating foods that you love. In fact, one easy trick that I found to work for me is to simply reduce my portion sizes. Many of us often eat economic rice (or “cai fan”) for lunch in CBD, and by simply eating 1/3 less of what we used to normally eat, it didn’t spike our readings beyond the allowed range. This allows you to still indulge in some of your favourite foods, except that you’ll be eating slightly less now.

2. Watch your carbs

If you can’t reduce your portion sizes because it makes you still hungry after, then try limiting your carb intake, or swopping it out for complex carbs instead, which release sugar more slowly into your bloodstream.

Wholegrain options for bread and pasta are a great swop, while brown or red rice is a good substitute in place of your usual white rice. Otherwise, you can try quinoa or couscous like I did!

3. Go for low G.I. foods or drinks

Food options in Singapore have expanded, with several brands now labelling their products with the low G.I. label to help you choose easily. During my pregnancy, I had cravings for soy milk all the time (fun fact: apparently my mom drank lots of soy milk when she was pregnant with me as well!) and my gynae said I could still keep that, but to change to the low G.I. options by NutriSoy or MariGold instead.

Processed foods, baked goods and anything with flour typically have high G.I. levels, so you’d want to go for healthier options like steel-cut oats, baked beans, nuts or clear soups instead. For a more extensive list of foods and their respective G.I. levels, you can check out this useful excel sheet which I used as a guide during my pregnancy as well:


4. Don’t drink your carbs

Cut out all the soda and gaseous drinks, said my gynae. This was easy for me because I don’t even consume them on a regular basis anyway. Instead, most of my fluids were from water or non-caffeinated tea. It tastes refreshing, quenches my thirst and contains zero sugars!

Juices are horrific because they contain so much fruit sugars that they’ll spike your levels faster than you can even finish 1 serving of that fruit in its fresh, unjuiced form! So think twice before you purchase that cup of Boost next time. You’ll be much better off eating the fruit instead, and you’ll feel fuller, too.

5. Avoid sugary foods and desserts

This was probably the hardest thing for me to do because everyone knows I LOVE my cakes, cookies and chocolates, but hey, if even I could survive without them for my entire third trimester, then so can you!

(I still had cheat days though :P)



GD-friendly Meal Ideas in Singapore

My closest girlfriends and I all happened to get diagnosed with gestational diabetes during our pregnancy, and these are the meal plans we worked with. You can also try them for yourself and see how your body reacts to them:

Breakfast
-       1 bowl of whole grain cereal + low fat milk
-       1 slice of wholemeal bread + peanut butter +
BRAND’S® chicken essence
-       1 cup of Greek yoghurt + 2 tsps granola +
BRAND’S® chicken essence
-       1 slice of low-GI bread + canned tuna in water +
BRAND’S® chicken essence
-       ½ cup muesli + low fat milk
-       ½ cup oatmeal + apple slices
-       Big breakfast: 2 eggs + mushrooms + ½ baked tomato + baked beans

Lunch
-       Scambled eggs + ham and cheese sandwich + BRAND’S® chicken essence
-       Roasted chicken breast + side salad
-       Grilled salmon or dory fish + ½ baked potato
-       Tofu chicken salad (red wine vinegarette dressing) + BRAND’S® chicken essence
-       Wholemeal tortilla wrap with steamed chicken, onions and cheese
-       ¼ plate of brown rice + stir-fried vegetables + 1 protein
-       ¼ plate of basmati rice + chicken + long beans
-       ½ plate vegetarian bee hoon + 1 protein (seafood ok) + 1 vegetable (asparagus / beansprouts / cabbage / broccoli / cauliflower / carrots / lotus roots)

Dinner
-       1 bowl of soba + fish + tofu
-       Wholemeal pasta + cheese + tuna flakes in water + homemade tomato sauce (blended) + BRAND’S® chicken essence
-       1 small bowl of macoroni with broiled chicken slices + BRAND’S® chicken essence
-       Roasted chicken with side salad
-       Steak with side salad

Snacks
-       Almond nuts or walnuts
-       3 wheat crackers
-       1 small apple
-       1 kiwi
-       1 slice of guava
-       1 glass of low G.I. soymilk
-       1 cup berries

The MOST IMPORTANT tip? Every body reacts differently!

I’ve shared some meal ideas for anyone diagnosed with gestational diabetes in Singapore, because I can understand how limited your options seem to be (trust me, they aren’t). However, do note that every body reacts differently to certain foods. My friend could take 2 slices of wholemeal bread with peanut butter or eggs and cheese for breakfast and still be within range, whereas my other girlfriend can only take a maximum of one slice or she’ll bust her readings. There are more stories of how some meals worked for some of us, but failed for the rest.

As a result, think of the pricks as a good way for you to find out how your body reacts to the sugars in different types of food. It is not meant to torture you; rather, it is there to help you understand your body better so you can feed it with the stuff that won’t hurt you.


Sample Readings

My friend was very diligent in taking her readings, and have agreed to share it here for educational and reference purposes.

Some context about her situation: she was diagnosed with GD in her second trimester, and is very sensitive to carbs as she consistently has high glucose levels whenever she consumes them. All her meals and readings over a two-week period are provided in the table below.

Target blood sugar level:
Pre-meal:
7.8 mmol/l
Post-meal:
4.0 - 7.8 mmol/l

Breakfast

Pre
1hr post
Wholemeal bread + Peanut butter + 1/2 cup latte (0% sugar)
5.7
7.2
Wholemeal bread + Peanut butter +
Soya bean (0% sugar)
5.9
6.7
Wholemeal bread + Peanut butter + BRAND’S®
chicken essence
5.5
5.9
Wholemeal bread + Peanut butter + Cheese
5.3
6.2
Ham and eggs sandwich
5.4
6.0
Chicken + Yoghurt
5.6
7.0
Strawberry yoghurt
5.5
6.6
Eggs + Teh C Siu Dai
5.8
6.7
Burger King's omelette + bacon + hashbrown
5.4
6.5
Cereal + BRAND’S®
Chicken essence
5.7
8.0
Cereal + low fat milk + BRAND’S® chicken essence
4.9
6.7
Cereal + 2 scoops yoghurt
5.2
10.0
Oats + banana milk
6.1
8.2
Wanton mee +
orange juice
5.5
7.4
Eggs + Teh O Siu Dai +BRAND’S® Chicken Essence
5.7
6.7

Lunch
Salmon + seaweed chicken + BRAND’S® chicken essence
4.8
5.8
Duck confit +
1/3 iced latte
5.3
6.2
Dim sum
5.9
8.0
Cai fan + 1/2 latte
(0% sugar)
5.4
6.6
Cai fan + Teh O Siu Dai
5.4
7.5
Yong Tau Foo +
Spinach Noodle
5.3
5.6
Brown rice + steam egg
+ wanton + orange juice
5.3
6.7
Fish beehoon soup +
orange juice
5.2
6.9
Salmon bento +
karage salad
5.3
7.2
Chicken spinach soup +
Teh O Siu Dai
5.9
6.4
Salmon fillet +
BRAND’S® chicken essence
5.6
6.2
Fish & cups + tea
4.9
7.2
Wholemeal pasta +
chicken
5.1
6.5
Chicken chop +
Teh C Siu Dai
5.2
6.6

Dinner
Wholemeal chicken karaage pasta
5.3
8.1
Herbal chicken soup + tofu
 + long beans + 1/4 rice
5.4
6.0
Salmon karaage
5.2
5.6
Fried chicken (1 pc) +
1/2 mashed potato
4.5
7.2
Fish soup + fried chicken
5.6
6.4
Pork rib noodles (1/4 noodles)
5.2
6.8
Wholemeal pasta + meatballs
5.2
6.2
Wholemeal pasta + salmon
5.3
6.3
Sushi + green tea
5.8
7.4
Chicken chop + onion rings + siew mai
5.3
6.8
Baked chicken + grilled fish
5.0
6.0
Chicken chop
5.3
6.6
Salmon miso soba
5.0
7.0
Fish & chips
4.9
6.7
Chicken salad
4.7
6.3
Fried chicken (2 pc)
5.3
7.2
Beef ribs
5.3
6.7

The above readings are not to be taken as indicative of how your body may respond to the same foods.

Interestingly, we found that the meals taken with BRAND’S®
chicken essence caused a lower average blood sugar level spike (1.2 mmol/l) in contrast to the average when taken without (1.5 mmol/l).

And as you can see, your food options on a GD diet are still quite varied!

To encourage you further, remember that GD often goes away for most women once you’ve given birth, so you really only need to persevere for a few more months for the sake of your baby and your own body. All the best!

*** Sponsored Message ***

BRAND’S® Essence of Chicken can help lower your body’s glycemic response to foods when you consume one to two bottles daily. Scientists from Osaka University have found that regular consumption of BRAND’S® Essence of Chicken can help reduce high blood sugar levels. This is largely attributed to its formulation, which contains L-Carnosine as an integral element, and which helps to regulate blood sugar levels by increasing plasma insluin and reducing glucagon.

On top of these benefits, drinking BRAND’S® Essence of Chicken during and after your pregnancy can also help reduce tiredness, improve concentration and even the quality of your breastmilk.

If you’re planning to breastfeed your baby, read more here in this guide on how to survive it!

This article is written in collaboration with BRAND’S®. All suggested foods are meal plans we put together based on the dietician advice and brochures that were provided to us during our consultations.

Claim your 15% discount code off BRAND’S® Essence of Chicken Original 12 x 68ml pack! Available exclusively on Lazada with a minimum purchase of $50. Redemption is valid till 30 June 2020, on a while stocks last basis. 

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