5 Recipes For Mamas Experiencing Gestational Diabetes

July 10, 2023

So many incredible things happen when you’re pregnant. From the gorgeous pregnancy glow and your hair growing faster, to your nails getting stronger, there are many amazing surprises that pop up as your body changes. However, there are also some less desired side effects, like gestational diabetes

What Triggers Gestational Diabetes?

This type of diabetes can develop during pregnancy in women who don’t already have diabetes. 

It’s triggered when insufficient insulin is produced by a pregnant woman’s body. Insulin is one of the keys to allowing blood sugar to enter cells and be utilized as energy. As a pregnancy develops, your body experiences hormonal fluctuations and goes through a ton of transformations. These changes can lead to reduced effectiveness in the way your body’s cells respond to insulin resulting in an increased demand for insulin.

What Happens When You Have Gestational Diabetes During Pregnancy? 

Gestational diabetes can cause a host of issues for both pregnant women and babies. Diabetes in the mother can cause a spike in the unborn baby’s blood sugar, which then results in an overfed, larger baby in the womb. During delivery, this may lead to a C-section and all-around challenging birth. 

Another problem that can arise due to gestational diabetes is high blood pressure, “Women with diabetes have high blood pressure more often than women without diabetes,” says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

To avoid this, the best things pregnant women can do includes monitoring blood sugar, exercising regularly, and being intentional with what they eat. 

What Foods Should You Avoid With Gestational Diabetes? 

The key to putting together a gestational diabetes food list is to focus on foods that don’t spike your blood sugar quickly. So, limiting simple carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, and sweets is extremely helpful. “Carbohydrate foods digest and turn into blood glucose (a type of sugar). Glucose in the blood is necessary because it is the fuel for your body and nourishment your baby receives from you. However, it’s important that glucose levels stay within target,” explains UCSF Health

Instead, focus your gestational diabetes meal plan on dishes that are rich in protein and vegetables, and avoid processed foods and overeating. 

Tip: This is made easy with our Gestational Diabetes 101 Guide. Download it for free here

Gestational Diabetes Meal Plan, Diet, and Recipes

What to Eat When You Have Gestational Diabetes During Pregnancy

Get the Guide

If you’re experiencing elevated blood sugar during your pregnancy, we’ve got you covered. From what gestational diabetes is to recommendations for foods to eat and avoid, this in-depth guide covers everything you need to know for handling gestational diabetes and keeping you and your baby as healthy as can be.

A peek inside:

  • The most common questions about gestational diabetes—asked and answered
  • Why gestational diabetes occurs
  • How many meals a day you should be eating
  • The best ways to balance starches and a list of non-starchy vegetables
  • The best fats and proteins that we recommend for a gestational diabetes diet
  • Ways to limit your carb intake (and why you should!)
  • Examples of low carb-friendly snacks

Here are some recipes to add to your pregnancy meal plan that include all the nutrients you need to reduce gestational diabetes:

Magic Braised Mushroom Chicken Thighs

For gestational diabetes dinner ideas, it doesn’t get much better than these chicken thighs! 

When you have gestational diabetes, it’s essential to include protein in most—if not all—of your meals. This is because protein is amazing for sustained energy. It takes longer to digest, providing a steady release of energy over time which can prevent fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

Plus, this meal is taken to the next level with mushrooms. These unassuming veggies are jam-packed with nutrients, including fiber. Fiber helps slow down the absorption of carbohydrates, preventing rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. 

Get the full recipe here

The Perks of Being a Cauliflower with Tomatoes and Capers

Omega-3 should always be part of your healthy pregnancy diet. Not only is it associated with lower rates of preterm birth and preeclampsia, but, according to Clinical Trials, omega-3 fatty acids may help protect women from gestational diabetes, “The nutrient DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is important for brain function, the development of the central nervous system, and visual function in infants. DHA may also benefit both pregnant women and their babies by improving insulin sensitivity and decreasing inflammation, thereby decreasing the risk of gestational diabetes ”

The anchovies in this recipe are a one-two punch of omega-3 as well as protein, making it one of the best gestational diabetes lunch ideas

Get the full recipe here

Egg-traordinary Deviled Eggs with Peas

For a healthy pregnancy snack, you’ve got to give these deviled eggs a try. Eggs are a fantastic source of protein for women who want to have a vegetarian pregnancy. “They are high in protein and therefore become a food that will be tolerable for your blood sugars and will actually help keep levels lowered and stabilised,” explains Gestational Diabetes UK

Plus, eggs have a host of other nutrients that are essential for a healthy pregnancy, including zinc, vitamins A and K, as well as B vitamins

Get the full recipe here

Pasta-Less Pasta Salad

This salad is perfect to have in your meal prep arsenal for the warmer months. Hydrating and energy-boosting, this recipe calls for cucumbers, tomatoes, artichokes, bell peppers, and mozzarella—ideal for a vegetarian pregnancy meal plan

Definitely don’t skimp on the artichokes in this recipe—this vegetable contains magnesium, which is a great all-around nutrient for pregnancy. Magnesium helps with muscle cramps and nausea, as well as the regulation of blood sugar and blood pressure.

Get the full recipe here.  

Where’s The Beef? (Inside The Zucchini)

A gestational diabetes diet needs to include protein! Because it contains all of the essential amino acids, beef is considered to be a complete protein making it a high-quality choice. 

This recipe calls for ground beef which is cooked with celery, garlic, and spices before being put into hollowed-out zucchini halves. You’ll also get a good amount of fiber from the tomatoes, celery, and parsley, as well as calcium from the mozzarella

Get the full recipe here

Food is powerful. Being intentional with your meals and nutrient intake during pregnancy can go a long way in managing conditions like gestational diabetes. If you’re experiencing gestational diabetes, put the above dishes in your recipe rotation!

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Kendra Aronson

Hi Mama, I’m Kendra!

Founder of Pregnant and Hungry, and a mama on a mission to provide other mamas with delicious, nutritious, and easy recipes for pregnancy and motherhood. If that’s what you’re craving, make sure to dig into the blog or learn more about the Pregnant and Hungry subscription.
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Our recipes are developed under the caring guidance of an RDN (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) in addition to a Licensed Midwife in good standing with the California Medical Board who’s also a Certified Professional Midwife as granted by the North American Registry of Midwives and a professional Lactation Consultant as certified by the IBCLC (International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners). While we refer to trusted sources from peer-reviewed medical journals to information from highly regarded worldwide health institutions, this website is not intended to replace medical advice. Consult your personal midwife, doctor, or nutritionist with health questions related to your pregnancy and postpartum journey.

I'm so happy you're here, Mama!


Before getting pregnant with my daughter, I spent a ton of time scouring the internet for easy, pregnancy-safe recipes and nutrition advice tailored to my taste preferences, unique dietary needs, and anticipated ailments—only to realize that no such resource existed. I knew I wasn’t the only one who could benefit from this information, so I set out to create this site from scratch for all of us mamas-to-be!

Today, Pregnant and Hungry is not only the sole searchable collection of pregnancy-friendly recipes on the internet, but our website is packed full of helpful resources and free information for any mama who finds herself asking the same questions I was: what do I need to know about nutrition and pregnancy, and where can I find the answers and recipes?

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