About 24 weeks into my second pregnancy, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Knowing I was at elevated risk (my mom had it when she was pregnant) softened the blow, but considering I'd finally stopped feeling nauseous and was seriously craving a muffin it was still, you know, a blow. Finding low-sugar/low-carb snacks was tricky, mainly because most American snacks are full of carbs and sugar. So I reached out to other "GD" moms for some gestational diabetes snack ideas. A woman cannot live on cheese sticks and almonds alone, people!
Here are two simultaneous yet opposing truths: gestational diabetes is manageable, and also the worst thing ever. I just don't know a better way to describe it. I mean, you really do get used to it — you learn how to pair carbs with proteins and live with everything slightly less sweet than you're used to and read labels for everything and eat your body weight in salads and grilled chicken. On the other hand, well, your pregnancy cravings don't go away so you're living in a perpetuate state of boredom and longing.
I promise it's not all bad, though. There's a pretty good assortment of low-carb goodies and fun flavor combos for every pregnant palate. So if you're trying to find some delicious and gestational diabetes-friendly snacks, take a page out of the following moms' book:
"Cheese sticks, Greek yogurt, nuts, all things peanut butter."
"Dark chocolate, nuts, and sea salt Kind bars. Mocha almond Kind bars. Chocolate in general, because dark chocolate is fairly low in carbs. I could eat a meal with mostly protein and low-carb veggies and have some kind of chocolate dessert, either dark chocolate or even small quantities of chocolate ice cream (I knew exactly how many grams of carbs were in a half cup). Do not talk to me about that Halo "ice cream" sh*t. I'd rather eat nothing. Ditto every dessert sweetened with stevia or monkfruit — they all have a nasty aftertaste. I also ate a lot of nuts. So many walnuts and almonds, sometimes mixed with chocolate chips, sometimes to balance the carbs if I ate fresh fruit."
"I had to do protein shakes for breakfast, because my morning [blood sugar numbers] were always high. Then I had second breakfast later. I was working then, so I didn’t have time to like scramble eggs or whatever."
"Besides The Mighty Cheesestick ... apple and peanut butter always hit the spot between meals!"
"Guacamole. I'd eat it with these low-carb, gluten-free crackers that tasted like salty grossness (and even then I couldn't have more than a few of them), but load them up with a ton of guac and it was pretty good!"
"Jerky, which I really didn't like before I was pregnant but I developed a taste for it when my list of snacks got cut down to only a handful of things! When I wanted something sweet I usually ate a spoonful of peanut butter."
"I did turkey and swiss roll ups, which I actually ate pretty regularly when I didn't have [gestational diabetes] so it worked out well."
"I'm pretty sure my baby and I were about 56 percent hummus at one point. The rest was mostly peanut butter."
"Popcorn! It was a great way to feel like you were getting a load of carbs without loading up on a load of carbs! You have to be careful with all the sodium and butter and stuff, but if you pop your own or get the healthy kind that cuts back on all the extras it's really good. Drizzling them with flavored olive oils was a good way to get extra flavor and satisfaction."
"Siggi's, which is a brand of Icelandic skyr that's relatively low in sugar. It's kind of like yogurt, but yummier, creamier, not as sweet (my preference anyway), and really filled me up. My favorite was coconut."
"Almonds. They're boring as hell but I'll say this for them: they fill you up."
"Egg muffins! Lightly grease a muffin pan and fill each cup halfway with egg and whatever fillings you like. You get little miniature muffin-omelets. I really liked ham and swiss and also pepper and onion, but you could do any low-card ingredients you want. They're good, store well, and are portable!"
"My special dessert was whole fat Greek yogurt, raspberries, and just a teeny tiny bit of honey — half a teaspoon maybe. It was so delicious I never even missed ice cream and I still eat it all the time, even though I'm way past my pregnancy days."
"So much cheese. All the cheese. Between the diabetes, pelvic rest, and eventually bed rest, cheese was the only pleasure I was allowed for a while and I gorged."
"Trail mix was my friend, especially the kind with little dark chocolate chunks in it from Trader Joe's."
"Edamame. I swear our garbage was half edamame shells for a while."
"Sometimes, when I stare at the bakery display at Whole Foods, it feels like I'm snacking. And then it feels like I'm crying because I usually am."