Do you have diabetes in pregnancy? Getting frustrated with the unpredictability of it all? Think about these 5 common mistakes you could be making with your gestational diabetes.
Number 1 – Counting calories
Cut it out! If you’re eating the right foods in pregnancy, then you’re overthinking the whole calorie thing.
Most of the time, if you’re eating plenty of protein with every meal, then your body is going to do a good job of letting you know when you’re full. So counting calories is not usually necessary. Trust your body.
Counting carbs is usually a good idea. You need to get a ballpark idea of how many grams of carbohydrates are in some of the foods that you eat most such as a slice of bread or an apple, etc. Carbohydrate counting is certainly is reasonable. Calorie counting, though, is not needed.
Number 2 – Eating too frequently
Usually, your doctors will tell you to eat three meals and then eat three snacks.
You don’t always need a snack. So if you’re eating any more frequently than every three to four hours, you’re probably eating too frequently. See the post linked above for more information on snacking!
Number 3 – Eating too many carbs
Eating too many carbs is a really easy mistake to make. The information that you get online, and even with your diabetic educator, can be misleading. The information might recommend that at least 40%, 50%, or even 60% of your calories should come from carbohydrates. This is simply not true. And in fact, The National Academies of Science, Engineering & Medicine met in 2020 to talk about how women should eat during pregnancy and review nutritional research during pregnancy.
What they’re finding is that, in general, we eat way more carbohydrates than are actually recommended. Less than half of your plate should be starchy carbohydrates. Fill up on protein and leafy vegetables instead.
As a side note, not only do we eat too many carbs, but our bodies don’t actually even need a lot of carbohydrates. Did you know that our bodies can manufacture carbohydrates from proteins and fats? Most leafy greens have sufficient carbohydrates as well. So don’t worry that you’re not eating enough carbs.
Number 4 – Eating foods in the wrong order
You may be eating the right foods and the right amounts, but if you’re not eating them in the right order, your blood glucose can suffer.
This is really interesting – if you have a plate that has chicken, broccoli, and bread, you should eat the chicken first, then the broccoli, then the bread.
If you eat things in the opposite order, your blood sugars will be higher and your insulin level will be higher.
And remember, what we’re trying to do is reduce insulin production a little bit in pregnancy so that we can increase your sensitivity to it. Start with your protein and end with your starch.
Number 5 – Your attitude
You’ve gotta stay positive if you want to be successful as a diabetic in pregnancy! And in order to do that, I want you to focus on all the great stuff that you can have in pretty much unlimited amounts. Stop obsessing about all the things you have to give up.
When I hear the word “diet” or “diabetic diet”, I think about deprivation and it just makes me depressed and a little anxious.
But when I think, “I can have another piece of chicken, if I want to. I could have more dairy or more cheese” and stop thinking, “I can’t have the bread or I can’t have dessert“, then I can relax.
And if you focus on getting protein, healthy fats, and vegetables in, then you’re just not going to be as hungry for the foods that you need to reduce or avoid.
Looking for support with your gestational diabetes journey?
Want more ideas about how to manage your diabetes in pregnancy?
I’ll be introducing a course next month on conquering diabetes in pregnancy with a ton of information about what foods to eat and what foods to avoid, how to plan your meals, how to schedule your meals, how to exercise in pregnancy, and so much more.
For now, download my brand new free guide, a helpful graphic on four different diets in pregnancy, and how they can work for you.