Keeping up with my promises 😉 here I go with some quick tips on how you can manage to maintain your blood sugars during pregnancy.
There are 3 important components of diabetes management for women
1. Nutritional therapy
2. Exercise or physical activity
3. Medicines if required
If all the 3 are applied they can help in improving perinatal outcomes and promote the health of a mother and the infant.
Out of the 3, I would cover the first one which you can easily pick and work whereas medicines are obviously going to be decided by the doctor on the basis of your sugar levels.
So here we go –
- The most important aspect of maintaining good sugars is your meal gaps, long gaps between 2 meals can be one of the major reason for an increase in blood sugar level.
Therefore having small and frequent meals i.e. in every 2 hours would be more preferable.
- Start filling your plate with complex carbohydrates which is nothing but carbohydrates that are rich in fiber for eg – Whole grains, pulses, nuts, oilseeds, psyllium, vegetables, and fruits etc
And avoid refined items like refined flour (maida), rava, noodles pasta, bakery items like bread, rusk, muffins etc
- Since calorie requirement and carbohydrate intake varies from the previous calorie intake and weight, specifying it in numbers will not be appropriate. It’s important to make sure that you do not overeat as pregnancy does not mean that you need to keep eating all the day. Secondly more than the number of carbs in the diet, it is important to know what kind of carbohydrates you are having.
- Pick on whole grains and foods which are high in fiber. And make sure you combine it with some good fats or proteins to keep your sugar in control.
- Make sure you have at least 4-5 servings of vegetables and fruits a day. Where 1 serving is nearly 100g
2-3 serves (200-300g) of fruits every day, avoid juices as you lose on fiber and what’s left behind is sugars. Also, packaged juices are very high in sugar.
- Low-fat dairy products should be good to go over whole milk if you’re already overweight. Since I don’t really believe in the skimmed or toned products, I would suggest you get whole milk and refrigerate overnight and use it after removing the cream ( at least we know that it’s a natural process which will not have an impact on the nutrient content)
- Opt for lean meat 2-3 times a week, avoid red meat. Prefer grilled, steamed, or the ones made with gravy and avoid fried foods.
- Avoid sweets or dishes made using sugar; you can use stevia in small portions as a replacement.
- Go slow with fat intake; reduce the oil intake as much as you can. Avoid creamy, oily and fried foods as that will restrict the release of insulin from the pancreas. Add good fat to your diet which is high in omega 3 fatty acids like – Fish, flax seeds, walnuts, almonds, avocado, beans etc.
- Meal composition is very important; make sure you have some proteins on the plate at least in your major meals like breakfast lunch and dinner. Therefore add some – dal , Non-veg / eggs / sprouts / curd / paneer etc to complete the plate.
- Control of your portions –no food is unhealthy if you have it in right portions. So like a normal human being, if you’re tempted to eat those cheat meals make sure that you don’t get overboard there. If you want to eat a piece of sweet, eat only 1, don’t cheat and go ahead eating 2-3 pieces at 1 go, make sure that piece is eaten in the afternoon meal so that your activity balances the calorie and spike in sugars. Eat sweets that are little more healthy like rasgulla after squeezing a little sugar syrup, as they are good at proteins. Also, make sure you have good proteins and fiber in that meal to give you better control over sugars.
- Add some super foods like cinnamon water, apple cider vinegar (mother), lemon with honey (unrefined and pure), chia seeds or coconut oil (cold pressed) to help you with better sugar control. Remember to have anyone of them on empty stomach and then move to your normal meals. Make sure that you don’t overdo on any of the above superfoods, small portions work better.
- Hydrate yourself well, low water levels can give wrong signals to your brain and make you overeat which may cause a rise in your blood sugar levels too.
So make sure that you try and follow all the above tips to keep your sugars in control.
Bonus Tip: Did you know that mapping and tracking your blood sugar levels can actually help you have a better control over it? Yup! Research shows that by monitoring your sugar levels, you tend to make more informed dietary choices. A patient of mine figured out that her blood sugar levels were within range every time she put a little bit ghee on her phulkas (go figure!)…
Looking for a tool that will-
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Her fitness mantra is “do not start with a diet that has an expiration date, instead, focus on a healthy lifestyle that will last forever”. Disti has completed post graduation in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics. She is also a certified Diabetes Educator.
She is keen on bringing together her acquired knowledge on nutrition and other health aspects with people’s goals to achieve a healthy life. For her fitness is not being better than someone else; it’s about being better than who we used to be. “We don’t have to be great to start, but we have to start to be great”. So give your best!
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for any consults.