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How to Survive the Holidays with Gestational Diabetes

January 2, 2013

Thanks to Liz Farsaci for this helpful post. Even though the holidays are over, these are great suggestions for all year round!

I found out that I had Gestational Diabetes two days before Christmas. However, a nutritionist couldn’t meet with me until after the holidays. I felt unmoored in this no man’s land between the knowledge that I had GD and lack of information about what exactly that meant for my diet. The only thing I did know was that I couldn’t eat sugar or bread. On Christmas day, I sat in a crowded restaurant, drinking water, eating celery sticks and feeling extremely sorry for myself.

A week later, I was able to speak with a nutritionist and get more information about the diet I needed to follow, if I wanted to keep my blood sugar levels down. Although I couldn’t eat any sugars and had to monitor starches such as bread, potatoes and beans, I also learned that there were many other foods I could eat. These included all the vegetables, nuts, seeds, cheeses and meats I wanted. I started to explore some recipes based on these ingredients. Below are some of my favorite meals and treats.

Following a GD diet and exercising after meals was difficult. However, because of all my work, I was able to give birth at home to a beautiful, healthy, 6 lbs, 15 oz boy. As I snuggled him to my chest, I knew that all my efforts had been worth it, and I couldn’t ask for a better prize. If I could do this, you can too!

All You Can Eat GD Recipes

Spice up your salad using a variety of greens such as spinach, arugula and romaine lettuce. Avocados, nuts and cheeses add important protein and good fats and they made salads delicious, so you can pile those onto your greens. Roasted red peppers always add flavor and color.

This dish feels fancy and all of its ingredients – vegetables, cheese, meat (optional), and eggs – are “free” when you’re on a GD diet. Preheat the oven to 400. Sauté the vegetables and meat with olive oil, adding salt, pepper and any other spices you like. Put the vegetables and meat into a baking dish. Beat the eggs (usually about 8-10) and pour them over the vegetables. Sprinkle on the cheese, most of which will sink to the bottom (that’s fine). Put the frittata in the oven for 20-30 minutes – this depends on the size of the baking dish you use. You want the frittata to be fully cooked through (test with a knife) and then slightly brown on top.

Tapas are delicious, and you can eat many of them while still maintaining your GD diet. These include: asparagus or jumbo shrimp sauteed in olive oil, salt and garlic; onions, red peppers and eggplant; chorizo sausages; olives and cheese… the list goes on. You can also have Spanish tortilla, as long as you measure how much potato you put into it. When I’m looking for tapa ideas, I like to go eat at Esperpento on 22nd Street.

Vegetable soup is a nice warm, wintry dish. You can make the carrot soup recipe that Maria previously posted (just don’t put the agave on the pecans). I also like to make a red pepper soup, simply using the peppers instead of the carrots.

Treat Yourself

We all like to have fun and treat ourselves during the holidays. Often, we do this by drinking, smoking and eating sugary foods. Obviously, when you’re pregnant and have gestational diabetes, you have to think of alternatives! The good news is that there are delicious, healthy foods that can be your holiday treats. Here’s a list:

– Nuts or cheeses you love but don’t usually buy because they’re expensive
– Raspberries, blueberries or strawberries, combined with nuts or Maria’s amazing cashew cream
– Fancy olive oil and vinaigrettes from Olive This, Olive That in Noe Valley. Seriously, these taste way better than the olive oil you get for everyday use.

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