One of the many changes a woman experiences during pregnancy has to do with insulin sensitivity. According to the American Diabetes Association, insulin is responsible for helping the body turn food into fuel and, in turn, also helps manage blood sugar levels. In early pregnancy, insulin resistance increases to support the growing fetus, prompting the pancreas to produce more insulin. This resistance can grow even more in later pregnancy, causing some people to develop gestational diabetes.
Well-managed blood sugar levels are essential for various reasons, including the prevention and management of gestational diabetes (a type of diabetes developed during pregnancy). Eating meals that are well-balanced and low in added sugar throughout pregnancy may help reduce fatigue, nausea, constipation, morning sickness, and a variety of other pregnancy side effects. It also supports keeping blood sugar levels within a “normal” or ideal range.
A low-sugar meal plan that includes plenty of protein, fiber, and fats is a significant component of managing gestational diabetes. Not to mention, it promotes a healthy and energized pregnancy. With this in mind, I’m sharing a round-up of low-sugar meals that are both delicious and nutritious.
Remember, the goal is not to cut out sugar or your favorite treats or meals entirely but to keep it balanced. At the Prenatal Nutritionist, we believe all foods can fit into a well-rounded diet, even during pregnancy.
10 Low Sugar Meals for Pregnant Women
Breakfast Burrito Casserole
For a hearty and filling breakfast option, this mouthwatering Breakfast Burrito Casserole recipe from The Gestational Diabetic is an excellent option. With bell peppers, mushrooms, eggs, cheese, and more, this recipe contains protein, calcium, vitamin C, and choline. It contains 9g of carbs, 12g of protein, and 22g of fat, making it a satisfying way to start your day! But remember, most people need double this amount of protein per meal!
Mix it up by swapping the ground breakfast sausage for any type of sausage you like the most!
There are so many benefits to eating eggs during pregnancy. An omelet stuffed full of your favorite veggies is one of the best and most nourishing breakfast options for pregnant women. When crafting your omelet, consider adding a variety of fresh vegetables like tomatoes, spinach, onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, and broccoli, in addition to your favorite shredded cheese.
This will create a perfect medley of various vitamins and minerals, giving you a head start at meeting your nutritional goals for the rest of the day!
Not sure where to start? Try this Loaded Omelette recipe from SideChef, then start experimenting yourself!
An easy overnight oatmeal recipe for expecting mothers on the go can be a lifesaver. With complex carbohydrates, a boost of fiber, and endless flavoring options, overnight oatmeal is satisfying and *can be* gestational diabetes–friendly.
Be sure to include plenty of protein in your overnight oat recipe from sources like eggs, Greek yogurt, or collagen peptides to make it more blood sugar-friendly. Consider one of the following overnight oatmeal options, depending on your taste. You could even try meal-prepping several portions to last the whole week!
- Apple Spiced Overnight Oats
- Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats
- Cheddar & Herb Savory Overnight Oats
- Easy Protein Overnight Oats
- Sriracha, Egg & Avocado Overnight Oats
- Peanut Butter Overnight Oats
*More breakfast ideas for gestational diabetes HERE!
Zucchini Pizza Bites
Pizza is a really common craving during pregnancy, and it’s no wonder. Pizza is delicious and a favorite weeknight or weekend dinner. While you can absolutely include pizza in your diet during pregnancy, sometimes a veggie-packed alternative is nice.
Next time you’re craving pizza, try this Zucchini Pizza Bites recipe. It packs in fiber, fat, and protein, which helps to keep you not only satisfied and fuller for longer but also helps to support better blood sugar management. Plus, zucchini is also a great source of vitamins C and B6. Eat as a meal, or make a big batch to snack on throughout the week!
BBQ Cheddar Turkey Meatloaf Muffin Cups
Here’s another recipe that’s perfect for busy expecting moms. This BBQ Cheddar Turkey Meatloaf Muffin Cups recipe is easy to make, requires only 30 minutes of cooking time, and yields 12 servings—perfect for meal prepping. With turkey, oats, bell peppers, and plenty of garlic, these meaty muffin cups contain protein, antioxidants, folate, and vitamin C. If that wasn’t enough to excite you, they’re delicious too!
I love my summer salad recipe because it’s a fun twist on a basic salad and will actually leave you feeling FULL. Contrary to the name, you can enjoy this salad any time of year for a nutritious and filling lunch or dinner. With quinoa, kale, blueberries, avocado, and goat cheese, this salad is brimming with superfoods that promote a healthy diet while also being sure to satisfy. You can even squeeze a little fruit juice from oranges, lemons, or limes on top for added flavor! YUM!
Big Mac Salad
Craving a Big Mac? Then you’ve got to try this Big Mac Salad, mama! This modified Big Mac Salad recipe is delicious and packs in nutrients like iron. It combines all your favorite flavors in a low-carb, high-protein dish that is a delightful homemade alternative to its fast-food counterpart. With tons of flavor and nutrients, including protein, vitamin A, iron, and vitamin C, this Big Mac salad is a great option to fuel your body.
Chicken Lentil Soup
Lentils are among the best food choices for pregnancy. They’re chock full of fiber and various vitamins and minerals. Likewise, chicken is an excellent source of protein during pregnancy. Depending on your taste, it’s lean, full of essential amino acids, and super diverse.
Chicken and lentils support balanced blood sugar levels, are an excellent choice for those with gestational diabetes, and are the main ingredients in this tasty soup recipe from The Almond Eater. Try this one out next time you’re in the mood for a hearty and comforting meal. You can even meal prep this one!
Savory Instant Pot Beef Stew
Looking for a warm and savory recipe that is perfect for fall and winter? Look no further than my Savory Instant Pot Beef Stew recipe. Beef, acorn squash, carrots, and bone broth bring countless nutrients, including but not limited to iron, vitamin B12, fiber, magnesium, potassium, and the amino acid glycine—all essential for a healthy pregnancy. I love the addition of acorn squash because it contains fiber, which is slow to digest and helps to support healthy blood sugar levels.
Orange Chili Salmon
Craving something spicy? The Gestational Diabetic also brings us this delicious Orange Chili Salmon recipe with a fruity twist and pinch of spice. Eating salmon during pregnancy has many benefits, which is one reason this recipe caught my attention.
Salmon contains essential omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, iodine, and zinc. This recipe also includes folate-rich kale, nutrient-packed slaw, and fiber-filled beans for a nutritional powerhouse of a meal.
*See the best beans for pregnancy HERE!
I hope you enjoy these low-sugar, high-protein meals!
Balanced blood sugar levels are essential to a healthy pregnancy. This is especially true if you’re at risk of developing or have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Consider incorporating these low-sugar, whole-food recipes into your daily diet to fuel your body and support healthy blood sugar levels.
You can also reduce your added sugar intake by reading food labels when choosing items from the grocery store. It is convenient to do with the “added sugar” section! When creating healthy meals and snacks, incorporate protein, fats, and fiber to promote better blood sugar levels.
Learn the best foods to eat during pregnancy and get access to trimester-specific meal plans when you join The Prenatal Nutrition Library and download the app on both Apple and Android! The annual membership now includes access to our BRAND NEW Feel Good Gestational Diabetes (GDM) Program, complete with a bonus 30-day meal plan for GDM!
Want to try a sample first? Try my FREE 1-Week Meal Plan HERE!