- Gestational diabetes refers to elevated blood sugar levels during pregnancy.
- Adding a filling bedtime snack may help you achieve better blood sugar control.
- A registered dietitian can help you improve your blood sugar levels and keep your baby healthy.
Gestational diabetes refers to elevated blood sugar levels (called hyperglycemia) during pregnancy. This can happen when the insulin hormone becomes resistant and is unable to help clear glucose out of the bloodstream. Fortunately, most people can decrease their blood sugar levels through dietary modifications and lifestyle changes.
In this article, you’ll learn why blood glucose levels change at night and why eating a filling snack before bed can help stabilize your blood sugar levels.
If you think you would benefit from individualized care, consider booking an appointment with a dietitian through Nourish. All the appointments are remote, and 94% of users pay zero dollars out of pocket.
Importance of Bedtime Stacks with Gestational Diabetes
Including a bedtime snack can help your blood sugar levels remain stable while you sleep. It also gives you another opportunity to eat nourishing food that is rich in vitamins and minerals, which is very important during your pregnancy.
Glucose Levels Change While You Sleep
During the waking hours of your day, you are likely eating balanced meals that include carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. After eating, the carbohydrates are digested, and the sugars (which are glucose molecules) enter the bloodstream to provide you with energy.
However, you cannot eat while sleeping, and this period might be the longest your body goes without nourishment. In the absence of dietary carbohydrates, your circulating levels of glucose start to decline, which can prompt your liver to create glucose that enters your bloodstream.
This safety mechanism prevents your blood sugar levels from falling dangerously low (referred to as hypoglycemia).
If you have diabetes, the communication between your cells is impaired, and a surplus of sugars will continue to be created and released into your blood.
When you wake up, you may have a higher fasting blood sugar level than when you went to bed. Eating a balanced, blood-sugar-friendly snack before bed can help your blood sugars remain stable overnight and decrease the chances of high levels in the morning.
A registered dietitian can help you interpret your blood sugar readings. Click here to book a virtual appointment.
What Makes a Snack More Fulfilling?
Certain nutrients are digested slower, which can make your snack more filling. These include fiber-rich foods, protein, and some fat. You can pair these foods with carbohydrate-containing foods to slow down the release of glucose into the bloodstream.
12 Bedtime Snack Ideas for Gestational Diabetes
These twelve bedtime snack ideas are low-fuss and don’t hold back on flavor. Keep reading to get inspired by these easy and satisfying recipes.
1. Vegetable sticks with hummus
Non-starchy vegetables, such as celery and cucumber sticks, are low in carbohydrates, and they won’t affect your blood glucose. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, keeping you and the baby healthy.
Hummus is a chickpea-based dip you can buy from the store or make at home.
Thoroughly rinse canned chickpeas and add them to a food processor with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. Pulse your hummus until fully combined; you may want to add a pinch of salt for flavor.
You may need to add a few teaspoons of ice-cold water to thin out the hummus to a consistency that you enjoy.
2. Greek yogurt with berries
You can add more flavor to your bedtime yogurt by adding mixed berries and sprinkling ground cinnamon on top.
3. Whole grain toast with avocado slices
Whole grains contain a germ, endosperm, and bran. These three elements are rich in nutrients, fiber, and healthy fats.
The fiber in a whole grain will help moderate how quickly dietary glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream.
Pair your whole grain toast with avocado slices, a squeeze of lemon juice, and hot chili flakes if you enjoy some spice.
4. Apple slices with nut butter
Sometimes, the simplest snacks, such as apple slices with your favorite nut butter, are the best. You can choose to eat almond butter, peanut butter, or even sunflower butter.
Although fruit contains natural sugars, it also has fiber, which helps delay glucose absorption.
Fruit also contains antioxidants and the essential vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy.
5. Whole grain crackers with cheese
It truly doesn’t get easier than having some whole grain crackers with cheese.
The American Diabetes Association has stated that all cheese varieties are acceptable because the protein contributes to blood glucose control. Choose your favorite cheese and enjoy your bedtime snack.
Popcorn is a whole grain and high-fiber snack with endless flavor opportunities.
You can air-pop popcorn kernels at home or buy plain microwave popcorn with no added fat or salt.
You can add a tablespoon of olive oil to your popcorn before adding your seasonings.
This will further help with satiety and help your herbs stick to the popcorn. Mouth-watering flavor combinations include parmesan cheese with garlic powder or dried rosemary with cracked black pepper.
7. Chia seed pudding
This is a fiber-rich recipe you can make ahead for the week. As well as being high in fiber, chia seeds also have omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, which help keep you healthy.
The ratio for making chia seed pudding is one teaspoon of chia seeds with a quarter cup of milk (you can use animal or plant-based options).
Let your pudding soak overnight and garnish with fresh fruits and unsweetened coconut shavings before eating.
8. Cottage cheese with fruits
Cottage cheese can help with blood sugar control because it has a higher protein content than other cheeses.
The texture is soft and creamy, and sometimes can be slightly lumpy, similar to a semi-blended smoothie. Decorate your cottage cheese with fruits and a handful of mixed nuts.
9. Hard boiled eggs on a whole grain bread cracker
Eggs are a versatile source of protein that makes for an easy bedtime snack. Slice a hardboiled egg onto a whole grain bread cracker. You can add more flavor by including cream cheese and fresh chives.
10. Mini nut and fruit board
If you like to snack on individual items, you might love a mini fruit and nut board. You can make a plate with fresh orange slices paired with a mixture of nuts.
You can also add string cheese if you feel hungry. This snack allows you to go back and forth between sweet and savory flavors, which some people enjoy.
11. Roasted chickpeas
Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are rich in fiber and have protein and essential vitamins. You can buy them roasted or roast them yourself at home.
Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas, and pat dry with a paper towel. In a large mixing bowl, add your chickpeas, a tablespoon of olive oil, and a tablespoon of paprika. Roast them in a hot oven for up to thirty minutes. They should be crunchy and crispy on the outside.
12. Broiled whole grain pita with goat cheese, onion, and tomato.
On the nights when you need a little bit of extra nourishment, you can make a homemade flatbread.
Choose a whole grain pita and garnish with olive oil, diced onion, fresh tomato, mint, and goat cheese. Bake your snack for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Managing Gestational Diabetes with a Dietitian
Pregnancy is an exciting time that comes with many changes. If you’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you can improve your blood glucose levels through dietary and lifestyle changes.
Frequently Asked Questions
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