The benefits of meal planning for virtually any diet are numerous. Meal planning is perhaps the number one way to stick to a healthy diet, and can make a healthier lifestyle significantly easier. Meal planning is a great way to manage a diabetic lifestyle in general, but is it realistic for pregnancy? Can you navigate the intricacies of pregnancy, such as food aversions, nausea, and cravings through meal planning?
The answer to this question comes in two parts. Yes, meal planning is still a realistic tool for managing gestational diabetes, but it may need to come with some level of flexibility. Navigating the intricacies of pregnancy, especially with gestational diabetes, will require both the structure of a well thought out plan as well as flexibility depending on your needs.
Here are some tips for realistic meal planning with a gestational diabetes pregnancy:
Plan For Days, Not Weeks or Months
Many times, meal planning can be done for weeks, or even months, at a time. Planning this far in advance affords many people the extra time and peace of mind that make meal planning even easier. During pregnancy, however, there are many unforeseen circumstances that could disrupt your plan, making planning that far out simply unrealistic. Instead, plan for just a few days at a time. This will help you navigate issues such as food aversions that may pop up unexpectedly.
Give Yourself Extra Options
Food aversions, nausea, and cravings can all be obstacles when it comes to a healthy, gestational diabetes friendly diet. Some people simply do not know what they might be able to eat from day to day, and usually just have to “go with the flow”. In a meal planning situation, especially one that is designed to keep you on track for your healthy diet and lifestyle, this doesn’t really work. You can, at least somewhat, have the best of both worlds, however. During your meal planning, you should give yourself a few extra options for meals and snacks. So if your main plan for that day just isn’t working out, you have another option waiting in the wings. Cater these secondary options to try and anticipate your needs.
Stick To the Basics
All in all, it is important to remember the point of all your planning and hard work. Your blood sugar levels, and the little guy or girl growing inside you, need to be protected. You need to keep those levels stable so that you and your unborn baby are as healthy as possible. So keep in that in mind, because there are going to be days where you are going to have poor cravings or feel too tired to cook, and be tempted to hit a drive through. Be ready for these occurrences by anticipating your needs. Keep a few quick and easy options readily available for those days where you are just too exhausted to cook a big meal. Combat cravings by eating as healthy as possible, staying hydrated and making substitutions wherever possible.
Meal planning, even during pregnancy, is one of your strongest tools to a healthier diet and lifestyle. Especially for conditions such as diabetes, meal planning takes the guess work and uncertainty out of dieting. This is a tool that gestational diabetes patients especially should make the most of, even if you have to be a bit more flexible to make it work with your pregnancy. It is the best way to ensure follow-through with your gestational diabetes diet. For a meal plan diet click here.