Confessions of a Former GD Sufferer: A Gestational Diabetes Story

I've had Gestational Diabetes half the times I've been pregnant.  

I was diagnosed after the 28 week glucose test with my third child. By the time the test results came back, I got the required supplies (glucose monitor, test strips, alcohol wipes, proper food), and met with the Diabetes Educator, I was already 30 weeks along. 

In all honesty, I feel the screening should take place earlier than 28 weeks, because it takes time to get yourself under control as it is a life altering diagnosis. 

With my fourth kiddo, I was diagnosed at 12 weeks, as I was considered "high risk".

Some cases of GD can be controlled by diet and exercise. Other times, even with strict adherence to the diet/exercise requirements, medication, such as Metformin, may be needed. And in some cases, insulin will be required.  

Diet change is one of the biggest parts of controlling Gestational Diabetes... and therein lies my confession... 

I LOVE fast food... specifically McDonald's and Taco Bell. 

I know, I know... gasp... didn't I know those are like THE WORST places to eat anyway, and especially when you have Gestational Diabetes???

But, the truth is I was able to find food combinations at both eateries that not only stayed within my "guidelines" but were also somewhat nutritious.

My meal guidelines were as follows:

Breakfast: 15 - 30 carbs
Snack: 10 carbs
Lunch: 45 - 60 carbs
Snack: 10 carbs
Dinner: 45 - 60 carbs
Bed Time Snack: 10 carbs

And my blood sugar numbers needed to be:

Fasting: < 90
2 hrs after breakfast: < 120
1 hr after lunch: <130
1 hr after dinner: <130

It took a couple weeks to figure out the timing of meals, the carb/protein balance, what items would spike my sugar (potatoes... like hash browns, even as little as 1/4 cup... YES... white tortillas... with enough protein included, heavy on the chicken/pork/beef... NO), what didn't, etc.

Breakfast, snacks, and dinner were easy to do at home. Another one of my favorite places is Costco, and thankfully they have many low carb snack/meal options. Such as those little cups of chicken salad, guacamole cups with a few pita chips, hummus cups with bell pepper sticks... (getting hungry just typing these out).

 But, lunch... oh the dreaded lunch hour. I don't like to cook anyway (except the few times I go crazy and cook up a storm for a week or so). Thank goodness for slow cookers! In fact, while pregnant, food is just an obnoxious means to an end (so I and the rest of the family don't starve). And so, lunch was the meal I struggled with the most. Usually I was out and about, picking up a kiddo from preschool, grocery shopping, going to the library, the park, whatever, just out. I have never been good at "packing" a lunch, though, I am getting better at it.

So, I found myself at the drive through from time to time. And the two my kids also like are McDonald's and Taco Bell. Since we were there anyway, I decided to look really close at the menus to see if anything would work for the diet guidelines and my own personal body.

Here are just a few examples of the meals I put together that worked (meaning, my blood sugar numbers were always within range when I tested), at both places...


Here is a link to the Full Nutrition chart

Meal 1
Fillet o Fish 39g Carb, 15g Protein 
Side Salad 3g Carb, 1g Protein 
Small Diet Coke 0g Carb 

Meal 2
Premium McWrap Chicken & Ranch 59g Carb, 31g Protein 
Small Diet Coke 0g Carb 

Meal 3 (I love mid-day breakfast, if we got there before 10:30 a.m.)
Sausage McMuffin w/Egg 29g Carb, 21g Protein 
Go-Gurt packet 9g Carb, 2g Protein 

Medium Iced Coffee with Sugar Free French Vanilla (sooooo good...) 9g Carb 

Taco Bell

Here is a link to the Full Nutrition chart

Meal 1 
1 Shredded Chicken Burrito 45g Carb, 16g Protein 
1 small Diet Coke 0g Carb

Meal 2
2 Soft Chicken Tacos  16 Carb (each), 12 Protein (each) 
1 small Diet Coke 0g Carb 

Meal 3 (Again... with the mid-day breakfast...) 
Grilled Breakfast Burrito (sausage) 37g Carb, 13g Protein 
Small Iced Coffee 10 calories 

Truth be told, if you look at the nutrition facts, it is pretty easy to pick out meals that will work for the GD diet. 

Another area that proved tricky was figuring out a good bed time snack that would help my fasting numbers be correct. One thing I found that worked really well was Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches. 

Note: There are 30g carbs in these, which is WAY MORE than the desired 10g Carb/snack, but... it worked. (If someone could explain the "science" part of that... it would be awesome!) 

View nutrition details here

In some ways, getting Gestational Diabetes was actually a "good thing"... it made me pay closer attention to what I was putting in my mouth. I had to balance carbs and proteins, eat fewer sweets and cut way down on my sugar intake.  Since I have not always been the best at nutrition, it was a good push... ok, ok "shove" in the right direction. 

It has given me lifelong knowledge of ways to watch my carb intake, and I now know food items that work well for my body. Because I have had GD twice, I have a 20 - 50% chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes in the next 10 years (Everyday Health). Having this new knowledge is vital to help myself stay healthy. 

I am still a work in progress when it comes to eating really healthy all the time, but, I'm working on it. 

For further reading, I like the American Diabetes Association website for the "nuts and bolts" and I found a blog called The GD Diaries (although she is not currently writing, I enjoyed many of the posts), for stories and personal insight. However, probably my favorite place to keep up with is the Baby Center Gestational Diabetes Mama Group! 

I'm curious, for those who have had GD or know someone who has... did you have a favorite "fast food" meal that worked for you? Let me know in the comments! 

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