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So, you just found out that you have gestational diabetes.
You’re scouring the internet for any information you can find about what to eat.
But all that information gets overwhelming.
As a registered dietitian, I have worked 1-on-1 with dozens of women who have a new gestational diabetes diagnosis. We can help!
In this article, we will be talking specifically about gestational diabetes desserts, including the popular low-carb diet, reduced sugar dessert recipes, and low carb snacks to buy (because real talk – you may not feel like cooking every time a craving strikes).
Do I Need to Follow A Low Carb Diet?
Gestational diabetes is usually managed through diet and/or medication.
Many women can manage their blood sugars by making some changes to what they eat.
But everyone is different.
Some people completely change their eating and their blood sugars remain high.
Women with severe nausea may not be able to tolerate a low carb diet.
And for some, dietary changes become overwhelming. If this is you, consider either scheduling an appointment with a registered dietitian to help you figure out what to eat or talk with your doctor about other ways to manage your blood sugars.
However, if you are someone who is ready to make some dietary changes to manage your blood sugars, typically a lower carb diet can help.
What About The Keto Diet? Isn’t that low-carb?
Yes, it is. The ketogenic diet is a very strict low carb diet. It was originally used to help treat seizures in children but is now most commonly used for weight loss.
I’m guessing you have probably been seeing keto products all over the grocery store. These products have low to moderate amounts of carbohydrates and are usually high in fiber.
Generally speaking, most of these products won’t hurt you and could provide you with some blood-sugar friendly products.
However, the ketogenic diet is not recommended during pregnancy.
This diet requires restricting many nutritious foods, such as fruits and whole grains, so it can be very challenging to get enough nutrients from food.
We also don’t know the long-term effects of ketosis on the baby.
Can I Eat Dessert With Gestational Diabetes?
Yep! You can have an occasional dessert with gestational diabetes.
There are a few ways to reduce carbohydrates when cooking.
Replace regular milk with almond or coconut milk.
Cow’s milk contains the milk sugar lactose, which increases blood sugars. Coconut and almond milks are naturally lower in carbohydrates.
Consider recipes that use coconut or almond flour rather than wheat flour.
Like with milk, coconut and almond flours are naturally lower in carbohydrates than wheat flour.
Pair desserts with a source of protein.
Protein helps slow down how quickly your blood sugars spike.
You can do this by:
- Adding protein into your dessert, such as including Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.
- Eat your dessert with a source of protein. This may mean including a small slice of cake onto your plate along with steak and a side salad.
Can I Have Dessert Every Day?
Again, it depends. You have to decide what works best for you.
In general, it is best to stick with just the occasional dessert to manage your blood sugars.
Do All of My Desserts Need to Be Low Carb?
More than likely, it will be okay to have a regular dessert on occasion.
The goal of low carb desserts is to keep your blood sugars within a healthy range.
When we start seeing trends of high blood sugars, especially during pregnancy, that is when there can be complications.
Note: Everyone’s needs may be different during pregnancy. If your blood sugars are consistently elevated or you have a reading that is significantly higher than recommended, please call and notify your doctor.
Gestational Diabetes Dessert Ideas
“Soo what do I do if I want something sweet?” I am so glad you asked.
Below are 9 recipes for low-sugar desserts.
1. Easy Keto No-Bake Coconut Cookies
This recipe from Instrupix combines all of the goodness of chocolate, peanut butter, and coconut. It is also sweetened with Stevia, making it free from artificial sweeteners.
2. Fudgy Keto Brownies
These gestational diabetes brownies use no artificial sweeteners and are rated 4.98 stars from over 250 reviews! Check out the recipe from Healthy Recipes Blog.
3. Chocolate Coffee Breakfast Smoothie
This chocolate coffee breakfast smoothie from Budget Bytes is sweet and creamy, making it a perfect dessert (or gestational diabetes breakfast, if you feel so inclined).
I would recommend a couple of modifications to lower the carbohydrates:
- Replace the milk with a lower-carb option, such as almond or coconut milk
- Use decaf instant coffee
You may see that it does include a small amount of added sugar. For reference, ½ teaspoon of sugar is 2 grams of sugar. I wouldn’t worry about it given the small amount, but you could always swap it with some Stevia.
4. Peanut Butter Cookies
For those of you who do not like the taste of any sweeteners, including Stevia, this one’s for you.
Even though it contains real sugar, this peanut butter cookie recipe from Healthy Recipes 101 only has 17 grams of carbohydrates for two cookies.
And with very simple ingredients, it’s likely that you already have what you need to make these at home.
5. Pistachio and Chocolate Blondies
These pistachio and chocolate blondies from Full of Plants provide sweetness, texture, and only 14 grams of carbohydrates per square.
The recipe calls for some specialty ingredients, including almond flour, coconut flour, coconut sugar, and flaxseed.
If you don’t have coconut sugar, you can instead use regular sugar at a 1:1 ratio (meaning ¼ regular sugar instead of ¼ cup coconut sugar).
6. Dark Chocolate Bark with Raspberries and Pumpkin Seeds
This recipe is from fellow registered dietitian Lily Nichols is not only simple, but also high in nutrients.
The 85% dark chocolate bar from Theos contains 11 grams of carbohydrates (per ⅓ bar) and 200mg of potassium. It is also a rich source of antioxidants.
7. Cherry Vanilla Swirl Cake with Chocolate
This gestational diabetes cheesecake is dairy-free, egg-free, and only 16 grams of carbohydrates per serving.
Check out the recipe at Plant Based Cooking.
8. Blackberry Honey Cheesecake
Another fantastic gestational diabetes cheesecake option.
This blackberry honey cheesecake recipe from registered dietitian Lily Nichols is grain-free, uses real cream cheese, and is only 23 grams of carbohydrates (15 grams net carbs) per slice.
9. Protein Mug Cake
This protein mug cake is perfect for a quick blood-sugar friendly dessert. With 15 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber, this protein mug cake from Cheerful Choices gives you the sweetness you’re craving in less than five minutes.
Low Carb Desserts to Buy
And for those who don’t feel like cooking (or who don’t want to wait long enough for their dessert to bake 😉), here are some low carb desserts to buy.
Skinny Dipped Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cashews
With 5 grams of protein and only 11 grams of carbohydrates per serving, these Skinny Dipped dark chocolate salted caramel cashews are a delightful little dessert to have on hand.
Theo 70% Dark Chocolate Orange Bar
At 14 grams of carbohydrates for ⅓ of a bar and loaded with antioxidants, pick up a couple of these Theo dark chocolate bars for a quick sweet treat.
Yasso Black Raspberry Chip Bars
These Yasso frozen Greek yogurt bars come in multiple flavors, contain protein to help balance blood sugars, and are only 16 grams of carbohydrates per bar.
Snickers Ice Cream Bar
This list would not be complete without listing these little gems. At only 18 grams of carbohydrates per bar and no artificial sweeteners, these Snickers ice cream bars can add some sweetness into your diet.
Low Carb Chocolate Milk or Low Carb Hot Chocolate
This Fairlife chocolate milk is lower in carbohydrates than most other brands of chocolate milk.
Tip: you can heat the Fairlife chocolate milk to make a low carb hot chocolate.
In this article, we had discussed ways to lower carbohydrates in your desserts, some gestational diabetes dessert recipes, and low carb desserts to buy.
We know that gestational diabetes can be an overwhelming diagnosis, but are hopeful that these dessert recipes can help ease some of the confusion about what to eat.
For more information about pregnancy nutrition, check out these articles about superfoods for pregnancy or breakfast for pregnancy.