Looking for THE ultimate list of gestational diabetes snacks that will both support the growth of your baby and help prevent spikes in your blood sugars?
Your body is demanding a lot out of you right now. How can you maximize your snacks so that you’re feeling your best, managing gestational diabetes, and giving your baby everything they need to grow and thrive?
Here is my list of the BEST 35 gestational diabetes snacks that are not only great choices for blood sugars, but also for pregnancy. Depending on what you’re craving, I have divided them into five categories: savory, sweet, quick, high in fiber (hello constipation and hemorrhoids), and high in iron (40% of pregnant women worldwide are deficient (1). If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and are navigating pregnancy, these snacks are also suitable for you!
DISCLAIMER: This post was written by Justine Chan MHSc, RD, CDE. All content on this site is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical or nutritional advice. Always seek medical and dietary advice from your doctor or dietitian.
Below you will find low glycemic index snacks that contain up to 20 grams of carbohydrates, along with a source of protein or fat. All nutrition data is sourced from either the USDA Nutrient Database or food labels.
Table of Contents
Salmon salad on crackers
- ½ cup canned salmon with bones
- 1 tsp mayonnaise
- 5 high fiber crackers
Canned salmon with bones is low in mercury and also a source of calcium. What’s interesting is that it’s also rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a type of omega 3 fat that makes up a good part of your brain (2).
Since DHA is an essential fat, you need to get it from your diet, and it’s needed for healthy brain and eye development (3). In fact, the National Institutes of Health recommends 8 to 12 ounces of fish and seafood per week. Paired with whole grain crackers for some crunch and fiber, it’s the ultimate gestational diabetes snack.
Avocado with everything bagel seasoning on toast
- 1/2 avocado
- Sprinkle of everything bagel seasoning
- 1 slice sprouted wheat toast
Who doesn’t love avocado toast? Sprouted wheat bread is also low on the glycemic index with a GI of 55 (4), meaning it will digest more slowly and result in a slower blood sugar rise. Half an avocado provides 10% of the daily recommended amount of folate during pregnancy (5), which helps your baby’s brain, skull, and spine form properly (6).
Popcorn and almonds
- 3 cups air popped popcorn
- ¼ cup almonds
One of my favorite gestational diabetes snacks to recommend is popcorn! Popcorn is a whole grain and when combined with almonds, contains 8 grams of fiber and 10 grams of protein per serving. Nuts are also a big part of the Mediterranean Diet, which has been shown to improve blood sugars, blood pressure, and cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes (7).
Greek yogurt topped with sunflower seeds and wheat germ
- 3/4 cup plain greek yogurt
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- 1 tbsp wheat germ
Put off by meat? Well, here’s one of the highest protein gestational diabetes snacks with a total of 21 grams of protein. That’s the same amount of protein as 2.5 ounces of chicken!
Wheat germ is also highly concentrated in folate. This is what gives you luxurious hair and that “pregnancy glow”, all while preventing neural tube defects (6).
As you approach the end of your pregnancy, the amount of iron your body needs to absorb goes up by 9 times compared to early pregnancy (8). Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of iron, at 1.5 milligram per serving.
Spinach and cheese egg bites and an orange
- 2 egg bites made with spinach and cheese
- One medium sized orange
Egg bites is another one of my top gestational diabetes snacks! They can be made in batches and also freeze well. All you need to do is whisk together a dozen eggs, some spinach, cheese and your favorite spices. Bake in the oven at 350F for 20 minutes and that’s it!
Cooked spinach outranks a lot of vegetables when it comes to folate, a critical nutrient you need in your pregnancy to prevent birth defects of the brain and spine (5).
Eggs are one of the best sources of choline. About 90-95% of pregnant women don’t get enough choline, which is 450 milligrams daily (9). Choline has been linked to improving the health of your placenta and baby’s brain development (10).
Celery, natural nut butter and sunflower seeds paired with milk
- 3-4 medium celery stalks
- 1 tbsp natural nut butter
- 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 1 cup milk
Nothing beats a timeless snack that fills you up and is also easy to prepare. This version of ‘Ants on a log’ has sunflower seeds instead of raisins. Sunflower seeds are a great source of folate, and your body needs 1.5 times more in pregnancy compared to the average adult.
Aside from getting regular sunshine, milk is also one of the few dietary sources of vitamin D which has been shown to play a role in both you and your baby’s immune system (11).
Edamame and raspberries
- 1/2 cup boiled edamame
- 1 cup raspberries
This winning combination is the perfect sweet and salty duo. Over half of the carbs in raspberries is fiber, which means it won’t be digested as sugar. Altogether, you’ll be getting 12 grams of fiber and 11 grams of protein.
You can also sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese on the edamame for some added flavor. In a recent literature review, soy foods including edamame were shown to boost mental health during pregnancy (12).
Vegetables and hummus
- 1 cup raw vegetables (but there is no limit!)
- 2 tbsp hummus
According to the CDC, only 1 in 10 adults eat the recommended amount of vegetables daily, which is 2 to 3 cups. And don’t worry about the dip. Because having hummus, cheese sauce or any other creamy dip doesn’t cancel out the benefits of the vegetables and is still better than having no vegetables at all.
Chia pudding with blueberries
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup blueberries
The possibilities are endless with chia pudding. Just mix the chia seeds and milk together and let it sit from a few hours to overnight to thicken. Also, you can add unsweetened cocoa powder or shredded coconut make great toppings.
At 7 grams of fiber per serving, chia seeds are the highest compared to flax at 3 grams and hemp seeds at less than 1 gram. They also contain brain-healthy omega 3 fats.
Baked apple drizzled with nut butter
- Small baked apple topped with cinnamon
- 1 tbsp natural nut butter
Apples are a low GI fruit, with a value of 28 (13), which means it won’t wreak havoc on your blood sugars. A small apple also has 3 to 4 grams of fiber which helps to slow down digestion and keep you full. Baking the apple makes it actually taste sweeter!
Adding a drizzle of nut butter provides both protein and monounsaturated heart healthy fat which helps to prevent your blood sugars from spiking.
Sliced pear dipped in full fat greek yogurt
- 1 small pear, sliced
- Greek yogurt for dipping
Not only are pears a low GI fruit with a value of 24 (14), but they also have one of the highest amounts of fiber among fruits at nearly 5 grams.
The thickness of greek yogurt makes it a great dip and the tanginess also goes well with the sweet flavor of a pear. Choosing the full fat option not only provides more flavor, but also enables fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K to be absorbed.
Strawberries dipped in dark chocolate and crushed Walnuts
- ½ cup strawberries
- 2 tbsp melted dark chocolate
- ¼ cup crushed walnuts
Not that you need another reason to love dark chocolate, but in addition to it being delicious it also contains antioxidants (15) and iron (16). Combining this with walnuts adds a tasty source of omega 3 fats, which help with your baby’s visual and brain development (17).
Sliced peaches and cottage cheese
- 1 medium peach
- ¼ cup cottage cheese
Peaches will only cause a small rise in your blood sugars since they have GI of 28 (19). In addition to its antioxidants, peaches contain lutein, a type of carotenoid that may impact your brain function. A 2021 study showed that women with higher intakes of lutein during pregnancy were associated with better language skills and less behavioral difficulties in their children (20).
Cottage cheese is a nice complement to sliced peaches! It contains 6 grams of protein per serving, and also helps to slow down the rate of sugar going into your bloodstream.
Green smoothie and nuts
- ½ avocado
- Handful of spinach leaves
- ½ cup each, unsweetened almond milk and greek yogurt
- 1 tsp sweetener of choice and ice to thicken
- ¼ cup nuts
The carbs in a smoothie can easily add up, so adding a source of protein like greek yogurt is key. Spinach is a leading source of iron, which is needed to make more red blood cells as your blood volume increases (16).
Adding 1 teaspoon of a sugar-free sweetener like stevia helps to neutralize some of the tang from the greek yogurt. In case you’re wondering, Health Canada has deemed sugar free sweeteners safe for pregnancy. A teaspoon of honey can also work, since it will only add 5 grams of carbs.
Pairing the smoothie with healthy fats like nuts will lessen its effect on your blood sugars. Finally, thin it with ice to your liking and enjoy!
Also, if you’re craving coffee, Starbucks has lower carb options that can fit in your meal plan. And if you’re worried about caffeine, a standard latte has 2 shots of espresso which contains only 150 milligrams of caffeine. This falls within the 200 milligrams per day cut off recommendation for pregnancy.
Frozen grapes with cheese
- 10 to 15 frozen grapes
- 1 oz of cheese
Eating frozen grapes is a perfect way to cool off during the summer months and has a low GI of 43 (21). The cold temperature by default slows down the eating process so you can be more mindful of how many you eat.
Pair with cheese for an added source of calcium. Calcium is not only important for healthy bones, but may also lower your risk for preterm birth and pre-eclampsia, a serious complication that involves a sudden spike in blood pressure (22).
Ice cream and hemp seeds
- ½ cup ice cream
- 1 to 2 tbsp hemp seeds
Bet you didn’t see this one coming. It’s okay to give into your cravings because it’s not realistic to completely cut out sweets. As long as ice cream isn’t consumed at every snack, it can still fit in your gestational diabetes meal plan!
Two tablespoons of hemp seeds contains nearly 7 grams of plant protein and what’s great is that it won’t change the flavor or texture. When you pair a high sugar food like ice cream with protein or fat, it helps to reduce its effect on your blood sugars.
Nuts snack pack with milk of choice
- 1 snack pack of nuts
- 1 cup milk of choice
For all the busy mamas, individual packages of almonds are especially one of the easiest gestational diabetes snacks to grab if you’re on the go. They also contain 3 to 6 grams of fiber and heart healthy fats.
Include a glass of milk that’s fortified with vitamin D, since it has been shown to help improve insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes (23). This means that vitamin D has the potential to increase insulin’s effectiveness in lowering your blood sugars.
Cheese stick and a granola bar
- 1 pack of string cheese
- 1 high fiber granola bar
Pre-portioned cheese is another great on-the-go snack that can help keep your blood sugars stable because it has 6 grams of protein. Some granola bars can have as much sugar as a candy bar, so choose one that has at least 4g of fiber. Here are two made with whole foods and a short list of ingredients: RX Bar and Kind bar.
Hard boiled egg with an orange
- 1 large hard boiled egg
- 1 small orange
Hard boiled eggs are easy to batch cook. They’re also one of the top sources of choline in the diet, which benefits your baby’s brain development and promotes a healthy placenta, among other things (10).
Natural peanut butter and finn crisps
- 4 finn crisps
- Natural nut butter, to taste
Close to 50% of pregnant women experience constipation so it’s imperative to get enough fiber in your diet (25). Finn crisps are high in fiber, at 5 grams per serving. Adding some peanut butter provides a source of protein and fat, making it one of the simplest gestational diabetes snacks to put together.
Single serving cottage cheese with berries
- 1 single serve cottage cheese
- 1 cup strawberries
Nordica single serve cottage cheese contains 14 grams of protein, so it’s a high protein on-the-go snack. Adding a great low glycemic choice like strawberries with a GI of 40 (26) offers over 100% of your daily requirement for vitamin C in pregnancy (27), which helps to maximize iron absorption.
Cheese, nut and fruit snack pack
- 1 cheese, nut and fruit snack pack
These snack packs include dried fruit with nuts, and offer a range of 8 to 15g carbohydrates and 5 to 8 g protein. It’s a nice duo of sweet and salty that’s conveniently portioned for portable snacking. Even though dried cranberries have a moderate GI of 62 (28), the 8 grams of protein in the cheese and nuts combined help to reduce the spike in your blood sugars after eating.
Tuna snack pack
- 1 tuna snack pack
These snack packs include either crackers or beans and low mercury skipjack tuna in a variety of flavors. This snack is a great source of omega 3s, and studies show that having enough of these fats in your diet can even influence eye development up to your baby’s first birthday (29). It’s also high in protein, averaging 12 grams per serving to help keep your blood sugars stable.
High in fiber (at least 4g fiber)
- 1 cup lentil soup
It might seem unconventional, but soups are great for hydrating and among all the legumes, lentils are the quickest to cook. All you need are the veggies in your fridge, 1 cup dried lentils and 4 cups of water or broth. This will make 4 servings and each serving contains at least 7 grams of fiber.
Avocado and tomato salad
- 1 small avocado
- ½ cup corn
- Tomatoes to taste
This is definitely one of the highest fiber gestational diabetes snacks to try! One small avocado has 9 grams of fiber. Add one tomato for some color and you’re at 40% of your daily fiber goal of 25 grams. Chop and toss with some sweet corn and your favorite dressing.
Since corn is a low glycemic index food with a GI of 55 (30), a ½ cup or ½ an ear provides about 15 grams of carbs. When you combine it with avocado and tomatoes, the fiber will help to prevent your blood sugar from spiking.
Mixed bean salad
- ½ cup black beans
- ½ cup of chopped vegetables
- 1 tablespoon of your favorite dressing
With 8 grams of fiber, black beans contain soluble fiber which helps to delay the absorption of sugar in your bloodstream. This high fiber snack can also ward off those intense pregnancy cravings. If you’re worried about beans causing you more gas, try soaking your beans overnight.
Blueberries with whipped cream and shredded coconut
- 1 cup blueberries
- A dollop of whipped cream
- Sprinkling of unsweetened shredded coconut
Since blueberries are high in fiber, they are low GI and a great snack for balanced blood sugars. One cup of blueberries also has 4 grams of fiber and a ton of anthocyanins that give it its blue color. Additionally, anthocyanins have been shown in studies to help slow the digestion of carbs and sugars (31).
Top with whipped cream and unsweetened coconut and you’ll feel like you’re in the tropics.
Bran buds with yogurt
- 1/3 cup bran buds
- ½ cup plain whole milk yogurt
One serving of bran buds has 11 grams of fiber coming from both wheat bran and psyllium, which is 44% of your daily fiber goal. They’re also the perfect yogurt topper and the best part is that it doesn’t turn soggy and maintains its flavor.
High in iron (at least 2mg of iron)
Roasted chickpeas and snow peas
- ½ cup roasted chickpeas
- ½ cup snow peas
If you’re looking for something crunchy, look no further. This is another one of my top gestational diabetes snacks!
Low iron levels in pregnancy have been linked to both low birthweight and premature births (16). A half cup of chickpeas has 2 milligrams of nonheme iron, which is 7% of your daily requirement in pregnancy (16).
In addition, they’re great for preventing blood sugar spikes. A 2021 randomized controlled trial that looked at the effect of pulse flours found that bean-based snacks led to lower blood sugars, with pinto beans and chickpeas having more of an impact (32).
Per serving, snow peas contain 25% of your daily requirement of vitamin C, which helps to increase iron absorption.
Pumpkin seeds with raspberries
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup raspberries
Out of all the seeds, pumpkin seeds are one of the richest sources of iron, at 2.9mg or 10% of your daily iron goal. Adding raspberries provides you with 32 milligrams of vitamin C which also helps to boost iron absorption by 5 to 12% (16).
Scrambled eggs cooked in a cast iron pan with strawberries
- ½ cup scrambled eggs
- 1 cup strawberries
Did you know eggs cooked in a cast iron pan can increase iron content by five fold (33)? And let’s not forget, eggs are also one of the BEST sources of choline, which this is critical for the health of your placenta and baby’s brain development (10). Add a side of strawberries which provides over 100 percent of your daily need for vitamin C to maximize iron absorption.
Sardines in tomato sauce on ezekiel bread
- ½ can sardines in tomato sauce
- 1 slice sourdough bread
Sardines in tomato sauce are an excellent source of both heme iron and vitamin C, which work together to prevent anemia. Plus, it’s the perfect bread topper. Ezekiel bread is also low on the glycemic index, which will help prevent blood sugar spikes. This snack provides roughly 3 milligrams of iron, which is 11% of your daily requirement in pregnancy (16).
Tofu and bell pepper wrap
- ½ cup cooked tofu
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 whole wheat wrap
At 3 milligrams of iron, a serving of tofu meets 11% of your daily iron goal. Buy the extra firm variety as they’ll crisp up nicely in the oven and in stir-fries.
Add bell pepper and you’ll get over 100% of your daily requirement for vitamin C, which boosts iron absorption (16). Feel free to spread some mashed avocado for some extra flavor!
Roast beef with hummus on crackers
- 1-2oz roast beef
- 5 high fiber crackers
- A dollop of hummus
Heme iron, found in meat and seafood, is much more readily absorbed compared to nonheme iron in plant foods. A serving of beef contains 1 milligram of heme iron and it’s also great as a stuffing for your pita sandwiches. And let’s not forget, also add a delicious scoop of hummus for flavour to top it all off!
Chicken and spinach wrap
- 1 small whole wheat wrap
- 1 to 2 ounces of chicken
- Handful of spinach leaves
The chicken and spinach in this wrap is another excellent source of iron. At nearly 2 milligrams of iron per serving, that’s 7% of your daily requirement in pregnancy!
A serving of spinach has up to 28 milligrams of vitamin C which enhances iron absorption. That’s about one third of your daily vitamin C goal. It also makes for a nice on-the-go snack!
Key takeaways: Gestational Diabetes Snacks
You now have a comprehensive list of snacks that cover not only what you can eat to balance your blood sugars, but also contain essential nutrients for a healthy pregnancy.
Snacks that were savory, sweet, convenient, as well as high in fiber and iron were covered. The combination of carbohydrates with a source of fiber, protein, or fat is key to preventing blood sugar spikes.
We focused a lot on the nutritional benefits of foods. However, the bottom line is food is so much more than nutrients. Don’t forget to enjoy the foods you’re eating during this very special time!
I’m curious to know, what has been your favorite snack in your pregnancy so far? Drop a comment below. Happy snacking!