Gestational Diabetes Easter
Happy Easter ladies, time to start planning your Gestational Diabetes Easter! To help you with a few hints and tips to keep this Easter one where you can safely keep baking your little sugar bunnies, here is a post with a few hints, tips and a few recipes!
Gestational diabetes Easter - time to make a choice
Some medical professionals may say, have a day off your diet for Easter. I guess the question to ask is, does gestational diabetes go on hold for the day while you have a day off?
No I'm afraid it doesn't and so eating lots of things that spike your blood sugar levels will cause excess sugar to be pushed through your baby and you are also going to feel rotten with roller coaster blood sugar levels.
Those trying to cover what they're eating with increased insulin doses are putting themselves at risk of causing unpleasant hypos.
So you have a choice to make:
- Forget about gestational diabetes for the day and suffer any related consequences OR
- Decide what you will treat yourself with and use the information contained on this page which we've compiled to help you make some better choices. You do not need to deprive yourself!
- Failing that you could just postpone your Easter treats and goodies until after baby has been born
If you do decide to 'have a day off' then make sure you're not tempted to continue eating things that are going to be detrimental and get back on track the next day. Remember this isn't the usual type of diet where you can take a break for the whole of the Easter period and then get back on the wagon in a few weeks time. If it helps, think of gestational diabetes as an allergy - like your baby is 'allergic' to sugar, obviously they are not actually allergic to sugar at all, but this helps some mothers think of gestational diabetes a bit differently, especially when faced with a lot of temptations.
Chocolate, chocolate... chocolate EVERYWHERE?!
This year  I've launched a short video on the total carbs in some different types of Easter chocolates. I have looked at TOTAL carbohydrates as opposed to just 'sugar' in these, as carbs turn into sugar in the bloodstream. Every 4 grams of carbs is the equivalent of 1 teaspoon of sugar.
(Apologies for not including Cadbury's Caramel eggs in this video - Tesco substituted with an extra Creme egg! FYI, a Cadbury's Caramel egg has the equivalent of 6 tsp of sugar)
Easter means that we are faced with chocolate at every turn. Chocolate can be eaten as a treat with gestational diabetes but here are a few tips to make it more tolerable:
- Only have chocolate treats if you have control of your blood sugar levels. If you are seeing erratic levels (high and/or low), then leave treats until you have gained better control first.
- Eat it as a 'snack', rather than straight after a meal so that you don't over eat too many carbohydrates at one time OR if eating straight after a meal bear this additional carb amount in mind!
- Eat only small amounts of chocolate. If you struggle to be restrained with eating chocolate then purchase treat size individual bars so that you don't overindulge e.g. a Cadbury's Freddo which is 18g in weight and 10g total carbs
- If you can be good, break larger Easter eggs or bars into pieces and divide into ready-to-eat portions (around 20g-30g in weight) or just have a couple of chocolates at a time
- The higher the cocoa content, the less sugar it has and therefore is easier to tolerate, so dark chocolate is the best option
- Avoid chocolate with added caramel, honeycomb, nougat, dried fruit, hard crispy candy shells (like mini eggs), sweet fondants (like creme eggs) e.t.c or white chocolate which are high in sugar
- Pair chocolate with protein and fat to help slow down the release of glucose into the bloodstream. Nuts and seeds, or almond milk make for great 'tools' for pairing chocolate
Diabetic, sugar free and no added sugar chocolate
You can purchase diabetic and sugar free chocolate in many shops. You may think that this would be your perfect solution to an Easter choccie treat, but tread with caution!
The majority of these products contain high amounts of sweeteners, some contain polyols or sugar alcohols (a type of sweetener). These sugar alcohols have around half the amount of carbohydrates compared to glucose and they are digested more slowly BUT and this is the biggest issue we see:
These sugar free chocolates and sweets can have a laxative effect, causing bloating, cramping, flatulence and diarrhoea. In fact we've had a few ladies in our support group think they are going into labour after eating these!
So please be warned, we advise having two or three pieces of sugar free chocolate or sweets at a time, or you could end up regretting the decision to have a treat! You may want to reconsider giving these sugar free sweets and treats to children as a supposedly healthier alternative too.
If you don't believe me and fancy a bit of a giggle #readthegummybearsreviews *Please note, I am not advertising these sugar free sweets to try, this is a link to forewarn you of the impact of eating too many!
Hotel Chocolat have a more sensible approach with some really good dietary advice and offer a range of lower sugar, high cocoa content chocolate, as well as low carb chocolate.
Hotel Chocolate chocolates do not contain sweeteners and state
We’ve always believed in ‘More Cocoa, Less Sugar’. If you’re wondering why other chocolate makers don’t, maybe it’s because sugar only costs a tenth of the price of even the cheapest cocoa. More quality cocoa means more satisfaction, without being too sweet.
If you are looking for a box of chocolates with 'diabetic chocolates' written on the lid, you won't find it here! What you will find is sound advice and a way to balance diabetes with the healthy pleasure of real chocolate.
If you find dark chocolate too strong or bitter in taste for you, then you may want to try Hotel Chocolat's supermilk range
Supermilk is a revolutionary new genre of chocolate with all the pleasure of milk chocolate and all the power of dark. A decadently high 65% cocoa content, a splash of milk and less sugar than a dark chocolate bar means that it takes just a small portion of #supermilk to satisfy a chocolate craving
You can take a look at their range of indulgent chocolates here.
So our advice is don't waste your money on 'diabetic' chocolates and sweets. We have seen ladies try these a few times and think that they are in labour after indulging. If you want a treat then stick to normal, good quality REAL chocolate!
Make your own?
Why not make your own GD friendly Easter egg chocolates, that way you know exactly what ingredients have been used and if you have kids, I'm sure they'd love helping too!
Sugar Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Easter Eggs
These little Easter eggs from Brenda at Sugar Free Mom would make for a perfect gestational diabetes friendly treat which are a take on the Reece's peanut butter cups but without the high amounts of sugar!
Obviously you could adapt the recipe to use other nut butters if you cannot eat peanuts.
Take a look at the recipe here.
You will need an Easter egg mould (or any shape mould) to make the Easter eggs above, but moulds can easily be bought online. We've found a range of moulds at Lakeland which would be great to use, but check out your local discount stores such as Pound shops Lidl and Aldi as they often stock these over Easter at bargain prices!
You could also melt a good quality chocolate and add your favourite chopped nuts and seeds and create your own Easter chocolate bark treats!
Hot cross buns
If it's not bad enough that the shelves are packed with chocolate and Easter sweets, you walk in the door of the supermarket and all you can smell is hot cross buns baking! Hot cross buns are very tricky to tolerate, they are high in carbs as they are made with white flour, sugar and dried fruits, they contain around 35-45g carbs per bun. Those that believe they are tolerating them will often be missing a high spike in blood sugar levels, as the amount of carbs in them with little in way of pairing to slow down the release of glucose can impact after only 15-30 minutes and may cause crashes in blood sugar levels after eating.
Finding a suitable hot cross bun alternative that has less sugar is tricky but there are a few recipes out there for 'sugar free' hot cross buns. We need to remember that sugar free is not carb free and as carbs turn into glucose in the bloodstream, they may still be a struggle to tolerate.
If you really want to try a sugar free hot cross bun alternative then you could try this recipe which we have adapted from the sugar free hot cross bun recipe at Ocado.
Savoury Easter fun treats!...
Easter is a great time to have some fun with the kids and it doesn't have to all be about sweets and chocolate! Take a look through some of these great Easter ideas which the kids (including the sugar baby you're baking) will LOVE!
Easter Egg Quesadillas
You could use wholemeal or seeded tortilla wraps instead and this can be a fantastic GD friendly meal with lashings of cheese, avocado, sour cream, guacamole, beans and home made salsa.
Cookie cutter fun sandwiches
Grab some Easter cookie cutters and then you can create some fun mini Easter sandwiches!
If you don't want to buy cutters, then draw a simple design on wax paper, cut it out and use that as a template instead.
Use your imagination, some GD friendly bread and think about fillings which will help pair the bread, so high protein and natural fats such as egg mayonnaise, meats, avocado, cheese and salad.
Red Stamp have shared some great ideas here, showing what kind of pretty Easter sandwiches you could make. Take a look at their idea for sandwiches and fillings here.
Cheese and cracker chicks
Who said cheese and crackers is boring???
Jill from Meet the Dubiens shows that all it takes is a cookie cutter, some cheese, carrot, baby spinach leaves and a bit of imagination and you have yourself some really cute Easter chicks!
We recommend using oatcakes or wholewheat crackers and poppy seeds for the eyes instead of food colouring.
Hummus Spring veggie pots
Hummus is high in protein and natural fats and low carb which makes it a great snack!
Sandeea Cocina at La Receta De La Felicidad has created some gorgeous little plant pots filled with a roasted garlic hummus, perfect for dipping those little carrots in!
Here's a recipe to create your own roasted garlic hummus dip
These little chicks peaking out their shells are very cute and fun. You can find the recipe on Make Life Special.
Easter Chickie eggs
Really simple, but oh so cute! The recipe shared by Just Jenn Recipes is a great recipe which could put a smile on your little ones face!
Pink Bunny eggs
Video credit: Family Fun Magazine.
Breakfast Easter bunny!
It just takes a bit of imagination, but here you have a very GD friendly breakfast that you can make and have lots of fun with. A great treat on any Easter morning!
A report published by Government food safety advisors, presented on 29 January 2016, concluded that British Lion eggs can safely be eaten runny, even by pregnant women, babies and elderly people.
Easter carrot cheese ball
If you need a party platter or centre piece, but prefer something savoury yet something that is GD friendly, then this Easter carrot cheeseball shared by Jen on Yummy Healthy Easy is a fantastic idea!
Serve with some wholewheat crackers, oatcakes and wholegrain cracker breads to give a selection of slow release carbs.
Check out Jen's recipe here. You may want to use full fat cheese which will increase the fat content and help slow down the release of glucose from any carbs being absorbed into the bloodstream.
Boiled egg fun!
Boiled eggs are a big part of a good GD diet. High protein, good fats mean that many ladies ennd up living on A LOT of eggs. But as it's Easter, why not decorate your boiled eggs and have a bit of fun? Warning though, you may not want to eat them after these have been decorated!!
Awesome Easter eggs!
I had to include these adorable Minion eggs on this post because I love Minions and know that my 7 year old will love them, (but I think I'll enjoy making them more!!)
Take a look at the post shared by the very clever Crystal Owens on A Pumpkin and A Princess
Easter Sunday lunch
Many of us will have a traditional Sunday roast on Easter Sunday. Roast dinners can be tolerated well with gestational diabetes, but there are a few hints and tips to make them easier and a few things to watch out for.
Stick to the 8 golden rules of eating...
Avoid eating a really big meal, eat plenty of protein, so if it's a roast joint of meat, have plenty of meat. If you're vegetarian you need to incorporate non starchy forms of protein such as Quorn. Have no more than 3 egg sized roast potatoes or new potatoes cooked in butter and plenty of green vegetables.
If you are having yorkshire pudding, try making them with wholemeal flour instead of white flour and eat less potatoes to allow for additional carbohydrate.
Avoid gravies made with flour or thickening agents, opting for gravy made with meat juices instead.
Rosemary and garlic roast lamb
This recipe is for both lamb and the gravy to accompany it which doesn't add flour to thicken it.
Take a look at the recipe shared by Paul Merrett at BBC Good Food.
Sugar free mint sauce
Roast lamb cries out for mint sauce, but unfortunately mint sauce contains refined sugar and so will add to the meal's carb amount. If you want a fresh mint sauce which won't spike blood sugar levels, you can make one very easily at home yourself...
Spiced cauliflower roast
With Middle Eastern spices and herbs, this warming spiced cauliflower roast would make for a great vegetarian centre piece for the Easter table *omit the pomegranate molasses to make it GD friendly.
Replace the butter with coconut oil, leave the feta dressing and the spiced cauliflower roast is also suitable as a vegan GD dish.
It's another great recipe shared by Sophie Godwin, on BBC Good Food
Roasted butternut squash and crushed pistachios
Take a look at the recipe shared by Katy Gilhooly, on BBC Good Food
Mini garlic & parmesan hassleback potatoes
These little hassleback potatoes from Helen on Scrummy Lane would make for a lovely change from the norm which will compliment the lamb and butternut squash dishes. The fact that it also has added cheese, is never going to be a bad thing in a GD meal!
You can view the recipe here.
Sweet, starchy vegetables can be more difficult to tolerate, so buttered leeks make for another green vegetable option along with the typical green veg like broccoli, cabbage, green beans and asparagus.
This recipe shared by BBC Good Food is a simple and easy one to follow.
Minted peas and green beans
This recipe for minted peas and beans will work well, but it is advisable to switch the sugar for sweetener instead or omit the sugar completely.
Take a look at the recipe at Tesco recipes
With desserts, it's best to wait until after you've tested your post meal blood sugar levels and having your dessert as a 'snack', rather than overindulging and having too many carbs in one go. Remember rule #1 of the 8 golden rules is to eat little and often!
Zingy, fresh citrus springs to mind with Easter and so I've decided to find a lemon dessert choice.
Sugar free lemon curd
Jasmine Lukuku has shared a great recipe for sugar free lemon curd on The Blenderist, which can be used for many different dessert ideas.
This lemon curd could be stirred into a good Full fat Greek yoghurt, mixed into whipped double cream or layered with cream or soft cream cheese and a crushed Nairns oat biscuit, digestive or hobnob and nuts.
If you want a quick sweet treat then you could spread this with a generous dollop of clotted cream straight onto an oat biscuit.
The Nairns stem ginger oat biscuits would be a great combination of flavours!
Coconut lemon layer cake
This would be great if you were wanting to make something more substantial for your Easter dinner party!
You can find the recipes and links to make this cake here.
Don't let Gestational diabetes put a downer on your Easter
Having gestational diabetes over festive times associated with food and treats like Easter can really effect some women as they feel deprived of the best bits and the things they enjoy most. Share the gestational diabetes and the family page if you are struggling to get loved ones to understand about gestational diabetes and all the food and treats being passed around at Easter.
Try not to focus on all the temptations and things 'you can't have'. Easter isn't just about treats and chocolate! Easter is to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, it's about spending time with those that matter to you most, celebrating and having lots of fun.
You can still enjoy a fun packed Easter and stay on track if you want to. We are lucky that we only have this to contend with diabetes during pregnancy. It's only one Easter and there will be many more to enjoy with your new sugar baby.
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Thanks, Jo (Founder and Author of Gestational Diabetes UK)