Easter

Gestational Diabetes Easter

Happy Easter! It’s 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!

boiled egg Easter bunny

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 for them to process 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 and rollercoaster blood glucose levels.

So you have a choice to make:
  1. Forget about gestational diabetes for the day and suffer any related consequences OR
  2. Decide what you will treat yourself with and use the information contained on this page which I’ve compiled to help you make some better choices. You do not need to deprive yourself!
  3. Failing that you could just postpone your Easter treats and goodies until after the 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 week’s 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?!

2021 I have launched a new updated video on the total carbs in some different types of Easter chocolates. This includes popular Easter eggs, some Easter cakes and hot cross buns.

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.

 

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:

  • Easter chocolateOnly 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 overeat 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 them 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) etc. 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!

via GIPHY

Hotel Chocolat has a more sensible approach with some really good dietary advice and offers 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 my 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 is a take on Reece’s peanut butter cups but without the high amounts of sugar!

Obviously, you could adapt the recipe to use other nut butter if you cannot eat peanuts.

Take a look at the recipe here.

Easter egg mould

Moulds

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 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 of carbs per bun. Those that believe they are tolerating them will often be missing a high spike in blood sugar levels, as the number 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 I have adapted from the sugar-free hot cross bun recipe at Ocado.

Sugar free, lower carb hot cross buns
This recipe has been adapted from the sugar free hot cross bun recipe shown at Ocado. Whilst sugar free it is not carb free and so it may still be tricky for some to tolerate
Check out this recipe

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!

Chocolate Easter Nests

A new recipe for Easter 2022, these fun Chocolate Easter Nests are made with coconut and flaxseed instead of cereal and do not contain added syrup like many other Easter Nest recipes. Great fun to make and eat with the kids and the best bit is that they are no-bake!

Chocolate Easter Nests
Chocolate Easter Nests | Gestational Diabetes UK | A fun and healthier alternative to cereal made with coconut and flaxseed
Check out this recipe
Chocolate Easter Nests

Easter Egg Quesadillas

If you want a break from chocolate Easter eggs, then why not opt for decorating some savoury Easter egg quesadillas instead?

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 homemade salsa.

This idea has come from Itsy Bitsy Foodies, who have shared a fantastic recipe which you can find here.

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 that will help pair the bread, so high protein and natural fats such as egg mayonnaise, meats, fish, avocado, cheese, peanut butter and salad.

Cheese and cracker chicks

Who said cheese and crackers are 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!

I recommend using Scottish oatcakes or wholewheat crackers and poppy seeds for the eyes.

Easter crackers

Hummus Spring veggie pots

Hummus is high in protein and natural fats and low carb which makes it a great snack!

Hummus
Hummus | Gestational Diabetes UK
Check out this recipe
Easter hummus
Roasted Garlic Hummus
Roasted Garlic Hummus | Gestational Diabetes UK
Check out this recipe
Roasted Garlic Hummus

Deviled Chicks 

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 that could put a smile on your little ones’ faces!

Boiled Egg Bunny

Great fun to make with the kids (or if you’re just a big kid at heart!) and of course it’s GD friendly!

You just need 2 hard-boiled eggs, something for the eyes (I used black peppercorns but you could use seeds), 1 small carrot and some herbs. I used rosemary for the rabbit’s whiskers (but chives work well too) and some flat-leaf parsley for the carrot tops?

Method:
1. Boil your eggs to your liking then place them in icy cold water to stop them cooking (this helps to avoid the yolk going green/grey which is fine to eat but doesn’t look as pretty!)
2. Once cooled, carefully peel the shells off
3. Cut one egg lengthways in half and then one of the halves into quarters. The half will become the bunny’s body, the 2 quarters will become the ears
4. Cut the second egg in half sideways, then from that half cut a slice big enough for the bunny’s head (you’ll be left with a small piece of egg you can make a bunny tail with if you like, or if you have helpers, they may eat it like mine did !)
5. Cut the other piece of egg in half to create two feet
6. Add your eyes, small triangle carrot nose & herb whiskers
7. Cut out your mini carrots & add some bushy herb carrot tops!

Ta-dah! One Easter Bunny Boiled Egg!

boiled egg Easter bunny

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!

Breakfast bunny!

Runny egg info:

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.

For more information on egg safety in pregnancy, please read further here.

Easter carrot cheese ball

If you need a centrepiece, 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 bread 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 end 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 boys love them!

Take a look at the post shared by the very clever Crystal Owens on A Pumpkin and A Princess. If Minions aren’t your thing then how about Ninja Turtles? Or Disney Frozen?

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…

list of the GD UK 8 Golden Rules for a gestational diabetes diet

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 my recipe (below) which uses ground arrowroot powder instead of white flour.

Yorkshire Puddings
Lower carb, super light, crisp and delicious Yorkshire pudding
Check out this recipe
Arrowroot Yorkshire Pudding

Avoid gravies made with flour or thickening agents, opting for gravy made with meat juices instead or this vegan version instead.

Gravy
Real Gravy | Gestational Diabetes UK
Check out this recipe
GD Gravy
Vegan Gravy
Low Carb Vegan Gravy | Gestational Diabetes UK
Check out this recipe
low carb vegan gravy

Rosemary and garlic roast lamb

A firm favourite at Easter is Lamb. Lamb is good meat for gestational diabetes as it is high in protein and higher in fat than some other meats.

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, the mint sauce contains refined sugar and so will add to the meal’s carb amount. If you want a fresh mint sauce that won’t spike blood sugar levels, you can make one very easily at home yourself…

Mint Sauce
Fresh homemade sugar free mint sauce. Great accompaniment for lamb roast dinners
Check out this recipe
Sugar Free Mint Sauce

Not a fan of lamb, how about chicken or beef?

Lemon and Herb Roast Chicken
Succulent, moist lemon-infused chicken, with crisp lemon and herb-crusted skin. Delicious eaten hot or cold
Check out this recipe
Lemon and Herb Roast Chicken
Slow cooked beef brisket
Tender, succulent slow cooked beef brisket, smothered with real gravy which just falls apart when eaten
Check out this recipe
slow cooked beef brisket

Salmon in Tarragon Hollandaise Sauce

Salmon in Tarragon Hollandaise Sauce
Salmon in Tarragon Hollandaise Sauce | Gestational Diabetes UK
Check out this recipe
Salmon in Tarragon Hollandaise Sauce

Spiced cauliflower roast

With Middle Eastern spices and herbs, this warming spiced cauliflower roast would make for a great vegetarian centrepiece 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

A delicious vegetarian dish or a side dish to accompany your lamb is this roasted butternut squash. Adding the pistachios adds protein and good natural fats to the dish.

Take a look at the recipe shared by Katy Gilhooly, on BBC Good Food

Mini garlic & parmesan Hasselback potatoes

Fancy a change from the usual roast potatoes, mash or new potatoes?

These little Hasselback potatoes make for a lovely change from the norm which will complement 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!

Garlic Rosemary and Parmesan Hasselback Potatoes
Garlic Rosemary and Parmesan Hasselback Potatoes | Gestational Diabetes UK
Check out this recipe
Garlic Rosemary and Parmesan Hasselback Potatoes

Buttered leeks

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.

Greens

Green vegetables such as spring greens, cabbage, broccoli, green beans and asparagus all add additional fibre to the meal, help fill you up and provide lots of vitamins and minerals. Try out some of the recipes below to add some spring colour to your meal.

Roasted Broccoli
Roasted Broccoli | Gestational Diabetes UK
Check out this recipe
roasted broccoli

Easter Desserts

With desserts, it’s best to wait until after you’ve tested your post-meal blood sugar levels and have 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 share plenty of lemon dessert choices.

Lemon Cheesecake
Sweet citrus no-bake lemon cheesecake! You can whip this cheesecake up in minutes and it will keep those sweet cravings at bay.
Check out this recipe
lemon cheesecake
Lemon Mousse
Sweet zingy and refreshing creamy lemon mousse. This mousse is so quick and easy to make and can be a great sweet treat which won't spike blood glucose levels
Check out this recipe
low carb lemon mousse

If you want something a bit more adventurous, then why not try my Lemon Meringue Pie?

Jo’s Lemon Meringue Pie
A coconut flour tart case, filled with smooth decadent zingy sugar free lemon curd and topped with sweet sugar free meringue
Check out this recipe
Jos Lemon Meringue Pie

Sugar-free lemon curd

Lemon Curd (Sugar Free)
Sugar free lemon curd, really really zingy with a real sharp lemon hit
Check out this recipe
sugar free lemon curd with spoon

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!

Egg Custard Tart

If you’re not a fan of lemon, then how about a sweet Easter Egg Custard Tart?

Egg Custard Tart
A sweet crisp low carb pastry, filled with sugar free creamy set vanilla custard
Check out this recipe
sugar free low carb egg custard tart

Gestational Diabetes UK Subscription Recipes

Lemon Curd Cake

This lemon curd cake is a delicate lemon sponge filled with zingy homemade sugar-free lemon curd and topped with lemon flavoured cream. Fresh light and delish!

Lemon Curd Cake
Light delicate sponge, filled with sugar free lemon curd and fresh lemon cream
Check out this recipe
Low Carb Lemon Curd Cake

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

Light citrus sponge, filled with sugar-free lemon curd and topped with sugar-free meringue. If you like lemon, then you have to give these lemon meringue cupcakes a try!

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes
A light citrus sponge cupcake, filled with sugar free lemon curd and topped with sugar free meringue. A delicious light citrus cupcake, perfect for lovers of lemon
Check out this recipe
low carb lemon meringue cupcakes

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 affect some women as they feel deprived of the best bits and the things they enjoy most. Share gestational diabetes and the family page if you are struggling to get loved ones to understand 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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Jo Paterson Gestational Diabetes UK

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