Gestational Diabetes Christmas

The Ultimate Gestational Diabetes Christmas Guide

Here’s your ultimate survival guide to a gestational diabetes Christmas! This post is dedicated to all our members that are looking at ways to stay on track through the festive period which is packed with food, food, drink and more food.

I have you covered so you can still have an absolutely AWESOME Christmas WITHOUT spiking those blood sugar levels! So don’t let the diagnosis of GD get you down.

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Gestational diabetes Christmas, to take the ‘day off’ or not, that is the question?

The majority of medical professionals will say, have a day off of your ‘diet’ for Christmas, have a treat, or a day off of testing blood glucose levels. Many family members and friends may suggest the same too. It’s only one day and you’re only human, right?

You can follow this advice if you wish to. Remember it’s your body, your baby and NO ONE can tell you what you can and can’t eat or drink. Only YOU can make that decision.

Why do some medical professionals advise having a day off?

  1. They believe a day of high readings will not have a big impact overall to the pregnancy. Remember it is ongoing  poor control of blood sugar levels that increases risks of complications for babies born to diabetic mothers, not the odd high level
  2. They don’t want patients to feel restricted or deprived as this can cause stress, anxiety and may be detrimental to mental health
  3. Some professionals may advise those who are insulin-treated to increase insulin doses so that blood sugar levels remain lowered and controlled despite the increased carb load (like a Type 1 diabetic typically manage their levels), therefore any impacts on baby are controlled and managed
  4. Lack of knowledge around better/safer yet tasty dietary choices. Some medical professionals are not aware, or don’t believe that you can actually have a great Christmas full of wonderful treats which don’t actually cause high blood sugars (many haven’t found Gestational Diabetes UK…yet, share it with them if you haven’t already!)

What is the impact of having a ‘day off’?

FACT: Eating/drinking things that spike your blood sugar levels will cause excess sugar to be pushed through to the baby, meaning the baby has to drink more and will have to increase their own insulin production to help process that excess sugar.

FEELING UNWELL: You may also feel rotten with rollercoaster blood glucose levels. Symptoms of this can include feeling shaky, weak, tired, moody, irritable, thirsty, nauseous, having a headache and a racing heart (palpitations).

I must point out, that one high spike does not necessarily lead to complications in diabetic pregnancy, however, many women would prefer not to cause unnecessary high levels for many reasons

A SLIPPERY SLOPE: Having ‘one day off’ can easily lead to having a few days off, the Christmas week off etc. and it can become a slippery slope to losing control and you falling off the wagon completely. This is especially true for those that do not see any immediate impact of eating high carb & sugar foods and drinks, lulling them into a false sense of security. But with ever-increasing insulin resistance, this can often lead to problems.

INSULIN GUESSWORK: Those who are insulin controlled trying to cover what they’re eating with increased insulin doses are putting themselves at risk of causing unpleasant hypos, or still having high levels, especially if they use the incorrect dose (something that is easy to misjudge due to the hormones of pregnancy causing fluctuations in insulin resistance). It is also worth noting that increasing insulin doses also increases insulin resistance, so you are effectively ‘worsening’ the condition. Insulin is great for those that need it to eat well, but you may want to stick to better food choices to avoid unnecessarily increasing doses just to eat what you fancy and using the insulin to ‘mop up’ the carb overload. Why take more if you don’t really need to and worsen your condition?

FEELINGS OF GUILT: Lastly, in many cases, we see ladies who have chosen to take the day off or to treat themselves, post in the Facebook support group that they are so worried and have terrible feelings of guilt. If you think that having some treats or a day off will cause these types of feelings, then ask yourself if it is worth it?

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So you have a choice to make:

  1. Forget about gestational diabetes for the day, enjoy Christmas as normal 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. You could just postpone your Christmas meal, treats and goodies until after baby has been born if you’d prefer, remember the choice is YOURS

If you do have Christmas day off…

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 Christmas period and then get back on the wagon in the New Year.

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 mindset helps some mothers think of gestational diabetes a bit differently, especially when faced with a lot of temptations such as Christmas.

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Those wanting to stay on track, let’s get started! Here is your GD UK gestational diabetes Christmas survival guide…

Christmas treats!… Choccies!

You CAN eat chocolate with gestational diabetes.

Depending on how good you can be, why not take a few of your favourite chocolates out of the family box, to hide away just for you. You could treat yourself every day over Christmas, to a couple of individual chocolates with a handful of nuts or a glass of soya milk as a ‘snack’.

It’s better than getting to the box only to find that everyone else has eaten the only ones you like. If you’re going to enjoy a chocolate, then stash the ones you like and make your treat worthwhile!

If you can’t be so controlled with the chocolates then you could keep a box of your favourite ones for your hospital bag or post-birth treats! We’ve seen plenty of ladies enjoying their Christmas treats much further into the new year!

For more help with eating chocolate with gestational diabetes, take a look at my dedicated chocolate page.

You could also make a batch of my wonderful GD-friendly chocolate truffles to enjoy!

Truffles
Homemade rich chocolate truffles, perfect for a sweet treat!
Check out this recipe
chocolate truffles
homemade chocolate truffles

Advent calendars

Gone are the days where you only find chocolate advent calendars. You can now find an array of advent calendars for all tastes and budgets from cheese to beauty products, bath bombs and candles, the choice is HUGE!

Chocolate can safely be eaten with gestational diabetes as long as you are sensible. With advent calendar chocolates being so small, they actually make for a great chocolate treat!

But for those of you who would prefer to steer clear of chocolate through fear of overindulging, then why not grab yourself a different type of advent calendar. There are tons of different advent calendars available from cheese, pork scratchings and Cheesies, to beauty and candles. It’s the perfect opportunity to grab yourself a wee treat, or maybe a loved one could, to keep you going through this tough pregnancy of yours 😉

Ilchester advent calendar

Mince pies

These traditional favourite sweet pies can be your worst nightmare for high blood sugar levels and so they come with a BIG ‘warning’. They contain carbohydrate after carbohydrate, from the fruit to the sugar to white flour pastry, all these things are going to cause problems for blood glucose levels. Dried fruit is like sugar bullets and so for many mince pies are something that will just need to be completely avoided, even those small ones! (Don’t forget you can freeze mince pies to enjoy after you’ve had your baby).

One saving grace is that you can smother them with some thick whipped cream to make them more tolerable, but they are still VERY difficult to tolerate. Anyone who has been diagnosed with gestational diabetes and is freely eating mince pies and not getting high blood sugar levels needs to look at the time they are testing and the target used. These carb packed goodies will spike levels very high, very quickly!

However, knowing how many ladies miss their Christmas mince pies here are my lower carb mince pies!

Mince pies
Lower carb mince pies made with sweet apples, cranberries & blueberries with a crisp filo pastry shell topped with flaked almonds
Check out this recipe
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Low carb, sugar-free Gingerbread

If gingerbread is more your Christmas thing, then check out my sugar-free gingerbread cookie recipe. This needs to be made in advance but is a great cookie to make with children for Christmas. You can find the gingerbread cookie recipe here.

Gingerbread cookies
Soft sugar free gingerbread cookies. Great to bake at home with little ones. Fab all year round, but even more special at Christmas! You can't beat the smell as they're baking and then all that fun decorating makes them a firm favourite for many
Check out this recipe
Gestational Diabetes Christmas 2018
Gestational Diabetes Christmas 2018
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CHRISTMAS DAY!

Don’t panic! It’s just another day. I’ve got your back and you CAN DO THIS!

Remember to do all the things you normally would, eat little and often, snacking through the day to keep blood sugar levels stabilised.

There should be plenty of nuts, cheese and crackers about, so no excuse to not nibble and keep those levels stabilised.

Stay well hydrated. If you are having any treats or a larger meal for Christmas dinner then make sure you’re drinking plenty (more than normal) to help flush any excess sugars through.

Gestational diabetes Christmas Breakfast

Start the day off on a good foot, by having a really good, safe breakfast that will keep your blood sugar levels stabilised.

Smoked Scottish Salmon and Scrambled Eggs on Toast

Ingredients:  plenty of Scottish *smoked salmon trimmings or slices, don’t scrimp on breakfast morning. Burgen soya & linseed, pumpernickel or rye bread, 6 eggs, 20g butter, 2 tbsp double cream, 1 tbsp chopped parsley or chives, a few drops of lemon juice, freshly ground black pepper and salt. Half an avocado, sliced.

Recipe: Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk. Pop the bread under the grill or in the toaster. Place a frying pan over medium to high heat, add the butter and melt but don’t brown. Add the eggs and cook, stirring continuously with a heatproof spatula until it starts to thicken. Immediately take off the heat (don’t overcook!), add the cream, season with the salt and pepper and beat well. Add the avocado slices, then pile a portion of scrambled egg onto the toast, top with the salmon, squeeze over a little lemon a grind of pepper and sprinkle over some herbs, parsley or chives.

*Smoked salmon is safe to be consumed during pregnancy [NHS Choices, Dec 2021]

Eggs Benedict

Have a change from the norm with some scrumptious eggs benedict. Enjoy these with or without mushrooms, cooked ham, smoked salmon, or bacon for something different. If you don’t want to risk making your own hollandaise sauce, then you could purchase a pre-made pasteurised one in advance. The addition of avocado is also hugely beneficial and yummy too! Don’t forget to use lion stamped eggs for those runny yolks!

Avocado eggs Benedict
Take eggs benedict to the next level by adding ripe avocado, the perfect weekend brunch
Check out this recipe
Avocado eggs benedict with mushrooms
Avocado eggs benedict with mushrooms

Coconut Flour Pancakes

Fed up with eggy egg breakfasts yet struggle to tolerate other things, or you don’t like the texture or taste of banana pancakes? Time to try another pancake alternative!

Coconut Flour Pancakes
Light, slightly sweet and coconutty American style low carb pancakes
Check out this recipe
Coconut Flour Pancakes
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coconut flour pancakes with bacon and sugar free syrup

Festive Spiced Pancakes with Clementine Syrup & Pistachios

Want to give your low carb pancakes a bit of a festive flavour on Christmas morning, then how about these Festive spiced wholemeal spelt flour pancakes with clementine syrup and pistachios.

These pancakes are easy to make and can be tweaked to be vegan too!

Pancakes with clementine syrup & pistachios
Pancakes with clementine syrup & pistachios | Gestational Diabetes UK
Check out this recipe
Pancakes with clementine syrup & pistachios
Pancakes with clementine syrup & pistachios

The main event, Christmas Dinner

Starters

Keep starters small so that you are not causing your body too much stress in trying to process large amounts of food in one go. This could be a long meal and so light bites for starters will help you!

Prawn cocktail

This classic dish can be tailored to be much more GD friendly and is a nice light bite! This recipe adds avocado which is fab for adding natural fats.

Prawn Cocktail
Prawn Cocktail | Gestational Diabetes UK
Check out this recipe
Prawn Cocktail

Baked camembert

Baking a mould-ripened cheese like camembert means that it can be safely be eaten by pregnant women. This means that baked camembert can make for a great starter that is suitable for a GD diet and perfect for blood glucose levels.

Try baking whole camembert for 15 minutes in an oven at around 180°c. You can score the rind and push garlic cloves, rosemary and other herbs into the cheese and lightly drizzle with olive oil if you wish to. Once baked, score the top to peel back the rind to expose the lovely runny centre and use low carb vegetables for dippings, such as celery, cucumber sticks and asparagus.

Roasted butternut squash soup

Ingredients: 1 butternut squash, 1 whole garlic, 1 whole onion, olive oil, 300ml chicken or vegetable stock, 150ml double cream, freshly ground salt and pepper.

Recipe: Cut butternut squash in half lengthways and scoop out the pulp. Add a few smashed garlic gloves to the hole where the pulp came from and onto a roasting tray and an onion, peeled and cut into big wedges. Drizzle all with olive oil and season with salt & black pepper. Roast in an oven until soft. Once cooked, scoop the squash out of the skin and throw the roasted garlic (squeezed from the skin), the butternut squash and the onion into a blender. Add stock and blitz. Add the double cream to help make the soup more GD friendly.

You could make some Burgen soya & linseed garlic croutons to go with it too or add roasted pumpkin seeds for extra protein, fat and crunch! Add an extra spot of cream, crumbled feta and some herbs for garnish.

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Charred mushroom skewers with satay sauce (vegan)

Not as festive as some recipes, but a great way to start a GD friendly vegan Christmas lunch that packs a punch of flavour and a good hit of protein to entice the taste buds for what’s to come!

Serves 4 as a starter. Ingredients for the mushrooms: 100g shiitake mushrooms, 100g chestnut mushrooms, 145g pack Happy Pear Sundried Tomato Pesto.  For the satay sauce: 4 tbsp peanut or almond butter, 1 tsp garlic granules, 1 tsp ground ginger, Juice of ½ lime, 1 tbsp agave nectar, 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce. To serve: 1 red chilli, deseeded, ¼ x 28g pack coriander.

Recipe: Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Soak12 wooden skewers in cold water. Depending on the mushrooms, cut them into thick slices. Put into a bowl with the pesto, then season and mix well until coated. Remove the soaked skewers and divide the mushrooms between them. Put the skewered mushrooms on a large baking tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning them 1-2 times until they start to crisp and brown evenly. Meanwhile, mix all the satay sauce ingredients together in a bowl with 35ml (2½ tbsp) boiling water until thick and creamy. Season if needed. Pour into a small serving bowl. Finely slice the red chilli and roughly chop the coriander. Lay the hot skewers on a large plate or board with the satay sauce, then sprinkle with chilli and herbs. Get dipping or drizzle the sauce over the skewers.

Original recipe shared on Waitrose.com but adapted to be more suitable for the GD diet

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Christmas dinner, main meal

The usual traditional roast dinner is a very suitable meal for gestational diabetes and should be one that you can enjoy without too many tweaks.

Gestational diabetes Christmas

High protein as always will be your best friend. Help yourself to plenty of the following traditional Christmas proteins:

  • Turkey
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Gammon
  • Lamb
  • Goose
  • Duck
  • Chicken
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Glazed Ham

Here is my slow-cooked glazed ham recipe. This ham is cooked low and slow in diet cherry cola to keep the meat succulent and soft. It is then scored and covered in a sugar-free glaze which gives it the perfect sweet crisp crust.

This ham is perfect for serving hot on Christmas day and even better sliced cold for buffet, salads and sandwiches afterwards. 

Glazed Ham
Soft succulent slow cooked ham, coated in a sweet sugar free glaze
Check out this recipe
Glazed Ham
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Glazed Ham

Christmas dinner, vegetarian and vegan dishes

Creamy Cauliflower Cheese

This is a very popular recipe on the GD UK website and one that many Mums continue to use post-birth as they love it so much. Perfect as a side dish or equally as impressive as a vegetarian main.

Creamy Cauliflower Cheese
This is the best cauliflower cheese you will ever taste! Thick creamy cheesy yumminess on a plate!
Check out this recipe
creamy cauliflower cheese
creamy cauliflower cheese

Spiced cauliflower roast

With Middle Eastern spices and herbs, this warming spiced cauliflower roast would make for a great vegetarian centrepiece for the Christmas table *omit the pomegranate molasses to make it GD friendly.

Replace the butter with plant-based margarine or coconut oil, replace the feta with Greek-style Violife 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

Spiced cauliflower roast | BBC Good Food
Check out this recipe
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Vegan nut roast

Tofu gives this nut roast a creaminess that makes it seem decadent. Crunchy and full of spices, everyone will be tucking in.

You can make individual portions or 1 big tart as a centrepiece for the table. This sumptuous vegan Christmas main is shared by  Jamie Oliver 

Vegan nut roast recipe | Jamie Oliver
Check out this recipe
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Celeriac Dauphinoise

This celeriac dauphinoise or gratin makes for a wonderful vegetarian alternative or a great side dish for Christmas dinner.

You could tweak this further by removing the potato or replacing white potatoes with sweet potatoes if you tolerate them better. Either way, potato or not, this looks like a yummy dish worthy of celebrating Christmas day with loved ones and a great dish for a gestational diabetes Christmas! Check out the recipe from Jamie Oliver’s website here.

Celeriac Gratin | Jamie Oliver
Check out this recipe
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Christmas dinner, vegetables

Following my 8 golden rules of eating, bulk up your meal with plenty of non-starchy vegetables (especially green ones): sprouts, cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, green beans, creamed spinach and my cauliflower cheese.

Parsnips, carrots, peas and sweetcorn are all higher carb vegetables and so these are the ones to cut back on.

Watch out for parsnips coated in honey or sweet drizzles, braised red cabbage cooked with sweet cider, apples and fruit juices.

Buttered sprouts with bacon and walnuts

You’ll never boil or steam a sprout again after trying this!

Ingredients: 600g Brussels sprouts, 4 rashers streaky bacon, chopped, 25g walnuts, coarsely chopped, 25g butter

Recipe: Place the sprouts in a pan of salted, boiling water; cook for 5 minutes then drain. Heat a large frying pan; fry the bacon until crisp then add the walnuts and fry for 1 minute. Add the sprouts and the butter and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned. Recipe from lakeland.co.uk

Buttered Sprouts with Bacon & Walnuts | Lakeland
Check out this recipe
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Potatoes

As always, you will need to go careful with the number of potatoes on your plate as potatoes are carbs. Cook roast potatoes in duck or goose fat to increase the fat content which will slow down the release of sugar into the bloodstream (and makes for great roasties!)

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New potatoes may be more suitable for some and adding a spot of butter on top will make them even more tolerable.

Avoid overdoing the potato accompaniments as it will be carb overload! Choose your favourite type, keep the amount small, pair well with lots of protein and enjoy it.

For hints on how to cook potatoes in goose fat read more here, but avoid coating the potatoes in a dusting of flour or semolina, this is additional carbohydrates that are not necessary.

Croquettes are particularly difficult to tolerate as they are highly processed mashed potatoes covered in breadcrumbs, so these are really best avoided.

With mash potatoes, try adding butter, cream and cheese. Alternatively, you could try mashed cauliflower or mashed celeriac instead, which helps keep the carbs lower than using potatoes but tastes similar.

Cauliflower mash
Thick creamy cauliflower mash, a great low carb substitute for mashed potatoes
Check out this recipe
cauliflower mash
Celeriac mash
This creamy celeriac mash is a wonderful lower carb alternative to mashed potatoes
Check out this recipe
Celeriac mash

Christmas dinner, accompaniments

Pigs in blankets

The key to great pigs in blankets that are suitable for a gestational diabetes diet is ensuring you purchase good, high-quality meat sausages (without extras such as honey or apple). Try your local butcher or supermarket and aim for sausages with over 90% meat content if possible or the nearest you can find. Usually, gluten-free sausages are good for being higher meat content, so this is something to look for

Please note: Not all gluten-free foods are better for blood glucose levels. Unless a gluten-free diet is required for other dietary reasons, many gluten-free foods should be avoided as they can be much higher in carbs. Sausages are an exception to this. Higher meat content sausages are not bulked with as many cereal fillers and are usually the shops best, top range, or luxury sausages.

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IcelandAsdaMorrisonsSainsbury’sWaitroseTescoCo-OpAldi and Lidl all sell top range pigs in blankets for Christmas.

Watch out for ‘sticky pigs in blankets’ as these are coated in sweet sticky things like honey.  James Martin shares how to make your own pigs in blankets here, without any added extras such as honey.

Pigs in blankets | BBC Good Food
Check out this recipe

Halloumi pigless pigs in blankets

Instead of the traditional pigs in blankets, why not try a vegetarian version using halloumi cheese cut into fingers, wrapped in aubergine.

Ingredients: 1 small aubergine, olive or coconut oil, for greasing, 1 pack full-fat halloumi cheese, ½ lemon, zest and juice, handful basil leaves, shredded, pinch crushed chillies (optional: 1 tsp sugar-free syrup or agave nectar)

Recipe: Preheat the oven to 200°c. Remove and discard the top of the aubergine, then cut lengthways into 5mm slices, discarding the end pieces with skin all on one side. Brush the aubergine slices lightly with oil and place on a hot griddle pan for 1-2 mins on each side, until the slices are charred. Add the lemon zest, shredded basil leaves and crushed chillies into a bowl. Slice the halloumi into finger-sized sticks and add to the bowl. Toss gently to coat the halloumi sticks. Wrap each halloumi stick in a slice of aubergine and place on a lined tray, seam-side down. Brush with a little extra oil, season and drizzle over the sugar-free syrup/agave nectar if using. Bake for 10 mins then squeeze over the lemon juice and scatter with a little extra basil.

Halloumi pigs

Stuffing

Stuffing can be tricky to tolerate. This is due to the breadcrumbs and fillers added to many stuffings. Aim to use high meat content sausage meat above 90% meat content, or as near as you can get, like this Tesco Finest one and replace white breadcrumbs with a tolerable bread such as Burgen soya & linseed.

Yorkshire Puddings

Traditional Yorkshire Puddings are made with plain flour which is high in carbs. To reduce the carbs and impact on blood sugar levels, try out my amazing lower-carb Yorkshire Puddings which do not contain flour, therefore making them gluten-free too!

You will need an ingredient which you probably will not have in the cupboard (ground arrowroot, see the link in the recipe) but I PROMISE these Yorkshire’s will not disappoint! Try them out before the big day and I’m sure you’ll be adding these to your normal Sunday roast dinner as well as Christmas dinner.

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

You could have a normal white flour Yorkshire pudding but it would be advisable to cook it yourself using plenty of lard, dripping, or oil in the pan to increase the fat content and treat this as one of your portions of carbs on the plate.

Gravy

Gravy is something that catches many people out when they are new to the GD diet. The majority of gravy granules contain flours and starches as thickening agents and added sugars, which are additional starchy carbs (sugar) poured all over your meal.

The typical gravy made from granules such as Bisto, Bisto Best, Knorr Gravy pot etc. all contain around 2.5g – 3.0g carbs per 50ml serving, so if you love this type of gravy on your dinner, then bear in mind that a 50ml serving (that’s just less than 3 tablespoons of gravy) is just under 1 teaspoon of sugar on your plate!

If you’re looking for pre-made gravies, then look out for fresh gravies and/or ones that have been with real meat juices, without added sugars. Compare the labels and look for the lowest total carbs comparing a few.

The best option for GD friendly gravy is to make gravy from scratch. Jamie Oliver has some great gravy recipes including this one where the gravy is prepared ahead of the day required. Take a look at this recipe, omit the flour and continue to simmer to thicken through evaporation instead to make this lower carb, or use 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum mixed with cold water to thicken.

Doves Farm xanthan gum
Christmas gravy recipe | Jamie Oliver
Make your Christmas gravy in advance with this handy Christmas gravy recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Christmas Cookbook
Jo’s notes: Omit the flour and continue to simmer to thicken through evaporation instead to make this lower carb, or use a very small amount of xanthan gum mixed with cold water to thicken
Check out this recipe

Alternatively, here is my delicious onion gravy recipe

Sausages in Onion Gravy
Delicious sausages in a rich onion gravy, serve with the mash of your choice
Check out this recipe
bangers & mash

If you’re looking for a vegetarian or vegan gravy, then try out my low-carb vegan gravy recipe made with mushrooms and onion.

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

Avoid additional sauces

Unfortunately, sauces such as cranberry and bread sauce contain very high amounts of carbohydrates. If you want to add them to your Christmas dinner you will need to remove another high carb food such as potato to compensate.

Christmas dinner, desserts

Christmas Pudding

I’ve searched and searched, but I’ve struggled to find a Christmas pudding worth sharing with you all. The Christmas puddings which are ‘sugar-free’ still have a lot of carbs including flour, breadcrumbs, fruits, dried fruit, fruit juices and alcohol which I think are still going to be too much of a sugar spike, even when paired with copious amounts of cream and nuts.

If you really want a wee bit of Christmas pudding then you may want to purchase a Jenkins & Hustwit No added sugar Christmas Pudding. These still contain very high carbs but no added sugar and no sweeteners which may upset your tummy. They can be purchased online from multiple retailers for around £6.50

Alternatively, if you would like to try to make your own sugar free pudding, there is Nigella Lawson’s Sugar Free Christmas Pudding recipe shared here and Josceline Dimbleby’s Christmas Pudding recipe shared with Woman & Home magazine here. However please note, these are still high in carbs and will spike blood sugar levels, just not as much as traditional versions.

Christmas Steamed Ginger Pudding (my take on a traditional steamed Christmas pudding but without all the carbs!)

Here is my version of a much lower carb ‘Christmas Pudding’. A lovely warming alternative to traditional Christmas pudding without the heavy carb load. This GD friendly ‘self-paired’ spiced Christmas steamed ginger pudding is the perfect centrepiece for the Christmas dinner table, or for any celebration meal.

Serve with real cream, real custard, or low-carb ice cream.

Christmas steamed ginger pudding
A lovely warming alternative to traditional Christmas pudding without the heavy carb load. This GD friendly 'self-paired' spiced Christmas steamed ginger pudding is the perfect centerpiece for the Christmas dinner table, or for any celebration meal.
Christmas steamed ginger pudding
Custard
Thick creamy vanilla custard – the real stuff made from scratch but without any flour or sugar!
Check out this recipe
Real Custard with no added sugar in a jug
Christmas steamed ginger pudding
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No Added Sugar Angel Delight Santa

If you want to indulge in a big Christmas meal but want a reliable dessert that you know you tolerate well, then why not just put a Christmas spin on something that you feel confident with?

If you’re one of my followers that tolerates No Added Sugar Delight well, then try making a Santa for some fun!

Make your No Added Sugar Angel Delight as normal but pop it in the freezer in a small bowl, glass or mug to help create Santa’s head. When you’re ready, sit the bowl in some warm water to release the delight from the bowl and turn it upside down on a plate. Whip your double cream so that it is fairly stiff and then pipe the beard, nose and hat. Add a sliced strawberry to create the hat and 2 choc drops for the eyes. Voila! Merrrrrry Chrissssssssstmas!

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Trifle

Many say you can’t have Christmas without trifle, so here you go! This is my traditional trifle recipe, made low carb just for you and the rest of the family will enjoy it just as much too!

Trifle
Sugar free jelly with berries, a layer of real custard, topped with cream
Check out this recipe
Trifle
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Angel Delight Trifle

If you do not like custard, then how about trying an Angel Delight Trifle instead?

Angel Delight Trifle
A timeless kids classic made into an adult GD friendly sweet treat. Sugar free jelly layered with no added sugar Angel Delight and whipped cream
Check out this recipe
no added sugar angel delight trifle
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Chocolate Trifle

If chocolate is your preferred taste, then how about my chocolate trifle recipe which can be made with layers from other recipes (some of which are free recipes, others incorporate things like the low carb GD brownies which are a membership recipe)

Chocolate Trifle
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chocolate trifle
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Lotus Biscof Trifle

My newest trifle recipe to the collection is a Biscof trifle which is a GD UK Membership recipe for all Bronze & Silver members.

This Biscof trifle has layers of no added sugar butterscotch angel delight, whipped cream and my GD UK sugar-free caramel. It may look like it’s packed with sugar, but it has no added sugar (other than the 1 lotus biscof biscuit and what is within the no added sugar angel delight), the rest of the ingredients are sugar-free and the dessert is self-pairing meaning it can be enjoyed as it is without worrying about causing high blood glucose levels.

Biscof Trifle
Layers of butterscotch Angel Delight, whipped cream, GD UK sugar free caramel, OPPO ice cream and Lotus Biscof
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Lotus Biscof Trifle
Lotus Biscof Trifles

Tiramisu

How about a low-carb Tiramisu made with my homemade, low-carb savoiardi (ladyfinger) biscuits. Another GD UK membership recipe that makes a fabulous centrepiece for all to enjoy. They won’t know that there is no sugar in this dessert and you won’t need to worry about your blood glucose levels as the dessert is self-paired.

This dessert needs to be made in advance, so reserve plenty of time for creating this one!

Tiramisu
A decadent Italian dessert. Layers of low carb sweet coffee soaked sponge biscuits, thick mascarpone cheese filling and topped with rich cocoa
Check out this recipe
low carb tiramisu
Ladyfingers (savoiardi)
Ladyfingers, sponge fingers, savoiardi, or boudoirs are a light crisp biscuit with a soft centre. Perfect for eating with a cuppa, or using in trifles & Tiramisu
Check out this recipe
low carb ladyfingers

Mint Choc Cheesecake

New for 2021, one for all those chocolate mint lovers, here is my Mint Choc Cheesecake. Based on one of the most popular GD UK recipes, but with a fresh minty twist! Make these as individual portions, or a large centrepiece that everyone can enjoy.

Mint Choc Cheesecake
Refreshing minty choc cheesecake. Dark choc and mint buttery biscuit base, with a rich creamy mint choc cheesecake filling
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mint choc cheesecake
mint choc cheesecake

Profiteroles

Profiteroles are a favourite of many, but if you would like to make a low-carb, no added sugar version, then check out this free GD UK recipe.

These profiteroles will not puff up like normal choux pastry balls, but once sliced and filled, these flat alternatives taste great!

Profiteroles
Light pastry filled with cream and topped with chocolate, low carb profiteroles
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low carb profiteroles

Christmas Yule Log

If you are missing that wonderfully rich chocolatey Christmas yule log, then it’s time to get baking and make your own low-carb version. This GD UK membership recipe does take a little time and patience but it is just as good as a full sugar version!

Yule Log
Rich chocolate cake, filled with chocolate whipped cream and smothered in decadent chocolate ganache
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Christmas yule log
Low carb yule log
Christmas yule log

Gestational Diabetes UK dessert recipes

I have TONS of recipes that are perfect to have as part of your Christmas Day food. There’s simply too many to list and share on here. There are lots of free recipes such as cheesecakes, profiteroles, cream meringues and lemon meringue etc. but there are even more such as my steamed sponge puddings, the low carb brownies, chocolate lava cakes, millionaire’s shortbread & my yule log to name but a few, in the optional GD UK Membership which pays for the upkeep of this website and my work involved.

To find the recipes, please head over to the recipe index where you can filter the results by courses, cuisines, nut and allergen content and free or membership recipes.

Christmas cheese board

A great alternative to a dessert is a wide selection of pasteurised cheeses on some oatcakes. Why not try Nairn’s Organic Super-Seeded Oatcakes.

You can display your cheese simply on a board or plate, but why not make your cheese course the centrepiece at the end of the Christmas meal?

If you are unsure which cheeses are safe to eat during pregnancy, then this infographic should help. Info. taken from the NHS website, Dec 2021.

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Use olives instead of sugar bullets (grapes or dried fruits) for decoration and create a beautiful rosemary wreath for your cheese to sit on.

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Have some fun, try a Cheesy Christmas Snowman that kids will adore!

Cheese Snowman
Cheese Snowman – a fun cheese dip | Gestational Diabetes UK
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cheese snowman dip

Mushroom Pâté

If you’re craving pâté in pregnancy then this homemade mushroom pâté makes for both pregnancy and GD friendly alternative. Served with brown sandwich thins lightly toasted to make crisp cracker bread, or any whole-grain crackers, or Scottish oatcakes. Find the recipe here.

Mushroom pâté | River Cottage
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GD UK Golden Rule No 8 – Go for a Christmas day stroll, or boogie around the house!

Christmas dinner is typically a very big meal and so the best thing you can do afterwards, is wrap up warm and walk off some of those carbs.

Exercise has an insulin-like effect on the body and a 30 min walk after your dinner will help tremendously. So wrap up warm, rope the whole family in, grab the dog and enjoy a lovely Christmas day walk together.

Or why not have a good boogie to help process all that food?

If you’re struggling with SPD/PGP (Pelvic girdle pain), then any movement will help. Clearing the dinner table and helping wash or dry dishes. Or if that’s too much then try bouncing on a birth ball for a while to help get you moving gently.

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Christmas day Supper

Eating all this food in one day is going to be challenging, but it’s still important to eat little and often. Steer clear of the turkey sandwiches and go for a lighter salad supper.

BLT salad bowl

Why not add leftover Christmas day meat to this lovely looking BLT salad shared by The Londoner, then have a low carb mince pie or a couple of chocolates with nuts for your carbs.

BLT Bowl |The Londoner
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Pear Stilton and Walnut salad

The perfect Christmas day supper which is light, fresh and low-carb! A delicious seasonal salad of pear, blue stilton and walnuts on a bed of rocket, watercress and pea shoots, with a simple sweet dressing. Quick, easy and super delish! If you aren’t a fan of blue cheese, then swap this for feta instead!

Pear Stilton & Walnut Salad
Pear Stilton & Walnut Salad | Gestational Diabetes UK
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pear-stilton-walnut-salad

Chicory, clementine and nut salad (vegan)

A wonderfully fresh and zingy seasonal salad, just what you need at the end of a Christmas day packed with filling foods.

Chicory clementine & nut salad
Chicory clementine & nut salad | Gestational Diabetes UK
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chicory clementine and nut salad

Festive drinks

With all the food being passed around at Christmas, your best choice is always going to be water. Drinking plenty of water will help flush the sugar through and will help keep levels lower and stabilised. Don’t forget that carbonated water with ice and a slice of lemon or lime can be a nice refreshing alternative.

Golden rule No7 Drink Plenty & Stay Hydrated

That said, as long as you drink plenty throughout the day, there’s no reason you couldn’t enjoy something a wee bit more festive to drink too!

I do not advocate drinking alcohol in pregnancy. If any ladies decide to drink alcohol, please note that alcohol will also have an impact on your blood sugar levels.

Mock Mulled Wine

Did you know Ribena and Vimto both make no added sugar diluting squash which has all the taste of mulled wine, but without the wine?! Yes, Ribena and Vimto! This is a nice little change from normal blackcurrant and Vimto flavours which has a wonderful Christmassy taste with no added sugar. The key to this is making it with HOT WATER and then you can also add some slices of orange and cinnamon sticks too, if you want the extra authentic look and to add even more flavour. Have a warm glass as a GD friendly, low carb Mock Mulled Wine and don’t feel like your missing out!

Mock Mulled Wine
Mock Mulled Wine (alcohol free and no added sugar) | Gestational Diabetes UK
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mock mulled wine
mock mulled wine

Gingerbread Latte

Perfect for something warm and costs just pennies to make compared to coffee shop alternatives, try out my gingerbread latte!

Gingerbread Latte
Warm gently spiced gingerbread latte topped with cream. You don't need to go to a coffee shop to enjoy one of these!
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Sugar Free Gingerbread Latte

Peppermint Hot Chocolate (low carb and dairy free)

If you fancy something a bit ‘After Eight’ and cannot tolerate dairy, try out this recipe from Karen Sorenson at Holistically Engineered.

Peppermint Hot Chocolate (Dairy Free) | Holistically Engineered
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Strawberry Basil Italian Lemonade

A refreshing cold fizzy drink to try that may brighten your Christmas day! If you tolerate the odd strawberry fine, then try out this recipe. This would also look the part in a champagne glass, so you feel like you’ve not missed out on a special drink!

Strawberry Basil Italian Lemonade | Healthful Pursuit
Check out this recipe

Non alcoholic store bought drinks

If you would prefer an actual non-alcoholic version of wine or beer then my advice would be to steer clear of non-alcoholic wines as even sugar-free ones are still packed with lots of natural sugars.

One of the biggest problems with non-alcoholic drinks is that they tend to be very high in carbs and drinking liquid sugar is going to cause many problems for anyone with any type of insulin resistance.

Watch out for non-alcoholic wines, spritzers, beers, ciders, cocktails and fruit juices. Unfortunately, you will need to pay very close attention to labels when it comes to selecting your drinks. Ideally, you want to select drinks that have zero carbs per 100ml.

The lowest non-alcoholic beer I have found which is widely available is Becks Blue which has just under 9g of carbs per bottle. That’s just over 2 tsp of sugar per bottle to put it into perspective.

Seedlip spirits

Seedlip spirits are a range of non-alcoholic spirits which are also sugar and sweetener free. This means that they are a range of drinks that are suitable for gestational diabetes!

Make your drink look the part!

Lots of ladies will enjoy sparkling flavoured waters and spritz in wine glasses/champagne flutes so that the drink still feels special and it doesn’t look so boring compared to others drinking bubbles around them. Marks & Spencer have a great range of sugar-free flavoured non-alcoholic drinks that are popular with many of my members.

Christmas day evening nibbles

Stick to the things you know work well: nuts, cheese, cooked meats, oatcakes, hummus, sour cream chive dip, vegetable sticks, celery filled with cream cheese, real potato crisps, popcorn, granny smith apple and peanut butter, high meat content sausages or pigs in blankets leftover from dinner, scotch eggs, deviled eggs, olives, seeds etc. Cured meats such as salamis and parma ham can be safely eaten if frozen for 4 days and defrosted before consumption.

Valentine's Day platter
Cheese, meat, olives, crackers and vegetable platter with cooked camembert & halloumi

Boxing Day leftovers

Things to do with leftovers:

  1. Turkey curry
  2. Turkey and Mushroom Filo Pie
  3. Thai Turkey curry (see James Martin’s recipe) The Mae Ploy Green Thai curry paste works well
  4. Turkey with bacon, peas and cream
  5. Cream of turkey soup
  6. Spiced ham hash (serve with salad instead of toast)
  7. Traditional Scottish Stovies
  8. Bubble and Squeak – great for all those leftover veggies and superb served with slices of cold meat, bacon and or egg. Check out this recipe from Heston Blumenthal below which he serves with a lovely creamy sauce and a poached egg

Gestational diabetes Christmas downer

Having gestational diabetes over Christmas can really affect some women as they feel deprived of the best bits of Christmas and the things they enjoy most. Share my 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 Christmas.

Try not to focus on all the temptations and things ‘you can’t have’ as the main focus of Christmas. Christmas isn’t just about food, it’s about spending time with those that matter to you most, celebrating and having fun. You can still enjoy a wonderful Christmas 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 Christmas and there will be many more to enjoy with your new sugar baby.

Christmas can be a busy time, but try not to overdo it! Put your feet up when you can

For help with party food and nibbles…

My Gestational diabetes party food post has tons of party food ideas and recipe links so that you can make the most out of your gestational diabetes Christmas and New Year parties and enjoy some scrummy low carb food!