Gestational diabetes Christmas
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.
We have you covered so you can still have an absolutely AWESOME Christmas! So don’t let the diagnosis of GD get you down!!
Gestational diabetes Christmas, to take the ‘day off’ or not?
Many medical professionals will say, have a day off your ‘diet’ for Christmas, have a treat, or a day off testing. 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?
Based on what we’ve seen in our Facebook support group over the years, these are the possible reasons why: –
- They don’t feel a day of high readings will 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
- They don’t want people to feel restricted or deprived as this can lead to people completely falling apart both physically by binging on foods and mentally
- Some may think that we simply can’t get through Christmas any other way
- If on insulin, some professionals may advise to increase insulin doses so that blood sugar levels remain lowered despite the increased carb load much like a Type 1 diabetic would, therefore any impacts on baby are controlled and managed
- 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
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, meaning they will have to drink more to help process that sugar and will have to increase their own insulin production.
You may also feel rotten with rollercoaster blood glucose levels. Symptoms of this can include feeling shaky, weak, tired, moody, irritable, thirsty, nauseous, a headache and a racing heart.
I must point out, that one high spike does not necessarily lead to complications in a diabetic pregnancy, however many women would prefer not to cause unnecessary high levels for many reasons.
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.
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 it 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?
Lastly, in many cases we see ladies who have chosen to take the day off, or to treat themselves post in the 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?
So you have a choice to make:
- Forget about gestational diabetes for the day, enjoy Christmas as normal but suffer any related consequences OR
- 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
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.
Those wanting to stay on track, let’s get started! Here is your gestational diabetes Christmas survival guide!
Christmas treats!… Choccies!
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 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 our dedicated chocolate page.
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 been 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. 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 😉
These traditional favourite 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 you problems for blood glucose levels. Dried fruit are like sugar bullets and so for many mince pies are something that will just need to be completely avoided (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!
Low carb, sugar free Gingerbread men
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.
It’s just another day!
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 lemon juice, freshly ground black pepper and salt
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 a 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. 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.
Gordon’s eggs Benedict
Have a change from the norm with some scrumptious eggs benedict. Gordon Ramsey’s recipe looks scrumptious for a special Christmas breakfast treat.
Swap the white English muffins for a GD friendly alternative and enjoy these with or without 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!
Almond and Flaxseed Pancakes (can also be made vegan)
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!
Ingredients: 330g ground almonds or almond flour, 1 tbsp ground flaxseed, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp baking soda, 3 large eggs (use flax eggs for vegan alternative), 180ml unsweetened almond milk, light coconut milk, or whole milk, 2 tbsp extra-light olive oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, or butter, melted.
Recipe: Combine the almond meal, flaxseed, salt, and baking soda. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the milk and oil or butter and whisk thoroughly. Gradually whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Add more milk as necessary, one tablespoon at a time, to reach pancake-batter consistency. Lightly oil a frying pan and heat over medium heat. Pour 4 tbsp of batter onto the pan. Cook for three minutes, or until bubbles form and edges are cooked. Flip and cook for three minutes or until underside is lightly browned. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with full fat Greek or soya yogurt, berries, nuts and seeds. Or for an American style treat, try serving with rashers of streaky bacon, drizzled with agave nectar! Recipe from Popsugar
Festive Spiced Orange Pistachio Pancakes
Want to give your low carb pancakes a bit of a festive flavour on Christmas morning, then how about these Festive Spiced Orange Pistachio Pancakes from thefoodbible.com
Why not use clementime instead of orange and Total Sweet xylitol should work as a suitable sweetener that is widely available.
If you already have a favourite low carb pancake, then why not just add the spice and orange flavours, plus the garnishes to make them extra special for Christmas morning?
The main event! Gestational diabetes Christmas dinner
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!
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 natural fats.
The recipe can be tweaked further to use full fat mayonnaise and fromage frais and reduced sugar tomato ketchup or even tomato purée instead. It would be a good idea to leave out the brandy, not only for pregnancy but also because of the effect alcohol has on blood sugar levels. Take a look at the recipe by Angela Nilsen on the BBC Good Food website
Baking a mold-ripened cheese like camembert, means that it can be safely be eaten by pregnant women. This means that a baked camembert can make for a great starter which is suitable for a GD diet and perfect for blood glucose levels.
Try baking a whole camembert for 15 minutes in a 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 too. Once baked, score the top to peel back the rind to expose the lovely runny centre and use low carb vegetables for dipping, 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 a butternut squash in half length ways 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 S&P. 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 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.
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 which pack 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 out 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. Recipe shared on Waitrose.com
Main meal – Christmas DINNER!
The usual traditional roast dinner served is a very suitable meal for gestational diabetes and should be one that you can enjoy without too many tweaks.
Meat or Fish
High protein as always will be your best friend. Help yourself to plenty of the following:
New for Christmas 2020 – Glazed Ham
New for Christmas 2020, here is my slow cooked glazed ham. This ham is cooked low and slow in diet cherry cola to keep the meat succulent. It is then scored and covered in a sugar free glaze which gives it the perfect sweet crust.
This ham is perfect for serving hot on Christmas day and even better sliced cold for salads and sandwiches afterwards. Check out my new Glazed Ham recipe here.
Gestational diabetes Christmas vegetarian and vegan alternatives
Spiced cauliflower roast
With Middle Eastern spices and herbs, this warming spiced cauliflower roast would make for a great vegetarian centre piece for the Christmas 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
Vegetarian nut loaf
Makes one 900g loaf tin or 2x 450g loaf tins. If using smaller loaf tin you may need to reduce cooking time to 30 mins. Cooking time for 900g loaf tin is 45mins. Preparation time 20 mins. 900g size serves 8. Per serving: approx 4.5g carbs, 35g fat (9.8g saturated) 393 calories.
Ingredients: 100g pecan nuts, 100g Brazil nuts, 60g almonds, blanched, 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, 25g unsalted butter
5 shallots, peeled and finely chopped, 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped, 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (vegetarian ones are available in health food stores), 1 tsp white wine or apple cider vinegar, ½ tsp English mustard powder, 3 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, 1 tbsp fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped, 3 large eggs, beaten, 150g Red Leicester or strong Cheddar cheese, 400g tin chopped tomatoes, drained.
Recipe: Gently toast nuts and pumpkin seeds in a dry frying pan, over medium heat, stirring gently until golden. Allow to cool, then pulse nuts in a food processor until finely chopped. Do not let the nuts turn into a powder. Melt the butter in a small frying pan and sweat the shallots and garlic for 5 mins or until soft. Preheat the oven to 180°c (160°c fan) 350°F. Grease the loaf tin(s), line the base with baking parchment, then grease again. In a large bowl, mix the nuts, shallots & garlic, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, beaten eggs, sage, parsley, mustard powder and tomatoes. Season with freshly ground salt and pepper. Mix well. Scoop mixture into prepared tin(s) and bake for 45mins (900g tin) possibly only 30 mins for 450g tins or until firm and golden. Leave to cool slightly, then turn out on serving plate and peel away baking parchment. Recipe shared on diabetes.co.uk community forum
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 centerpiece for the table. This sumptuous vegan Christmas main is shared by Jamie Oliver
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.
Following our 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
As always, you will need to go careful with the amount 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!)
New potatoes may be more suitable for some and adding a spot of butter on top will make them even more tolerable.
Croquettes are particularly difficult to tolerate as they are highly processed mashed potato covered in breadcrumbs, so these are really best avoided.
With mash potato, 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.
Avoid overdoing the potato accompaniments as it will be carb overload! Choose your favourite type 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.
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: we don’t normally recommend choosing gluten free foods unless they are needed for other dietary reasons as gluten free foods tend to 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.
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
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.
Ingredients: 100g wholemeal spelt flour, sieved, 2 eggs, 150 ml milk, 1 pinch fine sea salt, coconut oil or olive oil
Recipe: Preheat the oven to 220°c and place ¼ tsp of coconut oil into each bottom of a 12 hole muffin tin baking tray. Once the oven is hot, place the muffin tray into the oven to heat the oil for 5 minutes until hot! Whilst the oil gets hot, whisk the eggs into the flour and salt and then slowly add the milk. Whisk hard to remove any lumps. Once the oil is hot, remove the tray from the oven and fill each hole ¼ full with the batter. Place the tray back into the oven and cook for 10 minutes until golden brown and crisp. Recipe from Charlie on the Kitchen Shed
You may want to add some rosemary to the batter mixture as the taste of spelt or wholemeal flour can taste slightly different to what white flour does.
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.
The majority of gravy granules contain flours and starches as thickening agents and added sugars, which are additional carbs 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 which have been with real meat juices, without added sugars. Compare the labels and look for the 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, you could omit the flour and continue to simmer to thicken through evaporation instead to make this lower carb, or use a very small amount of corn flour or xanthan gum mixed with cold water to thicken.
There is also this recipe which shows how to make gravy without flour from thespruce.com
Avoid additional sauces
- Cranberry sauce
- Bread sauce
Unfortunately these sauces contain 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.
Gestational diabetes Christmas Dessert
I’ve searched and searched, but I’ve struggled finding 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 additional 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.
New for 2020 – Christmas Steamed Ginger Pudding (my take on a traditional steamed Christmas pudding but without all the carbs!)
- 200 grams ground almonds
- 3 tbsp coconut flour
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 3 tbsp xylitol or erythritol sweetener
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 115 grams unsalted butter plus extra for greasing (room temp)
- 5 medium eggs
- 150 ml whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 medium lemon (zest only)
- 1 large orange (juice & zest)
- 2 cm fresh ginger peeled & finely grated
- 2 tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- 2 tbsp sugar free syrup (optional)
- Grease the pudding bowl with plenty of softened butter
- Line the top of a pudding bowl with a small piece of baking parchment paper and then grease with butter
- Add the softened butter and sweetener to a bowl and mix well until combined
- Beat in the eggs one at a time (do not worry if the batter separates, it will be come together fine)
- Mix in the milk, vanilla extract and juice from one orange
- Add in the ground almonds, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, the zest of a lemon & orange, fresh ginger and spices
- Mix really well until fully combined
- Pour the cake batter into the pudding bowl and smooth the top
To steam the pudding in a slow cooker or saucepan
- Cover the pudding with greased baking parchment paper, tin foil and tie on top with string (make sure you fold a vent in the middle so that it can rise) and create a handle for lifting the cooked pudding out of the slow cooker/saucepan
- Place a small saucer upside down in the base of the slow cooker or deep saucepan (the slow cooker/saucepan needs to be big enough for the pudding bowl to sit inside with the lid on top)
- Place the wrapped pudding inside the slow cooker or saucepan on the up-turned saucer, then fill with hot water to halfway up the pudding dish and cover with the lid
- Cook on high in the slow cooker or simmering on the hob for approx. 4 hoursPLEASE NOTE: It is important to keep an eye on the water level and top up with hot water as necessary to keep the level up to halfwayAfter 4 hours test the pudding by inserting a cake tester or cocktail stick through the cover into the middle of the pudding. If it comes out clean then the sponge is cooked. If it comes out with batter sticking then continue to cook until done
- Alternatively you can steam this pudding in the microwave but instead of covering the pudding with buttered baking parchment paper & foil, *DO NOT PUT FOIL IN YOUR MICROWAVE!* cover with just buttered baking parchment, ensuring to fold to create a vent for the pudding to rise and use a large piece of kitchen roll to cover over the top, tucking the edges under the bottom of the bowl at both sides
- Place in microwave on high for approx. 5 – 7 minutes for a large pudding, or 1 – 2 minutes for small individual sized puddingsPLEASE NOTE: Microwaves vary in power and how well they cook the puddings and so it is hard to get the timing right. Please cook for a half the amount of time, stop, check with a cake tester or cocktail stick and continue to cook as needed
- Carefully lift the pudding out using the string handle, unwrap and run a knife around the edges to loosen the sponge. Place a plate over the pudding bowl and carefully but quickly turn over (be careful as the pudding bowl will be very hot, so a tea towel around the pudding bowl edges will help!)
- Lift the bowl to release the pudding, remove the baking parchment from the top of the sponge if it is attached. Drizzle with a sugar free syrup if desired as shown in this pic (and topped with a sprig of holly for that Christmas pudding look)
- Slice and serve with real custard, or real cream (single, double, whipped, or clotted) to help the pair the sponge even more (helping to make it even more well tolerated). Or serve a low carb ice cream! This pudding is at it's best served warm, so make sure you serve straight away, or cover and reheat as desired. The pudding in this image is drizzled with sugar free syrup and topped with clotted cream, a cinnamon stick and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon
For the best outcomes with this recipe it is best to use the ingredients recommended and in the quantities stated.
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 our ladies 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 eyes. Voila! Merrrrrry Chrissssssssstmas!
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 ladies.
Or if custard is not your thing, then how about Angel Delight Trifle?
I also have a 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) and my newest trifle recipe, Biscof trifle which is a new GD UK Membership recipe for 2020.
Gestational Diabetes UK dessert recipes
I have TONS of recipes which are perfect to have as part of your Christmas Day food. There’s simply too many to list and share on here. There’s lots of free recipes such as cheesecakes, profiteroles, meringues and lemon meringue etc. but there are even more such as my new steamed puddings, the low carb brownies, chocolate lava cakes, millionaire’s shortbread & my new 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 content and free or membership recipes.
A great alternative to a dessert is a wide selection of pasteurised cheeses on some oat cakes. Why not try the 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 centerpiece 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 2020.
Use olives instead of sugar bullets (grapes) for decoration and create a beautiful rosemary wreath for your cheese to sit on.
It really doesn’t have to just be lumps of cheese sat on a plate!Or try a Cheesey Christmas Snowman that the kids will adore?
If you’re craving pâté in pregnancy then this home made mushroom pâté makes for both a pregnancy and GD friendly alternative.
Served with brown sandwich thins lightly toasted to make crisp cracker bread, or any wholegrain crackers, or Scottish oatcakes. Find the recipe here.
Go for a Christmas day stroll
It’s been 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. Take the family and the dog and enjoy a lovely walk together.
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.
Gestational diabetes Christmas Supper
BLT salad bowl
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. 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.
Goats cheese and walnut salad
No doubt you’ll have plenty of cheese and nuts around the house, so why not create a light tasty supper salad (also suitable for our vegetarians) in this lovely warm goats cheese and walnut salad. Omit the pear if you can’t tolerate them.
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 slice of lemon or lime can be a nice refreshing alternative. 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!
We 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.
Winter Spice Ribena
Yes Ribena! But this is a nice little change from normal blackcurrant which has a wonderful Christmassy taste with no added sugar. Have a warm glass as a GD friendly, low carb alternative for mulled wine!
Hot Chocolate Orange
If you can’t get through Christmas without a chocolate orange fix, then this recipe from Low-Carb, So Simple is definitely worth a try!
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.
Perfect for something warm and costs just pennies to make compared to coffee shop alternatives, try out my gingerbread latte…
- 1 mug whole milk (or non dairy milk eg. almond, or coconut milk)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon plus extra for dusting on top
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
- xylitol or erythritol sweetener optional
- cream optional
- Measure a mug of milk and pour into a saucepan (*or if in a hurry, microwave in the mug). Heat until just bubbling *if making in a mug in the microwave, use less than a mugful of milk, leaving room for the milk to rise when heating or you will end up with milk spilling everywhere!
- Add spices and vanilla into the milk and stir well
- Pour hot gingerbread milk into a mug and add coffee of choice (e.g. a shot of espresso, a good glug of strong filtered coffee, or instant coffee granules) and stir. Add sweetener if desired
- Top with Anchor Extra Thick squirty cream, whipped double cream or a glug of single or double pouring cream. Dust with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon
Cranberry lime spritzer
Any mocktails or drinks that use fruit juices are going to be slightly more risky, so if you try this, try to use a no added sugar cranberry juice like Ocean Spray Cranberry Light which has only 1.5g total carbs per 100ml, or a shops own brand no added sugar cranberry juice.
You can find the recipe at Sugar-Free Mom.
Strawberry Basil Italian Lemonade
Here’s another refreshing cold fizz 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 a like you’ve not missed out on a special drink.
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 our members.
Non alcoholic store bought drinks
If you would prefer an actual non alcoholic version of wine or beer than my advice would be to steer clear of non alcoholic wines as even sugar free ones are still packed with lots of natural sugars. 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.
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 which have zero carbs per 100ml.
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!
There are 3 spirits currently available:
- GROVE 42 “A zesty & complex, citrus-forward blend of three types of orange & uplifting spice distillates. Simply serve with tonic & a twist of orange peel. Orange & Mandarin peel & pith top notes, with juicy Blood Orange undertones open up to a stalky, grassy character. Clean, fresh notes of Ginger & Lemongrass with a dry finish from a subtle Peppercorn prickle.”
- SPICE 94 “A complex blend of aromatic Jamaican Allspice berry & Cardamom distillates with two barks & a bright citrus finish. Simply serve with tonic & a red grapefruit peel garnish. Seedlip Spice 94 is aromatic with warm spiced notes, citrussy top notes from Lemon & Grapefruit peel and a long bitter finish from the highest quality barks (Oak & Cascarilla).”
- GARDEN 108 “A floral blend of hand-picked Peas & homegrown Hay from founder Ben Branson’s Farm, with traditional garden herb distillates in celebration of the English countryside. Simply serve with tonic & a sugar snap pea to garnish. The fresh & floral Seedlip Garden 108 captures the essence of the English countryside. Sophisticated top notes of hand-picked Peas & Hay and a complex herbal base character of Spearmint, Rosemary & Thyme.”
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 and peanut butter, high meat content sausages or pigs in blankets left over from dinner, scotch eggs, devilled eggs, olives, seeds etc.
Boxing Day leftovers
Things to do with left overs:
- Turkey curry
- Turkey and Mushroom Filo Pie
- Thai Turkey curry (see James Martin’s recipe) The Mae Ploy Green Thai curry paste works well
- Turkey with bacon, peas and cream
- Cream of turkey soup
- Spiced ham hash (serve with salad instead of toast)
- Traditional Scottish Stovies
- 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 effect some women as they feel deprived of the best bits of Christmas 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 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 over do it! Put your feet up when you can xx
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.
For more ideas on what to eat with gestational diabetes, take a look at our membership options here.