Valentine’s Day ♥

Happy Valentine’s Day!

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you may be left wondering what you are going to eat on special days such as Valentine’s Day.

I thought it would be nice to share some ideas and inspiration so that you and your loved one can share a lovely meal, without worrying about blood sugar levels spiking through the roof.

What better way to find out what are the most popular meals to eat on Valentine’s Day than to ask thousands of ladies in our GD Off Topic Chat Facebook Group. Thank you as always for your input ladies!

Valentine's Day with gestational diabetes

Have some Valentine’s Day food fun!

Love heart shaped food! ♥

Well we do eat with our eyes so they say, so why not put some love on your plate with these heart shaped bacon and egg ideas?!

 

I picked a small heart-shaped frying pan in Tesco so that I could make heart-shaped eggs or pancakes and I found lots of other bits and bobs in other stores such as Valentine’s Day egg cups and a heart stencil for stencilling on top of hot drinks. Tacky, yes but why not have a bit of fun?!

Tesco Heart shaped pan

Valentine’s Day sharing platter

A sharing platter can be perfect on a GD diet (just steer clear of lots of bread or crackers) and can be very romantic and fun!

Valentine's Day platter

On my platter, I have chopped carrots, celery, red pepper, asparagus, black olives, mozzarella pearls, baked Camembert with rosemary & garlic, goats cheese stuffed peppers, raspberries, multi-seed cracker thins, fried halloumi cheese hearts and a selection of salamis.

Wait! Camembert soft mould-ripened cheese and salamis, can we eat these in pregnancy? Well, the answer is yes! The current NHS advice states

Thorough cooking should kill any bacteria in cheese, so it should be safe to eat cooked mould-ripened soft cheese, such as brie, camembert and chèvre, and cooked soft blue cheese, such as roquefort or gorgonzola, or dishes that contain them. It’s important to make sure the cheese is thoroughly cooked until it’s steaming hot all the way through. 

NHS, Foods to avoid in pregnancy, accessed 13/02/2020

Many cold meats, such as salami, prosciutto, chorizo and pepperoni, are not cooked, they’re just cured and fermented. This means there’s a risk they contain toxoplasmosis-causing parasites. It’s best to check the instructions on the pack to see whether the product is ready to eat or needs cooking first. For ready-to-eat meats, you can reduce any risk from parasites by freezing cured or fermented meats for 4 days at home before you eat them. Freezing kills most parasites and makes the meat safer to eat. If you’re planning to cook the meat – for instance, pepperoni on pizza – you don’t need to freeze it first.

NHS, Foods to avoid in pregnancy, accessed 13/02/2020

Valentine’s Day meal ideas ♥

When asking the ladies in our GD Off Topic Facebook group what their favourite Valentine’s Day meals were, there were 2 things that were mentioned by a majority; steak (beef or venison) and a chocolate pudding/dessert of some sort. Therefore, following what a majority like, here’s a few ideas to try, along with some vegetarian ideas too

Steak

Steak is packed with so many nutrients and minerals. It is a major source of the B-complex vitamins: thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and B12. It also contains zinc, huge amounts of protein and is one of the richest sources of dietary iron. Meat iron is mostly in the heme form, which is absorbed very efficiently, therefore perfect for anyone suffering from anaemia in their pregnancy. Beef contains good natural fats, mainly saturated and monounsaturated fat, but also polyunsaturated fats like omega 3 and 6. The other huge benefit is that it has ZERO carbs. All this makes beef one of the best ‘pairing tools‘ for us to eat.

Steak in Peppercorn Sauce
Steak in a tangy rich thick peppercorn sauce
Check out this recipe
Steak in Peppercorn Sauce

Grass fed beef

Grass fed beef comes at a cost, but if you’re in a position to be able to buy it, then it can be extremely beneficial to you (and baby!)

To find grass-fed beef in the UK, look out for the Pasture For Life certificate and check out the pastureforlife.org website

pasture for life cert

Venison steak

If you like beef steak and have not tried venison, then give it a go! Beautifully rich in flavour just like beef, but much leaner, it can make for a wonderful treat. Just like beef it also packs a huge nutritional punch, but with slightly more protein and less fat.

how to cook venison

If you’re unsure how to cook venison then take a look at this video from Val Warner

You can find venison steaks in most supermarkets and local farm shops or farmers markets. I bought 2 Scottish venison steaks from Aldi’s Specially Selected for you range this week which were better than beef fillet steak.

Sweet Potato Sides

Sweet potato is a carbohydrate, but many find that it can be better tolerated than white or red potatoes due to the higher fibre content.

If you do manage potato which is paired well with reasonably good blood sugar levels, then sweet potato accompaniments may make a change from the same old boring spud!

Sweet Potato Dauphinoise
Sweet, yet deliciously cheesy and creamy this sweet potato dauphinoise makes for a perfect accompaniment to a meal
Check out this recipe
Sweet Potato Wedges
Basic sweet potato wedges with a mild smoky flavour. Great as a side dish served with plenty of protein!
Check out this recipe
sweet potato wedges in a green bowl

Watch out for sweet potato fries or wedges which may be coated in breadcrumbs or flours, this simply increases the carbs and will cause higher blood sugar level spikes

If you know you don’t tolerate potatoes too well, then stick to complex carbs that you know you get better blood sugar levels with, or why not try out my celeriac dauphinoise instead?

Celeriac Dauphinoise
Celeriac Dauphinoise | Gestational Diabetes UK
Check out this recipe
celeriac-dauphinoise

Curry

The next most popular item for a Valentine’s Day meal according to our members was a curry. So below is a couple of ideas for some curries which can also be GD friendly and suitable for vegetarians and vegans with a couple of tweaks.

Vegetarian and vegan curries can be packed with beans and pulses. Things like beans, chickpeas and lentils are a good source of plant protein, but they can still be too carb-heavy and cannot be relied on as the ‘pairing tool’ in the meal. When eaten alongside more carbs such as rice and bread, this can cause quite a high carb meal which results in high blood sugar levels.

Adding ghee, cream, full fat natural or Greek yoghurt, coconut cream, paneer, tofu, Quorn, nuts and seeds which are all either high in natural fats and/or protein will help slow down the release of glucose from any beans and pulses.

Gestational Diabetes UK Free Recipes

Chicken Tikka Masala
This Chicken Tikka Masala is rich, creamy and tangy. You can make it as mild or as spicy as you like. A real crowd pleaser!
Check out this recipe
Chicken Tikka Masala
Chinese Chicken Curry
Chinese chicken curry just like from your local takeaway. Simple, tasty and so quick to make, this one is a firm family favourite
Check out this recipe
Chinese Chicken Curry
Prawn and Coconut Curry
A really quick and simple spicy prawn and coconut curry
Check out this recipe
Keema Pie
This vegan keema pie is an Indian-spiced plant based take on traditional shepherds pie. A warm and spicy mince keema, topped with a turmeric infused creamy coconut sweet potato mash
Check out this recipe
Vegan Keema Pie

Gestational Diabetes UK Membership Recipes

Korma
Mild and creamy korma made from scratch, a family favourite
Check out this recipe
chicken korma
Chicken Jalfrezi
A popular takeaway dish, why not try making this fakeaway chicken jalfrezi at home instead
Check out this recipe
chicken jalfrezi
Vegetable Jalfrezi
A medium spicy jalfrezi packed with flavour and lots of veggies
Check out this recipe
Vegetable Jalfrezi
Chicken Satay
Succulent pieces of chicken with a crisp peanut coating, served with a delicious sugar-free satay dipping sauce
Check out this recipe
Chicken Satay
Cauliflower Satay
Bitesize chunks of cauliflower served in a delicious sugar-free satay sauce
Check out this recipe
cauliflower satay

Rice and other accompaniments

Remember when serving curries that the accompaniments tend to be high in carbohydrates. Try to stick to one small portion (3-4 tbsp) of basmati or wholegrain rice, or one wholemeal chapatti or roti.

Cauliflower or broccoli rice can be a tasty accompaniment that has very few carbs compared to real rice. You could try my Special Fried Cauliflower Rice, or why not try out this spiced cauliflower pilau from The Hairy Bikers

Special Fried Cauliflower Rice
Special Fried Cauliflower Rice or Egg Fried Cauliflower Rice a great low carb fakeaway side dish that can be adapted to suit your dietary preferences
Check out this recipe
Chinese Special Fried Cauliflower Rice

 

Chocolate Puddings

So one thing was definite, chocolate puddings/desserts seemed to be loved the most for Valentine’s Day meals.

Here’s a selection of chocolatey puds that won’t spike blood glucose as long as you stick to the ingredients recommended and serving size!

Chocolate cheesecake

This recipe is low carb and gluten-free. It was based on my original Lemon Cheesecake recipe, but I decided to make a gluten-free chocolate version for all those chocolate lovers!

Chocolate cheesecake
Chocolate no-bake cheesecake
Check out this recipe
chocolate cheesecake

Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake

Don’t worry if you follow a plant-based diet or cannot eat dairy because I have a delicious Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake that won’t spike blood glucose levels either!

Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake
Nutty biscuit base, creamy chocolate filling, topped with you guessed it, more chocolate! Low-Carb Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake
Check out this recipe
Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake

Cocolate Velvet

Low carb, sugar-free, gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free and vegan and STILL GD friendly!

Chocolate Velvet (Vegan Chocolate Mousse)
A rich velvety chocolate pudding
Check out this recipe
vegan chocolate mousse chocolate velvet

Chocolate Mousse

Any leftover dark Terry’s chocolate oranges from Christmas? This is the perfect recipe to enjoy a small treat! You can of course use any dark chocolate for this, but the higher the cocoa content the better and beware of chocolate containing additional sugars in the form of caramel, crystallised orange or ginger etc. My two favourites are chocolate orange and chocolate mint.

Chocolate mousse
If you need a quick chocolate fix, then this is the dessert or snack for you! It takes just a few minutes to make and only needs 2 ingredients! Rich, chocolatey mousse… yum!
Check out this recipe
Dark Mint Chocolate Mousse

Homemade chocolate treats

These chocolate-dipped strawberries are so simple but served with some whipped cream then you have a well-paired treat, perfect for Valentine’s Day! Make sure you use high cocoa content chocolate for this and don’t overindulge as although lower in fructose than many fruits, the strawberries and chocolate are both carbs.

Or if you’d like to make yourself some indulgent rich chocolate truffles, then check out my recipe. Another option are these gorgeous homemade Bounty bars, with all the taste but much less sugar!

Truffles
Homemade rich chocolate truffles, perfect for a sweet treat!
Check out this recipe
chocolate truffles
Bounty Bars
A taste of Paradise without the extra sugar!
Check out this recipe

A membership recipe for Valentine’s Day – Chocolate Lava Cakes

So many people seem to love these wee puddings that arrive steaming hot, where you cut into them and there is a gooey, chocolatey, molten centre which oozes out and so I thought I would play around and see if I could make a low carb, sugar-free, gluten-free AND nut-free version which will not spike blood sugar levels.

Well, this is the result and I think most should find this dessert hits that chocolate craving. But I warn you, this is a very rich chocolate pud!

low carb chocolate lava cake
Chocolate Molten Lava Cake
Rich chocolate cake with an oozing molten chocolate lava centre
Check out this recipe
low carb chocolate lava cakes

This recipe is available for all Bronze and Silver members and can be found after logging in under the membership dessert recipes tab.

If you would like to find out more about Gestational Diabetes UK optional membership for additional recipes and meal plans which supports the researching and running costs of this site, then please take a look at the Membership Options page and About Us page.

Not a fan of chocolate, have no fears! There’s lots more desserts which I’m sure you’d enjoy (and these are just some of the FREE recipes!)

Happy Valentine's Day