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, then to ask thousands of ladies in our GD Off Topic Chat Facebook Group. Thank you as always for your input ladies!
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 stenciling on top of hot drinks. Tacky, yes but why not have a bit of fun?!
Valentine’s Day sharing platter
A sharing platter can be a perfect on a GD diet (just steer clear of lots of bread or crackers) and can be very romantic and fun!
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 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 with 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.
Grass fed beef
Grass fed beef comes at a cost, but it 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
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.
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 a better tolerated than white or red potatoes.
If you know you don’t tolerate potato too well, then stick to complex carbs that you know you get better blood sugar levels with.
However, if you do manage potato which is paired well with reasonably good blood sugar levels, then sweet potato accompaniments may make a change from same old boring spud!
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.
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.
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.
Eaten alongside more carbs such as rice and breads, 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 beans and pulses.
Cauliflower Tikka Masala by Anjali at Vegetarian Gastronomy
Coconut and peanut Quorn ‘chicken’ by Rosana McPhee at Great British Chefs (*omit the shrimp to change this recipe to be vegan)
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 which has very little carbs compared to real rice.
Why not try out this spiced cauliflower pilau from The Hairy Bikers
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!
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! Check out the Chocolate Cheesecake recipe here.
Low carb, sugar free, gluten free, nut free, dairy free and vegan and STILL GD friendly! You can find the Chocolate Velvet recipe here.
Chocolate Orange Mousse
Any left over 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. Find the Chocolate Mousse recipe here.
Chocolate dipped strawberries
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 over indulge as although lower in fructose than many fruits, the strawberries and chocolate are both carbs.
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! Check out the Chocolate Lava Cake recipe here.
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.