Indian Diet Plan for Gestational Diabetes

    I was at my OB/GYN’s office last week for my annual check up. This time I happened to take my little one along and my doctor and her medical assistant were so excited to see him grown up. Even my son was super excited and kept waving at them shouting “hi’ every now and then. She was seeing me after the weightloss and she assured that my healthy lifestyle might prevent me from diabetes in the future. She was curious to know what I did to get rid of 26 pounds. You can read about my weightloss journey here. I don’t think you could enjoy this drink during pregnancy. Read and save the recipe for post-pregancy weightloss journey.

    Ayurvedic Drink

    After the exam, we had a brief conversation about her new patients and that the practice is getting busy with new South Asian patients. That’s when we spoke about gestational diabetes (GD). She mentioned that despite the low body mass index (BMI), most women from India suffer from gestational diabetes. Yes I have seen that despite the low BMI, South Asians are more prone to diabetes and cardiovascular complications.
    She wanted to connect them with me and my blog as most patients are not ready to accept the fact that they have GD and need to be on a strict menu plan. I can totally understand the mind set of pregnant women. Even I was in the same state – unaccepting, depressed and lost. Even my mom was not “OK” with it. She kept confusing me that if you avoid idly/dosa and rice, your baby will be thin and not healthy. She would also say that she ate so much rice and lot of food during pregnancy and me eating such measured quantities was  totally wrong as per her views. But the truth is that, whole grains, vegetables and nuts on a GD diet is going to make your child more healthy. I don’t blame the Indian mom as there is a lot of ignorance about their knowledge about pregnancy and GD. Also nobody is telling you to avoid carbs. Carbs are so key for your child’s brain development. If you deprive your child of carbs, there might be some adverse consequences. All you have to do during GD is to eat complex carbs like brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat rawa, barley, whole wheat flour, finger millet, lentils, legumes and lots of vegetables. To make you feel  better, I have shared my story here.

    Salmon Quinoa

    Even I went through a phase where I was lost on what to cook, how and when to eat. I literally lived on cucumber and celery with hummus. Once I got a hang of the whole GD lifestyle, I ate every 2-3 hours. I made batches of “sundals”, bought organic hummus from Costco or Trader’s Joe, nuts. We need to walk atleast 20 minutes after every meal. This can help to maintain blood sugar level at a constant level.Eating in a restaurant would be challenging during gestational diabetes (GD). We used to buy food from our local Indian restaurants on days I was tired or nauseated to cook for  myself.   Every time I had a meal my sugar level would shoot up to 175-180mG/mL. I think I dined just couple of times after those “spiked up” sugar levels. My husband and I would discuss about starting a restaurant or a food truck specializing in low glycemic foods. Anyone with GD, diabetes, heart problems or looking to  lose weight can dine happily without worrying about the calories, oil or sugar level. If you happened to dine for special occasion, I would recommend eating bowl of brown rice with steamed veggies and grilled tofu or chicken breast. In Indian restuarants, you could request for whole wheat rotis/chapati and channa masala or any lentil/beans curry made with no sugar and little oil. That’s what I did – my husband enjoyed plateful of delicious foods and I ate salad and steamed veggies.

    Here are few ingredients I explored during my pregnancy:

    1. Poha / Aval from red rice instead of white ones
    2. Quinoa
    3. Purple potatoes instead of white/red ones
    4. Short grain brown rice from Costco
    5. Adzuki and pinto beans (highly low glycemic in number)
    6. Ragi / Finger millet
    7. Red rice and Hand pound rice (kai thuthal arisi)
    8. Wild rice and black rice ( I made salads with them)
    9. Whole wheat rawa ( made upma with them)
    10. Couscous ( again made salad with them)
    11. Avocados
    Today, I have decided to write this post summarizing the list of recipe everyone could try during GD.This list is also useful for those who are diabetic/ pre-diabetic or anyone who wants to lose  weight (low glycemic diet ideas – South beach diet).Unsweetened low fat yogurt plays a key role in keeping good bacteria in gut and female reproductive organs (cervix, uterus wall linings). They maintain an optimum pH and prevent the growth of bad bacteria. Hence I suggest including 1 cup of yogurt each day. You can eat it with pulka in the form of raita or you can just eat it as it is.


    1. Hummus served with celery or cucumber or Spicy hummus or Guacamole
    2. Roasted cauliflower
    3. Salmon quinoa patties ( replace Salmon with sweet potatoes or purple potatoes)
    4. Nuts (almonds, walnuts, soy nuts)
    5. Boiled  edamame (can be found at Costco, Whole foods, Savemart, Safeway, Trader’s Joe)
    6. Sundals with black eyed peas, green gram, channa dhaal, mooth beans, pinto beans, mung bean salad etc)
    7. Channa chaat / salad
    8. Thengai manga sundal (our good old Marina sundal) 
    9. Chickpea Vegetable Patties


    1. Whole grain idli with tons of moong dhaal sambhar
    2. Kadai vegetables with purple potatoes and serve it with pulka/chapati/roti
    3. Adzuki beans masala with brown rice or pulka
    4. Beans or asparagus parruppu usili
    5. Roasted vegetables with brown rice
    6. Home style dhaal , Kale Dhaal
    7. Channa masala
    8. Pinto beans masala
    9. Pala pinji poriyal / Baby jackfruit stir fry
    10. Mushroom masala / curry
    11. Red lentils dhaal with red chard, serve it with cucumber or avocado slices
    12. Adai with brown rice
    13. Aviyal
    14. Ragi idiyappam with vegetable or chicken kurma ( I wouldn’t recommend eating with sweetened coconut milk for GD women)
    15. Paruppu urundai moor kozhambhu
    16. Lemon quinoa (just like our lemon rice)
    17. Brown rice idli or dosa batter
    18. Roasted broccoli and cauliflower with my quinoa spice powder or idly mulagai podi
    19. Pesarattu with brown rice
    20. Kothuparotta with whole wheat tortilla
    21. Ragi sevai / savoury noodles 
    22. Paruppu urundai puli kozhambh 
    23. Salad Idli
    24. Rasam, Thogayal and Okra
    25. Murungai Keera Thengai Sadam



    8. Chicken kara kari (super spicy chicken curry) – may be once in your pregnancy 🙂
    10. Whole chicken roast ( if you have Thanksgiving around your pregnancy)


    1. Ground turkey wrap with lettuce

    Lamb / Mutton


    Soups / Drink

    2. Lemonade (savoury version – just lemon, salt and water)
    3. Organic carrot juice from Costco (no added sugar)

    Dessert (Very rare)

    1. Fresh fruit juice popsicles (homemade and sugar less) with grapes and oranges
    2. Avocado chocolate mousse with agave nectar or coconut palm sugar

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    1. A very useful post..Well compiled!!! Bookmarked and sending the link to few friends :))
      Prathima Rao
      Prats Corner

    2. I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with my son who is now 3. This is a very useful post and I can tell because I've been in the situation before and had a tough time figuring out what to eat.

    3. Even I had GDP..was given a strict diet plan without insulin,,, my weight reduced infact..but the baby weight was ok..but when everything was going on well, I gave up my diet in the last month and had to suffer my is very essential to maintain a strict diet!!

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