Eating a snack before bedtime may help prevent blood sugar from dropping too low at night. It also shortens the gap between an evening meal and breakfast the next morning.
Eating at regular intervals may help people with gestational diabetes (GD) keep their blood sugar within recommended ranges, and a bedtime snack may help prevent drops in blood sugar.
This article explores whether snacking is beneficial for people with GD. It also provides some snack ideas to help stabilize blood sugar.
Nocturnal hypoglycemia is low blood sugar that occurs during the night. It is common in people with diabetes who use insulin. Eating a balanced bedtime snack may help prevent blood sugar from dropping too low at night.
A doctor may prescribe insulin to help manage blood glucose in a person with GD. For a person prescribed insulin for GD, not eating enough carbohydrates, skipping meals, going too long between meals, and doing more exercise than usual
An eating plan that includes meals, drinks, and snacks containing a safe amount of carbohydrates can help people with GD keep their blood sugar within the recommended range.
Snacks between meals may help people to space out their consumption of carbohydrates and eat smaller portions, which can help keep blood sugar stable.
People can aim to include one to two servings of protein in a snack and 15–30 grams (g) of total carbohydrates. A snack can include fruit, grains, or dairy as a carbohydrate source. People can also include non-starchy vegetables.
Carbohydrate needs vary for each person’s body size and level of physical activity, so a person should consider discussing their specific requirements with a healthcare professional.
Here are some other tips to consider when choosing a bedtime snack with GD:
- Choose complex carbohydrates, such as whole grain bread, rather than white bread.
- Choose nutritious carbohydrates that do not have added sugars, such as fresh fruit, Greek yogurt, soy or dairy milk, beans, peas, and legumes.
- Reduce excess sugar consumption by avoiding sugary drinks or added sugars in foods, such as honey, fructose, and syrups.
- Measure portion sizes to help manage blood sugar and prevent excess weight gain.
- Aim to maintain a moderate weight, but avoid following any strict diet for weight loss.
1. Yogurt with berries
2. Apple and cheese
Slice a small apple, about the size of a tennis ball, and eat with a mozzarella cheese stick.
3. Nut butter on toast
Spread 1 tablespoon (tbsp) of nut butter, such as peanut or almond butter, onto a slice of whole wheat bread or toast.
4. Banana and nuts
5. Crackers and tuna
Spread 2 oz tuna, using canned tuna in water, onto three or four whole grain crackers.
6. Quesadilla with cheese and tomato salsa
Make a quesadilla using a 6-inch (in) corn tortilla. Fill it with 1 oz cheese and top with tomato salsa.
7. Hard-boiled egg and fruit
Eat a hard-boiled egg and a cup of melon or berries.
8. Crudites and nut butter
Dip two sticks of celery into 1 tbsp of peanut butter or almond butter.
Sprinkle nuts into 3 cups of air-popped popcorn.
10. Pretzels and nut butter
Dip half a cup of unsalted pretzels in 1 tbsp nut butter, such as peanut or almond butter.
11. Crackers and cheese
Take eight whole grain, low salt crackers and spread with low fat cheese.
12. Rice cakes and nut butter
Take two low salt rice cakes and spread them with 1 tbsp nut butter, such as peanut or almond butter.
People can work backward from when they wake up to work out when to eat a bedtime snack. It is important not to leave more than 10 hours between a bedtime snack and breakfast the next morning.
People can leave 2–3 hours between eating their evening meal and a bedtime snack.
People with GD can eat a bedtime snack to help prevent their blood sugar from dropping too low during the night. Eating balanced, nutritious snacks between meals may also help reduce meal portion size and ensure people get plenty of nutrients.
Effective bedtime snacks for GD combine protein with specific amounts of carbohydrates. People can talk with a healthcare professional if they have concerns about diet during pregnancy or managing their blood sugar.