How to snack right with gestational diabetes

How to snack right with gestational diabetes

Written by Natasha Leader, Accredited Practising Dietitian & Credentialled Diabetes Educator

Snacks are a really important part of the gestational diabetes (GDM) diet for several reasons. Simply put, eating regularly will generally help keep your glucose levels tracking smoother. And including a snack between your meals also makes it less likely that you’ll get super hungry. Have you noticed that once you’re hungry it’s much harder to try to control your food intake?

The key to a successful GDM diet is ensuring that you’re having a consistent amount of carbs. Snacks are also a good time to fit in your fruit and dairy requirements that you may no longer be able to eat together with your main meal. And often small and frequent intake also helps with other common problems in pregnancy such as nausea and heartburn/reflux.

If you’re working or at home with little kids or just aren’t used to including mid-meal snacks, it’s often hard to adjust to this. So planning and preparation is the key! When you’re out and about you’ll probably find it challenging to find something that is both the right amount of carbs and not too high in fat, but also nutritious. So it pays to have a selection of suitable options on hand and variety will help too.

I’ve put together this extensive list of suggestions. Your dietitian can help you work out whether you should eat some of these in combination to ensure you’re eating the recommended amounts both in terms of carbohydrate amount but also overall food group and nutrient amounts. Please note, the majority of these products are Australian.


1 carb snacks (where 1 carbohydrate serve = 15 grams of total carbohydrate)
(Always check the product’s nutritional panel for exact info)

      • Cup of low fat/soy milk (if you’d like some flavour add 1 heaped teaspoon of Milo or other flavoured powder or use a Sippah straw (or you could use diet ice-cream topping to make a small milkshake)
      • 100g/ 3.5 oz low fat yoghurt i.e. Ski d’lite, Yoplait Lite, Jalna, Vaalia, Bulla, Dairy Farmers Thick ‘n Creamy, Tamar Valley
      • 200g/ 7 oz of low sugar yoghurt i.e. plain unsweetened, Yoplait Forme, Nestle Soleil, Tamar Valley No Added Sugar, Attiki Skim Strawberry/Apricot flavours
      • Skinny Cow ice-cream range
      • Paddle Pop /Billabong /Bulla ice-cream stick
      • 1 scoop low fat ice-cream or gelato in a cup (not cone)
      • ½ cup low fat custard
      • Low-fat milk latte /cappuccino /flat white etc. (In summer try a low-fat milk iced coffee (avoid the whipped cream and downsize the cup size if you’re adding a scoop of ice-cream)

Over 1 carb

      • Homemade smoothie
      • 200g/ 7 oz low fat yoghurt i.e. Ski d’lite, Yoplait Lite, Jalna, Vaalia, Bulla, Dairy Farmers Thick ‘n Creamy
      • Tub of low fat frozen yoghurt
      • 2 scoops low fat ice-cream or gelato
      • 1 cup low fat custard
      • Tub of Fruche™
      • Tub of Le Rice™


1 carb snacks (where 1 carbohydrate serve = 15 grams of total carbohydrate)

      • Fist-sized piece of fresh fruit
      • Small tub or ½ cup of stewed/ tinned fruit (in natural juice)/ fruit puree
      • 6 dried apricots or pieces of dried apple


1 carb snacks (where 1 carbohydrate serve = 15 grams of total carbohydrate)

      • Slice of raisin toast or fruit bread
      • ½ hot cross bun/ fruit bun
      • 3 Arnott’s Shredded Wheatmeal™ biscuits
      • 2 Ginger Nut/ Digestive/ Weston’s Rich Tea™/ Arrowroot/ Paradise Highland Oatmeal™/ Arnott’s Snack Right Fruit Slice™/ Arnott’s Full O’ Fruit™
      • Uncle Toby’s Muesli Bar™ in the Crunchy or Bodywise™ range
      • Small tin of corn (125g/ 4.4 oz)
      • Cob of corn
      • Nestle diet dessert
      • Jarrah Chocolatte™ and similar. (Tip – make with milk for extra calcium.)
      • Diet jelly cup (less than 1 carb)**


1 carb snacks (where 1 carbohydrate serve = 15 grams of total carbohydrate)

      • Slice of wholegrain bread with low carb topping*
      • 4 Vita-Weats™ + low carb topping*
      • 2 Ryvitas™ + low carb topping*
      • 3 wholemeal/high-fibre Premium™ crackers + low carb topping*
      • 10 rice crackers (flavoured are ok)
      • Handful flavoured Vita-weats (cheese, tomato + basil)
      • 2-3 Corn or Rice cakes/ Thins (check pack for exact carb amount)
      • ½ cup of roasted chick peas
      • ½ cup of wasabi peas
      • 3 cups (25g/ 0.8 oz ) air-popped popcorn
      • Cup-A-Soup™ or similar (check label as carb amount varies)
      • Small tin chickpeas or similar (125g/ 4.4 oz)
      • Small tin baked beans (125g/ 4.4 oz)

‘Free’ foods or essentially containing no carbohydrate

  • Vegetable sticks with tomato salsa or (freshly made) tzatziki or hummus**
  • Small handful nuts (~20g/ 0.7 oz only)**

* Low carb toppings

Peanut butter, hummus, low fat cheese, vegemite, salsa, avocado, tomato, mushrooms, pesto, tahini, sardines/ tuna/ salmon (tinned)

** Very low carb & should be consumed with a carbohydrate containing snack.

Last updated October 2012.

  • Nikki Skinner says:

    Thank you for such an informative site! I’m battling with GD in my third pregnancy, and finding it a challenge to think of healthy snacks that don’t bore me to tears! Love your recipes too!

  • Tabitha says:

    What an amazing resource. Well done! I too was GD with my first son in 2009/2010. I went on to feel like I couldn’t eat anything. I found a couple of other hints super helpful. I struggled with drinks. Sometimes water just doesn’t cut it, especially in the Xmas season, I tainted my soda water or mineral water with fresh strawberries, mint leaves or slices of fresh orange lemon and lime. And home made ice blocks of watered down fresh/ cloudy apple juice were brilliant in the heat of summer. It’s a journey and a big roller coaster. But in the end it’s short term for most of us. And you get the reward of your beautiful baby. But there were plenty of cranky moments and tears in the middle :)

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