Thanksgiving and Gestational Diabetes

Pumpkin Pie Custard Cup Recipe and other lower carb variations of Thanksgiving favorites!

Most traditional Thanksgiving meal are fully carb loaded, so much, that going to a Thanksgiving get-together can be very stressful and deflating when you feel like you  cannot- eat- a – thing.  So, how can you enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday, relish the time with your loved ones, savor delicious food, AND manage this gestational diabetes gig?


Pumpkin Pie Custard Cup

Pumpkin Pie Custard Cups… Only 10g carbs per! See Recipe Below!

#1 Change of Perspective

So tell me why Thanksgiving is focused on food anyways?  Instead of focusing the day on food, focus the day on giving thanks, relationships and fun.

Focus on how blessed you are to have a sweet sugar baby growing inside of you and all the blessings you have received throughout the year.

Plan a couple fun activities… after dinner, go play with the kiddos and get some exercise, play cards, do something to move your focus away from food and towards spending time with your loved ones.  Some ideas… (Apples to Apples, Phase Ten, Pit, Scattergories, Kizmet, Uno, Tapples, Poker, Hand and Foot, Euchre, Go on a Walk, Play Bean Bags, Throw football with the little ones, etc)

#2 So, HOW do I get through dinner?

Start with low carb favorites

  • Turkey… go easy on the gravy but protein load on Turkey!
  • Relish Tray… Cucumbers, Broccoli, Celery, etc
  • Nuts, Olives, and Cheeses
  • Lettuce and Spinach Salads (just watch the dressing!)  I will share one of my favorites next week!

Be Prepared

You will not know the EXACT carbohydrate count on every dish but use your best judgment…. Here is a guide for traditional preparations:

  • Turkey- 0 carbs
  • Gravy- 10-15 carbs/cup
  • Mashed Potatoes-30-40 grams of carbs/ cup
  • Candied Sweet Potato Casserole-30-90 grams of carbs/ serving ( 8-12 servings/casserole)
  • Cranberry Salad: 25-70 grams of Carbs/ serving  (3” by 3” by 1” cube)
  • Pumpkin Pie-25-50 grams of carbs/slice (1/8th of pie)
  • Pecan Pie: 50-80 grams of carbs/slice (1/8th of a pie)
  • Green Bean Casserole- 20-30 grams/serving (6-8 servings/ casserole)
  • Dressing- 20-25 grams/serving (1/2 cup moist)

Skip High Carb Foods that you do not LOVE… can you say Cranberry Salad 🙂  Sorry if you love it, I am not a fan!

Complete your Thanksgiving Meal! Make your contribution friendly to your diet and bring something that would make your Thanksgiving Dinner complete— like a portion controlled crust-less pumpkin pie custard cup (see recipe at the end of the post)

Enlist a friend… do you know who is bringing the green beans?  Confide in them and ask them to bring a lower carb version such as this one…  Smothered Green Beans from links to other lower carb versions of traditional favorites at the end of the post.)

Just a Taste… Wanting just a bite of mashed potatoes? Put one teaspoon on your plate, eat it slowly, and don’t go back for seconds (Let’s face it, for some dishes, there is no a lower carb version that will satisfy the masses and for my family, mashed potatoes is one of them- if I brought mashed cauliflower to Thanksgiving instead of potatoes, my family would be irate J.  Remember have a small teaspoon to satisfy your cravings but account for it in your carb calculations!

Don’t forget your Snacks!  Even though it is Thanksgiving, try your best to eat as close to your schedule as possible… it will help keep your blood sugar stabilized.  Save something you skipped over at lunch for your snack… want a dinner roll but did not want to totally eat up your carb allowance… save back a half roll and eat it with leftover Turkey for snack.

# 3 Give yourself some grace!

Last but not least, do not be too hard on yourself.  Remember that stress can start you on a blood sugar rollercoaster by releasing cortisol and epinephrine (AKA adrenaline) that increases your blood sugar levels.  You may have a high after dinner number but do the best you can, give yourself some grace, take a walk, and move on.


Enjoy your pregnancy, Enjoy Thanksgiving, Enjoy your family, and Enjoy the delicious food!

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Also, “Like” me on Facebook!   Next week, I will be posting links to more lower carb variations of traditional favorites on facebook… don’t miss it and don’t forget to take a look at the Pumpkin Pie Custard Cup Recipe below!


Alternatives to Traditional Preparations        

Original: Candied Sweet Potato Casserole

Baked Sweet Potatoes from …. I love prefer my sweet potatoes this way.  In order to bring to a holiday party, bake potatoes in oven until soft in the middle, cut in halves or fourths, put a little water, apple juice, or chicken broth in a crockpot to keep them moist.  In order to accommodate everyone, you can bring a variety of condiments such as salt, pepper, butter for you but also brown sugar, cinnamon, and marshmallows- your love ones can build their own sweet potato to their preference.

Original: Cranberry Salad

I already admitted… I am not a fan, so I would prefer to make a spinach salad with cranberries… I will share my favorite early next week.  In the meantime… here is Wilted Beet Salad with Goat Cheese and Pinenuts from I Breathe I’m Hungry… but don’t forget if you are using soft cheeses, make sure that they have been pasteurized.

Original: Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie from with 27 grams of carbs/ serving… I have not tried this one yet… but it has FABULOUS ratings!  This could be a potentially good night snack paired with leftover turkey!

Original: Green Bean Casserole

Uncasserole it… Smothered Green Beans from Allrecipes.com4 NET Carbs/Serving.  This is my preferred green beans, GDM or no GDM, and has only 7 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber… 4 NET CARBS and is absolutely delicious… hence… fill your plate with these!

Original: Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie Custard Cups…. Adapted from Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Recipe

1 can pumpkin puree                3 eggs

½ tsp salt                                  2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon                         ¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp cloves                              ½ tsp ginger

¼ c real maple syrup                 1 can evaporated milk

Preheat Oven to 350 F.  Spray a 12 serving cupcake pan with cooking spray.  Combine spices and salt in a small bowl.  In a mixing bowl beat eggs and vanilla¸ thoroughly mix in pumpkin puree and spices.  Once well mixed, slowly stir in the evaporated milk until combine.  Fill cupcake pan and bake for 35 minutes.  Cool completely and remove from pan.  Serve with Real Whipped Cream!

1 custard “cup” is approximately 90 calories, 3.2 g fat, 10.7 g Carbs, 1.3 g Fiber, 3.9 g Protein

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Also, “Like” me on Facebook!   Next week, I will be posting links to more lower carb variations of traditional favorites on Facebook!

They Just Don’t “Get It”


“They Just Don’t Get It”

Gestational Diabetes- They Just don't Get it!

Does this sound familiar? You are worried and stressed and your husband and family are telling you that it is not really that big of a deal and that you are letting gestational diabetes run your life.  You are mad and angry that they “Just Don’t Get It!”

You know what, you are right; they do not “get it.”  Okay, I said it and it is the truth.

This is absolutely NORMAL.  How could they “get it?”  Sure, they can understand the “diet,” and the “risks,” but how can they really understand how you feel.  How could my husband understand MY guilt and shame? Oops, I said that too.

I am a perfectionist and, truth be told, I worry a lot!  When I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, I felt like a failure and I worried about EVERYTHING!  I felt like I failed my husband and my kiddo!  My husband REALLY, REALLY wanted to help me and I give him props… he really did try!  Everyday, he tried to help.  Telling me “not to worry about it,” “there is nothing more you can do,” “Katie, you eat better and exercise more than most people I know”… but you know what… all this “help” made me angry, and angry at him… He just did not “get it.”

One night, I could not sleep and was crying into my pillow.  My husband asked… “What can I do?” but I did not know how to answer him.  I thought I was angry because my worries were being dismissed, but deep down I was really angry at myself.  I was REALLY ashamed and embarrassed that I had gestational diabetes.  I had never shared that with him.  I was finally honest with myself and him… “There is nothing you can do besides listen.  Nothing you can say that will make me feel better.  I feel a tremendous amount of guilt that I am putting our baby at even the slightest risk for all sorts of complications.  I am ashamed and embarrassed that I have gestational diabetes.  My head is telling me that I am doing everything that I can, but my heart is saying I could have done more.”

I will have to say, after this conversation, my husband started to “get it.”  He “got” that it was not about him giving me advice; he “got” that I was angry at myself; he “got” I needed someone to listen; he finally “got it.”  But really, I finally “got it.”

Everyday, I hear very similar stories of husbands and families that just don’t “get it.”  Usually, what they don’t “get” is something that we are not allowing them to “get.”

How do you feel about your gestational diabetes diagnosis?  What are you not sharing with your loved ones?

Be honest with yourself, what is it that your husband and family does not “get?”

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The Gestational Diabetes Rollercoaster


The Rollercoaster is Out of Control

Gestational Diabetes is like riding a rollercoaster

Gestational Diabetes is frustrating!  You are working hard as you can to control your blood sugar and take care of that little one growing inside you.  You finally feel like you have this Gestational Diabetes thing down and BAM, one high reading puts you on the rollercoaster.

You are stuck in your head… telling yourself how disappointed you are in yourself and angry you are for letting this happen.  Your numbers are high and then low and it does not seem to matter what you eat, you feel out of control. You become more stressed everyday.  You want to stay diet controlled but this rollercoaster ride is going to seal the deal.

I totally did this.  I STRESSED and WORRIED and STRESSED and WORRIED…

And you know what?  Stress signals your brain to release cortisol and epinephrine (AKA adrenaline) to boost your energy levels.  How do they increase your energy levels?  You guessed it… by increasing your blood sugar.

So what can you do you get off the rollercoaster?  Here are four tips that helped me get off the blood sugar rollercoaster:

1)      Identify Stressors and Put it on Paper:  Sit in alone in a quiet space and make a list of everything that is causing you stress… both internal and external.  For me, as well as many women that I have work with, the most significant sources of stress are internal and self-induced.  My internal stressor list included everything from believing that I failed as a mother, to fear of a stillborn baby, to a belief that if I had one high blood glucose reading , I was a complete and utter failure—The process of writing them ALL down allows you to acknowledge and articulate your stressors, fears and uncertainties.

2)      Eliminate, Reframe, and Manage Identify stressors on your list that could be eliminated, avoided, or reduced. Decide what you have control over. Identify those that are internal and could be less stressful by reframing your perspective of the situation.   Come up with a plan to manage what is remaining.

3)      Log Stress Levels:   Stress is sometimes so difficult to identify.  Make a habit of writing your stress level (1 to 10) in your blood glucose log when you have a high blood sugar reading.  Also, note what is causing you the stress.  Remember stress can be worrying, lack of sleep, illness, project at work, a fight and so many other reasons.  Over time you will figure out what stressors make your blood sugar rise and be able to manage them.

4)      Chill:  When you are stressed, have erratic blood sugars, or feel like you are “in your head,” find something that releases your stress and allows you to sort your thoughts.  I find taking walks, prayer, venting to my sister, and crying  are my most effective means.

Lets Share!

What are the stressors in your life right now?

What do you do to relieve stress?


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