. Delicious and Nutritious: Easy Lunch Ideas for Gestational Diabetes

Delicious and Nutritious: Easy Lunch Ideas for Gestational Diabetes

Let’s face it, lunch can be a challenging meal. Whether you are trying to get through the busy workday or chasing your kids around, stopping to prepare a gourmet mid-day meal is usually out of the question. Throw gestational diabetes in the mix and lunch just got even more difficult. This article will provide easy-to-prepare lunch ideas for gestational diabetes to keep you energized while also helping to ensure your blood sugar remains in check.

Some of the links below contain affiliate links. This means that if you click on a link and purchase a product, I may get a small commission at no cost to you. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle, especially during pregnancy.

What is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. It happens when your body can’t make enough insulin to handle the elevated blood sugar levels caused by hormones secreted by the placenta during pregnancy. Sometimes women already have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes and don’t find out until they are diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

To successfully manage gestational diabetes, diet adjustments and sometimes medications are needed. 

Let’s review some considerations for lunch ideas for gestational diabetes.

Building a Gestational Diabetes-Friendly Lunch

Finding the right balance of macronutrients and controlling portions of carb-containing foods can help keep blood sugars within range after eating lunch. Aim to follow the diabetes plate method framework at lunch. This means fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, ¼ of your plate with protein, and ¼ of your plate with complex carbohydrates.

Focus on balanced Macronutrients

  • Protein: Protein is important for satiety and blood sugar control. Examples of protein sources include eggs, greek yogurt, cottage cheese, poultry, fish, and lean meats. 
  • Complex Carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates provide sustained energy and fiber. Carbohydrates are found in grains (bread, pasta, rice, crackers, cereal), legumes (beans, peas, lentils), starchy vegetables (potatoes, peas, corn), fruit, milk, and yogurt.
  • Healthy Fats: Fats promote satiety and nutrient absorption. Examples of sources of healthy fats include avocados, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, and olive oil.
Image of the diabetes plate (1/2 veggies, 1/4 carbohydrate foods, 1/4 protein)

Portion Control 

In addition, portion control, especially with foods containing carbohydrates, is incredibly important for managing blood sugar levels.  A Registered Dietitian can help you determine exactly how many carbs you should consume at meals and snacks for optimal post-meal blood sugar control.

Gestational Diabetes Lunch Ideas

The ideas below take only minutes to prep. They are fantastic lunch options for busy moms or moms to be.


Throw together a salad for a filling, low carb meal. You might consider including the following:

  • Base: Leafy greens such as spinach or kale
  • Protein: Grilled chicken, fish, tofu, hard-boiled eggs
  • Carbohydrates: Whole-wheat croutons, quinoa, chickpeas
  • Healthy Fats: Avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil-based dressing


Soups are satisfying and easy to prepare in advance and reheat for a quick meal.

Lentil, vegetable, and minestrone (made with whole-wheat pasta) are great options.

Sandwiches or wraps

Make a wrap or sandwich using whole-wheat bread or a low-carb tortilla with lean protein, cheese, and your favorite vegetables.


Consider adapting dinner leftovers into a healthy lunch option such as making a salad, pasta, or stir-fry dish using the chicken you cooked the night before.

Breakfast for lunch

Who says breakfast foods have to be eaten at breakfast time? Check out our post on Breakfast Options for Gestational Diabetes for some additional ideas.

Adult “lunchables”

Adult lunchables are one of my favorite quick and easy options! For example, you can create an “adult lunchable” with whole grain crackers or flackers, cheese, a few carrot or celery sticks, and your favorite lean protein (if you choose lunch meat it must be heated before eating of course!)  Pair this with a serving of fruit for a perfectly balanced lunch.

Meal delivery services

Services like Metabolic Meals do the work for you and are great options for busy weeks.

Additional Tips

  • Limit sugar-sweetened beverages. Rather than drinking juice, eat the actual fruit which contains more fiber. This will help keep you feeling full without spiking your blood sugar as quickly.
  • Planning and prepping lunch meals in advance can help you feel less stressed about what to eat. Consider prepping lunches for the next several days during a day of the week when you have some free time.
  • Freeze dinner leftovers in individual portions for easy lunch meals later on. Souper cubes work perfectly for this!
  • Adjust portion sizes and the amount of carbs you consume based on the feedback you get from your post-meal blood sugar levels.
  • Drink plenty of water every day to stay hydrated. 
  • The book Real Food for Gestational Diabetes by Lily Nichols is a fantastic book written by a registered dietitian specializing in prenatal nutrition and gestational diabetes. I highly recommend this book for anybody with gestational diabetes.


In summary, balanced lunches that contain protein, healthy fat, and high-fiber carbohydrates are the key to managing mid-day blood sugars and staying energized when you have gestational diabetes.

If you were recently diagnosed with gestational diabetes or concerned about developing gestational diabetes, consider consulting a registered dietitian for personalized guidance. You can sign up for a virtual session directly with me or another provider through Nourish (this is 100% covered by insurance for most people!)

Lasstly, before you go, check out this article on Breakfast Options for Gestational Diabetes for some simple blood sugar friendly breakfast ideas.

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