Diabetes is a challenging condition to live with. While most people suffer from either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, pregnant women suffer from a lesser-known condition known as gestational diabetes. Maintaining a healthy blood sugar level is difficult for anyone who has these conditions, especially as the blood sugar level can change drastically overnight.
So, Are bedtime snacks necessary for gestational diabetes?
Yes, bedtime snacks for gestational diabetes are necessary. In this scenario, a healthy bedtime snack can help you keep your blood sugar level checked and control high blood sugar in the morning.
In this article, we’ll show you some tips to help you make the “best bedtime snacks for you”, to control diabetes and blood glucose levels.
Table of Content
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder where the body cannot break down carbohydrates in food. This is due to problems producing insulin, an enzyme that is produced in the pancreas. As the complex sugars cannot be broken down without insulin, the blood sugar level rises to cause various complications. These include peripheral nerve damage, kidney problems, loss of vision, coma, etc.
In type 1 diabetes, the beta cells in the Islets of Langerhans of the Pancreas are somehow compromised, causing little to no insulin production, which in turn causes diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, due to excess intake of carbohydrates and sugar, the body’s ability to produce adequate insulin becomes hampered. This causes the produced insulin to become ineffective, causing diabetes. This type of diabetes is the most common and is associated with obesity.
There is no cure for diabetes. The only course of treatment is to take insulin in medicine or injectable form in case of type 1 and control the intake of sugar in type 2. A strict diet and a disciplined lifestyle are essential for people living with diabetes to lead a healthy, disease-free life.
Author Tips: Learn more about how Sugar Balance diabetic supplements help to regulate healthy Blood Sugar levels.
What is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is a term used to describe when a woman without diabetes experiences high blood sugar during pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes is seen in 3 – 9% of pregnancies. It is mainly caused due to previously undiagnosed type 2 diabetes of the mother, obesity, glucose intolerance, polycystic ovary syndrome, etc.
Uncontrolled gestational diabetes may cause several complications during pregnancy and birth. Normally, a diabetic diet and exercise are advised to control gestational diabetes. Apart from these, insulin injections may be prescribed. Prevention is by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and exercising before pregnancy.
Why Does Blood Sugar Level Fluctuate Overnight?
A person’s blood sugar can fluctuate drastically throughout the day. It changes concerning carbohydrate intake and utilization of energy. In simple terms, the more carbohydrate-rich food you eat, the more your sugar level increases.
Similarly, the more you exercise and burn calories, the more your sugar level decreases accordingly. This is relatively easy to control during the daytime by regulating the amount of food you eat and exercising between meals. But at night, it becomes more difficult to maintain.
A person’s blood sugar level changes during the night, mainly because of two processes. Firstly the dawn phenomenon, between 3:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., blood sugar levels increase rapidly as part of the process of waking up. This causes high blood sugar levels in the morning.
Secondly, the Somogyi effect. In this process, the sugar levels drop significantly between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. The body responds by releasing hormones that work to raise blood sugar levels. If it releases too much of these hormones, it can lead to high blood sugar levels in the morning.
How does a bedtime snack help?
Taking a suitable snack before going to bed can help lessen the impact of the body’s overnight sugar-regulating processes and prevent high blood sugar in the morning. Having something with moderated carbohydrate and high protein can give the body some sugars to digest and assimilate overnight, reducing enzyme activity’s potency. This, in turn, helps prevent high blood sugar.
However, it is necessary to know what to eat. Because taking too much food or taking something with very high sugar content or calories can have the opposite effect. An ideal bedtime snack should have high protein levels, a good amount of healthy fats, and limited carbohydrates.
Now let’s look at some ideal bedtime snack ideas for gestational diabetes.
Bedtime Snacks for Gestational Diabetics:
What’s a good bedtime snack for gestational diabetes? The following are amazing bedtime snacks to lower morning blood sugar for gestational diabetes:
Nuts are the ideal natural snack. They contain plenty of vitami9ns, minerals, natural oils, and healthy fats. Almonds, Walnuts, Peanuts, Cashews are great options. Taking a handful of mixed nuts before bed can be a tasty and healthy option for a bedtime snack and it would the best bedtime snack to lower blood sugar.
2. Low-fat Milk – High protein bedtime snack for gestational diabetes
Milk is a complete food all in itself. Milk contains a high amount of proteins, fat, and natural sugars. It contains a high quantity of Calcium, which is an essential nutrient. Taking a cup of warm milk before bed is a tried and tested comfort snack. So try low-fat milk as a bedtime snack for gestational diabetes.
3. Sliced Cheese:
Sliced cheese is celebrated as comfort food. But it can also make a great bedtime snack for people with diabetes. Cheese contains a good amount of protein, natural sugars, and fats. Moreover, cheese also contains many essential mineral nutrients. So, taking 1-2 slices of cheese can also be a sample bedtime snack for gestational diabetes.
4. Sugar-free Greek Yogurt:
Yogurt is one of the healthiest forms of dairy. It contains the high-quality protein content of dairy and also acts as a probiotic. It helps replenish the body’s protein and also boosts the immune system. So try this protein snack for gestational diabetes.
5. Boiled Egg:
Eggs are a great source of protein and healthy fats. An egg can contain up to 6.29 grams of animal protein. Having a boiled egg with some bread and mayonnaise can be an excellent snack before bed.
6. Tea or Coffee:
Tea and coffee are the favorite bedtime beverage for most people. Tea is an excellent tonic to relax your nerves for a good night’s rest. Coffee has higher caffeine content that makes it less advisable as it might induce insomnia. But both can make an excellent drink before bed, and if you limit the amount of sugar you take, it can also help control your blood sugar level.
7. Bread – A Good nighttime snack for gestational diabetes
1-2 slices of bread with anything from peanut butter, mayonnaise, or plain toasted is the most basic you can get with a good bedtime snack. It’s an oldie but a goodie for gestational diabetes hungry at night.
8. English Muffin:
English muffins are a staple to any tea party. It is one of the best before bed snacks for gestational diabetes. They are small, carb-rich, and very tasty. An English muffin before bed can be a perfect snack for you.
9. Whole-wheat Crackers:
Whole-wheat crackers have low sugar and a lower glycemic index. This means that they produce less glucose when digested than other foods. Besides, they have dietary fiber that helps improve your gut health.
Add some cheese, and you have a classic and best bedtime snack for gestational diabetes.
Raisins may be small in size, but they are packed with natural sugars, fibers, vitamins, and minerals. Also, they are as amazing as a tasty snack.
Grapes are great for sugar, minerals, and fiber. But they can be very sweet. So, it would be best if you were careful while consuming them. Taking 15-17 grapes is a suitable amount for a bedtime snack.
Mangoes are an amazing tropical fruit. It helps in digestion, promotes gut health, boosts immunity, and lowers cholesterol. Few slices of mango are a great option for a bedtime snack.
Watermelon is a favorite summer snack. It only contains 46 calories per cup, but it contains vitamin C, vitamin A, and many healthy organic compounds. So, it’s the ideal summer bedtime snack.
14. Roasted Chickpeas:
Roasted chickpeas are a delicious salty and spicy snack suitable for any time. They provide a good amount of plant protein and fiber. It’s a great spicy alternative for a bedtime snack.
15. Mixed Veggies:
A healthy choice for a snack can be a quick mixed veggie salad. Taking some fresh vegetables like baby carrots, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, celery, etc., combined with salad dressing or even just a splash of vinegar can be a satisfying and healthy salad to meet your late-night snack cravings.
16. Baked Potato Chips:
Potato chips are not always considered a healthy snack. But non-fried baked potato chips are a healthy alternative. Salted baked potato chips are a great option for your bedtime snack.
17. Air-fried popcorn:
Popcorn is a snack for all ages. Air-fried non-buttered popcorn is an even healthier version as it contains almost no calories. So, some delicious popcorn could be your bedtime snack of choice.
18. Condiments and Add-ons:
To get more out of your bedtime snacks, you can improve their taste by adding any unsweetened or sugar-free condiments of your choice. Adding low-fat cream cheese, sugar-free syrup, apple sauce with sweets can really elevate their taste.
Again, salad dressing, sandwich spread, mayonnaise are also great options for savory or spicy foods. But be cautious about the ingredients of the condiments you use and how much you take. Taking anything with high sugar content or taking too much can negatively affect your blood glucose level.
When to eat bedtime snacks?
So when to eat bedtime snacks for gestational diabetes?
Normally it’s okay to have your snack right before going to bed. However, avoid milk and fruits right before bed. Their high acid content may cause gas. So have these at least half an hour before you sleep. Also, make sure you drink plenty of water.
Monitoring your blood sugar level:
It’s important to adjust your snacks according to your own needs. For that, it’s necessary to check your own blood glucose level regularly and mark any changes.
The normal blood glucose level is less than 5 mmol/L when fasting and less than 7 mmol/L 2 hours after a meal. If you see your blood glucose level is more than 5 mmol/L after waking up, which means your bedtime snack needs to be adjusted for less sugar or less amount.
Always remember to give your doctor regular updates on your blood glucose level if it’s too high. Always follow your prescribed diet plan.
The above healthy bedtime snacks for gestational diabetes ideas are suitable for mothers with gestational diabetes and normal diabetics, including kids. So, enjoy these snacks, and remember to keep an eye on your blood sugar level. Keep a healthy lifestyle and controlling diabetes won’t be a problem. Gestational diabetes bedtime snack ice cream is another good idea.