8 Gestational Diabetes Friendly Desserts

by | Feb 19, 2024 | Blog | 0 comments

Last updated 22 days ago.

As a gestational diabetes dietitian, one of the most common concerns I hear from my clients is about desserts. The thought of having to give up sweet treats during pregnancy can be daunting and frustrating, but the good news is: it doesn’t have to be that way!

With a mindful and intuitive approach to dessert, you can still enjoy delicious desserts while managing your gestational diabetes effectively. In this post, I’ll share tips for building balanced desserts, discuss the importance of listening to your body’s cues, and provide five gestational diabetes friendly desserts recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Tips For Building Gestational Diabetes Friendly Desserts

When it comes to desserts for gestational diabetes, balance is key. Instead of focusing solely on cutting out sugar or carbohydrates (which can lead to disordered eating and food stress), aim to create desserts that incorporate a mix of macronutrients—protein, fats, and fiber—to help stabilize blood sugar levels. 

Here are some tips to keep in mind when building balanced desserts:

  • Choose complex carbohydrates: Opt for whole grains like oats, quinoa, or whole wheat flour in your dessert recipes. These carbohydrates are rich in fiber, which can slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
  • Include protein: Adding protein to your desserts can help keep you feeling full and satisfied while preventing blood sugar spikes. Consider incorporating ingredients like Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, almond flour or nuts into your recipes.
  • Don’t forget fats: Fats, such as those found in butter, cream, sour cream, whole milk yogurt, avocados, nuts, and seeds, can add richness and flavor to your desserts while helping to slow down the release of sugar into the bloodstream.
  • Enjoy with other foods: Some folks find it helpful to have their dessert alongside another meal or snack. For example, if your dessert is mainly carbs you can add some protein/fiber to the side, rather than adding to the dessert itself.

Learn more about how you can take an intuitive approach to eating and gestational diabetes here.

Listening to Your Body

In addition to focusing on balanced nutrition, it’s essential to listen to your body’s cues when managing gestational diabetes. Rather than viewing dessert as a “forbidden fruit,” approach it with curiosity and openness. Pay attention to how different desserts make you feel physically (energy, blood sugars, etc.) and emotionally (satisfaction, enjoyment), and adjust your choices accordingly.

Experimentation is key to finding what works best for you. Keep track of your blood sugar levels after enjoying different desserts and notice how your body responds. Remember that what works for one person may not work for another, so don’t be afraid to try new recipes and tweak them to suit your individual needs.

Gestational Diabetes-Friendly Dessert Recipes

These dessert ideas are both delicious and nutritious, making them perfect for satisfying your sweet cravings while managing gestational diabetes. Feel free to customize them with your favorite ingredients and flavors to suit your preferences. Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter cups

Gestational Diabetes Friendly Desserts
8 Gestational Diabetes Friendly Desserts – 2
  • 1 cup dark chocolate, chopped, melted
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Optional: add unsweetened coconut flakes or rolled oats for crunch

Line a muffin tin with muffin tin liners. In a bowl or measuring cup, combine the dark chocolate and ¼ cup coconut oil, stirring in vanilla extract. Microwave in 30-second intervals until fully melted. Pour half of the chocolate mixture into the liners and freeze for 15 minutes. In another bowl mix the peanut butter, and 2 tablespoons coconut oil, microwaving until slightly melted. Pour the mixture into the muffin tin and freeze for 5 minutes. Finally, pour what’s left of the chocolate over the peanut butter layer and freeze until firm (about 1 hour). Store in the refrigerator and enjoy!

Chocolate Bark

  • Dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Toppings of your choice (e.g., chopped nuts, dried fruit, shredded coconut, pretzels, candy pieces, sea salt)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt the dark chocolate and pour onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading it out evenly with a spatula to your desired thickness. While the chocolate is still melted, sprinkle your chosen toppings evenly over the chocolate bark, pressing them gently into the chocolate if needed. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened. Once the chocolate bark is firm, remove it from the refrigerator and break it into pieces using your hands or a knife. Enjoy your customizable chocolate bark! (this also makes a great gift!)

Chocolate Nut Clusters

  • 1 cup mixed nuts (such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 Tbsp chopped dried cherries (optional)
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix 1 cup of mixed nuts, 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes, and optionally, the chopped dried cherries in a bowl. Melt 4 ounces of dark chocolate in the microwave, then drizzle it over the nut mixture. Let it sit for 30 minutes to set, then break apart any clusters. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Gestational Diabetes Friendly Desserts
8 Gestational Diabetes Friendly Desserts – 2
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust sweetness as needed. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator before serving. Optional: top with a dollop of Greek yogurt or whipped cream.

Homemade Whipped Cream/Mousse

  • 1/2 cup (50g) unsweetened cocoa powder OR you can melt down chocolate (I recommend dark chocolate for gestational diabetes)
  • 1 cup (240ml) of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, sift the cocoa powder to remove any lumps. Add the heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract to the bowl. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the mixture on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. This may take a few minutes. Once stiff peaks have formed, the mousse is ready. Spoon it into serving glasses or bowls. Chill if desired, top with chocolate shavings or berries if you want!

Chocolate Macaroons

  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut, 1/2 cup of almond flour, 1/4 cup of cocoa powder, 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil, 1/4 cup of honey or maple syrup, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Mix well. Using a small cookie scoop or spoon, shape the mixture into small mounds, pressing firmly to compact, and place them onto the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the macaroons in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until they are firm and slightly golden around the edges. Allow the macaroons to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries

  • Strawberries
  • Dark Chocolate

Melt the chocolate in the microwave or over the stove. Dip strawberries in and let them cool. Enjoy! Read more about the benefits and how to enjoy dark chocolate with gestational diabetes here.

Coconut-Almond Energy Bites

  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional: dark chocolate chips or chopped nuts for added texture

In a large bowl, combine shredded coconut, almond flour, almond butter, honey or maple syrup, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Mix until well combined. If desired, fold in dark chocolate chips or chopped nuts for added texture and flavor. Roll the mixture into small balls using your hands and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm up before serving.

Conclusion

Managing gestational diabetes doesn’t mean saying goodbye to desserts altogether. By taking a balanced and intuitive approach to eating, you can still enjoy gestational diabetes friendly desserts and sweet treats while keeping your blood sugar levels in check. Remember to experiment with different ingredients and listen to your body’s cues to find what works best for you. With these gestational diabetes-friendly dessert recipes, you can still enjoy desserts while balancing your blood sugar. Enjoy!


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Emily PiazzaHi! I’m Emily.

I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Full Spectrum Doula, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and mom of 3.

Emily helps pregnant and postpartum folks with gestational diabetes, disordered eating and eating disorders, and body image struggles. Through a weight inclusive, anti-diet lens she helps people confidently feed themselves for a healthy pregnancy and healing postpartum journey.

Schedule a free 15 minute discovery session with me.

As a special gift to anyone who books a discovery call, you will have access to my Intuitive Eating: Explained video lesson.


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