20 Bedtime Snacks for Gestational Diabetes

Understanding blood sugars at night & having the tools you need to make the best bedtime snacks for gestational diabetes can answer the question, “Should I eat a snack at bedtime?”

Being diagnosed with gestational diabetes can be overwhelming as you start to change your lifestyle and learn more about what foods impact your blood sugars.

Fortunately, this blog is all about understanding blood sugars at night and having the tools you need to make the best choice for your journey! 

I share expert knowledge, resources and guidance to help you navigate nutrition throughout your pregnancy and beyond. Plus, you will find 20 amazing healthy snacks for gestational diabetes to enjoy in the evening! 

What Is Gestational Diabetes?

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a condition that can develop in women during pregnancy who do not already have diabetes.

It is when your body cannot make enough insulin during pregnancy, resulting in a state of chronic high blood sugars that can be harmful to both the mother and child.

GDM is often a symptom of underlying β-cell dysfunction, which is why you will see the increased risk of the mother and child developing diabetes later in life.

β-cells or beta cells are cells located in the pancreas that are responsible for the storage, production and release of insulin.

If you have gestational diabetes, your baby is at a higher risk of being very large at birth, being born early, having low blood sugar, and ultimately developing type 2 diabetes down the road.

However, by monitoring food choices, amounts consumed and timing of meals you can nourish both yourself and your baby while successfully managing blood sugars!

Are Bedtime Snacks for Diabetes Necessary? 

Late night snacks for pregnancy are not always necessary if diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

There are several factors that contribute to blood sugar changes at night including the release of hormones, lifestyle habits, medication timing and evening food choices. 

The American Diabetes Association recommends that pregnant women consume a minimum of 175 grams of carbohydrates, 71 grams of protein and 28 grams of fiber per day.

These nutrients should be distributed across meals and snacks with an understanding of any fluctuations in your blood sugar levels throughout the day. 

Consider booking a Diabetes Education Session to craft a personalized plan for each trimester.

As your pregnancy progresses, modification of these nutrients may be necessary as insulin resistance increases. However, it is completely possible to navigate this resistance with confidence by working with a diabetes expert

Blood Sugar Target at Bedtime

According to the American Diabetes Association, individuals with gestational diabetes should aim for fasting blood sugar levels <95 mg/dL before bed. 

This target is a general recommendation for the majority of pregnancies. You should continue to work with your diabetes care team to determine your specific target range for blood sugars.

Avoiding Blood Sugar Spikes at Bedtime

Let’s look at common reasons you may need to include an evening snack and learn how to combat those pesky cravings or food aversions. 

Here are helpful tips to avoid blood sugar spikes: 

  • Hunger: If you are feeling hungry before heading to bed then this can be a signal to have a balanced snack to curb the hunger. It can also be a signal to consider the portions or quality of the evening meal you consumed. 
  • Cravings and Aversions: Both of these are very common during pregnancy. To manage, consider how the food you crave can be paired with other essential nutrients to create a balanced snack. For example, if you crave salty then combine fresh veggies with ranch dressing. If you find it difficult to add a nutrient such as protein due to an aversion, consider a plant-based or easy to consume option. For example, adding a protein shake or Greek yogurt to your snack choice.
  • Glucose Monitoring: Evening snacks for diabetics should be consumed in conjunction with blood sugar monitoring. By experimenting with the timing, amounts and types of nutrients that you consume, you can understand the impact of the snack by testing your blood sugar. Work with your healthcare team to decide which glucose monitoring process will work best for you. From glucometers to continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), you have options!
  • Nutrient Poor Foods: Avoid foods with added sugars, refined carbohydrates or sweetened beverages. Foods such as candy, fried foods, sweetened yogurts and energy drinks are not only nutrient poor but can make managing blood sugars difficult in the evening hours. 

Grab these No Prep Blood Sugar Friendly Snack Ideas!

Picture of a clipboard on a table surrounded by food stating "Why do you need bedtime snacks with a diabetes diet?  Common reasons you may need to include an evening snack (for people with any type of diabetes!) Cravings, low blood sugar, hunger, dawn phenomenon, somogyi effect.  Fix with Frequent Glucose Monitoring, Evening snacks for diabetics should be consumed in conjunction with blood sugar monitoring. Nutrient rich foods-Choose complex carbs & foods with multiple nutrients, such as fats, protein or fiber. Learn more at www.springtimenutrition.com.

How to Pick Gestational Diabetes Snacks

While there are many great low carb evening snacks for diabetes, the goal is not always to eat low carb, but instead to focus on balanced nutrition. 

A balance of nutrients ensures you are satisfied after snacking without blood sugar spikes in the middle of the night. 

Pick snacks packed with protein, healthy fat and fiber to provide a balance of nutrients and sustained energy overnight. 

Unhealthy snacks without this nutrient balance can have a significant impact on overall blood sugar control. Snacks high in added sugars or simple carbohydrates can cause our bodies to experience blood sugar spikes.

Below you will find a list of foods that fit into these three categories to use as a guide as you build bedtime snacks for gestational diabetes. 

  • Protein: Protein will extend the time it takes your body to break down carbohydrates, which can prevent spikes in blood sugars. Aim for 1-2 ounces of protein in a snack.
  • Fat: Like protein, fat also extends the time it takes your body to convert carbs into glucose to prevent blood sugar spikes. It also contributes to feelings of satiety. Aim to include a source of healthy fat with each snack. 
  • Fiber: Dietary fiber will slow digestion to help you feel full and satisfied for longer periods of time. Aim for at least 3-5 grams of fiber in snacks.
  • Carbohydrates: Aim for a complex carbohydrate that contains approximately 15 grams for snacks.

*Consult with your medical profession and Registered Dietitian on how much of each nutrient is the right target for you.

20 Bedtime Snacks for Gestational Diabetes 

I love collaborating with fellow dietitians to bring you all a wide variety of recipes. 

You’ll also find Gestational Diabetes Desserts and Gestational Diabetes Breakfast Ideas On The Blog, containing delicious, yet nutritious recipes all created by nutrition experts.

Aim to try each of these healthy desserts for pregnancy featuring nutrient-rich ingredients. Each one includes fiber, protein and fat or can easily be paired with the missing nutrient for a balanced option with blood sugar benefits

Gestational Diabetes Snacks

  1. Tofu Hummus, Moushumi Mukherjee MS, RDN
  2. Easy Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins, Sarah Schlichter, RD, MPH
  3. Homemade Trail Mix Bars, Sarah Schlichter, RD, MPH
  4. Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip, Alyssa Pacheco, RD
  5. Best Bliss Balls (3 Ways!), Kristi Ruth, RD, CNSC, LDN
  6. Easy Roasted Butternut Squash Hummus, Ashley Petrie, RDN, LDN
  7. Cheesy Air Fryer Broccoli Bites, Ashley Petrie, RDN, LDN
  8. Easy Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Muffins, Melissa Traub, MS, RDN, LDN
  9. Easiest 3-Ingredient Chia Flax Seed Pudding, Tori Vasko, RD
  10. Chocolaty Strawberry-Walnut Lollipops, Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN
  11. Homemade Peanut Butter Chocolate Protein Bars, Kelli Shallal, MPH, RD
  12. Roasted Red Pepper Dip with Walnuts, Celine Thompson, MS, RDN
  13. Nut Free Trail Mix for Kids, Kristi Ruth, RD, CNSC, LDN
  14. High Protein Taco Dip (Creamy, Spicy and Gluten-Free), Alex Evink, MS, RD
  15. Air Fryer Tofu Nuggets Recipe (Crispy, Vegan, & Easy), Blair Persyn, MS, RDN, LDN, CNSC
  16. No Bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal Protein Bars, Elysia, MS, RD
  17. Favorite Fruit on a Stick, Kristi Ruth, RD, CNSC, LDN
  18. Pumpkin Buckwheat Muffins, Celine Thompson, MS, RDN
  19. Air Fryer Tortilla Pizza, Kari Garner, MS, RDN, LD, CDCES 
  20. Healthy, High Protein Mini Strawberry Cheesecake Cups, Alex Evink, MS, RD

Explore More Snack Ideas

Flourish with Diabetes!

If you are ready to take the leap and transform your health, check out my Resources Page. I can help you grow & flourish with diabetes!

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Springtime Nutrition, LLC was founded on my passion to partner with individuals to eliminate the stress, frustration and overwhelm of changing their nutrition lifestyle. I am committed to supporting you at every step of your journey. Ready to transform your life?  Get started today!

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Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist/ Registered Dietitian/ Owner / Springtime Nutrition, LLC

Kari is a diabetes expert with more than 18 years of experience. Kari currently works as a diabetes educator with a large hospital system in Charleston, SC and is committed to improving the lives of people with any type of diabetes.

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