What does it mean to keep my blood sugar balanced?
I’m often asked this question as I begin working with a client wanting to change their eating habits to become healthier.
Some believe that keeping your blood sugar in balance only matter if you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, type 1 or 2 diabetes.
Honestly, I never thought about my blood sugar either. I was experiencing the stubborn weight gain that many women struggle with as we grow older and hadn’t realized that my eating habits were causing my blood sugar to be imbalanced.
You may not realize your blood sugar is not balanced, but struggle with
- Low Energy
- Lack of Concentration
- Mood Swings
- Stubborn Weight Gain
There’s plenty more from where those symptoms come from and it’s important for you to understand how your health is impacted by the food you eat and when you eat.
Think of a roller coaster ride and picture your blood sugar constantly going up and then plummeting down hour after hour throughout the day. When you live on a roller-coaster day after day, your health is negatively affected and your body begins to go into insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. Definitely not what any of us wants for our health.
Thankfully, you can avoid the blood sugar roller coaster and keep it stabilized simply by eating the right foods throughout the day, which keeps you feeling fuller longer.
Our next step in learning how to stabilize your blood sugar is learning what types of foods cause your blood sugar to begin the roller coaster ride. Many of my clients come to me with the mindset that carbs are bad and need to be excluded from their diet. Carbs are not your enemy. In fact, you need carbs to live, but you need the right type of carbs.
There are two types of carbs that I encourage my clients to focus on as they begin to eat a healthier diet, simple carbs, and complex carbs. Simple carbs are typically found in overly processed refined sugar foods, such as baked goods made with white refined flour, sodas, products with corn syrup or any type of processed sugars, sugary foods, packaged cereals, pasta made with white flour to name a few.
When eaten, simple carbs are turned into sugar very quickly by your body. They do not have any nutrients or vitamins and offer no benefit to your health. They are referred to as empty calories, worthless to your health.
Complex carbs are found in whole foods and are rich in fiber and nutrients. Fresh fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes, oats, leafy greens are just a few complex carb options to choose from. Your body takes longer to digest complex carbs, releasing energy slowly into your bloodstream. This is why you stay fuller longer and do not experience the sugar crash an hour or two after eating.
Balancing your plate for every meal will go a long way toward keeping your blood sugar balanced. Keep your plate at 50% vegetables, 25% protein, and 25% complex carbs for a balanced meal. Never skip breakfast, eat a healthy snack three hours after breakfast, eat a healthy balanced lunch, eat a healthy snack three hours after lunch, and eat a balanced dinner.
Keep your meals healthy and balanced with these food choices…
Rich Colorful Veggies
Remember, your plate should be 50% vegetables and there is no shortage of choices when it comes to vegetables.
The richer the color, the richer in nutrients. You can serve your vegetables raw, roasted, or steamed.
Mix and match to keep your meals tasty. We enjoy roasting a few types of root vegetables together, or different summer vegetables together for our meals. Use cauliflower as a substitute for potatoes or pasta and rice. Brussel Sprouts are tasty when roasted with grapes or figs.
Healthy does not equal boring, discover new ways to serve your veggies and enjoy.
Have you heard the term “superfood?”
Greens are a vegetable but deserve their own spot on your plate. They’re rich in fiber and nutrients and offer a long list of health benefits.
Adding Kale, Collards, Spinach, Cabbage, Beet Greens, Arugula, Turnip Greens, and other greens to your grocery list will keep your plate balanced and healthy.
From raw to steamed, add dark leafy greens to your daily meal planning.
Are you a soda drinker?
Sodas are loaded with either refined sugar or artificial sweeteners and will cause your blood sugar to begin the roller coaster ride.
Let me encourage you to decrease the amount of soda you drink and begin drinking more water.
Of course, water can become boring very quickly, and you may struggle with drinking enough water throughout the day.
An easy way to drop the soda habit and pick up the water habit is to infuse your water with fresh fruits, vegetables, or herbs.
During the summer I enjoy infused water with cucumber slices and apple slices and cinnamon sticks in the winter. Lemon and basil are other great combinations.
You can purchase a water bottle with an infuser or a pitcher with an infuser to keep in the fridge, so that the next time you feel the urge to grab a soda, your infused water is ready.
Juicy Bright Berries and Melon
How’s your sweet tooth?
Do you feel that you’ll be deprived of all things sweet when you begin to eat healthier to keep your blood sugar balanced?
When we begin discussing keeping your blood sugar balanced, clients immediately assume that all sugar is bad and to be avoided at all costs.
The diet world would have you believe this myth and would have you miss out on enjoying those juicy bright berries and melons that are in season throughout the year.
Whole fresh fruits such as berries and melons are good for your overall health and your blood sugar. Stay away from any processed fruits with added sugar and syrup. Choose your fruits from the produce section or the frozen food section when buying.
When your sweet tooth begins to urge toward the kitchen for a sweet snack, go for a small bowl of fresh berries or melon.
You can also mix with plain Greek yogurt for a creamier treat or make a pudding with chia seeds and mixed berries.
Are you getting enough fiber in your daily diet?
Fiber is an important part of your daily diet, yet most people are not eating enough fiber which can cause your blood sugar to become imbalanced.
Women should consume at least 25 grams of fiber daily, while men should consume 35 grams.
Along with vegetables and fruits, add dried beans, lentils, and peas to your daily meal planning.
I am not a fan of the no-fat, low-fat mentality.
Typically, foods that are promoted as no or low in fat have added sugars and chemicals to enhance their flavor.
Fat is essential to good health. Eating more fat-rich foods such as nuts, seeds, fish, avocados, and using olive oil in your cooking, will help keep your blood sugar balanced and work toward preventing many health problems.
I always have nuts in my pantry for a quick healthy snack, avocado to add to my dishes throughout the day, and olive oil for daily cooking.
Your daily diet should include protein to help with balancing your blood sugar. Protein works with the carbs and fiber you eat to slow down your digestion, which keeps your blood sugar balanced.
There are two types of protein, plant-based proteins, and animal proteins. You can find protein in beans, lentils, peas, nuts and seeds, and in all meat products.
A balanced healthy diet includes 25% protein at each meal.
As you can see, keeping your blood sugar balanced is as easy as eating a well-balanced meal throughout the day with a couple of healthy snacks in-between. Choose fresh and natural over-processed, get creative in the kitchen, and enjoy your meals and better health.