Ditch the Blood Sugar Blues

If you’re looking for a way to combat your constant cravings and fight fatigue, this article is for you. Perhaps your diabetes isn’t as well controlled as you would like it to be. Or maybe you’re simply looking for some tips to help you eat and feel better. Blood sugar control is important for EVERYONE interested in better health, not just for those with diabetes. 

Skipping meals, over-consuming carbohydrates, stress and illness are a few factors that can cause major swings in blood sugars; also known as the blood sugar rollercoaster. Our bodies function best when blood sugar remains within a certain range. While it’s normal for blood sugar to fluctuate before and after a meal, it's best to prevent major spikes and crashes.

The blood sugar rollercoaster can leave you with constant cravings (especially for carbohydrates), unstable moods, and it can be the reason behind your sluggishness after a meal. Over time, this rollercoaster creates a stressful environment for your body, making it difficult to lose weight even if you’re eating very little.

It’s not just WHAT you eat that matters, it’s also important to consider WHEN you eat. Aim for a combination of protein, carbohydrate, and fat at each meal. Keep it simple by classifying each food based on what macronutrient it predominantly contains. For example, almond butter contains a combination of fat and protein. I would suggest counting it as a fat, as it is a richer source of fat than protein. See the list below for more clarification of carbs, proteins, and fats. 

Carbohydrates break down into sugar in the body, raising blood sugar—this is what makes them a good source of quick (but not lasting) energy. Keep in mind that while vegetables are in the carbohydrate category, many contain far fewer carbohydrates (i.e., non-starchy veggies), thereby having little to no impact on blood sugar. In fact, non-starchy veggies should make up about half your plate at each meal! Protein and fat keep you full longer than carbohydrates, are a good source of longer-lasting energy, and help buffer the impact of carbohydrates on blood sugar. For these reasons, it’s important to avoid eating a carbohydrate-based food by itself.   

For example, a piece of fruit (carbohydrate) will not keep you full very long. Instead, enjoy a piece of fruit (carbohydrate) alongside a fat like almond butter. Or pair it with a protein like a hard-boiled egg. Try starting your day with a balanced meal like a veggie omelet (protein) cooked in coconut oil (fat), served with a side of fruit. 

Keeping your blood sugar in check is a great first step toward better health. For more simple tips, see 3 Steps to Better Health. See below for a list of carbs, proteins, and fats as well as simple meal and snack ideas. Ditch those blood sugar blues and see how much better you can feel!

Carbohydrates

  • Beans
  • Corn
  • Fruit
  • Grains
  • Hummus
  • Lentils
  • Milk
  • Oatmeal
  • Peas
  • Potato/sweet potato
  • Quinoa 
  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Cereal
  • Rice
  • Squash (winter)

Non-Starchy Vegetables

(low in carbohydrate à less impact on blood sugar)

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Coleslaw
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Green beans
  • Jicama
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Okra
  • Onion
  • Peppers
  • Radishes
  • Salad (lettuces)
  • Spinach
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Summer squash
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Zucchini

Protein

  • Beef (Fresh or Dried)
  • Chicken
  • Cottage cheese
  • Deli meat (turkey, ham, beef,
  • Chicken, etc.)
  • Eggs
  • Fish/seafood, fresh
  • Hamburger
  • Pork
  • Tuna/salmon, canned
  • Yogurt, plain

Fat

  • Butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Coconut oil 
  • Nut/seed butter
  • Salad dressing
  • Mayo
  • Sour cream
  • Cream
  • Half & Half
  • Cream cheese
  • Nuts
  • Olives
  • Seeds
  • Cheese
  • Avocado

Sample Balanced Meals

  • Eggs (protein), spinach and tomato, cooked in coconut oil (fat), side of fruit (carbohydrate)
  • Tuna (protein), avocado (fat), cucumber, side of fruit (carbohydrate)
  • Meat (protein), zucchini sautéed in butter (fat), sweet potato (carbohydrate)
  • Salmon (protein), garden salad with dressing (fat), sprouted quinoa (carbohydrate)
  • Chicken salad (protein) with mayo (fat), celery, and grapes (carbohydrate)

Sample Balanced Snacks

  • Apple (carbohydrate) with almond butter (fat)
  • Grapes (carbohydrate) with cheese (fat)
  • Plain yogurt (protein) with blueberries (carbohydrate)