Foods that Balance Blood Sugar (and why you should care)
Cutting out sugar might very well be the toughest part about getting or staying healthy. We are busy and often rushed and the most convenient foods are usually the ones laden with sugars and sneaky ingredients that become sugar in our bodies. When we set out to lose weight or feel better, it's easy to want to overhaul everything all at once. The more we take on, however, especially when we are busy, the more likely we are to fail and end up back where we started.
The following suggestions are designed to get you started but not necessarily to be done all at once. When in doubt, my favorite advice is to add before you subtract. An example of this would be to include one or two new healthy foods into your diet first and then continue adding one a day and then begin shifting by eliminating the not so good for you foods. This approach works better because as we introduce more nutrient dense options into our diets, our natural cravings will begin to shift.
Balanced blood sugar levels are crucial to a healthy and prosperous life. Balanced blood sugar levels prevent disruption of your body’s functions and help your overall health. Keeping blood sugar levels within healthy ranges keep our brain healthy, our energy levels stable and our mood balanced. When disrupted or out of balance, our blood sugar can lead to increased sugar cravings, irritability, poor sleep, brain atrophy and that foggy feeling, anxiety, severe dips in energy and weight gain.
Including these foods to our diets help balance our blood sugar:
GO GREEN! , Adding just one cup of greens like for nutrient-dense, low-carb greens like spinach,
kale, and broccoli has been shown to reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes by 14%. Greens are essential and available year round. Greens are also very rich in protein, calcium and magnesium, which help your body in multiple areas. Not a salad fan? That’s okay. It’s easy to sneak greens into stir fry, smoothies, and blended into sauces. Raw greens, particularly spinach have very little flavor on their own and I usually blend a cup in my morning smoothie.
Beginning the day with greens is particularly effective as leafy greens are packed with chlorophyll, antioxidants B vitamins, folic acid, and carotenoids. These nutrients help with mental clarity, memory, focus, immunity, and digestion. My morning blend consists of superfoods powder, spinach, Power Greens powder, Oat or Almond Milk, and a little mint extract to fake my brain out over the green color. (Recipe below).
2. Low fructose fruits:
Fruit is always a must, but for blood sugar-specific management, choose fruits that are low fructose, such as strawberries, cantaloupe, raspberries, blueberries, kiwi, grapefruit, peaches, nectarines, honeydew, oranges, blackberries and green(ish) bananas. You can snack on them throughout the day, or toss them in your salad, or blend in smoothies.
Protein is essential for slowing down glucose absorption in your body, which helps regulate your blood sugar levels. Add foods to your diet that are packed with protein, like wild salmon and other types of fish, beef and other types of lean meat, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, eggs, and protein shakes. Make your diet interesting; try some fun recipes with your Shakeology like Overnight Brownie Batter Oats, My Wendy’s Frostie Dupe, or my favorite – Chocolate Brownie Mug Cake. Remember everything in moderation, however. Too much protein actually can become sugar in your blood, creating a condition called gluconeogenesis; 40 to 70 grams of protein is enough for a day.
4. Herbs and Spices:
Herbs and spices are natural supplements for balancing your blood sugar levels. They not only add flavor to your dishes but they may also help your hormone’s lower your blood sugar.
Some spices, like turmeric, contain anti-inflammatory properties, which help in balancing out your sugar. Also consider adding cinnamon, garlic, rosemary, ginger, curry, and clove.
5. Low-calorie drinks:
Cut out sugary, high-calorie drinks from your diet. This includes sodas, fruit juices, and those sweet drive through coffees we’ve become addicted to. Filtered water is always our best bet but flavored, no calorie waters like LaCroix (my favorite), herbal teas, lemon water, are a great way to mix it into your daily routine.
There is no one universally agreed upon recommendation for how much water we need. The most common advice and the rec that I adhere to is to take your body weight and divide it in half. Then consume that amount of water in ounces.
For example: A 140 pound woman would need around 70 fluid ounces of water everyday. For good measure, add in about 16 more ounces for every hour of exercise, exertion, or excessive sweating.
6. Whole grain foods:
Whole grain foods that are also rich in protein, like millet and quinoa, provide and store energy without causing spikes in your blood sugar levels. Also making the list are whole oats, ancient grains or sprouted wheat bread, brown rice, and popcorn (but because corn can be high in mercury levels, I only recommend organic popcorn that is prepared on the stove-top.)
Beans, though they are considered a carbohydrate in most diets are a decent source of protein. And because of their fiber content clock in pretty low in net carbs. Protein and fiber are both important factors in balancing your blood sugar. Hummus, lentils and garbanzo beans are good examples and great dietary choices.
TIP: Soak your beans overnight to promote easier digestion.
Nuts like almonds and walnuts contain healthy amounts of fiber, protein, and healthy fats, and are a low carb snack idea. A serving size of nuts is much smaller than we realize when we are snacking away so read labels to avoid overdoing it.
If you would like to learn more about my Mission Nutrition Plans, how we portion our foods, and how we can easily fit all of these amazing foods into your day just click here.
As promised, my Wendy's Frostie Dupe. This works with either chocolate or vanilla Shakeology and is one of my favorite ways to sneak in some extra veggies at the start of my day. I use about a cup of diced Zucchini either fresh or frozen if I've prepared ahead of time. It doesn't sound good and I was skeptical at first too, but it's nearly flavorless and makes a very creamy shake.
Ultimate Portion Fix / 21 Day Fix Containers: 1 RED, 2 GREEN, 1 TEASPOON