Maintaining a healthy blood sugar balance is one of the keys to healthy living. Sugar imbalances are associated with a number of symptoms ranging from fatigue to weight problems and mood swings. Having too much glucose in your blood for a long period of time can affect many parts of your body, such as: blood vessels, heart, nerves, kidneys, mouth, eyes, and feet.
While there is no such thing as a pre-diabetes or diabetic diet, there are some basic principles that you can follow to keep blood sugars in check.
- Eat protein at breakfast
- Consuming a simple carbohydrate breakfast (e.g. muffin) with no protein causes sugars to surge and then nose dive 1-2 hours later. By combining a protein source with carbohydrates, blood sugars will remain constant thereby preventing those surges. Maintain a slow and steady release of insulin by combining: 2 Tbsp. of a nut butter, a protein smoothie, or 2 eggs to the muffin.
- Watch the type and amount of carbohydrate
- At every meal, women require 35-45 grams of carbohydrate, and men should ingest 45-60 grams. As an example, there are 45 grams of carbohydrates in 1 cup of rice. Opt for ‘whole grain’ sources as they are richer in fiber and digest at a slower rate than white, refined choices such as white breads and pastas. Other good choices include: whole wheat bread, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and dried beans.
- Exercise is like medicine
- Aim for 150 minutes of exercise weekly. This can be broken up into smaller amounts daily such as 30 minutes, 5 times/week.
- Know your numbers: If you are a diabetic or pre-diabetic, know your A1C and have it checked routinely. Also, have your cholesterol levels, blood pressure and weight checked on a regular basis.
- Don’t allow yourself to get too hungry
- Going for hours without food sets you up for a sugar heavy snack fest. If you resist food for too long, you will likely overeat at your next meal. Be sure to eat smaller mini meals/snacks throughout the day. Avoid going for longer than a 4 hour stretch without food.
- Fuel your workouts
- Avoid exercising on an empty stomach. Having a small snack, such as a banana pre-workout will give you much needed energy to boost your workout. Eating within 30-60 minutes’ post workout is also important. Once again, be sure to combine a carbohydrate and protein source to replenish and restore.