Blood Sugar Balancing Tips
Halloween has come and gone and now we are left with extra sweets in our house. I will say, Halloween also feels like the kick off to the couple months of treat filled holidays, and I am here for that! But I am also here to help keep you (and me!) healthy and feeling good, even with some indulging. I don’t believe in living a restricted life without treats or sugar of any kind but I am a big believer in the 80-20 rule, making healthy choices 80% of the time and allowing some flexibility to treat myself 20% of the time, especially on holidays or special occasions. Restrictive diets don’t work, and I am less concerned with what is taken out of the diet than what is added in. When you add in the good stuff (lots of greens and colorful produce, protein, fats), naturally there is less space for the bad stuff.
So, I am here today to share some tips today on balancing blood sugar so that you can enjoy some Halloween candy or Holiday treats without feeling guilty or without feeling the crash of blood sugar and insulin highs and lows.
But first, what is the role of blood sugar (glucose) and insulin? When you eat a meal, the carbohydrates and sugars are converted to glucose which enters the bloodstream. Then, insulin is released by the pancreas and helps get the glucose from the bloodstream into our cells to be used for energy. Sounds good, right? The problem is when we consume too much sugar or carbohydrates and our bodies stop responding to the insulin and our cells do not properly utilize the glucose anymore and we become insulin resistant. Insulin resistance can lead to metabolic disease like diabetes, weight gain, fatty liver and cardiovascular disease. This can be big problem, but this doesn’t mean we need to cut out sugar completely (at least for most), here are some tips for blood sugar balancing:
- Always pair carbohydrates with protein, fat or fiber. When you do this, it allows for less of a spike in glucose and subsequently, insulin, and better blood glucose regulation.
- After a meal, especially if higher in carbohydrates, go for a 10-15 minute walk. Research has shown that even a short walk, dramatically reduces post-pranidal (post-meal) blood glucose levels.
- Regular exercise can also help to keep your body more sensitive to insulin and better at utilizing glucose.
- Before Halloween candy or treats, have a balanced meal, trying to aim for higher protein and fat. This will make it less likely for you to overindulge and if you do indulge it will create more blood sugar balance.
- Eat slowly, and intentionally. This will allow you to listen to your natural hunger cues and decrease the chance of overeating.
- Drink plenty of water. Being well hydrated helps to flush glucose out through the kidneys and urine.
- Having Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) before a meal has been shown to reduce post meal blood glucose levels. If the thought of taking a shot of ACV is unappealing to you, it sure is for me, having a salad with any type of vinegar based dressing (opt for ones lower in sugar) can have the same effect, plus you are getting more fiber!
And finally, everything in moderation. If you have one day of lots of treats, don’t let it throw you off into weeks or months of over indulging. Get back on track the next day and follow these tips!
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