Ever experience bouts of hanger? Or feel your energy levels plummet, resulting in fatigue or an inability to focus? Or, maybe you’ve gone too long without a snack and felt like you just weren’t functioning as you should? These are just a couple of signs that your body’s blood sugar could be off. Blood sugar imbalance can wreak havoc on numerous health factors such as mood and energy levels, cravings, and overall health just to name a few.
Ahead, we’re sharing simple diet and lifestyle hacks to help you maintain optimal balance and achieve your health goals.
6 Hacks to Balance Blood Sugar
#1 Eat A Balanced Breakfast
While some people feel best while intermittent fasting, this may not be the best for everyone. Research shows that eating a protein-rich breakfast may help reduce cravings and may also help prevent overeating. Eating a nutrient-dense breakfast is also a great way to kickstart your day with more balanced blood sugar.
But a balanced breakfast is key here! Think protein + complex carb + fat. For example, a hard-boiled egg with a slice of gluten-free toast with mashed avocado and a side of berries. Or, if you’re in a time-crunch, time whipping up some overnight oats the night before!
#2 Limit Or Avoid Processed Foods
Is your diet loaded with foods that come frozen, packaged, or with a laundry list of ingredients? If so, opting for more natural foods straight from the earth will do wonders. Beware of popular breakfast foods like white bread and bagels or sugar-filled pancakes. These foods are oftentimes filled with processed and refined ingredients — they may be a treat for our taste buds, but our blood sugar levels? Not so much. Processed and refined foods cause our blood sugar levels to spike and then crash. The result? Moodiness, trouble focusing, lethargy, and irritability. Keep it wholesome instead!
That’s right; one more reason to prioritize quality shut-eye! Ever noticed how, when you’re low on sleep, you naturally gravitate toward those sweet treats? Or rely on sugary sodas and coffee for that afternoon energy boost? Not only does a lack of sleep lower our ability to resist the cookies, it also throws our glucose and blood sugar off. According to the National Sleep Foundation, skimping on sleep impairs blood sugar balance which can increase the risk for obesity and diabetes. The bottom line? Make 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night a non-negotiable.
RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Sleep
#4 Get Enough Fiber
Did you know that nearly 95% of us aren’t getting enough fiber? Fiber plays a key role in things like digestive health, satiety, and blood sugar support. The good news is that it’s easy to add fiber to every meal and snack.
Some fiber-rich foods to consider adding to your diet include:
Raspberries: 8 grams per 1 cup
Avocado: 10 grams per 1 cup
Artichoke: 10 grams per 1 medium cooked vegetable
Pear: 5.5 grams per 1 medium pear
Broccoli: 5 grams per 1 cup of chopped broccoli
Brussels sprouts: 4 grams per 1 cup
Quinoa: 5 grams per 1 cup
Whole Wheat Spaghetti: 6 grams per 1 cup cooked
Air Popped Popcorn: 3.5 grams per 1 cup
Brown Rice: 3.5 grams per 1 cup cooked
Lentils: 15.5 grams per 1 cup boiled
Black Beans: 15 grams per 1 cup boiled
Almonds: 3.5 grams per 23 almonds
Chia Seeds: 10 grams per 1 ounce
#5 Balance Your Plate
Keeping your plate balanced is not only important for your health but also for your blood sugar levels. A balanced plate includes:
- Healthy carbs like non-starchy veggies and complex carbs like whole grains
- A variety of colors coming from nutrient-dense fruits and veggies
- Lean protein like eggs, salmon, or chickpeas
- Healthy fats like avocado, nuts, or seeds
- Dietary fiber from high-fiber foods like leafy greens, berries, avocado, and beans
#6 Don’t Wait Too long Between Meals
If you find yourself forgetting to eat for long stretches of time, we get it — we’re all busy. Having just a quick, healthy snack, though, can go a long way in keeping your blood sugar levels stable, plus prevent binging later on when you’re starving!
Here are five ideas!
5 Delicious Snack Ideas to Support Blood Sugar Balance
#1 Oatmeal With Berries & Cinnamon
This snack is wholesome, budget-friendly, and packs a triple punch with ingredients good for your blood sugar. Oats are a complex carb, so they’ll keep you full, with balanced blood sugar levels between meals. Antioxidant-loaded berries are sweet, yes, but with natural sugars and powerful antioxidants, they make a great oatmeal topper. Enjoying cinnamon is another natural way to help support blood sugar, so go ahead and sprinkle some over your daily bowl of oats.
No time to enjoy a warm bowl at home? Whip up an easy-prep overnight oats recipe!
- ½ cup milk of choice (we love creamy non-dairy milk like oat or almond milk)
- ½ cup old fashioned oats
- ¼ cup unsweetened vanilla yogurt
- ¼ cup mixed berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
Step #1: In a small jar with a lid, combine all ingredients and stir.
Step #2: Cover with lid and refrigerate overnight (at least 6 hours).
Step #3: Before eating, add any additional toppings such as nut butter or fresh fruit. Enjoy!
#2 Veggies & Hummus
Dipping fresh veggies into hummus is the perfect simple, packable, and blood-sugar stabilizing snack. Loading up on veggies is great for blood sugar, so chow down on anything from peppers, cucumbers, fresh green beans, jicama, zucchini, or carrots, all of which are great for dipping.
#3 DIY Trail Mix
Making a big batch of homemade trail mix is a simple and yummy way to maintain blood sugar balance even on the busiest of days. Nuts and seeds are full of healthy fats and fiber, two nutrients that increase satiety and support blood sugar balance.
Try this recipe, or make your own healthy mix:
- ½ cup macadamia nuts
- ½ cup cashews
- ½ cup almonds
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup raw cacao nibs
- ¼ cup goji berries or unsweetened raisins
- ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
Step #1: Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl and toss to combine.
Step #2: Portion your trail mix into individual servings to enjoy as a healthy grab-and-go snack.
#4 Avocado Toast
Avocados are loaded with fiber and are a healthy source of monounsaturated fat, a nutrient that has been shown to balance blood sugar and support heart health. Serve up a nourishing avocado toast snack made on whole-grain bread or rice cakes. To increase satiety and give your snack a protein boost, you can even add a hard-boiled egg or sprinkle on some seeds like hemp and pumpkin seeds.
#5 Protein-Packed Energy Bites
Craving something sweet? This yummy on-the-go snack is one of the best ways to satisfy cravings without spiking your blood sugar. It’s filled with healthy fats, whole grains, and dietary fiber! Try this tasty recipe, and feel free to modify any ingredients (such as almond butter for peanut butter) for your favorite alternatives!
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup raw honey
- ½ cup almond butter (or nut butter of choice)
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds or chia seeds
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Optional add-ins: cacao nibs, coconut flakes, protein powder, cacao powder
Step #1: Add all the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir well to combine.
Step #2: Chill in the fridge for 10-20 minutes until the dough is firm. This will make the dough easier to roll into bites.
Step #3: Roll into 12-14 bite-sized rounds. Store in the fridge until ready to enjoy!
Keeping blood sugar levels balanced is a key part of supporting overall health and also keeping your energy levels stable throughout your busy day. With some simple healthy eating swaps and a balanced approach to eating, you could be one step closer to balanced blood sugar.