Guest post written by: Anar Allidina, MPH, RD, CDE
Having steady blood sugar means we don’t experience the highs and lows of blood sugar spikes. Eating foods with a quick energy release can cause feelings of fatigue, hunger, and irritation. Processed foods and foods with refined sugar cause a spike in your blood sugar since they release glucose very fast into the bloodstream. As a result, blood sugar spikes rapidly, but it also quickly crashes back down. High glycemic foods include white bread, rice cakes, most crackers, bagels, cakes, doughnuts, croissants, and most packaged breakfast cereals. Low glycemic foods release glucose SLOWLY into the bloodstream. Examples of low glycemic foods include vegetables, legumes, some fruits (berries, apples, pears, and oranges), whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
Eating the right combination of fat, protein, and carbohydrates during your meals help maintain physical and emotional balance, curbs food cravings and sustain energy levels. Here are the top foods to consume to balance blood sugar, and don’t forget to stay hydrated with water!
Chia seeds: These tiny seeds pack a big nutritional punch and are filled with fibre. Fibre is a carbohydrate that our body is not able to digest. Fibre enhances the efficiency with which your body processes food. Besides keeping your digestive system in check, fibre slows down glucose absorption in the foods you eat. Chia seeds are tasteless and can easily be sprinkled onto foods such as smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt and baked goods.
Eggs: A popular breakfast staple, eggs are loaded with great nutrition. One large egg has 70 calories, 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat, (1.5 grams of saturated fat). Eggs are naturally free of carbohydrates and sugar and are a great source of iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids. Eggs are an inexpensive and an incredibly versatile food and the combination of fat and protein sustain energy levels and keep you feeling satisfied. Aiming for one whole egg a day is a safe recommendation for most people.
Berries: These delicious and colorful fruits have the highest amount of fibre per serving compared to any other fruit! Berries are also high in antioxidants, which protect our cells from free radical damage and inflammation. The high fibre and high water content of berries mean that their digestible or net carb content is low which is ideal to keep blood sugar levels in check. Berries can be enjoyed fresh or frozen.
Cauliflower: If you are looking to cut back on carbs to help stabilize your blood sugars than you need to incorporate more cauliflower into your diet! Cauliflower is a great swap for rice and takes the place of starchy potatoes and it can even make for an awesome crust for a pizza! Cauliflower is a non-starchy vegetable meaning it is very low in calories and carbohydrates. Additionally, cauliflower is super mild in flavour so it combines very well with other foods. If you are looking to cut back on carbs and boost fibre for fullness you need to add more cauliflower in your meals. Check out my cauliflower – blueberry smoothie recipe and spiced cauliflower rice recipe!
Anar Allidina is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, and Speaker. She has a passion for delicious food and good health. Her goal is to help busy people live healthier lives by learning how to eat foods that will make them look good and feel amazing. She strongly believes that eating should be an enjoyable experience – whether your goal is weight loss or managing a health condition. Making small sustainable lifestyle changes is your best way to reach your health goals. Anar Allidina is a clinical dietitian at the Medcan Clinic and has her Private Practice in Richmond Hill.