If you have (pre)diabetes, it is important to keep your glucose levels under control. This can prevent you from needing (more) medication and suffering from complications in the future. In addition, stable blood sugar is associated with less fatigue, maintaining a healthy weight and better concentration.
But how do you put together a good meal and what else can you do to control your blood sugar?
Tip 1: Add healthy fats
Fats slow down the absorption of carbohydrates. Therefore, add oily fish (for example salmon, herring, trout, sardines and anchovies), avocado, nuts, seeds, kernels, olive oil, and peanut butter or nut butter to your meals. These all contain good unsaturated fatty acids (Unsaturated fat lowers the LDL cholesterol of the blood). Full-fat dairy products also often contain healthy fats.
Tip 2: Eat enough protein
Proteins (also called proteins) are important for building your muscles. Like fats, they slow down the absorption of carbohydrates. And they are filling! You feel full faster after a protein-rich meal. This also makes it easier to eat a smaller portion of carbohydrates without feeling hungry afterwards. Dairy, soy and pea drinks, eggs, fish, meat, chicken, lentils, beans and (chick) peas are good sources of protein.
Tip 3: Eat fiber rich
Fiber is important for good digestion. In addition, just like proteins, they give a feeling of fullness after eating and they also slow down the absorption of carbohydrates from your diet, so that your sugar level rises less quickly.
The general advice is to eat 30 to 40 grams of fiber per day. Most people don’t get that. Fiber is mainly found in whole grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, kernels and legumes such as beans, chickpeas and lentils. There are also increasingly fiber-rich variants such as chickpea pasta and pea rice in the supermarket.
Incidentally, the portion size is still important (see tip 5), because too many whole grains or fruit in a meal can still raise your blood sugar too much.
Tip 4: Eat less sugars
Carbohydrates from your diet raise your blood sugar level. There are different types of carbohydrates. It is mainly the sugars (= fast carbohydrates) in your diet that cause your sugar level to rise quickly. Your body doesn’t have to make that much effort to break it down into glucose.
Therefore, limit or scrap your intake of sweets, biscuits, chocolate, pasta, rice, white bread, fruit juice, sweetened drinks and other products with a lot of added sugars. These highly processed products cause rapid and high peaks in your blood sugar level. In addition, they often contain few nutrients and are hardly filling. As a result, you quickly eat or drink too much of it.
Tip 5: Choose smaller portions
The more carbohydrates a meal or snack contains, the higher your blood sugar will rise. Eat less potatoes, rice or bread or replace it with a product with fewer carbohydrates such as low-carbohydrate bread, fiber-rich crackers or pea rice. And feel free to add more vegetables. These are low in carbohydrates, but high in nutrients and fiber.
So take some salad with your lunch, eat vegetables as a snack and scoop up some extra vegetables with your evening meal. Tasty and good for your blood sugar.
Tip 6: Eat in a different order
Your blood sugar may be more stable if you eat carbs last. For example, we see that the sugar level rises less after eating a sandwich if people have eaten a salad or vegetables beforehand. If they eat it after the sandwich, the sugar level rises more.
Therefore, try to start with fiber, fats and proteins and end with carbohydrates. Worth a try, right?
Tip 7: Choose healthy snacks
If your meals are satiating enough, you don’t really need snacks. Still hungry for a snack? Then choose consciously. Many snacks are highly processed and contain too many sugars, unhealthy fats, carbohydrates or calories. Not necessarily good for your body and your sugar level.
Good snacks are nuts, a block of cheese, snack vegetables with a dip, some olives, a fiber-rich cracker with savory toppings or a bowl of (vegetable) quark with some red fruit. Even a piece of dark chocolate does not immediately lead to a sugar peak.
Tip 8: Get moving
Exercise or sports improve your blood sugar level. Movement has a lowering effect. On the one hand because it uses the glucose in your blood for energy and on the other hand because exercise makes your body more sensitive to insulin, so that it can absorb the glucose better. So take a 20-30 minute walk after eating.
In addition, muscle and bone strengthening exercises keep you fit and vital. With intensive sports (for example HIIT, heavy strength training and crossfit) we often see the blood sugar rise. Your body probably produces its own glucose to fuel your muscles. If this happens, you may want to reduce your workout intensity, eat something different beforehand, or try exercising at a different time. By measuring you get to know your personal reaction to sports.
Tip 9: Spread your eating moments
Many are used to eating at least three times a day and snacking in between. All these eating moments keep your blood sugar levels rising. If it then drops insufficiently, you start the next meal with a higher glucose value. This increases the chance that your sugar level will continue to rise afterwards.
Therefore, try to leave enough time (at least 2 to 2.5 hours) between meals. This way your body has enough time to lower your blood sugar level again. That only works if your meals are sufficiently satiating. If so, you may not need to snack at all and your blood sugar can drop enough for the next meal.
Tip 10: Don’t drink alcohol
Alcohol is not such a good idea. Most alcoholic drinks contain a lot of carbohydrates / sugars and in liquid form they quickly raise your sugar level. Especially if you’re going to snack with it, which is often the case. As a result, the amount of carbohydrates can easily increase and so can your sugar level. After a few hours, alcohol has a lowering effect on blood sugar. That sounds interesting, but can increase the risk of a hypo.
Alcohol can also make you less sensitive to insulin and if you become less sensitive, your blood sugar will remain higher. Finally, alcohol can worsen your sleep quality, which in turn can affect your insulin sensitivity.
In other words: rather not drink alcohol or else a maximum of 1 glass per day. And do you choose alcohol-free? Then pay attention to the carbohydrates, because alcohol-free does not necessarily mean carbohydrate-free!
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