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Top 7 nutrition & lifestyle tips for Maintaining Blood Sugar Balance

Updated: Apr 30


Donuts

The modern lifestyle characterised by ultra-processed foods, chronic stress, irregular eating patterns and poor sleep can disrupt the delicate balance of blood sugar levels. Achieving and maintaining stable blood sugar levels offers a multitude of benefits, far beyond averting mid-afternoon energy slumps and sugar cravings! Stable blood sugar levels provide consistent energy, contribute to better mood, promote hormonal balance, support weight management, and reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and other metabolic conditions.


In this blog, we will explore my Top 7 tips for maintaining and improving your blood sugar balance, empowering you to take back control of your long-term metabolic health.


Tip #1 - Select Low-Glycemic Load Foods

Low-glycemic load foods have a gradual impact on blood glucose levels and are fundamental to achieving blood sugar balance. They slow down digestion and absorption, resulting in a consistent and sustained release of glucose into the bloodstream. Prioritising whole, unprocessed foods while steering clear of refined carbohydrates (such as white bread, white pasta, white rice) and sugary snacks is key to achieving this.


Examples of low-glycemic foods include:

  • Lean proteins: such as chicken, fish, eggs, lentils, tofu etc.

  • Non-starchy vegetables: such as leafy greens (kale, spinach, lettuce), broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers etc.

  • Whole grains: such as quinoa, barley, bulgur etc.

  • Legumes: such as lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans etc.

  • Nuts and seeds: such as walnuts, almonds, flaxseeds etc.

  • Fruits: such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries etc.


Colourful raw vegetables

Tip #2 - Construct Regular & Balanced Meals

Establishing a regular eating schedule helps avoid sharp glucose spikes and energy crashes that occur when we go for long periods without eating. Constructing balanced meals that feature lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats slow down the absorption of glucose from carbohydrates and support a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels. Additionally, including lean proteins and fibre-rich complex carbohydrates in every meal helps regulate appetite, promotes feelings of fullness and provides consistent energy throughout the day.


My Recommendation:

  • Aim to have breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday with 2 snacks (ideally mid morning and mid afternoon)

  • Include lean proteins and complex carbohydrates (non-starchy vegetables and ) in every meal

  • Opt for healthy fats such as avocado, oily fish, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds


Portion size is key - see below!


Tip #3 - Monitor Portion Sizes

Portion sizes play a crucial role in creating a balanced meal. It is important to be mindful of portion sizes to prevent overeating and sudden spikes in blood sugar levels. When eating out, pay attention to serving sizes, and listen to your body's cues for hunger and fullness. .


My Recommendation (for every meal):

  • 1 palmful amount of lean protein

  • 2 fist-sized amounts of green leafy / non starchy vegetables

  • 1 cupped hand of whole-grains

  • 1 thumb sized serving of healthy fats


Tip #4 - Stay hydrated

Inadequate hydration can lead to increased blood viscosity, making it more difficult to transport glucose efficiently throughout the body - further compromising our body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels.


My Recommendation:

  • Aim to drink at least 6-8 glasses of water throughout the day (glass=250ml) to support stable blood sugar levels

Tip #5 - Engage in Regular Physical Activity

Regular exercise is crucial to improving blood sugar balance by improving insulin* sensitivity and promoting glucose uptake by muscles (*insulin is the hormone released by the pancreas in response to rising blood sugar levels).


My Recommendation:

  • Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical exercise per week spread over 4-5 days. This may include walking, jogging, swimming, cycling etc.

  • Incorporate strength training exercise to increase muscle mass and further enhance insulin sensitivity


Men and Women stretching in a park

Tip #6 - Reduce Stress

Chronic stress can significantly impact blood sugar levels by triggering the release of stress hormones like cortisol. Our body perceives stress, whether physical or emotional, as a threat and activates the "fight or flight" response. In this state, the body releases stress hormones such as cortisol to provide a quick burst of energy by increasing blood sugar levels. Prolonged stress and perpetually elevated cortisol levels can interfere with this mechanism, impairing insulin sensitivity.


My Recommendation:

  • Incorporate 5-10 minutes of stress reduction technique into your daily routine. This may include spending time in nature, deep / slow breathing exercises, meditation, yoga etc.


A man walking in nature

Tip #7 - Prioritise Quality Sleep

Quality sleep is essential for maintaining insulin sensitivity, stable blood sugar levels and overall metabolic health. Also, when sleep deprived, we tend to gravitate towards unhealthy food choices, opting for sugar and refined carbohydrates in search for quick energy boost! Paradoxically, this worsens the situation by causing blood sugar levels to rise sharply, followed by rapid crashes.


My Recommendation:

  • Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night

  • Incorporate good sleep hygiene habits such as avoiding screens before bedtime, limiting caffeine intake in the afternoon

A girl sleeping

Conclusion

Incorporating these top 7 nutrition and lifestyle tips will enable you to maintain your blood sugar levels, and foster better health. It is worth noting that personalised approaches are more effective in achieving long-term success, as our bodies' responses to food and lifestyle interventions are significantly impacted by our genetics, medical history, dietary and lifestyle habits. If you are concerned about your blood sugar levels and would like to explore ways to balance them for enhanced energy, mood and resilience - book in for a free 30 minute call here and let's chat!

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