In the battle to manage weight and increase energy, the importance of balancing your blood sugar cannot be overstated. This is one the most vital things you can do to maintain a healthy weight and support a positive mood. When your blood sugar levels are out of whack, certain hormones and adrenal glands suffer, and you may become more forgetful and irritable. To help support stabilized blood sugar levels, snacking smartly is a great place to start.
The truth is that there are so many unhealthy, tempting snack options available to us that it can be difficult to choose healthy snacks. Not only that, but there are also different expert opinions as to whether or not you should snack at all. The bottom line is, if you do snack, you have to snack smart. The foods you enjoy as snacks can actually help support blood sugar balance rather than disrupt it, but only if you choose wisely.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can enjoy a healthy snack and still stay on a healthy eating plan. Snacking on the right foods can help keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day, making it less likely that you will grab something sugary before dinner or late at night.
Here are five blood sugar balancing foods you can add to the menu each week to better support stabilized blood sugar levels and help you feel your best all day long.
#1 Nuts & Seeds: Snacking on a handful of nuts and seeds is a great way to keep your appetite in check, and your blood sugar levels stable. Nuts are rich in healthy fats, so they aren’t going to cause a sudden spike and then crash in blood sugar levels. They are also rich in important vitamins and minerals, helping to provide your body with the nourishment it needs to power through the day. Walnuts are particularly healthy as they are rich in plant-based omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation. Almonds are also great, as they contain magnesium which is essential for hundreds of different body processes. Try picking up some raw unsalted nuts in your grocery store’s bulk section to save money. Pack some in your lunch bag, gym bag, or car, and have them on hand when you get hungry between meals.
#2 Hard-Boiled Eggs: A hard-boiled egg is another ideal snack option. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats, making it a perfect snack, especially if you pair it with a side of avocado, hummus, and a rice cracker. Enjoying a fat, protein, and complex carbohydrate for a snack is the best way to keep your blood sugar levels stable and to prevent any sudden blood sugar spikes as the fat and protein will help to stabilize the absorption of the carbohydrate.
#3 Protein Smoothie: Making a smoothie is a great way to pack in tons of nutrition in one convenient snack. The trick to enjoying smoothies is to avoid adding too many fruits. You will want to try to balance the carbs, protein, and fat in your smoothie to keep blood sugar levels stable. Try making a smoothie with 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, ½ cup of mixed berries, a handful of fresh spinach, 1 Tbsp. of ground flaxseeds, and a scoop of protein. This will help keep you full and energized throughout the day.
#4 Veggies & Hummus: Here’s a super convenient snack you can pack to enjoy at work or on the go while also getting some of your daily veggies in. Hummus is a great source of fiber which is important for blood sugar balance, as are most vegetables. You can mix up the different kinds of veggies you pack each day. Celery, cucumbers, zucchini, and sliced carrots are especially delicious paired with hummus.
#5 Quinoa Snack Bowl: Quinoa is a wonderful complex carbohydrate that’s rich in plant-based protein and fiber, both of which are important for keeping your blood sugar levels in check. Making a quinoa snack bowl with cooked quinoa, chickpeas, steamed veggies, and tahini is almost like enjoying a mini meal in between lunch or dinner. This is an ideal and nourishing snack if you have to go hours between meals, or you have an intense exercise session and you need something a little heartier and nourishing.
Having unstable blood sugar levels throughout the day can lead to mood swings or hormonal imbalances, put stress on the adrenal glands, and can even lead to sweating and seizures if you let it go for too long. Blood sugar imbalances are also behind weight gain since letting your blood sugar drop too low often results in the sudden urge to snack on something sweet since your body craves something to bring those levels up. The best thing you can do to prevent that is to eat a well-balanced diet and include some blood-sugar stabilizing foods in between meals. This will ensure that you don’t get too hungry, so you will be less likely to snack on something high in sugar, and you will have more energy to power through the rest of your day.
Try adding a few of the recommended snacks above to your diet. Add one between breakfast and lunch, and one between lunch and dinner. You can adjust the serving size based on how long you go between meals and how active you are. Also, keep in mind that after any type of exercise, you are going to want to eat to stabilize your blood sugar and to refuel your body!
Don’t let snacking stress you out. While many people associate snacks with unhealthy eating habits, snacking smart can improve, not hurt, your overall health if you choose to enjoy the right types of foods.