This is the optional promo bar

Stabilizing Your Blood Sugar Levels: Why Balanced Meals Matter

When it comes to implementing and maintaining a healthy diet, we’ve all heard that we should strive to eat balanced meals. After all, it’s one of the fundamental principles of proper nutrition. However, in my experience working with clients, I frequently encounter individuals who are unsure of what exactly constitutes a balanced meal. Moreover, they often wonder why it’s important to eat this way.

If you find yourself grappling with the same questions, rest assured—you are not alone. That’s why I created this simple guide, which walks you through the components of a balanced meal and its impact on your health and well-being.

Why Is It Essential to Eat Balanced Meals?

What you put on your plate isn’t just about satisfying hunger—the composition of your meals can significantly impact the stability of your blood sugar levels and overall metabolic health. More specifically, the food on your fork can either help maintain steady blood sugar levels or cause them to fluctuate drastically. When stabilized, blood sugar levels ebb and flow in gentle waves, providing a steady source of energy to keep your body fueled and functioning properly. By maintaining balanced blood sugar levels, you’ll enjoy consistent energy levels throughout the day, a brighter mood, reduced risk of chronic disease, and more effective weight management.

However, when this intricate balance is disrupted by frequent imbalanced meals—especially those high in refined carbohydrates—blood sugar levels tend to reach unbelievable heights before crashing down to suboptimal levels that leave you feeling less than your best. Consequently, unstable blood sugar levels cause symptoms of fatigue, mood swings, weight fluctuations, sugar cravings, blurred vision, headaches, frequent infections, excessive thirst and increased urination. If left unchecked, regularly consuming imbalanced meals can impair the ability of the hormone insulin to remove excess glucose from your blood, increasing the risk of metabolic disorders like insulin resistance and diabetes. Fortunately, you can prevent these symptoms and conditions from arising by prioritizing meals that contain each of the nutrients outlined below.

How to Create Balanced Meals for Blood Sugar Stability

To achieve and maintain stable blood sugar levels, prepare your weekly meals and snacks (yes, even snacks!) with a balanced composition of these three essential macronutrients:

Complex Carbohydrates

Contrary to what you may have heard, completely cutting out carbohydrates is not the ideal way to fix your blood sugar woes. In fact, our brains and red blood cells primarily rely on the breakdown of carbohydrates to supply the glucose they need to carry out their respective functions. Therefore, instead of eliminating this vital food group, it’s best to assess the types of carbohydrates you are consuming.

Carbohydrates can be classified into two categories: simple or complex. Simple carbohydrates are made up of one or two sugar molecules and are often found in processed sugar and refined foods. They are quickly broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in rapid blood sugar spikes. On the other hand, complex carbohydrates contain longer chains of sugar molecules and fiber. These carbohydrates are found in unrefined whole grains, beans, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Your body digests fiber-rich carbohydrates more slowly, providing a gradual and sustained release of glucose into your bloodstream. Therefore, consuming 25 to 38 grams of fiber each day is recommended to prevent elevated blood sugar levels.

Protein 

Maintaining stable blood sugar levels also requires pairing carbohydrates with sufficient amounts of protein. When consumed alongside a carbohydrate-rich meal or snack, protein helps to regulate blood sugar by slowing the rate of gastric emptying, which is the passage of food from the stomach to the small intestines. As a result, protein helps to keep you full longer while slowing the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Research suggests that you should eat about 10 grams of protein or more to reap these benefits. Ideally, your snacks should contain at least 10 grams of protein, while your meals should contain around 30 grams. You can reach these numbers by incorporating tofu, tempeh, quinoa, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds into your daily meal and snack preparations. 

Healthy Fat 

A balanced, blood sugar-friendly meal isn’t complete without a source of healthy fat. Interestingly, studies show that consuming healthy fats before carbohydrates can delay gastric emptying and promote the release of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). If you are unfamiliar with GLP-1, it is a hormone that stimulates the secretion of insulin, which helps to move sugar out of the blood and into the cells, where it can be used as energy. As such, consuming healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, nuts, and seeds prior to enjoying carbohydrates can aid in blood sugar regulation by preventing blood sugar spikes. 

What Foods Contribute to Blood Sugar Imbalance?

In addition to including complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats in each meal, it’s important to understand which foods to limit or avoid. While it’s common knowledge to limit refined carbohydrates and added sugar present in ultra-processed foods, several seemingly nutritious options surprisingly contain high amounts of these ingredients. 

Take nut butter, for example. If you are not careful to read the Nutrition Facts label before picking up a jar of your favorite nut butter, you may end up choosing a variety that contains an ample amount of added sugar, artificial additives, and hydrogenated oils. Therefore, it’s best to choose natural nut butter brands that only have the nut listed in the ingredient list. Similarly, pre-packaged juices and smoothies on supermarket shelves are often loaded with refined sugar, undermining their nutritional value and resulting in blood sugar spikes. Also, beware of store-bought salad dressings, condiments, pasta sauces, yogurts, and granola bars, which frequently contain sneaky amounts of added sugar. I always recommend reaching for a more whole food, balanced snack like my Super Seed Bars whenever possible. Shockingly, even some gluten-free packaged foods are rife with refined carbohydrates and sugars that can raise blood sugar levels. Therefore, you should always be vigilant in scanning the label and ingredients list before tossing an item into your grocery cart.

***

As you can see, creating balanced meals doesn’t have to be complicated. By incorporating a combination of fiber-rich carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats into each of your meals and snacks, you can achieve steady blood sugar levels while boosting your energy levels and lowering your risk of chronic disease. However, if you struggle to find the time to prepare balanced and delicious meals, I invite you to sign up to have one of my EG Kitchen Cleanses delivered right to your doorstep! Crafted with a wide array of blood sugar-supporting plant foods and satisfying super seed protein bars, my cleanses offer a hassle-free way to eat balanced meals that are both filling and nutritious.

Categories

Categories

Cleanse Your Life Today!

Subscribe to to receive weekly inspirations, recipes and healthy lifestyle tips from Elissa’s newsletter.

Subscribe today and also receive Elissa’s exclusive Immunity Essentials Guide!

"*" indicates required fields

Name*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.