It was a game changer when I learned the nutritional science behind blood sugar management and metabolism. It has since become deeply ingrained in my career, influencing my health coaching philosophy, and becoming a corner stone of my natural foods company Gratisfied. Numerous articles on Healthified Magazine go into more detail about what blood sugar balance entails, and I even have an online course dedicated to explaining the nitty gritty science. Here, I wanted to provide an example of a blood sugar balanced day of eating.
Meal 1: Latte + a Gratisfied Bar
When it comes to blood sugar balance, what you eat first is very important. Not in the traditional sense per se. There is a long held belief (and what I would now call a myth) that eating carbohydrates in the morning is your best bet. Not true. Your insulin levels are most sensitive in the morning after an overnight fast, so what you eat first has the potential to make or break your blood sugar for the rest of the day. This is why consuming protein and healthy fat for your morning meal sets you up for success. These are the two macronutrients that cause a minimal insulin response and keep your hormones on more of an even keel.
Coffee in the first thing is controversial. In fact, I just briefly discussed this with a recent podcast guest. I used to be a big believer in bulletproof coffee for optimal blood sugar balance, but have since changed my tune. Now I drink it black, whipped in my blender with some cinnamon and stevia. I drink my coffee on an empty stomach and have breakfast a couple of hours later. This works for me. If you fall into the camp of having your caffeine with food, by all means, pair it with your first meal. This is why I listed meal one this way: a latte with a Gratisfied Bar. Sometimes people aren’t as hungry in the morning, so choosing a Gratisfied Bar will provide you with 16 grams of bio-available protein, healthy fat, and plant-based fiber.
I used to exercise fasted, until I realized that wasn’t working for me anymore. How did I come to that realization? That is the power of listening to your body. In other words, I was struggling through my movement, felt worse (not more energized) on the other side, and I would wake up fatigued. These are just a few examples. Given how much I value health, wellness, and feeling good, I knew that something was off. So I experimented with eating something within the first couple of hours of waking up before I worked out. That small shift made a huge difference!
Post-Workout/Meal 2: Protein Smoothie
Even if I am not super hungry, I almost always have a protein smoothie after I exercise. It is something I look forward to every day, and I know I am doing my body a favor by refueling. Usually it is a variation of my Blueberry Vanilla smoothie. I love Be Well By Kelly Vanilla protein powder or Truvani Vanilla for plant-based.
Meal 3: Real Food Wrap or Salad
A few hours later, I eat “lunch.” The reason I put that in quotations is because I normally eat this meal around 2 to 3pm. This works for me. I find that if I have something savory at this hour, I crave less sweets in the afternoon. I have an insatiable sweet tooth, and prefer to save dessert for after dinner (see below). Here is where I prioritize animal protein. I love getting a rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods each week for easy to make wraps and salads. I love making collard wraps with avocado or dairy-free pesto, or I get these raw organic veggie wraps off of Amazon. Siete Foods tortillas are also a great grain-free option.
Meal 4: Carbs + Protein + Healthy Fat
In an ideal world, we would eat dinner as a family every night at 6pm, finishing dinner by 6:30 to allot for a long overnight fast of about 14 hours until my first meal the following day. However, with the long, lighter evenings of summer, work schedules, and my picky toddler, this only happens occasionally, and that is OK. We do the best we can. For our final meal of the day, I typically serve a high-quality protein, green vegetables/leafy greens, and/or starchy carbs. It is best to save your carbs for your last meal of the day for many reasons, but from a blood sugar balancing perspective, your blood sugar is least sensitive at night. Carbohydrates are also a precursor to serotonin, which aids in the production of melatonin, your sleep hormone. In a nutshell, carbs make you happy and tired. Best to eat them before bed! This meal should also be your smallest. You not only need less energy right before bed, but a larger meal will only tax digestion and may prevent you from falling asleep. Pair down the protein and fat (but still have them present), and up the carbohydrates. An example may be a vegetable noodle “pasta” with lamb meatballs (as pictured below) with Rao’s Homemade marinara sauce or this roasted red pepper sauce.
I enjoy a sweet treat almost every night after dinner. I have many Healthified desserts on hand, or if I want something simple, I will grab a handful of my Cacao Granola Clusters or a juicy Medjool date with some nut butter and dark chocolate. These days I am loving my chocolate crunch truffles! It is the perfect bite to satisfy my sweet tooth.