“What should I eat if my blood sugar is high” is a question every diabetic has contemplated at one time or another. Knowing what to eat and understanding how it affects your blood sugar can be very daunting, especially at the beginning of your diabetic journey.
It is important to remember that prolonged high blood glucose (hyperglycemia) can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis(DKA).
Irreparable damage to nerves, blood vessels, and organs can occur which makes following your diabetes care plan so essential.
A significant part of that plan is making healthy food choices.
Some foods will make the blood glucose spike, significantly and some foods can help maintain a stable level.
When our grandson was diagnosed over a year ago, I was dumbfounded as to what this meant for our family dinners.
As the matriarch of the family, I usually prepare the food for most of our get together. Oh, I will enlist the help of my daughter and daughters-in-law when possible, but the bulk of the planning falls on me.
I was unsure about how Alex’s diagnosis would affect our get-together. Would we still be able to enjoy all of our family’s favorite recipes?
It just so happens that I had nothing to fear.
With a little knowledge and sometimes a few substitutions’ family meals are still enjoyed by all.
Some recipes are the same and we have also added new ones, that is always exciting in my mind.
The most common thing to keep in mind is that an important part of any diabetes management plan is a healthy diet.
Eating an assortment of fruits and vegetables with lean protein and healthy fats is essential in any healthy living plan.
Let’s take a closer look at different foods and learn their effect on the body.
Whether cooked, raw or roasted, vegetables add color, flavor, and texture to any meal. There is a wide range of tasty, low-carb veggies.
Why not try mushrooms, eggplant, onions, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, or zucchini.
Other choices we love are cauliflower, broccoli, turnip, cabbage, and carrot.
Speaking of broccoli, did you know as a cruciferous vegetable, broccoli actually contains powerful anti-diabetic properties and can help enhance insulin sensitivity and even reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
There are countless recipes for preparing each vegetable or try them raw with hummus, guacamole, or salsa.
Another way vegetables are delicious is to roast them with various seasonings such as garlic, savory, rosemary.
With so many vegetables to choose there is never any reason to be bored with mealtimes.
Don’t forget your greens
I remember my mother always telling us to eat our greens.
Turns out she was right.
Not only are they good for us but they are so delicious as well.
Don’t limit yourself to just the usual salads.
Why not explore the tastes of various greens by trying kale, spinach, and chard.
Our grandson absolutely loves spinach salad.
Another favorite is stuffed grape leaves or sauteed turnip greens.
Why not try kale, it contains flavonoids that help reduce blood sugar and increase insulin sensitivity.
We drink water at every meal but that can get boring sometimes so we change it up by infusing the water with cucumber or lemon slices.
A cup of tea is always enjoyed after each meal. Try different teas like chamomile, peppermint tea.
There are tons of options.
I enjoy a slice of lemon in hot water as my morning drink.
Fruit, Melon or Berries
Did you know that 1 cup of melon or berries only contains 15 grams of carbohydrates which makes this a perfect choice for any diabetic?
What a great snack or to change it up a bit add it to plain yogurt. We use plain Greek yogurt and the berries or melon add just the right amount of flavor and sweetening without being overpowering.
Were you aware that Okra is a fruit that is often utilized or served as a vegetable? Okra contains flavonoids that help reduce blood sugar.
We’ve all heard the old saying ” An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, turns out there may be something to that. Did you know that apples contain soluble fiber and plant compounds that help reduce blood sugar and help protect against diabetes?
Filling up on whole-grain, fiber-rich foods can really help curb over-eating.
Oats and oat bran may help improve blood sugar levels because of their high content of soluble fiber, which has significant blood-sugar-reducing properties.
Yes these foods have carbs that will need to be counted and you will need to remember to dose for insulin based on these numbers, but they are filling, delicious, and part of a well-balanced meal plan.
Try legumes like dried beans, peas, and lentils.
Beans and lentils are rich in nutrients like magnesium, fiber, and protein which can help lower blood sugar. They are particularly high in soluble fiber and resistant starch which can help slow digestion and help reduce post-meal blood sugar spikes.
I make my own baked beans and they are so good. Everyone loves them.
Why not enjoy a black bean and corn salsa with some fresh veggies.
Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, and lean meats are full of protein.
We still enjoy grilling burgers, we just make our own patties with lean ground beef rather than buying ready-made patties.
Chicken and fish are also favorites around here.
One of Alex’s favorite snacks is peanut butter on a raw celery stick. This gives him Protein and healthy fat along with being low carb.
Healthy fat choices would include olive oil, avocado, fatty fishes like salmon, and shellfish.
Seafood, including fish and shellfish, offers a valuable source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that may help regulate blood sugar levels.
If you were to serve salmon on a bed of lettuce the oily fish would act as a dressing and it is so delicious.
I personally really enjoy sliced avocado on whole-wheat toast, it makes a delicious breakfast with a hard-boiled egg.
Nuts and Seeds
Studies have linked the consumption of chia seeds with reductions in blood sugar levels and improvements in insulin sensitivity.
Flax seeds are rich in soluble fiber and are well-known for their health benefits which include helping reduce blood sugar.
Brightly colored and packed with fiber and antioxidants, pumpkin and pumpkin seeds is a great choice for blood sugar regulation. In fact, pumpkin is used as a traditional diabetic remedy in many countries like Mexico and Iran.
It is a fun family tradition around here to roast pumpkin seeds when carving our Halloween pumpkins. We wash the seeds then roast them for a delicious snack.
Research has shown that eating nuts and nut butter may be an effective way of helping to reduce fasting blood sugar and A1c levels. One of Alex’s favorite bedtime snacks in a peanut butter sandwich.
What should I eat if my sugar is high concerns all diabetics and can seem quite overwhelming initially?
Rest assured it isn’t that difficult and before long you will know exactly what foods to eat and how your body will react.
As a type 1 diabetic, our grandson can enjoy everything he ate before diagnosis with just a few tweaks.
For example, we save candy or fruit juice for when his sugars are low, we have all learned how quickly these can raise his sugar levels so we save them for a time when we need to raise his sugar levels.
We have also found a balance between protein and carbs to be great for bedtime snacks to help keep him stable through the night. Does it always work? No, but we are dealing with type 1 diabetes here, by nature it is unpredictable.
All we can do is our best to monitor his sugars and feed him a healthy diet, then give him insulin to balance the carbs he eats.
Some foods can actually help keep him stable or even keep his A1c levels lower which is always a bonus.
We make many of the same family favorites and Alex loves them just like everyone else. His favorite is mashed potatoes and gravy. I know it is pretty high in carbs but we dose him for it so all is good.
It isn’t every day either, usually around a holiday or special occasion when we are cooking a turkey or big roast.
As you can see there are plenty of options to choose from and there are always plenty of recipes to be found if you feel adventurous and want to try new food.
What favorite foods do you use to help manage your diabetes?
Share your tips in the comment section below.