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When it comes to managing your blood sugar, there are a ton of factors to consider. According to CDC, overeating, feeling stressed, and even getting sick can spike your glucose levels and lead to unwanted symptoms like fatigue and distorted vision. For many, exercise, medication, and the right meal plans can control these issues. And while exercise plans and pharmaceutical diets can easily fall into place, tracking your meals and eating habits can be a little trickier.

The Mayo Clinic recommends that your diet consist of seafood, fruits and vegetables high in fiber and good fats while limiting many refined carbohydrates. While this tip is easier said and done, you still need to manage exactly how you eat.

Luckily, we’ve rounded up the best positive eating habits to adopt when you need to avoid blood sugar spikes and the nasty side effects that come with them. By incorporating these patterns into your own meal routine, you can keep glucose spikes to a minimum and feel much more consistent. Then, for more meal inspiration, be sure to check out our list of the 22 Meals to Melt Belly Fat in 2022.

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“One of the best ways to minimize blood sugar spikes is to start each meal with vegetables, ideally leafy greens, cucumbers, zucchini, or other non-starchy vegetables,” says Samantha Presicci, MCN, RD, LD, CPT to BACKGROUND Bone Broth. “From there, eat your protein, healthy fats, then the carbs you’ve been eating (rice, potatoes, etc.). Fiber, followed by fats and protein, helps smooth out any blood sugar spikes. “

If you need some vegetable inspiration to get started, you can’t go wrong with the 12 Surprising Vegetables That Become Healthier When Cooked. Just be sure to select the options with the least amount of starch, and you can’t go wrong.

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It may seem counterintuitive, but eating a serving of fat alongside carbs can do wonders for your blood sugar.

“If you’re snacking, always pair your carbs with fat or protein,” says Presicci. “For example, IIf you’re going to eat an apple or berries, pair them with a handful of nuts, nut butter, whole cheese, whole yogurt, or another source of healthy fat or protein. Taking a few bites of these high-protein, high-fat foods before eating the carb portion of your snack will cause less of a blood sugar spike because fat (and protein, to a lesser extent) is digested more slowly than carbs. and rarely cause a spike in blood sugar on its own.”

“It’s best to avoid eating bare carbs, carbs alone without the inclusion of protein and fat,” Presicci continues. “If you’re looking to manage your blood sugar, a good rule of thumb is to stick to 1-2 servings of carbs per meal (30 grams or less) and pair those carbs with adequate protein (30 grams or more). and healthy fats (1-3 servings).”

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If you want to diversify your meals, you can’t go wrong by adding some liquid component to your meals.

“In addition to vegetables before the bulk of your meal, I also like to recommend a blood sugar-balancing drink, like bone broth,” says Presicci. “Bone broth contains specific amino acids, like glycine and glutamine, which help balance blood sugar and nourish the digestive tract. Because it’s high in protein, it can be a great glycemic balancer for a meal or snack.”

Don’t assume you have to stress out all day in the kitchen to whip up this staple. Next time you’re grocery shopping, keep an eye out for the best and worst brands of store-bought stock and broth and bring home the broth that’s right for you.

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It may seem obvious, but eating a balanced meal can do wonders for your blood sugar.

“When it comes to dietary prevention of blood sugar spikes, it’s best to eat a balanced meal or snack,” says Caitlin Carr, MS, RD. “Highly processed carbs or ‘refined carbs’ cause blood sugar spikes. Does that mean we need to avoid them all the time? No. We need to eat carbs (even refined ones) in balance with other nutrients. Pairing carbohydrates with fat, protein and fiber will slow the absorption of carbohydrates from a meal by increasing the variety of nutrients our bodies absorb and extending this time for absorption and transfer to the blood. A variety of nutrients, absorbed over a longer period of time, will decrease the concentration of glucose directed to the bloodstream, which prevents a blood sugar spike.”

“A diet focused on a variety of macronutrients and fiber is your best defense against blood sugar spikes,” Carr continues. “It can be like a Mediterranean diet or the DASH diet, or just try your best to include one fruit or vegetable with every meal and one snack a day.”

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Getting an extra dose of fiber in your life can’t hurt and even leads to stable blood sugar levels.

“95% of Americans miss the recommended fiber intake of 14 grams per 1,000 calories, or about 25-38 grams per day,” says Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, founder of NutritionStarringYOU.com and author of The easy recipe book for pre-diabetes. “Fiber, especially soluble fiber, can help manage blood sugar by forming a gel-like substance with water that delays the rate of carbohydrate digestion and absorption. Two wonderful sources are oats and beans.”

Check your cupboards and pantry for the 43 best high fiber foods for healthy eating and start including more of them in your daily meals.

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Eating meals earlier in the day can have a ton of positive health benefits, and anyone who needs to manage their glucose levels has one more reason to love eating an early dinner.

Research shows that people who consume more of their total calories earlier in the day may have better blood sugar control than those who eat the same amount of calories with a higher percentage shifted later in the day,” says Harris-Pincus.

“Our bodies deal with carbs better earlier as well when we’re active during the day versus sitting on the couch at night when our digestive system slows down in preparation for sleep,” she continues. “Try the old adage, ‘breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dine like a pauper’ for better blood sugar control.”

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“Getting into the habit of being consistent is key for someone with diabetes, the body reacts based on what has been fed in the past, so it is vital that a person stays consistent with schedules, types of foods and portion control,” says Blanca Garcia, RDN and Nutrition Specialist of Healthchannel. “Over time the body will be balanced and the typical long-term test known as Hgb A1c will show if there was consistency in sugar levels.”

Consistency is key when it comes to reducing blood sugar spikes. Once you master this habit, you can master reducing blood sugar spikes and feel better throughout the day.

Now that you have these eating habits, be sure to stock up on these best drinks to lower blood sugar, experts say.