Who doesn’t want to look and feel great during the summer holidays? But for many, the end of year shenanigans come with overdrinking and overeating, leaving us feeling guilty and/or rundown at the start of the new year.
The festive season is a time to connect with family and friends, which is so important especially with all the ups and downs of the multiple lockdowns. But in order to keep your health balanced, if there is one thing I suggest you do, it’s to keep your blood sugar levels balanced.
Keeping the balance prevents a myriad of effects such as cravings, sleep disturbances, mood issues (like irritability), weight gain and increased hunger.
Explore these easy dietary tips to support balanced sugar levels
1. Savoury breakfast
A savoury breakfast is a great way to set you up for the day. By starting with something savoury, you will eat less, it will flatline your blood sugar levels, you will feel mentally better and it will keep any cravings under control. Go for eggs and vegetables with your plate filled with 60 – 70% vegetables, supplemented with quality protein and good fats.
2. Eat food groups in the correct order
Fat, fibre, protein and then starch should be the order of eating for every meal. And always try to pair sugar and starch with a fat or protein. This eating sequence supports better digestion, nutrient absorption, stabilises blood sugar and therefore balances energy.
TOP TIP: If you’re going to have a sweet treat – have it at the end of your meal – after fat or protein – to balance blood sugar levels. Make the treats yourself, so that you can be confident in the quality of the ingredients. If you’re eating chocolate, have 80% + organic dark chocolate for purity. It also has the added benefit of it being a strong antioxidant and improves pressure and blood flow to the brain.
3. Don’t snack between meals
Don’t snack between meals. Every time you eat something, you raise insulin and too many insulin spikes throughout the day is unhealthy. What’s more, insulin is also a fat-storage hormone. One of the reasons you are looking for snacks is that you have not set your meal nourishing intake correctly. The first 2 meals you have per day should set you up significantly. Also, try to aim for 4 – 6 hours between eating.
4. Avoid the bread at restaurants
When you go to a restaurant – avoid the bread or bread sticks that are brought to the table ahead of the meal. Highly palatable foods and simple carbs spike your blood sugar and ultimately make you eat more. In the same vein, don’t drink alcohol before your meal either – see further down.
5. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a great blood sugar leveller, it helps reduce your insulin and glucose levels significantly. It also supports your mitochondria (the powerhouses of the cell) to start using your stored body fat for fuel, which also boosts your metabolism. And, if you’re having starch or sugar, the vinegar deactivates alpha-amylase in your stomach that breaks the starch down to glucose. Take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and mix it in a glass of water before a meal (drink it through a straw so it doesn’t damage your teeth). You can also add it to your salad as a great alternative to other sugar-containing dressing vinegars and I highly recommend Braggs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.
Berberine is a natural compound that helps regulate blood sugar. It is often compared to Metformin, a diabetic drug. Take a supplement half an hour before eating or drinking alcohol. Berberine also supports the lowering of cholesterol, has anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. I recommend Coyne Healthcare’s Bio-Berberine Complex as a highly bioavailable supplement.
Cinnamon is a tasty healthy spice that has a range of benefits including assisting with lowering blood sugar levels as well as an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects. Given how palatable cinnamon is, you can use it as a replacement for sugar.
If you want to treat yourself, have cinnamon at the end of a meal – after fat or protein – to balance blood sugar levels. Make the treats yourself, so that you can be confident in the quality of the ingredients. If you’re eating chocolate, have 80% + organic dark chocolate for purity. It also has the added benefit of it being a strong antioxidant and improves pressure and blood flow to the brain.
8. No alcohol on an empty stomach
As a final tip, always drink alcohol with your meal and not on an empty stomach to balance blood sugar levels and prevent inflammation. Because your stomach is lined with food, it slows the movement of alcohol into your bloodstream which gives your liver more time to break down the alcohol.
For more tips, take a read through my blog on how to sustain energy levels through the holidays.
But to end off: know that the holidays are also a time to rejuvenate, revitalise and relax – so find the time to do the things you love, sleep-sleep-sleep, take time to ground yourself and most importantly, have fun!