Posts Tagged ‘blood sugar’

The Power Lunch

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Have you ever felt like you want to curl up under your desk and take a nap in the afternoon? Believe me, I’ve been there, and it’s usually after I overdid it at lunch. If we were all living in Spain or Italy where it’s common to take a siesta, this might not be a problem we’d have to worry about. But that’s not the world we live in. We need to be able to function – without a nap – between lunch and dinner. And for many of us, that means redefining the power lunch.

Here are some tips for making sure our lunch supercharges you instead of slowing you down.

  1. Easy on the carbs. Especially avoid refined carbs at lunchtime. These will spike your blood sugar and give you an energy surge, but that surge will fall flat in no time. You don’t need to have a carb-free meal, but focus on whole grains and complex carbs instead of the refined stuff. And remember to keep it light. Too many carbs may cause the body to release too much serotonin, a chemical that makes you feel sleepy.
  2. Have a mid-morning snack. If you don’t want to overeat, don’t show up to lunch starving. Be sure to load up on fiber before noon. Snacking on almonds or baby carrots before lunchtime will help keep you from overindulging.
  3. Focus on protein. Next to water, protein is the most abundant substance in our bodies. It’s found in your hair, nails, skin, organs and ligaments. It’s important for a lot of reasons, but it’s especially important to keep the brain functioning properly. This is because your brain cells rely on amino acids (building blocks of protein) to make the neurotransmitters that send messages between brain cells. If you don’t have enough protein, it’s natural to have trouble concentrating because there may actually be a communication breakdown going on in your brain.

Worst Snacks of 2012

Monday, April 30th, 2012

 

 

 

 

You just have to turn on your television to be bombarded with all kinds of new snack ideas that will fill you up between meals without detracting from your weight loss goals. But, out of all the buzz words that food companies use, none of them actually tell you what’s in the snack. Low carb, fat free and zero trans fats; Now that you know what isn’t in the food, where’s the nutrition?

It’s no wonder we’re confused.

Think pretzels are healthy? Here’s what happens when you eat them: The white flour hits your stomach and gets digested. Soon, it hits your blood stream and spikes your blood sugar levels.

When blood sugar is high, your body says “Wait… I don’t like this! Pancreas, you need to make more insulin, stat!”

The insulin goes out and grabs as much sugar as possible in an attempt to lower your blood sugar levels. Many problems result, including a huge drop in your energy. So, a carb snack might initially give you an energy boost, but it will eventually drop your blood sugar levels down so low that you end up feeling worse than before you ate; you’re grumpy, tired and hungry.

Avoid the cycle by keeping away from these deceptive snacks:

  1. Pretzels – Low fiber + high carb = insulin spike
  2. Snackwell cookies – Don’t be fooled by the name. These aren’t healthy snacks.
  3. Nabisco 100 calorie snacks (cookies) – Just because it’s only 100 calories doesn’t mean it’s nutritious.
  4. Popcorn – This is a fat-free snack, but it’s lacking in protein, and it’s usually prepared with tons of salt.

Tips on how to make healthier snack choices.

  • Choose snacks that include some protein, a little fat and fiber.
  • Avoid huge hits of carbs, sugar and salt.

 

Why I never buy juice…

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

The goal with any kind of calorie you consume is that it would elevate your blood sugar and keep it level. The problem with juices (and other sweet drinks) is the sugar quickly enters your blood stream which raises your blood sugar level rapidly. The calories in juice are very concentrated. Just half a cup (4 ounces) of apple juice has 60 calories, the same as a small apple, minus the fiber to slow the release of sugar.

So, why is juice so bad for your blood sugar? It doesn’t have any speed bumps…

What’s a speed bump? It’s something in your food that will slow down your digestion. This means sugar doesn’t just get dumped into your bloodstream; the speed bump allows the sugar to slowly be released into your blood stream. Here are some speed bump examples:

  1. Fiber: Instead of drinking OJ, eat an orange. The fiber in the orange is the speed bump.
  2. Protein: Instead of eating a plain piece of toast, add 1 Tbs. of peanut butter. The protein in the peanuts is the speed bump.
  3. Fat: Instead of eating plain oatmeal, have oatmeal with 1 ounce of nuts. The fat in the nuts is the speed bump (as is the protein).

If you think you can’t make it through the day without your juice,  here are some healthy ways to enjoy juice.

  1. If you have a home juicer, consider making juice using mainly vegetables. Vegetables are naturally low in sugar and veggie juice may be a good option for you.
  2. If you still want to enjoy your daily juice, READ YOUR LABELS! Low sugar juice, in small amounts (4-6 ounces) can still be part of your healthy daily routine. Find a juice that has less than 10 grams of sugar per servings. Also, make sure the juice doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners.
  3. If I have a craving for juice, I add about 2 ounces of low sugar juice to 8 ounces of club soda. I still get a bit of sweetness but without the excess sugar.

You can also make your own spa water. Here is a recipe from The Food Network:

Ingredients

  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • ½ grapefruit pink or white, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves

Directions

Add all of the ingredients to a clear pitcher and fill with ice water. Best served slightly chilled or at room temperature.

*make sure you wash the fruit before you slice it.