If I took a survey and asked what's the hardest thing about living with diabetes, it would be to prevent blood sugar spiking when you eat. It's not a secret how hard it is to balance blood sugar with so many life factors to consider. Timing is everything when deciding what you'll eat, when and how insulin factors into this blood sugar balancing equation.
Below are 5 habits that you can include to be better prepared at meal time and help you prevent blood sugar spikes.
Habit #1 - Test don't guess what your blood sugar is before you eat:
You need to know what your blood sugar is before you eat a meal or snack. Guessing on this, can lead to a surprise spike in blood sugar if you're high prior to eating. This is based upon eating more carbohydrates that'll add to an already high blood sugar. Leading you to a blood sugar roller coaster ride and then having to chase high blood sugar with insulin, which is so frustrating.
Habit #2 - Decide on what you'll eat that includes balanced macros:
When you consume healthy sources of carbohydrates w/fiber along with plenty of good fat and protein, the glucose from the meal enters your blood slowly. If you're prediabetic or type 2, the pancreas responds by secreting a measured amount of insulin. If you're Type 1 then you'll have to use your carb/insulin ratio to dose insulin if still needed.
Habit #3 - Fill your plate with vegetables:
When you eat a majority of vegetables, which are naturally low in carbohydrates and high in fiber you'll see little or no affect on blood sugar, and avoid any spike.
Habit #4 - Move your body after eating:
Get busy around the house, take the dog for a walk. Moving the body naturally helps you process glucose, as carbohydrates are used by your muscles for energy.
Habit #5 - Decide how much insulin you'll dose prior to eating:
This is where planning and great timing comes in. If you've ever forgotten to take insulin with a meal, then you know how this will put you behind, without insulin on board to do it's job. Dosing insulin prior or right when you begin to eat is vital, to better time when insulin and food will come into sync, and avoid a spike in blood sugar.
A bonus habit to prevent blood sugar spikes is avoid eating when blood sugar is above 100 mg/dL. This is an optimal blood sugar, that doesn't require food or insulin. A safe steady state to be happy about!
Your blood sugar # before eating will tell you:
a) If you need to dose short acting insulin to reduce blood sugar prior to eating
b) How much insulin you'll need to dose and how long before you can eat a snack or meal
The sometimes tricky task of knowing what and when to eat while maintaining blood sugar before, during and after is no easy task.
These 5 Habits can be easily incorporated into your mealtime routine to avoid blood sugar spikes for optimal results.
As a type 1 diabetic and a coach, I'm here to help you figure out how you can change habits and create a consistent routine.