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Easy Healthy Lunch Ideas To Keep Your Blood Sugar Happy and Your Energy Level High!

If you often experience midday hunger pangs coupled with near-debilitating bouts of fatigue, you’re in good company. What’s known as the afternoon slump is quite common, and often the result of a dip in blood sugar levels, according to Jerry Bailey, DC, LAc, certified nutritionist, acupuncturist, chiropractic, and functional medicine physician at Lakeside Holistic Health.

Blood sugar, also known as glucose, is a crucial source of energy for all of the cells within your body. “Blood sugar comes from the food we eat and is carried to the cells throughout our body through our bloodstream,” he explains. “When our blood sugar levels are too high or too low, it can lead to a range of health issues, from feeling fatigued and irritable to more serious conditions such as diabetes.” 

The key to balancing blood sugar is incorporating a mix of slower-digesting foods such as fiber, protein, and fat, explains Lisa Moskovitz, R.D., CEO of NY Nutrition Group and author of The Core 3 Healthy Eating Plan. “This trifecta can ensure that what you’re eating is being broken down thoroughly and in a way that supports healthy, stable blood glucose levels,” she says. Consuming these nutrients in a single meal will help round out your blood sugar levels by promoting a more steady rise and fall in blood glucose levels. 

From satisfying salads to protein-packed wraps, discover simple, yet delicious, healthy lunch ideas and recipes that will keep you feeling nourished, focused, and ready to conquer your entire afternoon to-do list. 

What to look for in a Healthy lunch for blood sugar balance

When planning a balanced and blood sugar-friendly lunch, it’s crucial to consider several key factors that contribute to maintaining steady glucose levels and overall health.

1. Low Glycemic Index Foods

First, Dr. Bailey recommends incorporating foods with a low glycemic index (GI), or foods that are digested and absorbed more slowly, providing a gradual release of sugars into the bloodstream. These types of foods, such as vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, help prevent sudden spikes in blood sugar levels, he explains. “By choosing low GI foods, you can enjoy a satisfying meal that keeps your energy levels stable throughout the afternoon,” he adds.

2. Fiber Content 

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found in plant-based foods that the body cannot absorb. Instead, it passes through the digestive tract and provides a myriad of benefits, including keeping you full for longer periods, lowering your cholesterol levels, improving your gut microbiome, and stabilizing blood sugar levels, explains Dr. Bailey. High-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, not only keep you feeling full longer but also slow the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream,” he says. “This slower absorption rate helps prevent rapid increases in blood sugar, making high-fiber foods an excellent choice for blood sugar control.”

3. Protein and Healthy Fats

Incorporating a quality protein source and beneficial fats into your lunch can further bolster the stability of your blood sugar levels. “Protein and fats digest slowly, contributing to sustained energy levels and satiety without significantly affecting blood sugar levels,” says Dr. Bailey. He recommends incorporating lean proteins like chicken, fish, or plant-based alternatives, along with healthy fats from sources like avocados, nuts, and olive oil, to make your meal both satisfying and healthful.

4. Portion Control

When looking to keep your blood sugar levels in check, it’s a smart idea to be mindful of your portion sizes. Overeating, even healthy foods, can lead to elevated blood sugar levels, warns Dr. Bailey. “By serving reasonable portions, you ensure that your body receives the nutrients it needs without the risk of overindulging,” he says.

5. Balance and Variety

Finally, Dr. Bailey recommends striving for balance and variety in your meals—ideally a lunch that includes a mix of the three macronutrients, carbohydrates, proteins and fats, along with a variety of fruits and vegetables to ensure a broad range of nutrients. “This diversity supports overall health and helps in the maintenance of steady blood sugar levels,” he says. 

The best supplements to help with your healthy lunch routine? Try HUM’s BEST OF BERBERINE for glucose management, and FLATTER ME to battle any unwanted bloat!

Healthy Lunch ideas for optimal blood sugar levels  

Here, registered dietitians share a variety of nutritious and delicious lunch options specifically crafted to help keep your blood sugar in check.  

1. Quinoa Salad with Grilled Chicken and Roasted Vegetables

With a low glycemic index, quinoa does not cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels after consumption. It’s digested more slowly, which can help prevent spikes and crashes. Quinoa, a complete protein itself, offers all essential amino acids, which alongside the chicken, aids in slow, steady digestion and sustained energy levels, explains Dr. Bailey. “Roasting vegetables intensifies their flavors and preserves their nutritional integrity, providing antioxidants that support overall health,” he says. 

To prepare, cook quinoa according to package directions, grill seasoned chicken breasts, and roast your choice of vegetables in the oven until tender. Mix all components with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice for a refreshing, balanced meal.

Healthy Lunch Ideas Quinoa Bowl

2. Lentil Soup with Leafy Greens and Whole-Grain Bread

There’s nothing quite as comforting as a warming bowl of soup—and lentils offer just what you need in a blood sugar-friendly source. “Lentils are a fantastic source of both protein and fiber, ensuring a slow release of energy and preventing blood sugar spikes,” says Dr. Bailey. “Adding leafy greens like spinach or kale introduces additional fiber, vitamins, and minerals, enhancing the meal’s nutritional profile.” He recommends serving with a slice of whole-grain or gluten-free bread for a satisfying crunch and an extra dose of complex carbohydrates. 

To enjoy, simmer lentils with your choice of broth and spices until soft, then stir in chopped leafy greens until wilted and serve warm with bread on the side.

3. Turkey and Avocado Wrap with Teff Tortilla

“The turkey provides high-quality protein, while avocado offers heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, contributing to the meal’s ability to stabilize blood sugar and enhance satiety,” says Dr. Bailey. “A Teff tortilla adds fiber and nutrients, rounding out the dish for sustained energy release.” 

To make, simply spread ripe avocado on a Teff tortilla, add slices of turkey breast, and include any additional toppings like lettuce, tomato, or cucumber for extra crunch and nutrition. Roll up the tortilla, and it’s ready to enjoy!

4. Greek Yogurt Parfait with Mixed Berries and Nuts

If you enjoy a yogurt parfait, opt for Greek, which typically contains fewer carbohydrates compared to regular yogurt, making it a more suitable option for managing blood sugar levels. Greek yogurt is also packed with protein and contains gut-friendly probiotics. Coupling it with fiber-packed berries and nutrient-dense nuts creates a delicious and healthful lunch option.” Berries add natural sweetness and a high fiber content, while nuts provide healthy fats, making this meal well-rounded for blood sugar management,” says Dr. Bailey. 

To assemble, layer Greek yogurt with fresh or frozen berries and a sprinkle of nuts and seeds for added crunch. For an extra boost, drizzle with a little honey or maple syrup.

Healthy lunch ideas yogurt bowl

5. Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breast with Quinoa Side

Lean chicken breast is protein-packed, which helps keep you full for longer, and the spinach and feta provide additional protein, explains Dr. Bailey, with the spinach offering additional fiber and iron. “Paired with a side of quinoa, this meal delivers a complete profile of amino acids, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats, ensuring a balanced release of energy,” he says. 

To prepare, stuff chicken breasts with a mixture of chopped spinach and crumbled feta, bake until fully cooked and serve alongside cooked quinoa seasoned with herbs and olive oil. This combination not only delights the palate but also supports consistent blood sugar levels and overall well-being.

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The post 5 (Easy) Healthy Lunch Ideas to Keep Your Blood Sugar Happy, and Your Energy Level Up! appeared first on HUM Nutrition Blog.


By: Jenn Sinrich
Title: 5 (Easy) Healthy Lunch Ideas to Keep Your Blood Sugar Happy, and Your Energy Level Up!
Sourced From: www.humnutrition.com/blog/healthy-lunch-ideas/
Published Date: Wed, 01 May 2024 19:27:47 +0000

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