Many people often feel shaky, faint, weak or confused if it's been a while since their last meal and they think that their blood sugar is low. But the only way to know if you truly have hypoglycemia -- a rare condition -- is to test your blood sugar. If you have hypoglycemia, treatment requires that you follow a special diet similar to what is recommended for people with diabetes, which includes eating a healthy, balanced breakfast to prevent hypoglycemic episodes.
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A diet for hypoglycemia is one that focuses on complex carbs and foods high in fiber. To keep your blood sugar steady, it is recommended that you eat small meals every three hours. So, in essence, you'll eat two breakfast meals a day, one early just after rising and one mid-morning. Be sure to include a protein -- eggs, cheese, nuts, lean meat, yogurt or milk -- with each breakfast to help slow digestion. You should also avoid foods with simple sugars, such as fruit juice, jelly and syrup, as well as sweet breakfast foods, such as danishes and doughnuts.
First Breakfast Meal Ideas
A healthy breakfast for hypoglycemia might include a bowl of oatmeal with raisins and sliced almonds with a container of low-fat yogurt. The soluble fiber in foods such as oatmeal helps to slow the absorption of the carbs from your breakfast meal, which helps keep blood sugar steady. Oranges, apricots, mangoes and flaxseeds are also breakfast foods that are a good source of soluble fiber. Another breakfast meal idea for hypoglycemia is an egg sandwich made with one scrambled egg on a whole-wheat English muffin, accompanied by low-fat cheese and a fresh orange.
Second Breakfast Meal Ideas
Carb foods that are low on the glycemic index, or GI -- such as 100-percent stone-ground whole-wheat bread, muesli, oat bran, oatmeal and most fruits -- cause only a small rise in blood sugar, compared to foods that are high on the glycemic index, such as white bread, bagels, cornflakes and melon. A low-GI breakfast might include two slices of 100-percent stone-ground whole-wheat bread spread with peanut butter and some sliced mango on the side. Or you might enjoy a bowl of muesli with low-fat milk and a fresh apple as a second breakfast meal.
Breakfast Eating Tips
As with any good diet, you should not skip breakfast, or a second breakfast. Going too long without eating can lead to a hypoglycemic episode. In addition, you may need to watch your intake of caffeine. In some people, caffeine can cause hypoglycemic symptoms or make symptoms feel worse. That means limiting your intake of coffee, tea, energy drinks and chocolate.
- Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: Hypoglycemia and Diet
- HealthLinkBC: Sample Menu for Reactive Hypoglycemia
- HealthLinkBC: Healthy Eating Guidelines for People with Reactive Hypoglycemia
- Harvard University Health Services: Fiber Content of Foods in Common Portions
- American Diabetes Association: Glycemic Index and Diabetes