How to Control Fluctuating Sugar Levels

Eating and working
A woman reaches for a healthy snack at her desk. (Image: KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images)

Your blood sugar levels fluctuate naturally throughout the day, and the normal blood sugar range is between 70 and 140 mg/dL. Your blood sugar levels are generally lowest in the morning, because you have not eaten for several hours, and increase after your first meal of the day. Your levels continue to fluctuate depending on how active you are, how often you eat and how many calories you consume. Your body uses sugar as energy at all times, so it is not possible to stop your levels from fluctuating. However, you can control how much they fluctuate.

Step 1

Eat your first meal within a half hour of waking. Your blood sugar levels already are low, and, the longer you wait, the lower they will drop.

Step 2

Combine a complex carbohydrate, such as a whole grain, with a protein for your first meal of the day. The carbohydrate will convert to sugar in your body, and the protein will prevent your body from using the sugar too quickly. Healthy options include a scrambled egg in a whole-wheat tortilla, oatmeal with nuts or a peanut butter sandwich.

Step 3

Consume a light snack two to three hours after your first meal. The snack will help boost your blood sugar levels and carry you through to lunch. As with your first meal, combine a complex carbohydrate with a protein such as a sliced apple with 1 ounce of cheddar cheese or a cup of plain yogurt with fruit.

Step 4

Have lunch two to three hours after your first snack. Eating at frequent intervals keeps your blood sugar levels from dropping too far throughout the day. Lunch options include tuna salad with tomato, bean soup with a piece of bread or store-bought sushi and miso soup.

Step 5

Eat your second snack two to three hours after your lunch. The afternoon snack will carry you through to dinner and help prevent the afternoon slump. Options include a handful of nuts and a cup of vegetable juice, fruit and cottage cheese or celery with peanut butter.

Step 6

Consume dinner within three hours of your afternoon snack. You can eat anything you wish as long as you combine a protein, carbohydrate and vegetable. Options include whole-wheat pasta with bolognaise sauce and a small green salad or grilled chicken breast, or broiled salmon, with brown rice and vegetables.

Step 7

Have an evening snack at least two hours before bed. The evening snack will help carry your through to morning. As with the other snacks, eat something light that combines a complex carbohydrate with a protein.

Tip

If you work out at any point throughout the day, eat a small snack, such as a banana or half an energy bar, before your workout. Continue with your regular eating schedule after the workout.

Warning

Avoid foods that are high in sugar, such as cookies or cakes. These foods cause severe fluctuations in your blood sugar, according to Gerard Tortora, author of “Principles of Anatomy and Physiology.”

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