Have you ever felt hangry? It’s not just a funny word to describe a state we’ve all experienced, and it certainly doesn’t feel like a joke when you’re in the throes of it. Feeling hangry (hungry + angry) is actually a sign of low blood sugar. When you sense yourself getting cranky for no reason, and you are suddenly starving for something to eat, you might need to take a closer look at how your body is responding to stress and diet. Having a blood sugar crash can be avoidable. The good news is there are many foods that can help balance blood sugar so you can stop the energy dips.
Your daily blood sugar experience should feel less like a roller coaster and more like smooth sailing. Eating should make you feel satisfied and give you energy until your next meal. When you have balanced blood sugar, you have energy all day, with no dips in between meals. Most of us don’t even know what that feels like, to go all day without yawning and a nice level source of energy and alertness. So how do we fix that?
How To Prevent Energy Dips and Stabilize Blood Sugar
A great place to start is this Carb Test created by Robb Wolf. This valuable exercise will help you determine which foods are causing your blood sugar to crash. If you are not sure how grains and carbs affect you, try doing Robb Wolf’s 7 Day Carb Test. In this test, you will try out all the carby foods you tend to eat and see how you feel afterwards. Robb and his wife share in these videos what foods they react to and how to use the experiment to your benefit.
Another Way to Balance Blood Sugar? Eat More Vegetables
The general recommendation for stable blood sugar is to fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens or cruciferous veggies, add a fist-sized portion of protein, some healthy fat, and include a *small* serving of starch such as potatoes or rice. *How much starch or carbs should be on your plate differs from person to person. Some people handle carbs really well and others don’t. (That test above will help you understand your own body better!)
This way of eating might take some getting used to, as most of us were taught to fill the majority of our plates with pasta or other grains. But eat a big plate of pasta and observe your energy levels. Sure, you may get a boost of energy right after you polish off the last noodle, but you’ll be headed straight for a food coma just a little while later if your blood sugar crashes.
Foods That Balance Blood Sugar
Besides consuming the right ratios of vegetables, protein, and starch, you can also focus on foods that are particularly good at regulating blood sugar. These nutritious ingredients help stabilize your energy levels so that you can get the most out of your meals.
Here are my top 5 ingredients for regulating blood sugar:
Cinnamon: Cinnamon improves glucose control, which benefits insulin sensitivity and lessens the risk of diabetes. Half a teaspoon per day is usually adequate. Sprinkle it on your yogurt, in your coffee, or over an apple. Cinnamon also tricks your taste buds a little, and makes whatever you are eating or drinking taste sweeter than it really is.
Eat high-quality fats like coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, grass-fed butter, and avocados: Consuming your protein and carbs together with fat is a great way to slow down a glucose spike after a meal. That fat helps your stomach to slow down your digestion, which means any sugars from the meal will be released slower, keeping your blood sugar more even. You will also feel more full and satiated after a meal or snack. Just make sure to avoid inflammatory oils like soybean oil. You can spread avocado on that toast instead of just butter or jelly.
Probiotic-rich foods like sauerkraut or beet kvass: Food cravings can result from an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the body. Add more good bacteria with probiotic-rich foods (not sugar-laden yogurt, mind you!) and you may notice your cravings decrease.
Grass-fed collagen: Collagen is a flavorless powder that dissolves instantly in liquid, making it an ideal protein source that will keep your blood sugar from dipping too low. I like the Great Lakes and Vital Proteins brands. There are many coffee products out now that include collagen powder for it’s health benefits and to help make you feel full in the mornings if you are intermittent fasting.
Sweet potatoes: Craving something sweet after a meal? A few bites of sweet potato with ghee or coconut oil (and why not cinnamon?) will satisfy your sweet tooth while keeping your blood sugar under control. This is a great addition to your dinner too if you tend to have a sweet craving before bed. Having something naturally sweet, that also contains lots of nutrition and fiber keeps away those insulin spikes.
How to Recover from a Sugar Binge
And if you do find yourself dealing with the aftermath of a sugar or carb binge, check out this post for how to recover from a sugar binge, where I give you solid steps for how to recover quickly.
Blood sugar balance is a complex topic, and there are many ways to achieve it depending on your unique body chemistry. If you’re tired of getting hangry and want more guidance in this area, contact me to schedule a nutrition consultation.
*Disclosure: Please note that some links on this page are affiliate links, and TheHolisticChef.com is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. At NO ADDITIONAL COST TO YOU, I will earn a small commission, if you purchase them. Please note that these are products I know and use myself. I recommend them as they are good products and to help you get the same great results in your kitchen.