When we eat a bowl of cereal or a standard breakfast bar to start the day, we’re already behind in nutrients. This will result in feeling the yawns ten minutes after you hit your desk, or the teacher calling about your child either bouncing around the room or nodding off in class.
If we give our kids a mid morning snack, we re-start the same cycle of anti-nutrients when we go to things like that granola bar (carbs & sugar), fruit snacks (food dyes & sugar), or Go-Gurt (more sugar with a side of chemicals). For adults we’re stuck in that same boat when we reach for that blueberry muffin in the break room, grab a donut at the gas station, or a nibble from the vending machine.
Daily Sugar Recommendations
We think we can catch up at lunch a bit, though it’s not possible when we’re consuming Lunchables and more processed foods. What’s tough is when our kids’ lunch is above and beyond the DAILY sugar intake recommendations from the American Heart Association. It’s easy to do when they’ve packed fruit snacks, juice box, PBJ on white bread, potato chips, and a Go-Gurt. I get the intention behind that lunch — every bit of it — though it’s doing the opposite of what we intend.
Why Blood Sugar Matters
Your blood sugar level is the measure of glucose concentrated in the blood and is our main source of energy. When we eat, our blood sugar rises, and as your body digests or uses that fuel, your blood sugar levels decrease. Simple carbs like sugar, white flour, and other and processed foods digest quickly tend to spike insulin levels.
If we’re eating foods that don’t keep us full (foods without fiber, protein, and fats), the rollercoaster begins. And we go around and around, continually reaching for junk to fill our growling bellies.
Healthy Eating Tips to Improve Your Family’s Health
#1 Eat less simple carbs
Simple carbohydrates are quick to break down and be digested. Complex carbs take a bit longer and thus give the body more long term energy. This looks like more fruits and VEGGIES than bread, pasta, and cereal. If you’re going to do grains, choose whole grains always.
#2 Get hydrated
Buy your family members a water bottle and use an electrolyte tablet from your local co-op or Whole Foods in place of a juice box. We are dehydrated, people, so this goes for mom and dad as well.
#3 Don’t buy junk
Start by minimizing and exchanging for better quality snacks and foods. Here are some simple swaps:
Aunt Jemima –> real maple syrup
Skippy peanut butter –> non-hydrogenated natural peanut butter (no sugar added)
Rice-A-Roni –> REAL organic brown or white rice from the bulk section
Eggo waffles –> homemade whole-grain waffles or pancakes
#4 Avoid sugar and candy
It’s super tempting to want something sweet for dessert, but it’s better to avoid sugar as much as possible. Eating these may provide an in-the-moment sugar-high but will only lead to a sugar crash causing you to become even more sleepy, irritable, and foggy. Instead of your usual go-to’s, try the rice crispy recipe or our suggested cookie recipe.
#5 Eat a healthy breakfast
Start the day right with a nutritionally sound breakfast. Nutritional components to keep in mind when preparing your breakfast.
Healthy carbohydrates = vegetables, fruit
Healthy fats = bacon, grass-fed pork sausage, grass-fed butter
Healthy proteins = grass-fed meats, organic & free-range eggs, collagen
See the batch cooking recipe for egg breakfast muffins. You can make a week’s worth ahead of time and store in the fridge or freezer.
#6 Eat a truly healthy lunch
Choose a tuna/chicken salad without the bread or Cobb salad with egg, turkey, cheese. Taco salads are also a hit for the family member of any age. Organic beans and rice with a sprinkle of cheese is one a lot of kids like.
Cook extra food for dinner and pack for lunch. Or even better, batch cook over the weekend to keep in the fridge for lunch. Make hearty soups and stews.
#7 Include these 3 nutrients every time you eat (even when you snack)
Healthy fat + colorful carb (remember, this is fruits and VEGGIES) + protein
Healthy fats: Your brain needs healthy fats to function well, so choose from these beneficial fats: Avocado, avocado oil, avocado mayo, butter, coconut milk, coconut oil, nut butters, nuts & seeds, olive oil, olives, and whole fat dairy products if you can tolerate them.
Protein: A handful of raw nuts, homemade protein/energy ball, Epic bar, jerky, apple & peanut butter, beef sticks, veggies & hummus, pear & cheddar cheese.
Colorful complex carbs: Whenever possible, reach for fruits and veggies! If you’re going for grains, choose whole grains.
#8 Eat every 3 hours
Avoid the roller coaster of ups and downs by eating on regular schedule. I’ve found that eating within 30 – 60 minutes of rising really has helped me avoid the energy crashes, cold sweats, and shakes that can come with a blood sugar crash. Snacks need to include the protein and fat too. And don’t forget to eat after a workout.
Custom Nutrition Program to Feel Your Best
Uncover the things that have been holding you back from optimal health. Nutrition Response Testing is a personalized, fully custom approach to pinpointing what your body needs. You can #claimyourhrealth, and we are prepared to guide you along the way. Nutrition coaching helps you set goals and stay accountable, so you can experience greater health gains and feel supported.