The basic guideline to support balanced blood glucose levels is to avoid refined carbohydrates and sugar, and increase quality protein such as fish, legumes, nuts and seeds or lean meat, along with whole grains and plenty of vegetables. These unrefined grains and many vegetables are also a source of chromium, which is an active component of Glucose tollerance Factor (GTF). It works closely with insulin in facilitating the uptake of glucose into cells. Michael T Murray MD, writes that "Without chromium, insulin's action is blocked and blood sugar levels are elevated. Chromium's key benefit is helping insulin work properly." So not only do these beneficial foods provide a steady release of glucose into the blood, but they also provide valuable nutrients which help correct body functioning.
Good oils, such as flax seed oil, hemp seed oil and extra virgin olive oil offer many health benefits but they also slow the release of sugar into the blood stream and aid the reception of insulin in cells.
So lets translate this into lunch meals.
Many of us base lunch around bread, and although we may generally buy wholemeal, with marketing and availability it is very interesting to see how white wraps or pittas can sneek into the diet. Likewise, malted 'brown' breads that are not wholemeal or even 'Artisan' breads will convert to glucose very quickly one eaten. Ideally, where possible, make your own wholemeal bread, since the amount of sugar in shop-bought wholemeal bread has significantly increased over the last 30 years.
With wholemeal bread ensure that you have some protein, which does not increase blood sugar levels but increases insulin response. Home-made lentil pate or soup are very quick and simple to make, likewise a humus based on chickpease and sesame paste. Lean meat, egg or tinned fish will all provide a good amount to protein. Add to this plenty of vegetables to provide fibre and nutrients.
When possible try alternatives to bread as in the West we really do have a very high consumption of wheat. Take a lunch box with a little whole-grain rice, buckwheat, millet or quinoa, mixed with a variety of raw vegetables and topped with some flaked fish, mixed beans or chopped nuts and seeds. Finally, drizzel with a little flax seed oil.
These same principles relate to an evening meal. Avoid refined rice and pasta and make sure that if couscous is used you buy the wholemeal variety. Ensure you include protein at each meal and use a selection of vegetables to form the basis of the meal.
Sometimes more specific advice may be needed to help encourage good blood glucose levels, so contact me if you feel this may be beneficial for you.