How you start your day can have lasting effects on your blood sugar. Creating a few simple, healthy habits in the morning will start your blood sugar off on the right foot, and keep it going all day.
While we often think of diet as the first culprit for high blood sugar, that’s not always the case. There are many lifestyle influences on our blood sugar and these take place from the moment we wake up, to our bedtime, and throughout the night.
Habits around other lifestyle factors like exercise, stress, hydration, and sleep all play crucial roles in reducing blood sugar as well. Let’s take a look at the best morning habits for better blood sugar levels, according to dietitians and diabetes experts.
Justine Chan, MHSc, RD, CDE explains, “Drinking water can prevent sugar in your blood from becoming concentrated, which can lower blood sugar. When you drink more water, you can also manage cravings and reduce your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages.”
It may sound counterintuitive at first, but eating something can actually help stabilize your blood sugar. Some people notice that the longer they go without eating, the more their blood sugar continues to rise. This process is known as gluconeogenesis, or the process of creating blood sugar that is stored in the liver to keep energy levels up without food.
Registered dietitian Patricia Kolesa, MS, RDN explains, “Going without food for long periods of time acts as a stressor to your body, causing blood sugar to rise. When we wake up in the morning, our blood sugars may be elevated, and a balanced breakfast can help stabilize them or bring them down.”
By eating breakfast, you can keep blood sugar levels balanced and have a greater effect on stabilizing them throughout the day. Kourtney Johnson, RD, LD adds her recommendation, “In addition, adding fiber and protein sources to a carb source decreases the likelihood of blood sugar spiking after the meal, as digestion is slowed with the additional nutrition.”
Starting your day with a high-protein meal has been shown to stabilize blood sugar and may decrease highs and lows over the course of the day. One of the theories for this is because protein takes a long time to digest, and blood sugar does not rise right away.
A high-protein breakfast creates a slow steady drip of energy that has a lasting effect all day. Michelle Caravella, MS, RDN explains, “Pairing a protein-rich food with your breakfast, like eggs with whole grain toast, helps the body reduce the spike in blood sugar after the meal.”
Mara McStay, MS, RDN gives examples of protein-filled breakfast ideas. “Eggs, Greek yogurt, or a smoothie with protein powder are all great protein-rich options.”
Activity, especially first thing in the morning, engages our muscles and starts bringing blood sugar down. Our muscles use glucose for energy, and when we exercise, we are taking blood sugar out of the bloodstream and putting it to use.
Naturally, this lowers our blood sugar and starts our day off on the right foot. Studies show that even as little as a 2 minute walk after a meal can decrease blood sugar significantly. It doesn’t have to be strenuous to count!
Brittany Crump, MPH, RD, LD, CDCES tells us, “A walk after breakfast moves blood sugar from the bloodstream into your cells where it is used for energy, thus lowering your blood sugar. As a bonus, physical activity may help keep blood sugar stable for the rest of the day.”
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