Balancing My Plate

Balancing My Plate

Lots of people count calories in their attempts to stay healthy.

I log my food each day, and yes, look at the calories. But, after a major blood sugar spike and crash last week, I was reminded that I also need to watch for nutritional balance at each meal.

Here’s what happened.

The week was crazy busy with little time to prepare breakfast, so I stocked up on bottled juice smoothies. If I paired one of those with some nuts or an oatmeal bar, I wasn’t hungry until lunch time.

One day I picked a bottle of juice with 40+ grams of sugar (all from fruit, no refined sugar added) and sipped it at my desk as I got to work and watched the sunrise. I felt fine.

Later I ate lunch and topped it off with a cashew/date bar (again, no refined sugar added) and felt the classic symptoms of my hypoglycemia bubble up. I buzzed through my day with ample energy, then crashed. An hour after lunch couldn’t stay awake, my words were garbled and a raging headache planted itself in my body for a day and a half. Woah!

So, I browsed my food records on My Fitness Pal and discovered how much sugar I had ingested over the first half of the day. Long story short — way too much! After talking with a diabetic family member, we came to the conclusion that I need to be mixing more carbs with those natural sugars. I also commented that I need more fats and protein to stay satiated and balance my blood sugars in the morning.

On Sunday a friend asked me if I could write a little something about where we should get our calories to create a balanced diet. Good question, because obviously I need a little refresher on this topic too after my juice crash experience!

Your daily calorie needs depend on your age, sex, health conditions and current weight. This is a great topic to discuss with your family physician, since they know your medical history and have a chart to review weight fluctuations.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends:

  • Adult women need 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day
  • Adult men need 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day

The Healthy U.S. Style Eating Pattern: Recommended Amounts of Food From Each Food Group at 12 Calorie Levels chart explains you how much you should consume of vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, proteins and oils based on your daily calorie intake. (I’m studying this chart closely.)

Overall, the key is to have balance.

Sure, my sweet fruity smoothie tasted great in the morning, but it was lacking protein, fats and carbohydrates to provide balanced nutrition and blood sugar stability. So, it’s really not surprising that my body responded with a blood sugar spike and crash.

Until next time,
Choose healthy!

PS: Visit me on Facebook at Cupcakes and Yoga Pants!

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