Think about your blood sugar levels before and after you do any type of physical activity. Make sure you’re eating properly to prevent sugar highs and lows. Feed your body at the right times, with the right foods.  Exercise does impact your blood sugar. You need to make sure your levels are not too low or too high when you start exercising. People with diabetes need to maintain their blood sugar levels. You should plan to eat before, after, and sometimes during exercise.  Keep an eye on your own body and check your blood sugar before working out.

The best time to eat a balanced meal is 1 to 1 1/2 hours before your workout.  A meal should include:

  • 30 grams of high fiber carbohydrates, such as 2 slices of whole wheat bread, ½ cup of brown rice, an apple, a banana, a handful of raw carrots

  • 3 to 4 ounces of lean protein (about the size of your fist), such as grilled (not fried) turkey, chicken or fish

  • 5 to 10 grams of healthy fat, such as avocado, 1 oz of cheese, 1 oz of dark chocolate, eggs, ½ cup of nuts, olive oil

  • 1 cup of low-starch vegetables, such as lettuce, broccoli, spinach, or string beans

An easy way to remember is to cover ½ your plate with vegetables, ¼ of your plate with protein and ¼ with high fiber carbs.

Here are a few examples of well-balanced meals:

A turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread with ¼ avocado, lettuce, tomato, and 1 cup of sugar snap peas

Vegetable omelet on whole wheat English muffin with turkey bacon or turkey sausage

Chicken stir-fry with lots of vegetables over ½ cup of brown rice

If you’re short on time and you work out first thing in the morning, adjust your meal and grab a snack that combines protein with healthy carbohydrates (ideally 15 grams) 15 to 30 minutes before exercising.  The carbs-plus-protein combo helps you keep your blood sugar stable for a longer period. Try one of these:

  • A hard-boiled egg and 1 cup berries

  • 1 cup of cottage cheese and ½ cup of pineapple

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons (tbsp.) of peanut butter and an apple

Before starting an exercise program work with an endocrinologist or an exercise physiologist. Below are a few things you can do to lose weight and keep it off.

  • Keep a food diary

  • Eat slowly

  • Take smaller portions

  • Combine regular exercise with lifestyle changes in your diet

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