Eat Your Meal In This Order To Reduce The Blood Sugar Spike By 75%, Says An Expert
If you feel overwhelmed (or limited) by the idea of eating only blood-sugar-balancing foods, we hear you. But when it comes to avoiding unnecessary glucose spikes, there's more to it than just what you're consuming. In fact, there's one technique you can do that requires zero food restrictions: Eat your meal in a certain order.
It's a concept biochemist Jessie Inchauspe, author of Glucose Revolution: The Life-Changing Power of Balancing Your Blood Sugar, shares on the mindbodygreen podcast—here, she breaks down exactly what this looks like in practice. Find her exact eating order below.
The best order to eat your meal in for blood sugar balance.
You're probably wondering: Does eating a meal in a certain order really make that much of a difference? Well, we'll let the research speak for itself: "Science shows that if you eat the constituents of a meal in a specific order, you can reduce the glucose spike of the meal by 75%1," says Inchauspe. "So you're eating the exact same food, but there are much fewer consequences on your body." Neat, no?
The ideal order is as follows:
- Vegetables first
- Protein and fats second
- Starches and sugars last
Wondering what this looks like in practice? Let's say you're sitting down for a home-cooked meal, and you have a healthy serving of salmon, spinach, and brown rice, with a slice of cake for dessert (we highly suggest one of these Mediterranean-diet-inspired sweet treats). According to Inchauspe's theory, you'll want to eat the spinach first, then the salmon, then the rice, and finish it off with dessert.
If you're at a restaurant, on the other hand, Inchauspe recommends another blood sugar hack: Don't eat the complimentary bread before consuming a meal. "People [who] eat the bread on an empty stomach create a big glucose spike," she explains. "So by the time they've finished their main course, they're smack in the middle of a massive glucose crash, and they feel really hungry, and they have cravings." That's not to say you must skip the bread basket altogether—if you wait to have it alongside your protein, fats, and vegetables, you'll have a much steadier glucose response.
Speaking of veggies first, if you want to add even more blood-sugar-balancing power to your home-cooked meals, try adding a high-quality greens powder with a good source of fiber like mbg's organic veggies+. This USDA-certified organic supplement is filled with hard-to-find sea vegetables (like kelp and chlorella), pre- and probiotics, vegan-friendly digestive enzymes, and an array of organic berries, veggies, and herbs. This unique blend has the power to aid in digestion and help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.* So eating your veggies first can help keep your blood sugar levels steady, but sprinkling organic veggies+ on top can infuse additional glucose-stabilizing benefits.*
Don't forget: Sugary drinks like sweetened tea can affect your blood sugar as well. So if you're looking to add a sweet beverage to your meal, be sure to make it a treat at the end rather than drinking it beforehand (this includes natural sweeteners too).
Strategically eating for blood sugar balance doesn't have to solely be about which foods you eat (although there are some blood-sugar-balancing foods worth noting). Eating your meal in a certain order is both a helpful and low-lift way to avoid a blood sugar spike, as you can apply it to any meal. Plus, it's easy to remember: Vegetables first, protein and fats second, starches and sugars last.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends, holistic skincare approaches, must-have makeup products, and inclusivity in the beauty industry. She currently lives in New York City.