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Published on May 08, 2018

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Manage blood sugars with meal timing

Nancy L. Ernst, RD, CD, CDE

Gundersen Health System diabetes educators work with patients in one-on-one and group settings and focus on the importance of self-care by balancing medication, activity and food. This includes strategies like timing meals throughout the day.

"We empower patients with the right tools to help them self-manage their diabetes," says Nancy Ernst, registered dietitian and diabetes educator. "Many patients have seen success using a planned meal schedule, which helps manage blood sugar levels."

Eating consistently throughout the day can help patients maintain glycemic control, which helps level blood sugars and reduce complications. "How often a person should eat during the day depends on the individual," Nancy says. "We create a plan for each patient designed to meet their personal needs."

Nancy adds, "It is important diabetes patients remember that a plan for self-managing diabetes is likely to change over time. A patient may see positive results with one method, but that may need to be adjusted in the future for continued success. It is an ongoing process."

TIPS FOR MEAL TIMING:

  • Eat within 1-1½ hours of waking.
  • Eat every 4-6 hours.
  • Do not skip meals.
  • If eating a carbohydrate, pair with protein.
  • A small evening snack can help maintain blood sugars overnight.
  • Exercise and be active in between meals.

To learn more about meal timing and other helpful diabetes management strategies, visit gundersenhealth.org/nutrition.

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System staff deliver great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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