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Glucose-Friendly Recipes to Enjoy This Memorial Day

May 27, 2022
Written by
Team NutriSense
Natalie Krafft

Memorial Day is almost upon us! As we gear up for warmer weather, this day of remembrance may mark the first of many summer barbeques you attend. 

If you're watching your glucose levels—whether it's because of a condition like diabetes or to optimize your health—traditional BBQ staples (like hamburgers, hotdogs, and pasta salad) may not be the best choice for your blood glucose. But that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a delicious meal with loved ones.

We asked our dietitian and Nutrition Manager, Carlee Hayes, to help us take you through some helpful tips for preventing blood sugar spikes. Plus, enjoy our favorite BBQ-themed dishes that are not only glucose-friendly but also delicious crowd-pleasers.

7 Eating Habits to Prevent Glucose Spikes

Plate of eggs and toast

When trying to optimize your glucose levels, it may be difficult to navigate large gatherings and party foods. Thankfully, you can keep your blood sugar in check and enjoy time spent with friends and family with a bit of planning. 

Read on for some easy but effective things you can do to help regulate and prevent blood sugar spikes no matter the occasion.

1) Watch Your Carbohydrates

While it’s not necessary to cut out all carbs, limiting your consumption is helpful. 

Limiting refined grains and focusing on including items like meat, fish, and other seafood, healthy fats, and non-starchy fruits and vegetables is one way to help control blood sugar spikes from carbohydrates.

When opting for carbohydrates, choose the food items you love and leave what you can live without. Everyone has their own carbohydrate threshold, so it's important to eat the right amount of carbs for your specific body, so be choosy with your choices! Love watermelon but couldn’t care less about the potato salad? Take a small portion of the foods you love, and focus on eating them mindfully, enjoying each bite. Small habits like this can really blunt a large glucose spike, which can ultimately help keep energy levels high to fully enjoy the festivities. 

2) Eat your Protein and Fiber First

Paying attention to the order in which you eat your food is one of the easiest ways to prevent or lower blood sugar spikes. In fact, meal sequencing can even help with fat loss and allow you to be more flexible with your diet. 

Try starting your meal with a small salad for a fiber boost, and then opt for your protein source (eggs, chicken, tofu, etc) before eating carbs to slow down your body’s digestion of glucose.

4) Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water and substituting water for things like fruit juices, sodas, and other sugary drinks can also be an easy way to avoid unwanted spikes in blood sugar. 

Apart from blood sugar spikes, staying hydrated helps you stay more in tune with hunger and fullness levels and can help you avoid overeating.

5) Use Vinegar 

Vinegar may help lower blood sugar spikes when paired with carbohydrates. Put this tip in action by adding some apple cider vinegar to your favorite salad dressing and eating it before your carbs to blunt a glucose spike and control your cravings.

Whether you opt for adding vinegar to your salads, eating more fermented foods, or even by just mixing a few teaspoons of it to your favorite tea, there are plenty of easy ways to include vinegar in your diet. 

6) Watch out for Alcohol and Avoid Added Sugar

You don’t need to avoid alcohol altogether, even if you have a condition like diabetes. However, opting for low carb and low sugar drinks is the best way to keep your blood sugar balanced while enjoying a drink or two. Opt for white and red wine, light beer, and distilled spirits for the best glucose-friendly options. 

Similarly, while sugar from fruits and other whole foods can be a healthy source of carbohydrates, it's best to limit your consumption when possible. Excessive sugar intake is not a good idea, especially if you have diabetes or glucose imbalances, as it often leads to spikes in blood sugar. 

7) Get Moving

Gatherings are a time to connect with loved ones and enjoy amazing food. One way to optimize your responses to food is to add some activity to your day! 

Incorporate family walks or sports activities (game of catch, anyone?) to get the family involved, connected, and moving! You'll build a memorable tradition and help optimize your glucose responses—a win, win all around.

Our Favorite Memorial Day Recipes

Here are a few glucose-friendly recipes that are sure to give you some great inspiration for your BBQ appetizers and entrées this holiday weekend:

Crockpot Pulled Pork with Honey Mustard BBQ Sauce from The Real Food Dietitians

Ingredients

For The Pork:

  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 pounds boneless pork butt (Boston butt), netting removed if wrapped

For The Rub:

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon fine salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

For The Honey-Mustard BBQ Sauce:

  • ½ cup Primal Kitchen Dijon Mustard
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (may substitute soy sauce or coconut aminos)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Fine salt and black pepper to taste
  • Optional: Liquid smoke, a few drops to taste

Why We Like This Option

This recipe will give you the summer BBQ feeling-–not only is it a classic dish, but it’s also an excellent source of protein. 

This recipe doesn’t contain refined carbs (such as those found in hamburger buns), so it is less likely to lead to excessive blood sugar spikes while still being full of flavor. Pro tip: Consider throwing this on a big salad, or pairing it with potato salad for a complete meal. 

Cilantro Bean Burgers with Creamy Avocado-Lime Slaw from Eating Well

Black bean burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 (15-ounce) can of no-salt-added black beans, rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ¼ cup crushed tortilla chips or panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup quick-cooking oats
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro plus 1/2 cup, divided
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 cups shredded cabbage (green and/or red)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 whole-wheat buns, halved and toasted

Why We Like This Option

This black bean burger recipe is a great vegetarian alternative to animal protein sources like beef. Including a high-fiber option like this at your BBQ is an excellent way to protect your blood sugar while also ensuring there's a vegetarian-friendly option for everyone to enjoy. 

To optimize this recipe even further, you might consider replacing the whole-wheat buns with a bed of leafy greens.

Tabbouleh from Diabetes UK

Plate of tabbouleh

Ingredients

  • 150 grams bulgur wheat
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 125 grams cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • half cucumber, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch spring onions, finely sliced
  • zest and juice half lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper

Why We Like This Option

Swapping out a high-carb dish like pasta salad for a tabbouleh recipe made of bulgur wheat is a great way to add a lighter, glucose-friendly dish to your spread. 

It's a delicious, high-fiber salad that will complement your other dishes. Bulgur wheat has been found to cause much lower spikes in blood sugar than alternatives like white pasta. Pro tip: Pair it with grilled protein and vegetables for a full meal. 

Easy Hummus from Simply Recipes

Hummus plate

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup tahini (roasted, not raw)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus more for garnishing)
  • 2 garlic cloves, mashed and roughly chopped
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • A sprinkling of paprika, a swirl of olive oil, toasted pine nuts, and/or chopped parsley

Why We Like This Option

This hummus recipe is quick and easy to make, and it’s also an excellent snack for people with diabetes or glucose imbalances due to its low glycemic index (GI) and high complex carb and healthy fat content. 

Hummus is an excellent appetizer for any gathering and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Pro tip: Pair this with chopped cucumbers and carrots for a satisfying dish. 

Turkey Burger from Paleo Grubs

Turkey Burger on a bed of greens

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Hamburger buns
  • Lettuce
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Mayonnaise

Why We Like This Option

For a change up of the traditional burger, we love this flavorful turkey burger recipe. 

This recipe is tasty and easy to make, and its combination of protein and leafy greens will help you curb your blood sugar spikes.

Cucumber Vinegar Salad from Eating Well

Cucumber and onion salad

Ingredients

  • 6 Persian cucumbers
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion 
  • ¼ cup white-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper

Why This Is a Good Option 

Every good BBQ should have a fresh salad to balance the main dishes. This cucumber salad is not only crunchy and refreshing, but its also light vinegar dressing is also an easy way to help you balance out your blood sugar spikes before eating a high-carb entrée. 

Grilled Chicken Veggie Skewers from Fresh Off the Grid

Chicken and veggie skewer plate

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup chopped basil
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ pound chicken (boneless, skinless thighs work best)
  • 8 ounces whole mushrooms
  • 8 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 2-3 green onions

Why We Like This Option

Grilled chicken is one of the best lean protein sources, and this recipe is a traditional BBQ staple and easy to cook on the grill. It’s also low carb and full of healthy, flavorful vegetables. 

These skewers can even be a fun activity for your kids to help out with preparing in the kitchen.

Manage your Glucose Spikes with NutriSense

Optimizing your diet is one of the most important things you can do to regulate your blood sugar levels. Wearing a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) can give you the best insight into how your diet affects your body to help you make more informed decisions about what you eat. 

As a member of the NutriSense CGM Program, you'll get to track real-time data from your CGM in an innovative app. You'll also have access to a credentialed dietitian or nutritionist who can help you create a personalized diet plan for your specific needs. 

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Glucose-Friendly Recipes to Enjoy This Memorial Day
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Staying Safe in the Sun: A Breakdown on Sunscreen
Staying Safe in the Sun: A Breakdown on Sunscreen

It’s important to protect your skin from the harsh effects of the sun’s rays, and one of the most effective ways to do this is to wear sunscreen. But what is sunscreen, and how does it work?

Story
10
min
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How Rice Affects Your Blood Glucose Levels
How Rice Affects Your Blood Glucose Levels

The world loves rice. It’s a staple food in many cultures and can have various health benefits for some. But does it cause your glucose to spike?

Podcast
15
min
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Improving Fat Loss, Muscle Gain and Fitness With Continual Glucose Monitors
Improving Fat Loss, Muscle Gain and Fitness With Continual Glucose Monitors

Kara Collier and Dan Zavorotny talk continuous glucose monitors on the Mind Pump podcast.

Story
8
min
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Dry Needling: Can it Really Help with Muscle Pain?
Dry Needling: Can it Really Help with Muscle Pain?

Dry needling is a therapeutic technique used by physical therapists and healthcare practitioners in an effort to alleviate pain and help restore movement in the body. Read on to find out more.

Story
11
min
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NutriSense Dietitians Recommend: Healthiest Fast Food Choices
NutriSense Dietitians Recommend: Healthiest Fast Food Choices

Wondering what the healthiest fast food options are?  Here are some of the healthiest choices at fast food restaurants, according to dietitians.

Story
11
min
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Here’s What a Realistic Weight Loss Timeline Looks Like
Here’s What a Realistic Weight Loss Timeline Looks Like

Many people try crash diets to lose weight fast, which may provide some short term results but don't work for the long haul. Here is a realistic timeline for healthy weight loss.

Story
8
min
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9 Great Apps to Track Nutrition
9 Great Apps to Track Nutrition

Tracking nutrition has never been easier due to instant access to nutrition tracking apps. Here are the best ones.

Story
9
min
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6 Popular IBS-Friendly Diets
6 Popular IBS-Friendly Diets

Learn more about irritable bowel syndrome, and see what popular IBS-friendly diets people follow to ease their symptoms.

Story
9
min
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What You Need to Know About Neuropathy
What You Need to Know About Neuropathy

Neuropathy, or nerve damage, can cause pain, discomfort, and interfere with daily tasks. Explore effective ways to prevent and manage it.

Story
9
min
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The Health Benefits of Adding Fermented Foods to Your Diet
The Health Benefits of Adding Fermented Foods to Your Diet

Fermented foods have a range of health benefits. Read on to learn more about what they are and why you should be adding them to your diet.

Story
12
min
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13 Healthy Ways to Relieve Stress
13 Healthy Ways to Relieve Stress

Stress can negatively affect your entire body. Here are thirteen different ways to reduce stress in your life.

Story
12
min
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Best Physical and Mental Health Apps Available in 2022
Best Physical and Mental Health Apps Available in 2022

Here are the eleven best physical and mental health apps available in the app store.

Podcast
33
min
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Improving Metabolic Health with Carlee Hayes
Improving Metabolic Health with Carlee Hayes

On this episode of Passionate Pioneers with Mike Biselli, Carlee Hayes, Nutrition Manager at NutriSense, discusses the company’s digital platform that aims to help others discover and reach their health potential.

Podcast
40
min
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Carlee Hayes talks Metabolic Health with Rejuvenaging
Carlee Hayes talks Metabolic Health with Rejuvenaging

In this episode of Rejuvenaging with Dr. Ron Kaiser, Carlee explains how to cut through the online nutrition industry's noise, why we shouldn't look for a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to nutrition, and how CGMs work.

Story
6
min
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Fruit Juice or Whole Fruit? What You Should Pick and Why
Fruit Juice or Whole Fruit? What You Should Pick and Why

Should you be drinking your fruits? Read on to find out more about juicing, whole fruits, and why one may be better for you than the other.

Story
7
min
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Meet the Blood-Glucose Friendly Rambutan: What It Is and How to Eat It
Meet the Blood-Glucose Friendly Rambutan: What It Is and How to Eat It

Do you know what a rambutan is? Learn more about this blood-glucose-friendly tropical fruit and why you should add it to your diet.

Story
13
min
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Organ Meats: Should You Be Adding Them to Your Diet?
Organ Meats: Should You Be Adding Them to Your Diet?

Learn about the health benefits and risk factors of adding organ meats to your meals, and try our favorite recipes using these nutritional treasure troves. 

Story
6
min
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Five Cancer Research Developments of the Last Five Years
Five Cancer Research Developments of the Last Five Years

Read on to learn more about five of the most promising developments in cancer research.

Story
8
min
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A Quick Look at Meditation and Blood Glucose 
A Quick Look at Meditation and Blood Glucose 

Learn more about meditation, how it positively impacts blood sugar, and how you can start incorporating it into your routine.

Story
7
min
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NutriSense Dietitians Recommend: Tasty, Nutritious Salads You'll Love
NutriSense Dietitians Recommend: Tasty, Nutritious Salads You'll Love

Salads don't have to be boring! Our Nutrition Team recommends nine delicious, nutritious salads to help you find your favorite.

Story
7
min
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Do You Need More Vitamin D?
Do You Need More Vitamin D?

Most people get the vitamin D they need from exposure to sunlight, but if you don't spend enough time outdoors, you may not be getting enough of this vital nutrient. Read our article to learn more.

Story
6
min
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Your Mother's Day Gift Guide
Your Mother's Day Gift Guide

Can't decide on the perfect gift for Mother's Day? Pick from a list of ideas to find a healthy, but still exciting gift this year.

Story
8
min
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Can Soy Really Prevent Diabetes?
Can Soy Really Prevent Diabetes?

Some research suggests that eating soy may reduce your risk of developing diabetes. Read on to learn whether that's true and find out more about the other health benefits of soy.

Story
9
min
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Living with Autoimmune Conditions: Celiac Disease
Living with Autoimmune Conditions: Celiac Disease

Did you know that 23.5 million Americans live with autoimmune conditions? Learn more about the symptoms and causes of celiac disease and what you can do about it.

Story
7
min
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Positive Thinking May Affect More Than Your Mental Health 
Positive Thinking May Affect More Than Your Mental Health 

It's no secret that positive thinking can improve your mood and help you cope with difficult situations. Review our article to see how a positive outlook may also benefit your physical health.

Story
10
min
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The Best Diet for Menstruation
The Best Diet for Menstruation

When it comes to your menstrual cycle, what you eat can significantly impact how you feel. Read on to learn more about the best foods to add to your diet to help during that time of the month.

Story
8
min
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9 Unusual Health Conditions You May Not Know About
9 Unusual Health Conditions You May Not Know About

Though most of us may never encounter these, these health conditions are still fascinating to learn more about. Read our article to find out more about nine of the most fascinating, unusual health conditions.

Story
10
min
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The Positive Impact Weight Lifting Has on Blood Sugar 
The Positive Impact Weight Lifting Has on Blood Sugar 

Here is everything you need to know about the relationship between weight lifting and blood sugar.

Podcast
17
min
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Two to 80 Employees in Just Two Years
Two to 80 Employees in Just Two Years

In this 20-minute conversation, Dan shares how he’s putting a Rockstar in every seat. And mistakes to avoid along the way.

Podcast
45
min
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Understanding how Glucose Effects our Metabolic Health with Kara Collier
Understanding how Glucose Effects our Metabolic Health with Kara Collier

Kara, registered dietitian, and co-founder of NutriSense, discusses how blood glucose levels are a core marker of metabolic health. She dives into the health consequences of fluctuating blood glucose levels, and what levels to look fasted compared to post-meal.

Podcast
57
min
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Using Real-Time Data to Improve Metabolic Health with Kara Collier
Using Real-Time Data to Improve Metabolic Health with Kara Collier

Today on the podcast, Kara Collier, RDN, LDN, CNSC, discusses revolutionizing preventative healthcare. It’s her mission to empower people with the knowledge to effectively monitor, optimize, and sustain their own metabolic health.

Story
10
min
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11 Simple and Effective Weight Loss Tips for Men
11 Simple and Effective Weight Loss Tips for Men

Losing weight is typically easier for men than women, biologically speaking, but it's still challenging! Here are 11 simple yet effective tips for losing weight for men.

Story
9
min
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What are the Best Times to Eat for Losing Weight?
What are the Best Times to Eat for Losing Weight?

Review our helpful article where we discuss the best times to eat if you are trying to lose weight.

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10
min
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NutriSense Dietitians Recommend: Best Books on Metabolic Health
NutriSense Dietitians Recommend: Best Books on Metabolic Health

Whether you're looking for weight loss tips or to learn more about metabolism, a little reading material can go a long way. To help you get started, here’s some books on metabolic health, recommended by our Nutrition Team.

Story
9
min
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Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT): Can It Replace Your Workout?
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT): Can It Replace Your Workout?

NEAT can’t replace the benefits of intense cardio or strength-training workouts but like any physical activity, it has many overall health and fitness benefits. Read on to find out everything you need to know about NEAT.

Podcast
40
min
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NutriSense CGM Program Review
NutriSense CGM Program Review

On this week's episode, Shannon describes the comfort, cost, usability, and education she experienced using the continuous glucose monitor program from NutriSense.

Podcast
25
min
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Track Your Health in Real-Time with Dan Zavorotny
Track Your Health in Real-Time with Dan Zavorotny

On this episode of the Making Bank podcast, Dan Zavorotny discusses how he started the company “NutriSense” and how it reached a 150 million dollar valuation in 26 months.

Podcast
37
min
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Can a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) Help You Lose Weight?
Can a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) Help You Lose Weight?

Carlee Hayes talks to This Podcast Burns Fat! about the important role blood sugar plays in weight management.