The Best Metabolic Health Diet for Balanced Blood Sugar

by | Sep 18, 2023

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When we know what to do to improve metabolic health, the usual next question is “how do I eat to balance blood sugar?” The good news is you can balance your blood sugar while still eating carbs, eating foods you enjoy, and eating often (no fasting promoted here!)

Eating to support blood sugar balance and avoid high and low rollercoaster swings means adopting a metabolic health diet. This is an approach aimed at optimizing your metabolism and promoting overall health. A healthy metabolism is essential for various bodily functions, including energy production, weight management, and the regulation of blood sugar levels. Here are some key principles of a metabolic health diet:

Metabolic Health Diet Nutrition

The key focus of a metabolic health diet is prioritizing the right nutrients in the right balance.

Start with Balanced Macronutrients

A metabolic health diet typically includes a balanced ratio of macronutrients, which are protein, healthy fats, and high fiber carbohydrates. The specific ratio can vary based on individual needs and preferences, but it’s important to include a mix of all three for optimal metabolic function.

Protein: Protein aids in satiety and muscle building. Protein also helps increase metabolism because it takes a lot of energy to break it down in our bodies. Include adequate protein in your diet, as it helps with muscle maintenance and repair. Good sources of protein include lean meats, poultry, fish, tofu, beans, and legumes.

How much? Aim for 25-35 grams per meal or a minimum per day as an active female. If you’re not used to eating that much protein, start with less. if you’re doing heavy strength training or are over 40, you will need more. You want at least 1/4 to 1/3 of your plate to be filled with protein. As with any nutrition advice, specific amounts depend on the individual, so work with a dietitian to determine your specific needs.

Healthy Fats: Healthy fats help with satiety and slows the blood sugar response from eating carbohydrates. Choose sources of healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. These fats provide essential fatty acids and can help improve insulin sensitivity.

How much? 10-30 grams per meal, or a minimum of 60 g per day for active, menstruating females. Fat will not make you fat! We need fat for optimal metabolic and hormone health. Not all fat is created equal so look for healthy sources as listed above. Many protein sources are also decent sources of fat, and fat can also come from condiments and dressings used to flavor a meal. Just 1-2 tablespoons can provide sufficient quantities due to the higher caloric content of fat.

Fiber: Fiber helps to regulate blood sugar by slowing the blood sugar response, and also feeds the good bacteria in your gut to keep things moving in your GI tract. Incorporate high-fiber foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables into your meals.

How much? 5-15 grams per meal. This will look like up to half your plate being fiber rich veggies and a quarter of your plate high fiber carbohydrates. If you have GI issues, start small. And again, work with a dietitian if needed.

What about carbs?

Carbs are the primary energy source that our body needs to function. We need carbs! Carbs include both starches and fibers, so while we want to choose carbohydrates from both groups, we want to prioritize high fiber carbs, including beans, legumes, fruits, root vegetables, and whole grains.

Refined, processed, and packaged carbohydrate products can be incorporated into a healthy diet alongside protein and fat to minimize blood sugar swings. Restricting foods you enjoy because they are high in sugar or refined carbohydrates can lead to high levels of metabolic stress that are counterproductive to the benefits of eating a metabolic health diet. Including these foods in a balanced manner is a great way to enjoy your favorite foods and still reach your goals.

Supporting a Metabolic Health Diet

Now that we have what makes up a metabolic health diet, we can look at the big picture of putting it all together.

Meal Composition

Starting with an equal distribution of protein, health fats, and fiber on the plate is a great starting point. Depending on health and fitness goals, you may need more or less fiber and fat. More if your goal is blood sugar balance and metabolic health, and less if you’re focused on endurance training, for example.

Whole Foods

Emphasize whole, minimally processed foods in your diet. This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, nuts, and seeds. These foods are rich in essential nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants that support metabolic health. Processed foods and added sugars are okay in moderation, but should be consumed alongside balanced, whole food nutrition to keep blood sugar levels steady.


Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Staying hydrated is important for various metabolic processes. Hydration is more than just water, so be sure to include minerals as well to optimize fluid utilization.

Metabolic Health Diet Meal Hygiene

While the WHAT matters, the HOW is also important when it comes to a metabolic health diet. Specifically, we need to consider meal timing and frequency, as well as supporting digestion and considering individual needs.

Meal Timing

Try to eat regular meals and avoid skipping meals. Consistency in meal timing can help regulate blood sugar and metabolism. A good rule of thumb is to try to eat every 3-4 hours starting with breakfast within an hour of waking up and ending with dinner. While fasting may be beneficial for some people, it is safer and smarter for active women to eat at regular intervals throughout the day to support not just metabolism and blood sugar but also adequate hormone levels and thyroid function. A good way to know you are eating enough is if you can consistently go 3-4 hours or more without being hungry. If not, try increasing nutrients at your next meal.

Support Digestion

Eat in a calm, distraction free environment. Chew food thoroughly before swallowing and take your time consuming your meal. Remember, our bodies can’t digest food if we are stressed or in a hurry, which will lead to further GI issues as well as an excess of glucose in the cells and an increased demand for insulin.

Consider Individual Needs

It’s important to recognize that individual dietary needs can vary. Factors like age, gender, activity level, and underlying health conditions can influence the ideal diet for metabolic health.

Before making significant changes to your diet, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific health goals and needs. Additionally, regular check-ups and monitoring can help assess the effectiveness of your metabolic health diet.

Further Resources For a Metabolic Health Diet

Want help improving your metabolism so you can get closer to reaching your health and fitness goals? This is exactly what we teach in detail inside Metabolism Makeover. The last round of 2023 starts October 2nd, and I’ll coach you through each pillar, offering personalized support along the way.

Hi, I’m Stephanie! I help everyday active women nourish their goals and fuel their lives.

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