Hypoglycemia & healthy emergency foods

Hypoglycemia is a condition caused by a very low level of blood sugar (glucose). –https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypoglycemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20373685

In diabetics, certain types of physical activity or exercise may cause hypoglycemia/low blood sugar. As in daily life, it is important to keep “emergency food” on hand during any physical activity to prevent this life-threatening condition. Below I’ve compiled a list of my favorite training snacks for staying safe, keeping in mind the law of small numbers, transportability, convenience as well as health benefits. Bon Appétit! 


  • Dried Bananas– Bananas are packed with potassium, magnesium, electrolytes which you deplete during workouts. They are also easy on the stomach and a pretty quick source of carbohydrates. I like banana chips without added sugar which you can make yourself or buy (Natierra Nature is a brand I’ve tried and enjoyed). 
  • Dried Cherries– Cherries are high in fiber, which slows digestion. Due to this, I believe they are better when you’re trending down as opposed to correcting an actual low BG. Nonetheless, cherries can help to reduce muscle soreness caused by exercise which is why they make this list.
  • Watermelon– Watermelon is incredibly hydrating, rich in vitamins C and A, antioxidants and reduces inflammation. It’s a little harder to carry around than dried foods but great to have on hand on a hot summer day. You can keep it in a small cooler by the pool when you’re swimming or at the track, for example. 
  • Sports Gel and Gummies– These are designed specifically to hit blood sugar quickly and fuel workouts. I like Gu (~20-22g carbs per pack), Shot Bloks (~8g per blok), Sport Beans/Jelly Beans (~1-2g carbs per bean). They are also super portable and quick to eat. They probably aren’t as healthy as some of the other options but they are really convenient.


  • Tailwind Endurance FuelI used to fuel my running exclusively on tailwind. It’s easy on the stomach and the carbs hit quickly in an emergency situation. Small sips throughout an endurance workout have been effective for me. Just be sure to also carry water in case you get thirsty and you don’t need the extra carbs. It also isn’t overly sweet like some of its competitors (Gatorade, Powerade, etc.).
  • Fruit Juices– Tart Cherry Juice (like the dried cherries) can help recovery and reduce muscle soreness. It will also hit your BG faster since it doesn’t have the fiber that the fruit itself does. Beet juice also packs a ton of nutrients and is anti-inflammatory. In addition, beet juice contains nitrates that can boost athletic efficiency by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the muscles. Other juices may also work, just beware of added sugars in many store-bought juices and “juice cocktails” which may not provide the same health benefits.
Photo Credit: Joe Longo

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The content on this site is not intended to be medical advice. Always consult your doctor before beginning a fitness regimen or adjusting your diabetes management strategy.

Published by Jenny Nat


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