Taking Control of Blood Sugar & A1C

Taking Control of Blood Sugar & A1C

Apr 01, 2022Danielle Matthies, RD, CD, LD

If diabetes is the name, then managing blood sugar is the game, and our dietitians are on your team to help you take control. Here we share some strategies and resources for managing diabetes and blood sugar:

What does it mean to “take control” of blood sugar?

To take control is to keep blood sugar within certain desirable ranges in order to avoid unwanted symptoms and/or damage to your body. For a non-pregnant individual with diabetes, the goal is to have1:

  • Blood sugar 80-130 mg/dL before meals
  • Blood sugar less than 180 mg/dL 1-2 hours after the start of a meal
  • An A1C less than 7% (A1C is a number that measures average blood sugar levels from the past 2-3 months. An A1C of 7% indicates an average blood sugar of about 154 mg/dL.)

It’s important to know your numbers and to understand what can affect blood sugar so you can stay on track.

Things that can cause blood sugar to increase:

  • Carb-rich foods
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Certain medications
  • Infection or other illness
  • Changes in hormone levels, such as during menstrual periods
  • Stress

Things that can cause blood sugar to decrease:

  • Missing a meal or snack
  • Extra physical activity
  • Certain medications
  • Alcohol (especially when drinking on an empty stomach)

Tips to promote healthy blood sugar:

  • Consistent intake and timing of carbs throughout the day
  • Consuming complex carbs (whole grains, vegetables, legumes) instead of simple carbs (white products, sweets, soft drinks) - Dietitian recommendation: Birds Eye Whole Grain Brown Rice
  • Limiting added sugars - Dietitian recommendation: Catalina Crunch Cereal
  • Focusing on fiber
  • Pairing carbs with healthy fats and/or protein - Dietitian recommendation: California Avocados
  • Supplements with potential anti-glycemic effects2 - Dietitian recommendation: Sugarbreak
  • Regular physical activity
  • Self-management tools - Dietitian recommendation: BD™ Diabetes Care app

Having the right game plan and team to support you makes all the difference, especially since no two people experience diabetes exactly the same.

Looking for more diabetes resources? Hy-Vee dietitians offer diabetes store tours, blood sugar and A1C screenings, diabetes-friendly cooking classes and more! We’re on your team to help you take control of diabetes and blood sugar.

*The blog articles, recipes and recommendations found on this site are not intended as medical advice and should not replace consulting with your medical provider. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice before changing or adding anything to your diabetes treatment plan.



  1. American Diabetes Association. 2022. Understanding A1C. [online] diabetes.org. Available at: <https://diabetes.org/diabetes/a1c> [Accessed 23 March 2022].
  2. Redmer, J. & Minichiello, V. 2020. Supplements to Lower Blood Pressure. [online] va.gov. Available at: <https://www.va.gov/WHOLEHEALTHLIBRARY/tools/supplements-to-lower-blood-sugar.asp> [Accessed 29 March 2022].


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