Breakfast is an important meal for everyone to eat, but it's especially important for those with diabetes. Research suggests that eating a healthy breakfast (as opposed to a sugar-laden one, like a donut and orange juice) may boost your concentration and energy levels, help you control your weight and keep blood sugar levels stable.
The best breakfast foods for diabetes include a combination of lean protein from eggs, nuts, and low-fat dairy, along with fiber from whole grains and whole fruit (not fruit juice).
Why fruit and not fruit juice? Consuming whole fruit may lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, while drinking fruit juice may raise it. Fruit juice often contains added sugar, and it lacks the fiber that helps stabilize blood sugar and keeps you full between meals. You should also skip the fancy coffee drinks, which are usually packed with sugar and fat (and are pricey, to boot!). Instead, sip on unsweetened tea or coffee, or add skim or low-fat milk to your hot drink to help fill you up and avoid blood sugar spikes.
When planning your meals, it's vital that you know your numbers and carefully monitor the amount of carbohydrates you consume at each meal. The amount of carbohydrates you should eat will depend on certain lifestyle factors, such as how active you are and the medications you take, so be sure to speak with your physician or dietician about what your target should be. Once you know how many carbs you should be eating at each meal, be sure to stick with the goals your physician has set.
Here are a five delicious breakfast foods for diabetes that will help you start your day off right:
1. Low-Fat or Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt with Unsalted Nuts and Fruit
Eating a serving of protein at every meal is important for people with diabetes because proteins generally do not raise blood sugar levels, but it can be difficult to get a protein portion in at breakfast. Greek yogurt, which contains more protein and fewer carbohydrates than regular yogurt, is an ideal choice for people with diabetes. Aim for a six-ounce serving of Greek yogurt, and add half a cup of chopped fresh fruit for a burst of flavor and a tablespoon of unsalted nuts for texture. As a bonus, the fruit and nuts will also give you a boost of fiber and extra protein.
2.Whole Grain or Bran Cereal, Fruit, and Skim Milk
This quick and easy, fiber-rich cold breakfast can help prevent between-meal snack cravings. Although the supermarket aisles may be filled with sugar-frosted, low-fiber options, you can easily find the best cereal products for people with diabetes by reading the ingredient and nutrition labels. Look for:
- Whole grains as the first listed ingredient
- Three grams of fiber or more per serving
- Less than six grams of sugar per serving
3.Oatmeal with Fruit
Warm oatmeal is especially satisfying on a crisp morning. Plus, studies show that it may decrease insulin resistance. Oatmeal is a good source of fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals. Skip the prepackaged and instant varieties that often come loaded with sugar and artificial flavorings, and opt for steel cut oatmeal instead. To save time in the morning, you can cook it the night before or buy quick oats. Cook up a quarter cup of dry oats, then add a handful of blueberries, chopped peach, or sliced apple for color and flavor, and you'll also be adding a couple of grams of fiber and a variety of vitamins. Sprinkle with flax seeds or sliced almonds for a nutty, fiber-rich topping.
4. Toast Made with 100 Percent Whole Wheat Bread Topped with Almond or Peanut Butter
Whole wheat bread products typically contain more fiber than white bread products. According to the American Diabetes Association, the good fat and protein combination in almond and peanut butter will keep you full and satisfied throughout most of the day. Bonus: this breakfast is quick to prepare and easy to eat on the go. A single serving is one piece of whole wheat toast topped with one to two tablespoons of natural peanut or almond butter. Add banana or apple slices for a sweet, nutritious topping.
5. Scrambled Eggs (or Scrambled Egg Whites) and 100 Percent Whole Wheat Toast
This classic breakfast combines protein-rich eggs and fiber-packed whole wheat toast to fill you up and get you out the door, ready to face the day with energy and focus. A single serving is one egg and one piece of whole wheat toast. To keep this meal healthy and low-fat, cook your eggs in a nonstick pan with cooking spray, and top your toast with a light butter substitute, low-fat cream cheese, or sugar-free jam.
Harvard Gazette, Skip the Juice, Go for Whole Fruit
American Diabetes Association, Quick Breakfast Ideas
American Diabetes Association, Protein Foods
American Diabetes Association, Grains and Starchy Vegetables
American Diabetes Association, Carbohydrate Counting
Healthline, 7 Diabetes-Friendly Breakfast Ideas
Everyday Health, 5 Reasons to Eat a Nutritious Breakfast
United States Department of Agriculture, USDA Food Composition Databases