Breakfasts for diabetics
It is often said to be the most important meal of the day. This may be even more true for people with diabetes. The morning meal helps keep blood sugar stable throughout the day.
One study found that skipping it led to higher blood sugar spikes after lunch and dinner. But not all breakfasts are the same. To start the day off right, breakfast should include fiber, lean protein and healthy fats.
Let’s look at 12 great diabetic breakfasts.
1. Overnight Oats
Flaked oats, rich in fiber, can help keep blood sugar levels under control. Choose rolled or steel-cut oats. It’s less processed than instant oatmeal.
Pair it with fruit to sweeten it and nuts for an extra dose of protein. Don’t have time to cook in the morning? Try overnight oats. Mix one part oatmeal with two parts water or low-fat milk. Let it sit in the fridge for a creamy bowl in the morning.
2. Nut and Fruit Butter
Spread peanut butter, almond butter or other nut butters with no added sugars on whole-grain toast. Look for bread with at least 3 grams of fiber per slice.
Top with fresh fruit, such as sliced strawberries or raspberries. You can also swap the bread for waffles or whole-grain pancakes. If you use frozen ones, check the label for a whole grain as the first ingredient.
3. Egg sandwiches
Scrambled, boiled or poached, eggs are packed with protein: a large one contains 6 grams. Protein takes longer to digest, which can help keep blood sugar levels stable.
For a meal on the go, make a sandwich with a scrambled egg, low-fat cheese and a slice of tomato on a whole-wheat English muffin. You can add a slice of lean meat, such as low-sodium ham or turkey, for additional protein.
4. Greek yogurt parfait
Creamy Greek yogurt has less sugar and fewer carbohydrates than regular yogurt. It’s also high in protein, with 23 grams per cup. Layer plain nonfat or low-fat yogurt with fiber-rich berries and dried fruits, such as walnuts and almonds.
Nuts add crunch and healthy fats. In addition, eating nuts regularly can reduce your chances of heart disease, a condition that diabetes increases your risk for.
5. Sweet potato hash and chicken sausage
Bacon and beef sausage are high in saturated fat and salt. For a healthier breakfast, choose chicken or turkey sausage. One serving has 9 grams of protein, but half the fat of beef.
Serve it in a hash: Sauté mushrooms, onions and peppers until soft. Add spices, chicken sausage and a splash of water. Cook for a few more minutes and add diced cooked sweet potato for extra fiber and vitamin C.
6. Vegetable omelet
Top it with lots of non-starchy veggies, such as broccoli, spinach, kale and tomatoes. They are low in carbohydrates and high in fiber and nutrients. They’re also good sources of vitamin C, and research suggests that getting enough of the vitamin can help your body control blood sugar.
Add cooked vegetables and low-fat cheese to eggs. Serve the omelet with a slice of whole-grain toast.
7. Savory Oatmeal
Morning oatmeal doesn’t have to be sweet. You can add vegetables and lean protein to make a risotto-like dish. You can use leftovers from dinner, such as roasted chicken, tomatoes and spinach with a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil. Or add sautéed kale and mushrooms and a boiled egg. Finish with some low-sodium soy sauce and sesame seeds.
8. Breakfast tacos
You can also have tacos in the morning. Scramble eggs with spinach. Mix with black beans, which add 8 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein per half cup. Serve in a whole wheat or corn tortilla. For extra flavor, add salsa and chili.
Hot peppers add spice and may help fight diabetes: One study found that eating them can reduce the spike in insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar, after meals.
9. Avocado toast
This creamy green fruit is loaded with nutrients, heart-healthy fats and 7 grams of fiber. This combination helps you stay fuller longer, which promotes weight loss.
Smash half an avocado on a slice of whole wheat bread. Add a squeeze of lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve with a hard-boiled, fried or poached egg.
10. Cottage cheese with fruit
Cottage cheese is a protein superstar. One cup of the low-fat kind contains 28 grams of protein for only 6 grams of carbohydrates. For a quick and easy breakfast, serve low-fat cottage cheese with fruit and nuts. One combination to try: fresh or thawed sliced peaches and pistachios.
11. Whole-grain French toast
French toast can be an occasional breakfast treat. But thick slices dipped in syrup are high in carbs. For a healthier twist, dip whole-grain bread in a mixture of eggs, skim milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Omit the sugary syrup and top them with a little peanut butter and fruit. Or make your own jam by blending high-fiber chia seeds and pureed fruit. Let sit until thickened.
12. Blueberry Spinach Smoothie
Smoothies are a tasty way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your day. For a blueberry spinach version, put half a cup of blueberries, a cup of spinach and half a banana in a blender. Pour in a half cup of low-fat milk. Blend until smooth. For a healthy boost, add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed. High in fiber and omega-3 fats, flaxseed can help lower blood sugar in people with diabetes.