According to health experts, people with diabetes should monitor two main parameters in the foods they eat: glycemic index (GI) and total carbohydrate content (also called glycemic load).
GI means the extent to which a food can raise your blood sugar levels—the lower the GI, the better. GI alone, however, does not determine whether a food is good for someone with diabetes. For example, although watermelon has a high GI (about 72), it provides very few carbs per serving (glycemic load of 5).
When considering breakfast options with diabetes, it is important to choose foods that are rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats that are also low in carbs and sugars. This can help you start the day on a good note and keep your blood sugars under control.
Here are 11 breakfast ideas for people with diabetes.
11 breakfast ideas for people with diabetes
1. Boiled eggs and pumpkin seed salad
Eggs are an excellent breakfast food for people with diabetes. One boiled egg provides you with about 72 calories, protein, and various nutrients including vitamins A, D, E, and K, B vitamins, and minerals. Pumpkin seeds are full of good fats and antioxidants. This breakfast option will keep you satiated and help regulate blood sugar levels while promoting nerve and muscle health.
- Cut 2 boiled eggs into halves and place them in a bowl.
- Chop lettuce, carrots, and cherry tomatoes and add to the bowl.
- Add 2 teaspoons of roasted pumpkin seeds.
- Season with freshly squeezed lemon juice, black pepper, pink salt, and other herbs and spices of your choice.
2. Scrambled tofu on whole grain toast
Whole grains are satiating and full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that whole grains make up at least 50% of your total daily carb intake. Tofu is another low-calorie, high-protein food that is good for the gut and helps lower bad or LDL cholesterol levels. Half a cup of tofu (about 124 grams) contains just 94 calories.
- Drizzle a teaspoon of oil in a pan and sauté some chopped vegetables, such as green beans, diced carrots, and zucchini.
- Season with a little salt, black pepper, and mixed herbs.
- Add ½ a cup of silken tofu to the pan and mix well.
- Cook on low for 3-5 minutes.
- Toast a slice of whole grain bread.
- Place scrambled tofu on the toast and serve hot.
3. Berry breakfast smoothie
Berries are not just low in carbs and calories (8-15 grams of carbs and 50-60 calories per 100 grams) but also loaded with antioxidants and other nutrients that can help lower the risk of nerve and eye-related complications in people with diabetes. Berries also promote heart health, brain health, and immunity.
- Combine 1 cup of Greek yogurt, ½ a cup of chopped berries of your choice, chopped walnuts, and ½ a teaspoon of shredded coconut in a blender.
- Blend well and pour into a mug or glass. Garnish with roasted flaxseeds and nuts.
4. Overnight oats
Overnight oats are the perfect breakfast for busy mornings because you can make them the night before. Oats are naturally gluten-free and rich in fiber, protein, antioxidants, and minerals that help regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. They are also versatile—you can make them with both dairy and non-dairy milk and add seeds, nuts, and fruits for a nutrient boost.
- Pour ½ a cup of milk (almond, coconut, or soy milk) in a mason jar.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of rolled oats, 1 teaspoon of chia seeds, chopped dates (2-3), and chopped walnuts.
- Mix all the ingredients until well combined.
- Cover and keep in the refrigerator for 8-9 hours.
- Serve cold.
5. Poached eggs with multigrain bread
Poached eggs give you the health benefits of eggs without the extra calories that come with frying. Along with multigrain bread, they make a nutrient-rich, satiating, and easy-to-prepare breakfast.
- Fill a large pan with water (up to ¾ its depth) and bring to a boil.
- Crack 2 eggs into 2 separate bowls.
- Once the water is boiling, slide the eggs in one at a time into the pan and cover with a lid.
- Cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Use a slotted spoon to carefully remove the poached eggs and place them in a serving tray.
- Garnish with herbs and spices of your choice.
- Serve with a slice of multigrain toast.
6. Fresh berries and nut butter toast
Phytonutrient-rich berries and protein-rich nut butter make this breakfast a great choice for people with diabetes. Fiber, protein, healthy fats, and other nutrients in this breakfast can help keep you full for longer while improving your blood sugar and lipid levels and lowering inflammation.
- Toast a slice of whole grain bread (you can use almond flour, ragi, oats, whole wheat, or any other bread of your choice)
- Chop strawberries, blueberries , and raspberries (about ½ a cup)
- Spread 1 tablespoon (15 grams) of unsweetened almond or peanut butter on the slice of toast, then layer the berries on top.
7. Chia and almond pudding
Chia seeds and almonds are excellent sources of omega-3 fats, which help lower inflammation, improve cardiovascular health, and help with digestion, blood sugar control, and immunity.
- Pour ½ a cup of milk (almond, coconut, or soy milk) into a mason jar.
- Add 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, some stevia, ½ a teaspoon of desiccated coconut, 1 teaspoon of pumpkin seeds, and 2 finely chopped dates.
- Mix all the ingredients until well combined.
- Cover and keep in the refrigerator for 8-9 hours.
- Garnish with granola and serve cold
8. Greek yogurt and blueberry parfait
Greek yogurt with berries is a nutritious and easy breakfast that is a healthy choice for people with diabetes. Greek yogurt is rich in calcium and protein as well as probiotics that improve gut health and help with digestion, satiety, and blood sugar control. Blueberries are rich in fiber and antioxidants, which help to improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
- Add 1 teaspoon of mixed seeds (sesame, pumpkin, flax, and chia seeds) to a mason jar.
- Add ½ a cup of Greek yogurt.
- Add chopped blueberries and nuts of your choice.
- Mix well and serve.
9. Minced chicken and kale breakfast bowl
Chicken breast is an excellent source of lean protein, vitamin B12, and minerals such as iron, zinc, and copper, all of which are good for managing blood sugar levels. Kale is a superfood rich in omega-3 fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, which can help manage blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and keep the heart healthy.
- Boil minced chicken breast, drain the water, and place to the side.
- Drizzle oil into a pan and add chopped onions and kale, sautéing for 2-3 minutes
- Add boiled chicken and cook for 7-8 minutes.
- Pour everything to a boil and season with salt, pepper, and herbs of your choice.
- Serve hot with chopped avocado, cilantro, and pickled onions.
10. Spinach and egg white crepes
Spinach is a rich source of fiber, antioxidants (such as lutein and vitamins A and K), iron, and potassium, making it a great staple in a diabetes-friendly diet that can help regulate blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. and blood pressure levels. The nutrients in spinach also reduce the risk of diabetic eye disease. When paired with eggs, it makes a healthy and satiating breakfast.
- Blanch spinach and blend with a small piece of ginger to form a paste.
- In a bowl, whisk 4 egg whites and add spinach paste.
- Add a pinch of baking soda, salt to taste, and other spices of your choice.
- Heat a little oil in a pan, and take a spoonful of the mixture from the bowl and spread it in a circular shape.
- Let it cook for 5-10 minutes on both sides.
- Serve hot with salad or pickled vegetables.
11. Vegetable omelet
Vegetable omelets are versatile and can make a super quick and filling breakfast. Eggs and vegetables are packed with protein, fiber, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are excellent for people with diabetes.
- Finely chop onions, bell pepper, mushrooms, and other vegetables of your choice.
- Whisk 1-2 eggs. add chopped vegetables, and season with salt and other spices of your choice.
- Heal a little oil in a pan, add egg and vegetable mixture, and cook well on both sides.
- Garnish with a little grated cheese of your choice.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Harvard Health Publishing. The lowdown on glycemic index and glycemic load. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-lowdown-on-glycemic-index-and-glycemic-load
Greenwood DC, Threapleton DE, Evans CE, et al. Glycemic index, glycemic load, carbohydrates, and type 2 diabetes: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. Diabetes Care. 2013 Dec;36(12):4166-71.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3836142
National Institutes of Health. Diabetes Diet, Eating, & Physical Activity. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/diet-eating-physical-activity
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