Healthy and Nutritious Breakfast Ideas for Diabetics

Breakfast is the most important meal of all. If you are diabetic, it’s very important not to skip breakfast since your blood sugar level may be low after not eating overnight. What is more, the right breakfast will provide the much-needed energy to begin the day right.

A healthy breakfast can help you maintain an ideal body weight which is one of the key factors in diabetes management. One 2014 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reports that eating breakfast, especially one which includes grains, cereals, low-fat milk and whole fruit, can support weight loss.

Furthermore, skipping breakfast is associated with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. According to a 2015 study published in Public Health Nutrition, eating breakfast regularly is potentially important for preventing Type 2 diabetes.

Having diabetes doesn’t mean that you need to eat bland, boring foods at every meal. You can eat a variety of satisfying foods for breakfast that will fill you up without spiking your blood sugar. A high fiber and low glycemic index breakfast menu will help you maintain a healthy blood sugar level.

Here are some healthy breakfast ideas for people who have diabetes.

1. Smoothies

A smoothie is the right option if you want to prepare a meal in a minute. Smoothies made with the right ingredients will give you a nutritional boost without raising your blood sugar level. To make a diabetes-friendly smoothie you will need some fat-free milk, plain nonfat yogurt, almond milk, or even green tea. Next, choose antioxidant-rich and low-glycemic fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, apples, blueberries, avocados, cucumbers, spinach, kale etc. Moreover, you can also top your smoothie with nuts, flax seeds or chia seeds to increase the fiber content that promotes a feeling of fullness.

For example, you can try out this recipe:

Put ½ cup of spinach into a blender. Add ½ cup of frozen berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or a mix of different berries). Then, add ½ cup of almond milk and Greek yogurt. Add 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder. Blend the ingredients for a couple of minutes. Just 1 cup of this nutrition-rich smoothie will keep you satiated for hours.

2. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is another great breakfast alternative. Hot or cold, oatmeal is the right cereal that you can enjoy several times a week. The soluble fiber in oats slows the rate at which your body breaks down and absorbs carbohydrates, which helps keep your blood sugar levels stable. Oats are also packed with omega-3 fatty acids, folate and potassium. You can choose from steel-cut, rolled or instant oats.

However, it is important to stay away from the flavored varieties that can be packed with sugar. What is more, oatmeal is fast and easy to make. You can cook the oats in skimmed or low-fat milk and sweeten them with raw honey. Make your oatmeal even healthier by topping it with some nuts or chopped fresh fruit like apples or strawberries. Enjoy a small bowl of oatmeal for breakfast, several times a week.

3. Barley

Barley is another healthy breakfast ingredient which will help you keep your blood sugar level under control. What is more, it has twice the protein and almost half the calories as oats. This makes it one of the best breakfast foods.

A 2016 study from Lund University in Sweden shows that barley can rapidly improve people’s health by reducing blood sugar levels and the risk for diabetes. This is due to a mixture of dietary fibers found in barley. In addition, they can also help reduce one’s appetite as well as the risk for cardiovascular disease.

How to prepare barley for breakfast:

Soak 1 cup of pearl barley in water overnight. The next morning, strain the barley and add it in 2½ to 3 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil, then cover it with a lid and reduce the heat. Let it simmer for 20 minutes, until the grains become tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add a little raw honey and nuts to the cooked barley.
Eat it while it is still warm.

4. Low Fat Yogurt

A bowl of low-fat yogurt is another very good item on a diabetic diet plan for a healthy breakfast. Low-fat yogurt has a low glycemic index rating. This means it won’t spike your insulin levels after eating it. Furthermore, yogurt also provides a good amount of protein, calcium and many other essential nutrients that will keep you feeling full throughout the morning.

A 2014 study published in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, found that higher consumption of yogurt was associated with a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Another 2014 study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences suggested that probiotic yogurt consumption may be used as an alternative prevention approach and treatment method to improve dyslipidemia in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

You can eat a bowl of plain Greek yogurt, or add some almonds and chopped fruit like fresh pears, apples, strawberries or blueberries to make it even healthier and tastier.

5. Scrambled Eggs and Toast

Eggs make an excellent choice for people with diabetes. In fact, the popular breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast is one of the best ways to start the day but only if you cook them right. The protein, vitamin D and fat in eggs help sustain your energy level and keep you satisfied until lunchtime.

You can quickly scramble 1 or 2 eggs in a nonstick pan with a little olive oil. Enjoy your scrambled eggs with a slice of whole-wheat toast. Instead of scrambled eggs you can also eat 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs with whole-grain toast.

6. Spinach and Tomato Omelet

You can also make an omelet with egg whites and lots of spinach and tomatoes for a satisfying and filling breakfast. This will give you a healthy protein-rich treat which also offers an antioxidant boost. The protein in egg whites will help keep you full without affecting your blood sugar.

Cook a handful of spinach and tomatoes in a nonstick pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the whites of 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon of skimmed milk. In the end, add some fresh herbs like basil and parsley or some of your favorite spices.

7. Whole-Wheat Sandwich

Bread is a basic breakfast item, but you must choose your bread wisely if you are diabetic. White bread is made with highly processed white flour and added sugar, thus it can be bad for your blood sugar level.

However, this does not mean that you cannot eat bread. Choose whole-wheat bread for a better nutrient-rich option. The fibers in whole-wheat bread slows digestion, which in turn slows the release of sugars into the bloodstream.

Whole-wheat toast spread with peanut butter and topped with thin apple slices makes a great breakfast sandwich. Depending on your preference, you can also use some cucumber, lettuce, tomato, spinach or cottage cheese in your sandwich.

8. Almonds and Fruits

When you are in a hurry and do not have the time to make an omelet or sandwich, almonds and fruits make a great breakfast. Eating almonds improves the glycemic control and lipid profiles in people who have Type 2 diabetes. A 2011 study published in Metabolism, reports that consumption of 2 ounces of almonds was associated with lower levels of fasting insulin and fasting glucose.

Combining almonds with a fruit that has a low glycemic index will provide the power of antioxidants and other vital nutrients. Some of the low-glycemic fruits that you can enjoy for breakfast include berries, peaches, apples or oranges.

So, the next time when you are in a hurry, grab a handful of unsalted almonds and a fruit of your choice and eat them on the run. Or, if you have some time, then just mix chopped almonds and fruits like kiwi, pomegranate, apples, and strawberries with 2 tablespoons of cottage cheese. You can also sprinkle fresh herbs to improve the flavor.

Additional Tips

It’s important to measure your blood glucose before eating and two hours afterwards to find out the effects of any food or meal on your sugar level. Always cook with less fat by using nonstick pans and healthy cooking oil like olive oil.

Furthermore, avoid sugar-laden coffee in the morning to ensure that you’re eating a healthy breakfast. Watch your portion sizes and keep your kitchen stocked with healthy and diabetes-friendly breakfast foods.

If you are diabetic, it’s very important not to skip breakfast since your blood sugar level may be low after not eating overnight.

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