Breakfast is your start to your diabetes self-management day, so you might suspect it’s important to get off on the right foot. My worst breakfast picks are not the absolute worst you could think up. Instead, these are breakfasts you may have every day thinking you’re making an excellent choice.
Welcome to DiabetesEveryDay, I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist, Toby Smithson. Thanks for stopping by, please remember to hit the subscribe button and also go to my website to sign up for my monthly newsletter which is packed with information on diabetes management.
Ok, I’ll admit you probably could come up with the worst breakfasts for diabetes, but these are common choices that can raise your risk for blood sugar readings above target or increase your risk of heart disease. No worries here, I will share three “worst breakfasts” along with a better alternative.
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Before we get into the actual food choices, this is the criteria I look for in making a good breakfast choice… Have your breakfast contain at least 2 food groups, preferably a combination of a complex carbohydrate and a source of protein. This combination helps steady blood sugar levels. If your blood sugar is running above 180 in the morning, it is recommended that you choose a lower-carb breakfast. Don’t worry, I will be giving you a lower-carb breakfast option in my best picks.
The “worst” and my “better” choices for breakfast…
Dry cereal and milk
Having the traditional cold cereal with milk breakfast may drive up blood glucose levels. Even unsweetened, ready-to-eat cereal is a source of carbohydrate and so is the milk you pour on top. If you do not measure your cereal and milk portion, you can easily be consuming over 50 grams of carbohydrate. And if you choose a cereal with little to no fiber, your blood glucose may rise very quickly.
Instead: Oatmeal topped with hemp seeds and almonds
This is a perfect pairing by combining a whole-grain cereal with fiber and protein. Bonus, almonds contain fiber, protein, and healthy monounsaturated fat. This nutrient makeup has the potential to keep you satisfied and research also shows that almonds can give you steady blood sugar for the next meal.
If you want to add a milk type of beverage, you can include an 8 oz glass of plant-based milk that contains 8 grams of protein and 1 gram or less of carbohydrate to keep your total grams of carbs down.
Sausage and eggs
Looking for a low carb breakfast? You may tend to choose sausage and eggs but the total grams of saturated fat (5-8 grams saturated fat per serving) in this familiar breakfast may raise your risk for heart disease. Don’t forget, people with diabetes are at 2-4 times higher risk for heart disease.
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Instead: Veggie omelet
A veggie omelet can be an alternative breakfast that is low in carb but a good source of protein meal choice, and is not as high in saturated fat when you leave off the sausage. According to the American Heart Association, lowering the amount of saturated fat you consume can help lower your cholesterol and risk of heart disease.
Bagel and cream cheese
A bagel alone can add over 50 grams of carbohydrate to your morning meal. So, doing the math here for this bagel, a 15-gram serving would be half of a half. And, don’t be fooled by the name of cream cheese- there is little to no protein in cream cheese. This meal would be a lot of carb and saturated fat (6 grams of saturated fat in a 2-tablespoon serving).
Instead: Whole grain toast spread with nut butter like almond or peanut butter.
Look at the nutrition facts panel to make sure the bread you are choosing has at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. This favorite breakfast option is helpful for diabetes management because it combines carbohydrate (with a good source of fiber) and a protein source that also contain fiber. This combination will help stabilize blood glucose levels post-meal and keep you feeling fuller for most of the day.
What is your favorite breakfast that keeps your blood sugar steady?
Until next time, Cheers to your health.
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