Coming up with nutritious, tasty, and satiating breakfast options can be a struggle if you have diabetes, given how many popular breakfast options are high in carbs.
With diabetes, it’s typically necessary to manage your blood sugar levels. And this includes managing how many carbs you consume.
When considering breakfast options, opt for those that are rich in protein and fiber, contain healthy fats, and provide low to moderate amounts of carbs.
Here are 10 great breakfast ideas for people with diabetes.
Eggs are delicious, versatile, and a great breakfast choice for people with diabetes.
They’re low in calories and high in protein, providing around 70 calories and 6 grams of protein per large egg. In addition, one egg contains less than 1 gram of carbs.
A 12-week study of 65 people with type 2 diabetes found that eating two eggs daily as part of a high protein diet significantly reduced fasting blood sugar and HbA1c levels, an indicator of long-term blood sugar control.
You can enjoy eggs in various ways, such as fried, poached, or scrambled. Alternatively, try making a healthy and delicious omelet with a variety of vegetables like spinach, mushroom, and bell peppers.
Summary: Eggs are delicious, versatile, and great for people with diabetes thanks to their high protein, moderate fat, and low carb content. You can enjoy them in various ways such as fried, poached, scrambled, or as an omelet.
2. Greek yogurt with berries
Greek yogurt with berries is an easy, tasty, and nutritious breakfast option that suits individuals with diabetes.
According to some studies, eating dairy products may improve blood sugar control and lower blood sugar levels. It’s speculated that this may partly be due to yogurt’s probiotics, which help your body break down sugars.
A standard 5.3-ounce (150-gram) serving of low-fat Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup (75 grams) of berries contains the following:
- Calories: 121
- Protein: 16 grams
- Fat: 0.8 grams
- Carbs: 13.5 grams
- Fiber: 1.6 grams
This dish is relatively low in calories. If desired, you can add a tablespoon of crushed or slivered nuts for a boost of calories and healthy fats without increasing the carb content by much.
Summary: Greek yogurt with berries is a nutritious breakfast option. It may improve blood sugar control, partly due to the probiotics found in yogurt.
3. Overnight chia seed pudding
Chia seeds are great for people with diabetes since they’re high in fiber and healthy omega-3 fatty acids yet low in digestible carbs. Digestible carbs are those that can be used by your body and raise blood sugar levels.
Even though a 1-ounce (28-gram) serve contains 12 grams of carbs, 9.8 grams come from fiber and don’t raise your blood sugar levels.
In addition, the soluble fiber in chia seeds can help lower your blood sugar levels by slowing down how fast food moves through your gut and is absorbed into the bloodstream.
To make an overnight chia seed pudding, place 1 ounce (28 grams) of chia seeds, 1 cup (244 grams) of unsweetened almond milk, and a dash of vanilla extract into a mason jar. Shake well to combine and refrigerate overnight.
An overnight chia seed pudding made using this recipe contains:
- Calories: 175
- Protein: 5.7 grams
- Fat: 11.1 grams
- Carbs: 15.1 grams
- Fiber: 10.2 grams
To enhance the flavor, top the chia seed pudding with fresh low carb fruits such as blueberries or strawberries. For additional sweetness, you can add a little sugar-free sweetener like stevia.
Summary: Chia seeds are high in soluble fiber and low in carbs, making them great for people with diabetes. Try mixing up an overnight chia seed pudding to enjoy their benefits.
Oatmeal is a nutritious breakfast dish made from steel-cut, rolled, or instant oats.
Suggested read: 12 sweet and diabetes-friendly snacks
Although oats are relatively high in carbs, oatmeal is a good option for people with diabetes because it may help lower blood sugar levels due to its high fiber content.
A standard serving of oatmeal made with 1/2 cup (40.5 grams) of oats and 1 cup (250 mL) of water contains:
- Calories: 154
- Protein: 5.4 grams
- Fat: 2.6 grams
- Carbs: 27.4 grams
- Fiber: 4.1 grams
Oats contain a specific type of fiber called beta-glucan, which is responsible for most of its blood sugar-lowering effects. In addition, beta-glucan helps you stay fuller for longer by promoting the release of peptide YY (PYY) in the gut, which signals fullness.
If you’d like to make your oatmeal tastier and more nutritious, try adding ingredients such as cinnamon, berries, nuts, seeds, or Greek yogurt — none of which are high in carbs.
Summary: Oatmeal is rich in soluble fiber that aids blood sugar control and can keep you feeling full for longer. Despite its relatively high carb content, it’s a good option for people with diabetes.
5. Multigrain avocado toast
Multigrain avocado toast is a simple and popular dish that can be enjoyed by people with diabetes.
For starters, avocados are packed with fiber and monounsaturated fatty acids that can help prevent your blood sugar from rising too high after a meal. This benefit is also promoted by the fiber from multigrain bread.
One slice (33 grams) of multigrain toast with 1/2 avocado (101 grams) provides:
- Calories: 257
- Protein: 6.9 grams
- Fat: 16.3 grams
- Carbs: 24.3 grams
- Fiber: 11.2 grams
If you’d like, add a boiled or fried egg to increase the protein and fat content. Alternatively, add a pinch of salt and pepper or a drizzle of low-carb chili sauce for extra flavor.
Suggested read: The 12 best foods to eat in the morning
Summary: Avocado toast is high in healthy fats and fiber and may aid blood sugar control, making it a good option for people with diabetes.
6. Low-carb smoothies
Although smoothies are typically high in carbs and sugar, there are several ways to make a delicious, low-carb smoothie that’s suitable for people with diabetes.
For example, a low carb avocado smoothie made with 1/2 (101 grams) avocado, 1/2 cup (122 grams) of unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 cup (123 grams) of low-fat Greek yogurt, and a dash of vanilla extract contains:
- Calories: 254
- Protein: 15.1 grams
- Fat: 16.4 grams
- Carbs: 14.6 grams
- Fiber: 7 grams
To enhance the sweetness, you can add a little natural sweetener like stevia. For a protein boost, add 1/2 scoop or 1 scoop of protein powder, which should help curb your appetite.
Summary: A low-carb smoothie like an avocado smoothie is a simple breakfast option for people with diabetes. You can add protein powder to the smoothie for an added protein boost.
7. Wheat bran cereal
Wheat bran is the outer layer of the wheat kernel that’s stripped away during the milling process.
When wheat bran is made into cereal, the bran is processed into flakes or pellets. These are high in various nutrients and fiber and have a low glycemic load, meaning that they raise blood sugar levels slowly rather than quickly.
A standard 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of wheat bran cereal contains:
- Calories: 92.7
- Protein: 2.9 grams
- Fat: 0.7 grams
- Carbs: 23.1 grams
- Fiber: 5 grams
Wheat bran cereals are typically served with milk or yogurt, and you can add other ingredients like berries or cinnamon for extra flavor.
Summary: Wheat bran cereals are high in fiber and have a low glycemic load, which means they raise your blood sugar levels slowly. This makes them suitable for people with diabetes.
8. Cottage cheese, fruit, and nut bowl
Cottage cheese is soft, creamy, delicious, and suitable for people with diabetes.
In addition, some research suggests that consuming dairy products may help reduce insulin resistance, which is a typical issue for people with diabetes.
It has a mild flavor by itself. Some people like to whip it in a food processor or blender to make it creamier. You can also try making sweet and savory cottage cheese, fruit, and nut bowl.
Suggested read: 14 healthy breakfast foods that help you lose weight
A 1/2-cup (105-gram) serving of cottage cheese topped with 1/4 cup (37.5 grams) of blueberries and 1/2 ounce (14 grams) of almonds contains:
- Calories: 191
- Protein: 9 grams
- Fat: 9.5 grams
- Carbs: 13 grams
- Fiber: 2.7 grams
Summary: A cottage cheese, fruit, and nut bowl contains a good amount of protein and fat while being low in carbs, making it a suitable breakfast option for people with diabetes.
9. Multigrain toast with nut butter
The classic nut butter and toast is a simple breakfast option that suits people with diabetes
Research has shown that eating high-fat foods may slow down the release of sugar into the bloodstream and prevent blood sugar spikes.
One slice (33 grams) of multigrain toast with a tablespoon (16 g) of natural peanut butter provides:
- Calories: 192
- Protein: 8.4 grams
- Fat: 9.7 grams
- Carbs: 19.3 grams
- Fiber: 3.4 grams
Although the above example uses peanut butter, other types like cashew or almond butter are also fine to use. Just make sure to choose natural versions without added sugar.
Summary: Healthy fats like those in nut butter slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream and can help prevent blood sugar spikes. Combining nut butter with a slice of multigrain toast is a fine breakfast choice for people with diabetes.
10. Tofu scramble with multigrain toast
Tofu is a versatile and great breakfast option for individuals with diabetes because it’s low in carbs yet high in protein and fat. It’s made from condensed soy milk pressed into firm blocks.
Although tofu is typically viewed as a lunch or dinner protein, you can enjoy it for breakfast in many ways.
For example, cook up a quick, delicious tofu scramble. Simply chop firm tofu into bite-size pieces, cook in a hot frying pan in a little olive oil, and season with spices like salt, pepper, and turmeric powder.
A serving of tofu scramble made with 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of firm tofu on a slice (33 grams) of multigrain toast contains the following nutrients:
- Calories: 179
- Protein: 14.8 grams
- Fat: 6.8 grams
- Carbs: 16.7 grams
- Fiber: 3.7 grams
You can also pair this dish with fried vegetables like spinach, onion, zucchini, or mushrooms.
Summary: Tofu scramble is delicious, easy to make, and low in carbs — an ideal diabetes-friendly breakfast option. Try to combine it with a slice of multigrain toast or vegetables.
Coming up with nutritious, tasty, and filling breakfast options can be tricky for individuals with diabetes.
Thankfully, there are plenty of healthy choices to explore. These can help you manage your blood sugar levels and keep you fueled until lunchtime.
Keep in mind that although these breakfast ideas can help you keep your blood sugar in check after breakfast, you still need to follow an overall nutritious and balanced diet throughout the day to keep your overall blood sugar at a healthy level.