We all know how people stress the importance of having breakfast, the first meal of the day. This holds especially true if you are a diabetic. And if you are a diabetic in nature, it is very important for you to eat a balanced breakfast. Because eating the first meal provides exceptional benefits for your health. Eating a balanced breakfast if you are diabetic will help you control your blood sugar levels for the rest of the day. However, it is very tricky to zero down breakfast options when you are diabetic. The only way to handle this is to make a weekly plan to your meals — this will help you save time and will also prevent you from making the wrong choices when it comes to breakfast which can end up spiking your blood sugar levels not just for the day but also in the longterm as well.
Why Is A Balanced Breakfast So Important If You Are A Diabetic
There are several studies that talk about how eating a breakfast that has higher fat content and moderate amounts of protein can actually help in reducing weight, fasting blood sugar, and A1c. And if you’re wondering how does this work in a positive way, well, the chances are that these dishes are low on carbohydrates and therefore this effect.
Did you know that there are certain diabetic people who experience very high blood sugar levels because during the night, the liver tends to break down the sugar stores and this makes the cells become more resistant to insulin.
Also, another general fact is that the blood sugar levels of our body tend to rise at a level of 2x after eating breakfast when compared to eating other meals of the day—this is known as the “dawn” phenomenon. And when the levels of high blood sugar rise, it will result in superior carbohydrates cravings; this happens because the sugar remains in the bloodstream when it was supposed to go into the cells. Therefore, if we eat a breakfast that is low in carbohydrates, it will lessen up the resulting glucose response of the body—this simply translates to better management of your blood sugar levels throughout the day. So, what does one eat for breakfast if you are diabetic? Why don’t we understand a little about macronutrients in the first place.
All the food that we eat can be classified as proteins, fats, or carbohydrates. These are the food categories that provide us with the energy to carry on our day-to-day activities. The ADA (American Diabetes Association) says that people need to get a minimum of 20-30% of daily calories from their proteins, 40-65% of everyday calories from carbohydrates, and 30-35% of calories from fats. However, this association also stresses that the nutritional requirements do vary depending on one person to another. And in the case of diabetics, it is best advised that they consult a dietician or a nutritionist to understand how they can manage their macronutrient intake effectively. Another important thing to note here is that macronutrients also vary depending on their quality as well. For example, broccoli and bagel when seen are technically carbohydrates, however, their nutrient profiles are completely different. So, the key is to develop knowledge about foods and their nutrient values.
For example, one needs to be aware that processed foods like breakfast cereals, white bread, sweetened yogurt, baked goods that are shelf-stable, etc. are very poor when it comes to nutrient density, this simply means that they are definitely not as nutritious as whole fruits, vegetables, and unrefined grains.
Carbs are considered to be a very quick source of energy but this very property of carbs can prove to be fatal to diabetics. In fact, we suggest that you don’t look at carbs but look at fiber, as it’s the shining beacon when it comes to breakfasts for diabetics.
We recommend that you don’t ignore fats when it comes to your breakfasts. Fats in controlled proportions are very healthy for our body—it helps in better absorption of vitamins, makes hormone production steady, and helps our heart and brain function smoothly. While looking for fats, opt for the ones that are plant-based, for example, olive oil, seeds, nuts, avocado, coconut, etc. There are some experts who believe that full-fat dairy products will help in keeping our cholestrol levels balanced.
We all know that proteins are the building blocks of our cells, right? And when it comes to diabetic people, it is the lean varaion of proteins that provide the energy density minus any saturated fats.
Steps To Build Meals That Are Diabetic-Friendly
There are four points to keep in mind here:
- Lean protein: fish, beans, eggs, or nuts
- Fiber: whole bran/wheat muffins, oatmeal, whole-grain breads.
- Non-starchy vegetables: Tomatoes, onions, peppers, and leafy greens that is dark in color.
- Healthy fats: dairy, seeds, coconuts, avocado, olive oil, and grass-fed butter.
If you focus on these four points, then it will make for a complete nutrient-dense meal. You will slowly become a pro at making diabetic friendly breakfasts, until then have a look at some of our options:
- Vegetable Omelet With Roasted Vegetables
You can literally add anything to the omelet, there are no restrictions when it comes to using healthy fresh vegetables. You could roast them first in the oven and then add it to your omelet. Vegetables add fiber and texture to the otherwise boring omelet.
- Power-packed Yogurt Parfait
You can ditch the granola and use Greek yogurt instead! Blend in some frozen fruits to the Greek yogurt to make it even healthier—it will add protein, fiber, and make your parfait more satisfying. For added crunch and flavor, you can add on some chopped nuts or even use them for garnish.
- Grilled Strawberry And Peanut Butter Sandwich
Instead of making a sandwich out of grilled cheese, you can use make use of some peanut-butter on whole-wheat bread, isn’t it? Chop and add a layer of strawberries to the sandwich for that punch of extra fiber and sweetness. This combination of fiber and protein will keep you full for longer than usual.
- Berry Nutty Smoothie
Berries are considered to have very low sugar content and are a powerhouse of nutrients. If you include healthy fats (for example: nut butter or coconut milk) and filling protein powder, this breakfast smoothie will leave you feeling full for many hours. If you want some extra healthy points here, add some spinach or kale for nutrition and extra vitamins.
- Creamy Egg Avocado Salad Wrap
Avocado contains fiber and heart-healthy fats which makes an excellent substitution for mayo. This is a very easy wrap! Just blend chopped boiled eggs along with avocado. Fill a tortilla with this mixture and add some chopped veggies if you prefer and enjoy!
- Sprouts Salad
Pulses are very high in protein and fiber—this helps in controlling the blood sugar levels as well. Toss sprouts along with tomatoes and cucumber. Season it with some salt, pepper, and lemon juice. A wholesome and healthy breakfast is ready!
- Savory Oatmeal
Oats for breakfast doesn’t always have to be sweet! You can always make oats like it were a risotto dish by topping it with some vegetables. You can also add some dinner leftovers or some roasted chicken or spinach or tomato with some olive oil and a dash of lemon juice. You can also add a soft boiled egg as a topping. Finish it off with some light soy sauce and sesame seeds.
- Breakfast Bowl Using Quinoa
This is a plant-based breakfast idea for diabetics that are very low in sugar and extremely high in protein. It also contains very little saturated fats. Just boil milk, add quinoa, once it is cooked, add some chopped fruits and nuts as well. This breakfast idea is not just diabetic-friendly but heart-healthy as well.
Think outside the box and only then you can find great options for your diabetic-friendly breakfasts. And it is very important for you to time your breakfast so that it you don’t get physically hungry first thing in the morning. Timing and planning beforehand will ensure that you won’t be making any poor choices when it comes to breakfast, your first meal of the day! Plan, prepare, and eat healthy!