Experts say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For diabetics, learning to select diabetic breakfast foods can set the tone for the rest of the day in terms of blood sugar control. A few key techniques in food selection can help you to get the day started on a good note. There are great foods you can include as part of your breakfast even some you may have never thought about. Get out your tools and utensils and let’s make some breakfast!
Start Your Day With Protein as a Foundation
Protein is great as a building block for breakfast as it helps to keep your blood sugar low. Some breakfast proteins are accompanied by varying degrees of fat. Don’t let that deter you from selecting these foods as some fat is good for you in moderation.
A surprisingly good protein candidate in the protein category is eggs. Eggs are very low carb, very nutritious and can be a great starter when it comes to breakfast. Omelets are a staple of a lot of my breakfasts and are very versatile. You can add vegetables, cheese and a variety of meats to your omelets. Eggs can also be served boiled, scrambled, baked in an oven or served in many other ways.
Chicken, fish, pork and sometimes beef can serve as a protein foundation for breakfast. Broiled fish is often one of my breakfast favorites. You can add peppers, onions and sometimes even tomatoes to your fish when you broil it. Chicken can be added to breakfast in a number of ways. Cutting boneless chicken breasts into tenders and serving them with breakfasts is a great suggestion. A lot of people often add pork in the form of bacon, sausage or pork chops to their breakfast meal.
Cheese and dairy can also serve as a protein foundation for your breakfast. Cheese can be added to eggs, used as a topper for many breakfast selections or added to your favorite recipes. Yogurt can be a good choice, but watch the carbohydrate content on the label. If I choose yogurt, I usually stick to the Greek unflavored variety as it contains fewer carbs per serving. Plus there are great spreads such as butter, cream cheese and others you can add to your meal.
Adding Fiber to Your Meal
When it comes to adding fiber, think vegetables and fruits. These are more complex carbohydrates meaning they take longer to digest and maintain a more stable blood sugar over time. Be careful and watch the sugar content of fruits as some of these can spike blood sugar. Among vegetables my staples are often peppers, onions and tomatoes, but there are a whole world of vegetables to choose from for breakfast. Obviously, avoid the more starchy vegetables as these often turn into sugar when processed in the body.
Berries are a great breakfast favorite. Blackberries, blueberries and strawberries are some good choices for use in breakfast recipes. Berries are a good choice for constructing low carb smoothies (yum!). Some people often opt to use low sugar jams and jellies for their breakfast – be careful of the carbs even in these and use with moderation.
Fresh fruits can be a good choice just be careful of carb content and limit your portions. Apples are a good choice; often I like delicious or granny smith varieties because they are lower in sugar content. Melons are a choice a lot of people make. Honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon and others can make great breakfast choices, just watch the sugar and portions. Do your due diligence and pick your selections carefully.
Don’t Forget Your Beverages
Beverages are an essential part of any breakfast meal. The quintessential favorite of a lot of people is coffee. I do drink coffee adding heavy cream and often a sweetener such as stevia or monk fruit for taste. Other beverages include tea, flavored water, diet juices, tomato juice and others. A word about fruit juices: these often contain greater amounts of sugar that the actual fruit itself. I usually avoid these. Flavored water is usually a better choice.
Water is great with your breakfast meal even if you have another beverage. First, water helps keep you hydrated and alleviates many health concerns. Water naturally lowers blood sugars. It also helps improve digestion. In short, water is your friend.
Soft drinks such as diet ginger ale and others can be added to your breakfast, but use moderation. I enjoy an occasional diet soda but I have used substitutes such and flavored lemon water, green tea and others that satisfy my palate just as good or better. Diet drink mixes such as Crystal Light are also available but use your discretion when choosing these.
Building Your Breakfast Plate
When putting together your breakfast plate, start with the end in mind. Most diabetics start with a daily goal for their carbs – make sure that your breakfast fits that goal and use the math to your advantage. I try to pick my favorite protein as a starter and then figure out things from there.
Complex carbs should take up the largest portion of your plate. Fill out your meal with some form of vegetables and fruits to make up your carb budget. Take it easy on the starches and breads and use those complex carbs to your advantage. A little goes a long way so watch your portions as you pick those favorites. A selection I have not mentioned earlier is green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale or others at the breakfast table – think omelets or use these as a side.
Add your favorite beverage and you’re set. Wasn’t that easy? If you stick to the basics, breakfast can be relatively simple and care free.
Some Last Thoughts
You know your palate better than anyone else. Plan your breakfast watching the carbs and sugars and you will be successful. Above all, don’t be afraid to be creative! Got some ideas of your own about breakfast? Comment and let me hear those wonderful suggestions and ideas.