If you’re managing your diabetes, it’s important to eat right. Eating right starts with the first meal of the day, breakfast. The morning meal not only sets the tone for the day but can significantly influence blood sugar levels, impacting mood, energy, and overall health. That might sound stressful, but there’s no reason for it to be – in fact, if you’re armed with the right knowledge you can make breakfast a time of joy and enjoyment rather than stress.
Creating a well-balanced morning meal involves understanding how certain foods can affect your blood sugar. This will allow you to curate your meals in alignment with your health goals. Fortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to the best diabetes diet, providing a multitude of options. Incorporating familiar cultural foods and preserving the pleasure of eating are vital components for maintaining a consistently healthy diet and achieving long-term success.
Your breakfast should be high-protein, which is true of everyone – not just people with diabetes. However, there are five common breakfast mistakes that can impact diabetes management. Still, with just a few simple adjustments you can make a significant positive impact on your blood sugar levels first thing in the morning.
Mistake #1: Skipping Breakfast Entirely
Forgoing breakfast, whether due to intermittent fasting or personal preference, poses considerations for those with diabetes. Skipping breakfast can elevate the risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), especially for those on medication. As someone with diabetes, you don’t need to be told that this can seriously impact your entire day.
Instead, opt for a protein- and fiber-rich meal to stabilize blood sugar throughout the day. Light breakfast options include apple with nut butter, fresh berries with nuts and seeds, or sliced pears with low-fat Greek yogurt.
Mistake #2: A Breakfast Low In Fiber
Fiber, found in plant-based carbohydrates, plays a crucial role in managing blood sugar, promoting fullness, and supporting overall health. People with diabetes should aim for 25 to 38 grams of fiber daily, similar to the general population’s recommendation. However, for those with diabetes, it’s much more crucial that you actually meet these recommendations.
Add greens, fruit smoothies, and fiber-rich chia seeds to your breakfast for increased fiber intake.
Mistake #3: Too Much Refined Carbohydrates and Saturated Fat
Traditional high-carb breakfast items containing saturated fats and little fiber can elevate blood sugar and risk heart health. So avoid combining fats with refined carbohydrates and opt for healthier alternatives like granola with low-fat dairy or Greek yogurt, paired with berries. Choose whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits for slower-to-digest complex carbohydrates.
Mistake #4: Eating Too Much
Inconsistent meals can lead to erratic blood sugar profiles, as well as overeating, which can impact your overall diabetes management.
Instead, strive for consistent carbohydrate intake during breakfast and include fiber, protein, and unsaturated fats for balance. Examples of balanced breakfast options include smoothie bowls, toast with chickpeas and kale, and stovetop veggie frittatas.
Mistake #5: Drinking Juice
Juice lacks fiber and, while providing some nutritional value, can rapidly raise blood sugar. Instead, opt for whole fresh fruit paired with a protein source instead of juice. If you do choose to enjoy juice, limit it to a half-cup serving.
A well-thought-out breakfast is an opportunity to align with health goals, especially for managing blood sugars. Including fiber, lean protein, and heart-healthy fats while limiting added sugar and saturated fats is crucial. Establishing an enjoyable and nutrient-dense breakfast routine can be achieved by incorporating your favorite foods and seeking guidance from healthcare providers if needed.