What to Eat for Breakfast When You Have Diabetes

carton of brown eggs
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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Sometimes it's also the hardest meal to put together, especially if you work. Add diabetes to the mix, and figuring out what to eat can be downright impossible. However, skipping breakfast can cause your blood sugars to be higher during the day, so it's important to make sure you eat a healthy one.

Using an online nutrition calculator can make things easier.

You can research some breakfast choices to compare different foods to see which breakfast is the healthiest.

How Different Basic Breakfast Options Compare

A simple breakfast, such as an egg, toast, and breakfast meat, can vary greatly in calories, fat grams, and carbs. Let's take a look at some of these breakfasts:

A So-So Basic Breakfast:

  • 1 fried egg: 90 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 0.4 carbs
  • 1 slice cinnamon swirl toast*: 170 calories, 2.0 grams of fat, and 33 carbs
  • Sausage patty: 230 calories, 22 grams of fat, and 1.0 carbs

This breakfast adds up to 490 calories, 31 grams of fat, and 34.4 carbs.

A Good Basic Breakfast:

  • 1 poached egg: 71 calories, 5 grams of fat, and 0.4 carbs
  • 1 slice white toast*: 64 calories, 0.9 grams of fat, and 12 carbs
  • 3 slices bacon: 103 calories, 7.9 grams of fat, and 0.3 carbs

This breakfast adds up to 238 calories, 13.8 grams of fat, and 12.7 carbs.

A Better Basic Breakfast:

  • 1 serving Egg Beaters: 30 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 1 carb
  • 1 slice whole-wheat toast*: 87 calories, 1.2 grams of fat, and 14.5 carbs (2.6 grams of fiber makes this a better choice than white toast)
  • 1 serving turkey bacon: 52 calories, 4.2 grams of fat, and 0.3 carbs

This breakfast adds up to 169 calories, 6.4 grams of fat, and 15.8 carbs.

The Best Basic Breakfast:

  • 1 egg-white omelet: 16 calories, 0.1 grams of fat, 0.2 carbs
  • 1 slice mixed-grain toast*: 75 calories, 1.2 grams of fat, and 12.3 carbs
  • 1 slice of ham: 46 calories, 2.4 grams of fat, and 1.1 carbs

This breakfast adds up to 137 calories, 3.7 grams of fat, and 13.6 carbs.

*If toast is buttered, add 36 calories and 4.1 grams of fat to your breakfast total.

Other Good Breakfast Options

There are other healthy breakfast options you can choose as well besides your basic eggs, toast, and meat. These include:

  • A smoothie made with either protein powder, peanut butter, or Greek yogurt, plus some frozen fruit and a splash of milk
  • Oatmeal and turkey bacon or ham
  • Low-fat yogurt and granola
  • Natural peanut butter or almond butter on mixed-grain or whole wheat toast
  • Low-fat cheese and crackers
  • Low-fat cottage cheese and fruit
  • Low-fat yogurt with fruit and unsalted nuts
  • Unsweetened cereal with milk and berries

Why Protein Is Important

Protein is an important breakfast staple because it helps any carbs you eat bind together so they take longer to digest. If you're eating carbs for breakfast, try to add a source of lean protein with it, such as a hard-boiled egg, cooked egg whites, unsalted nuts, or ham.

Sources:

American Diabetes Association. Quick Breakfast Ideas. Updated March 3, 2015.

Davis K. 10 Diabetes Breakfast Mistakes to Avoid. Updated November 23, 2017.