Building a Better Breakfast
Starting your day off right way is absolutely critical to managing your diabetes—in fact, it should be part of a healthy diet, period! Individuals who consistently eat breakfast have a better diet overall and also have higher satiety, which means they’re less likely to make poor food choices later in the day. So, optimize your health (and your blood sugar) by building a better breakfast! Many people make the mistake of skipping their most important meal of the day. Others rely on coffee and donuts to get them through their hectic schedule. If you are of the mindset that skipping breakfast will get you into your skinny jeans, think again. Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism and allows your body to use the food you eat for the rest of the day for energy, instead of sending it straight to your fat cells.
Starting your morning with a well-rounded, nourishing breakfast leads to better health outcomes, short and long term. Studies show that eating a healthy breakfast leads to a more nutritionally complete diet, one higher in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Breakfast eaters also have increased concentration, better performance, and fewer sick days. In fact, skipping breakfast even just twice a week increases your risk for type 2 diabetes—imagine what it does for individuals who already have diabetes. Clearly, I can’t stress enough how important breakfast is!
But not all breakfasts are created equal. Make sure you start off the day with the right kind of fuel to nourish you, not junk to clog your engine. The key is to combine protein with fiber-rich foods to keep you full and focused until lunch.
- Oatmeal – prepare unflavored oatmeal for a good dose of morning protein and soluble fiber. You can cook it in water or, for a creamier texture, try fortified soy milk or lactaid (lactose-free) milk. Prepare it well-cooked: the softer it is, the easier it will be to digest. Pair it with fruit or nuts—just be sure to count the fruit toward your total carb intake for the day!
- Pureed beans on toast – puree a legume of your choice (black beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc.) and spread it over toast*. Top with avocado, sprinkle with some lemon juice and salt, and dig in!
- Eggs – make them any way you like them: scrambled, poached or fried. One egg yield 6 grams of protein! Eat with toast.*
- Avocado – spread ½ of an avocado on toast,* and you’re in for a nutrient blast! This fruit is an excellent source of easily digested soluble fiber and countless vitamins and minerals. Squeeze a little lemon on top and a dash of salt. The lemon adds brightness and the salt brings the flavors together. For a spice kick, top with a light sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Talk about a decadent morning! You can also top with thinly sliced cucumbers or tomatoes to boost your vegetable intake.
- Nut butters – try an almond, peanut, or even cashew butter. Make sure you get the smooth kind without any chunks to ensure easy digestion. Allergic to nuts? Sun butter made from sesame seeds is an excellent substitute. Spread on toast* or pair it with a banana.
- Papaya or Melon Smoothie – Start with ½ cup milk (dairy or non-dairy, your choice—remember that milk has carbs!) or yogurt. Add 1 cup of frozen fruit and 1 tbsp. of ground flaxseed. Mix in a blender and enjoy.
- Banana shake – blend together yogurt (or use milk to make your own!), a very ripe banana, 1 tbsp. honey, and 1 tsp. vanilla
* Ideally use whole-grain toast or spelt bread for extra fiber if you can tolerate it.
How well does your doctor explain diabetes care terms to you?