Coming up with your first meal of the day is tough under the best of circumstances. But, when you have a condition like type 2 diabetes, it can be a serious challenge. Diabetic breakfast ideas, specifically for those with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, aim to hit a mix of macros to help prevent blood sugar spikes after you eat, and that requires an extra level of thought and effort.
“Breakfast should be a combination of nutrients, including protein and healthy fats with a limited amount of minimally processed, whole grains,” says Sonya Angelone, R.D., a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Everyone’s blood sugar management is different, which is why it’s important to “have the appropriate amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrate for your target blood sugar based on your numbers,” says Vanessa Rissetto, R.D., the CEO and co-founder of Culina Health. (To figure out the exact blood sugar numbers you’re aiming for, you’ll want to consult your doctor.)
In general, nutritionists tend to recommend being mindful of carbohydrates when it comes to breakfast recipes for people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. “A carb-heavy meal should definitely be avoided, and especially one with carbohydrates that have little to no fiber and a lot of added sugar,” says Keri Gans, R.D., author of The Small Change Diet. But, again, everyone is different and the exact amount of carbs and other macros to aim for should be discussed with your doctor.
“Managing blood sugar levels and insulin secretion is more than just limiting or avoiding carbohydrates and sugar,” Angelone says. “It includes eating foods that blunt the rise in blood sugar by slowing down the release of food from the stomach so that it gets into the bloodstream more slowly where the body can manage the incoming load of sugar more easily.”
To simplify things, Angelone recommends following the MyPlate model. “Just include a plate made up of half fiber-rich produce (fruits and vegetables), a quarter protein, and a quarter minimally processed carbs,” she says. “It’s okay to add healthy fat and dairy if desired.”
While it’s easy to eat the same thing every day, that can get boring fast. That’s why Rissetto recommends having an “arsenal of breakfast ideas” at the ready, so you have healthy options ready to go. And it’s important to remember, every body is different, and both those with and without types of diabetes can enjoy anything in moderation.