Breakfast Ideas for People with Diabetes

Everyone—especially people with Type 2 diabetes—needs to start the day off with a meal that nourishes and helps regulate blood sugar levels. Put these healthy and easy breakfast recipes on the menu to help you feel satisfied while keeping blood sugar levels in check.

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body is unable to properly metabolize glucose (which serves as fuel for all our body’s cells). There are two causes: the body either resists the effects of insulin, the hormone that allows sugar to move out of the bloodstream and into the cells, or the pancreas stops producing enough insulin to facilitate this process. The result is the same: You end up with increased glucose levels in the blood, which damage the blood vessels of the eyes, kidneys and nerve cells.

When you wake up in the morning—after having not eaten for several hours—you need to feed your body strategically to help regulate blood sugar levels and avoid dramatic ups and downs. The best breakfasts for people with diabetes consist of several key components:

  • Complex carbohydrates. Unlike refined carbohydrates, which are burned up quickly by the body, complex carbohydrates are broken down more slowly, and therefore don’t cause blood sugar to spike as quickly or as high. Complex carbs can be found in whole grains (including whole wheat, oats, quinoa, brown rice and whole grain cereals), starchy and non-starchy vegetables, whole fruit, beans, peas and lentils.
  • Protein and fat. These two nutrients are broken down more slowly than carbohydrates. Foods and meals that contain a combination of protein, fat and complex carbohydrate are your best bet because they help maintain more consistent blood sugar levels than foods or meals that contain just carbohydrates. They also supply a variety of tastes and textures.
  • Fiber. This nutrient—found in vegetables, fruit and whole grains—helps slow digestion and stomach emptying. The result is, again, more consistent blood sugar levels over time.

Below are some of my favorite breakfast meals that combine the right nutrients for controlling blood sugar — perfect for people with diabetes.

These recipes will not only help you start the day with an ideal balance of blood-sugar-regulating nutrients, they’ll also keep you satisfied for hours. And don’t be surprised if your neighbors start stopping by for breakfast.