Mornings, from the sound of that alarm to getting out the door, might sometimes feel like one continuous race. Does this time-strapped rush cause you to eat unhealthy foods for breakfast, or skip it altogether? Read on for some tips to make breakfast happen, along with ideas for quick-to-fix and tasty-to-eat breakfasts that may help keep blood glucose levels on an even keel. (Be sure to check with your diabetes care team before making changes to your meal plan.)
Why breakfast matters
Nutritionally speaking, breakfast offers the opportunity to eat foods that many Americans may not eat enough of: fiber-filled whole grains, fruits, nuts and/or seeds, low-fat dairy foods and vegetables. (Learn more about making healthful eating choices.)
Kick-starting your day with a healthful breakfast may strengthen your resolve to eat more healthfully all day long. It may also help you control your weight, a goal for many people who live with type 2 diabetes. According to the National Weight Control Registry, which tracks the experiences of thousands of people who’ve lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for at least a year, 78% of people report eating breakfast daily.
A recent study in two groups of lean adults without diabetes showed that those who skipped breakfast had higher rises in their glucose levels than breakfast eaters. One of the study’s researchers conjectures that eating breakfast may help keep glucose on a more even keel.
How to make breakfast happen
Tip #1: Hit autopilot. Develop two to four palate-pleasing no-muss, no-fuss options. Make these your go-to breakfasts.
Tip #2: Stock up. Create a checklist of foods you need to keep in stock. Shop regularly to make sure you’ve got the items you need.
Tip #3: Keep it ready and waiting. Cut enough fresh fruit to last a few days and keep it in a plastic container. (That’s my secret to fresh fruit every morning.) Freeze items individually. For instance, a savory egg strata or frittata loaded with vegetables can be frozen into individual portions. Hard-boil eggs and peel and place them back in the egg container. Cut cubes of cheese or stock string cheese.
Tip #4: Cook once, eat twice or thrice. Prepare enough oatmeal, oat bran or other healthy hot cereal for a few breakfasts. (Raise its health quotient with fresh or dried fruit, nuts and/or seeds and prepare it with fat-free milk.) Bake or cook in batches. (For example, make a batch of diabetes-friendlier muffins with whole-wheat flour and extra fiber from wheat germ and flax. Mix in bananas or other fruits. Add nuts for crunch and healthy fats.)
Tip #5: Create the time. Set your alarm clock with enough minutes to spare to put a healthful breakfast together and eat it at the table or on the run.
Quick and healthful breakfast ideas
- Mix fresh berries (or other cut fruit) with cottage cheese or Greek yogurt. Pair this with a small diabetes-friendlier muffin or whole-grain bread.
- Spread a piece of whole-grain bread with peanut or other nut butter and low-sugar jam. Top it with slices of banana or strawberries. Sprinkle on wheat germ.
- Assemble an egg sandwich. Use whole-grain bread or a tortilla and a fried or scrambled egg. Add a slice of cheese, ham or Canadian bacon. Top with tomato slices.
- Blend up a smoothie using milk or plain or Greek yogurt. Then let your imagination soar as you taste test any combination of healthful ingredients that suit your fancy (and your meal plan).
- Combine a few favorite (and healthful) cold cereals, nuts, flax and/or wheat germ. Enjoy a small bowl topped with low-fat milk. Or top it with fresh fruit and cottage cheese or yogurt.
Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE*, is the author of several best-selling books published by tAmerican Diabetes Association, including Eat Out Eat Well – The Guide to Eating Healthy in Any Restaurant and Diabetes Meal Planning Made Easy. She’s a frequent contributor to Diabetic Living magazine. Warshaw is a paid contributor for The DX. All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the contributor and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.
*“Certified Diabetes Educator” and “CDE” are certification marks owned and registered by the National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE). NCBDE is not affiliated in any way with Sanofi US. NCBDE does not sponsor or endorse any diabetes-related products or services.
© 2016 The DX: The Diabetes Experience