Coming up with nutritious, tasty, and filling breakfast options may be hard if you have diabetes because many popular breakfast options contain a lot of carbs.
With diabetes, you typically need to manage your blood sugar levels, which includes managing how many carbs you consume.
When considering breakfast options, opt for ones that are rich in protein and fiber, contain healthy fats, and provide low to moderate amounts of carbs.
Here are 14 great breakfast ideas for people with diabetes.
Eggs are delicious, versatile, and a great breakfast choice.
They’re low in calories and contain a lot of protein, providing around 70 calories and 6 grams of protein per large egg. In addition, an egg contains less than 1 gram of carbs (1).
A 2018 review found that people with diabetes who maintain a healthy lifestyle may eat up to seven eggs per week. (2)
You can enjoy eggs in various ways, such as fried, poached, or scrambled. Alternatively, try making a healthy and delicious omelet with a variety of vegetables like spinach, mushroom, and bell peppers.
Eggs are delicious, versatile, and have a lot of protein, moderate fat, and low carb content. You can enjoy them in various ways, such as fried, poached, scrambled, or as an omelet.
Greek yogurt with berries is an easy, tasty, and nutritious breakfast option.
According to some studies, eating dairy products may improve blood sugar control and lower blood sugar levels. It’s speculated that this may partly be due to yogurt’s probiotics, which help your body break down sugars (3, 4).
A standard 5.3-ounce (oz), or 150-gram (g), serving of low fat Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup (75 g) of berries contains the following (5, 6):
This dish is relatively low in calories. If desired, you can add a tablespoon of crushed or slivered nuts for a boost of calories and healthy fats without increasing the carb content by much.
Greek yogurt with berries is a nutritious breakfast option. It may improve blood sugar control, partly due to the probiotics found in yogurt.
Chia seeds are suitable for people with diabetes since they have a lot of fiber and healthy omega-3 fatty acids yet are low in digestible carbs. Digestible carbs are those that your body can use, and they raise blood sugar levels.
Even though a 1-oz (28-g) serving contains 12 g of carbs, 9.8 g come from fiber and may not raise your blood sugar levels (7).
In addition, the soluble fiber in chia seeds may help lower your blood sugar levels by slowing down the speed at which food moves through your gut and is absorbed into the bloodstream (8, 9).
To make an overnight chia seed pudding, you’ll need a mason jar. To it, add 1 oz (28 g) of chia seeds, 1 cup (244 g) of unsweetened almond milk (or low fat, nonfat, soy, or any milk of your choosing), and a dash of vanilla extract. Shake well to combine and refrigerate overnight (7, 10).
An overnight chia seed pudding made using this recipe contains:
To enhance the flavor, add fun toppings such as unsweetened coconut shreds, chocolate chips with no added sugar, or cocoa nibs. For additional sweetness, you can add a little sugar-free sweetener like stevia.
Chia seeds have a lot of soluble fiber and are low in carbs, making them a great breakfast option. Try mixing up an overnight chia seed pudding to enjoy their benefits.
Oatmeal is a nutritious breakfast dish made from steel-cut, rolled, or instant oats.
Although oats have a relatively large amount of carbs, oatmeal may be a good option because it may help lower blood sugar levels due to its fiber content (11, 12).
A standard serving of oatmeal made with 1/2 cup (40.5 g) of oats and 1 cup, or 250 milliliters (mL), of water contains (13):
Oats contain a specific type of fiber called beta-glucan, which is responsible for most of its blood sugar–lowering effects. In addition, beta-glucan helps you stay fuller for longer by promoting the release of peptide YY in the gut, which signals fullness (14, 15).
If you’d like to make your oatmeal tastier and more nutritious, try adding ingredients such as cinnamon, berries, nuts, seeds, or Greek yogurt.
Oatmeal contains soluble fiber that aids blood sugar control and may keep you feeling full for longer. Despite its carb content, it’s a good option.
Multigrain avocado toast is a simple and popular dish that people with diabetes can enjoy.
For starters, avocados are packed with fiber and monounsaturated fatty acids that may help prevent your blood sugar from rising too high after a meal. This benefit is also promoted by the fiber from multigrain bread (16).
One slice (33 g) of multigrain toast with 1/2 avocado (101 g provides (17, 18):
If you’d like, add a boiled or fried egg to increase the protein and fat content. Alternatively, add a pinch of salt and pepper or a drizzle of low carb chili sauce for extra flavor.
Avocado toast has healthy fats and fiber and may aid blood sugar control.
Although smoothies are typically loaded with carbs and sugar, there are several ways to make a delicious, low carb smoothie.
For example, a low carb avocado smoothie made with 1/2 of an avocado (101 g), 1/2 cup (122 g) of unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 cup (123 g) of low fat Greek yogurt, and a dash of vanilla extract contains (5, 10, 18):
To enhance the sweetness, you can add a little natural sweetener like stevia. For a protein boost, add 1/2 or 1 scoop of protein powder, which should help curb your appetite.
A low carb smoothie like an avocado smoothie is a simple breakfast option. You can add protein powder to the smoothie for an added protein boost.
Wheat bran is the outer layer of the wheat kernel that’s stripped away during the milling process.
When wheat bran is made into cereal, the bran is processed into flakes or pellets. These contain lots of nutrients and fiber and have a low glycemic load, meaning that they raise blood sugar levels slowly rather than quickly.
A standard 1-oz (28-g) serving of wheat bran cereal contains (19):
Wheat bran cereals are typically served with milk or yogurt, and you can add other ingredients like berries or cinnamon for extra flavor.
Wheat bran cereals contain a lot of fiber and have a low glycemic load, which raises your blood sugar levels slowly.
Cottage cheese is soft, creamy, and delicious. It’s also a suitable breakfast option for people with diabetes.
Some research suggests that consuming dairy products may help reduce insulin resistance, which is a typical issue for people with diabetes (20, 21).
It has a mild flavor by itself. Some people like to whip it in a food processor or blender to make it creamier. You can also try making a sweet and savory cottage cheese, fruit, and nut bowl.
A 1/2-cup (105-g) serving of cottage cheese topped with 1/4 cup (37.5 g) of blueberries and 1/2 oz (14 g) of almonds contains (22, 23, 24):
A cottage cheese, fruit, and nut bowl contains a good amount of protein and fat while being low in carbs.
The classic nut butter and toast is a simple breakfast option.
Research has shown that eating foods that contain a lot of healthy fats may slow down the release of sugar into the bloodstream and prevent blood sugar spikes (25).
One slice (33 g) of multigrain toast with a tablespoon (16 g) of natural peanut butter provides (17, 26):
Although the above example uses peanut butter, other types like cashew or almond butter are also fine to use. Just make sure to choose natural versions without added sugar.
Healthy fats like those in nut butter slow the release of sugar into your bloodstream and may help prevent blood sugar spikes. Combining nut butter with a slice of multigrain toast is a fine breakfast choice.
Tofu is a versatile and great breakfast option because it’s low in carbs yet has a lot of protein and fat. It’s made from condensed soy milk pressed into firm blocks.
Although tofu is typically viewed as a lunch or dinner protein, you can enjoy it for breakfast in many ways.
For example, cook up a quick, delicious tofu scramble. Chop firm tofu into bite-size pieces, cook in a hot frying pan in a little olive oil, and season with spices like salt, pepper, and turmeric powder.
A serving of tofu scramble made with 3.5 oz (100 g) of firm tofu on a slice (33 g) of multigrain toast contains the following nutrients (17, 27):
You can also pair this dish with fried vegetables like spinach, onion, zucchini, or mushrooms.
Tofu scramble is delicious, easy to make, and low in carbs — an ideal, blood-sugar-friendly breakfast option. Try to combine it with a slice of multigrain toast or vegetables.
Pancakes made with low carb ingredients are a delicious breakfast option. The pancakes can be topped with fresh fruit, sugar-free syrup, or sprinkled with an artificial sweetener.
A 6-inch (77-g) plain pancake made from a dry mix contains the following nutrients: (28):
As an alternative to a dry mix, you can make pancakes from scratch instead, or try a buckwheat pancake mix, as in this recipe.
Reduce the carbs by substituting white flour with almond, coconut, or another flour that your body digests more slowly.
To boost the protein and fiber, you can pair the pancakes with fruits such as blueberries, bananas, or pumpkin.
Fluffy pancakes made with flour from whole grains or nuts and topped with fruit or sugar-free syrup are a delicious breakfast idea.
You can make a frittata using chicken, beef, or pork sausage.
Recent research suggests that eating red meat does not affect type 2 diabetes risk factors such as insulin sensitivity and fasting glucose. However, the American Diabetes Association recommends limiting red meat because it contains more sodium and saturated fat than other meats. (29, 30)
This sausage frittata recipe uses chicken sausage and an egg substitute. It provides the following per serving:
Instead of using sausage, you could substitute fresh meat, such as chicken or beef, to lower the amount of sodium.
Sausage frittata can be made with beef, pork, or chicken sausage. Recent research shows that eating red meat doesn’t affect type 2 diabetes risk factors, but it does have more sodium and saturated fat than other meats.
While quiche may be loaded with salt and fat and may contain meats, like ham or sausages, that have a lot of carbohydrates, you can make a homemade version that omits the crust, meats, and cheese that contains a lot of fat.
You can boost the quiche’s fiber content by adding vegetables, such as in these American Diabetes Association recipes:
Each crustless asparagus and pepper mini quiche contains these nutrients:
Eliminating the crust, meats, and cheese helps make quiche a breakfast option.
Although bananas contain simple carbs that may raise your blood sugar level, they also contain fiber, which slows the absorption of those carbs. (31)
Homemade banana nut muffins may be lower in carbs than muffins bought from a store or bakery. Each muffin in this recipe has the following nutrients:
Use bananas that are firm but not overly ripe, as they contain more sugar. Substitute white flour with whole wheat or a nut-based flour, and use less sugar than the recipe calls for or a sugar substitute. (32)
Bananas contain fiber, which may help slow the digestion of their simple carbs that raise blood sugar. Substituting white flour and sugar with other ingredients makes banana muffins a suitable breakfast option.
There are many nutritious, tasty, and filling breakfast options to explore if you have diabetes.
These options may help you manage your blood sugar levels and keep you fueled until lunchtime.
Keep in mind that although these breakfast ideas may help you keep your blood sugar in check after breakfast, you still need to follow an overall nutritious and balanced diet throughout the day to keep your overall blood sugar at a healthy level.
You may work with a doctor or dietician to develop a meal plan that’s right for you.
Last medically reviewed on October 25, 2022
Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.
Current Version
Nov 4, 2022
Edited By
Laura Goldman
Copy Edited By
Chris Doka
Oct 26, 2022
Medically Reviewed By
Kimberley Rose-Francis RDN, CDCES, CNSC, LD
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