Diabetic Breakfast Ideas
Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day.
For people with diabetes, morning is usually the time of day with the highest blood glucose levels,
Blood glucose ranges for adults and children differ slightly
Understanding blood glucose level ranges can be a key part of diabetes self-management.
This page states 'normal' blood sugar ranges and blood sugar ranges for adults and children with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and blood sugar ranges to determine people with diabetes.
If a person with diabetes has a meter, test strips and is testing, it's important to know what the blood glucose level means.
Recommended blood glucose levels have a degree of interpretation for every individual and you should discuss this with your healthcare team.
In addition, women may be set target blood sugar levels during pregnancy.
The following ranges are guidelines provided by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) but each individual’s target range should be agreed by their doctor or diabetic consultant.
The NICE recommended target blood glucose levels are stated below for adults with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and children with type 1 diabetes.
In addition, the International Diabetes Federation's target ranges for people without diabetes is stated.
The table provides general guidance. An individual target set by your healthcare team is the one you should aim for.
|Upon waking||Before meals |
|At least 90 minutes after meals|
|Non-diabetic*||4.0 to 5.9 mmol/L||under 7.8 mmol/L|
|Type 2 diabetes||4 to 7 mmol/L||under 8.5 mmol/L|
|Type 1 diabetes||5 to 7 mmol/L||4 to 7 mmol/L||5 to 9 mmol/L|
|Children w/ type 1 diabetes||4 to 7 mmol/L||4 to 7 mmol/L||5 to 9 mmol/L|
*The non-diabetic figures are provided for information but are not part of NICE guidelines.
For the majority of healthy individuals, normal blood sugar levels are as follows:
For people with diabetes, blood sugar level targets are as follows:
The following table lays out criteria for diagnoses of diabetes and prediabetes.
|Plasma glucose test||Normal||Prediabetes||Diabetes|
|Random||Below 11.1 mmol/l |
Below 200 mg/dl
|N/A||11.1 mmol/l or more |
200 mg/dl or more
|Fasting||Below 5.5 mmol/l |
Below 100 mg/dl
|5.5 to 6.9 mmol/l |
100 to 125 mg/dl
|7.0 mmol/l or more |
126 mg/dl or more
|2 hour post-prandial||Below 7.8 mmol/l |
Below 140 mg/dl
|7.8 to 11.0 mmol/l |
140 to 199 mg/dl
|11.1 mmol/l or more |
200 mg/dl or more
A blood sample for a random plasma glucose test can be taken at any time. This doesn’t require as much planning and is therefore used in the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes when time is of the essence.
A fasting plasma glucose test is taken after at least eight hours of fasting and is therefore usually taken in the morning.
The NICE guidelines regard a fasting plasma glucose result of 5.5 to 6.9 mmol/l as putting someone at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, particularly when accompanied by other risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
An oral glucose tolerance test involves taking a fasting sample of blood and then taking a very sweet drink containing 75g of glucose.
After having this drink you need to stay at rest until a further blood sample is taken after 2 hours.
An HbA1c test does not directly measure the level of blood glucose, however, the result of the test is influenced by how high or low your blood glucose levels have tended to be over a period of 2 to 3 months.
Indications of diabetes or prediabetes are given under the following conditions:
So a good breakfast choice will help to improve your control.
Whilst putting the breakfast list together, we found some supermarket cereals that were far from the ideal choice for breakfast – with high levels of sugar (with some cereals containing chocolate) and a number of other less than healthy additives.
We’ve put together some simple and healthy breakfast ideas to get you started.
Some of us with diabetes can handle porridge well, whereas for others it can send blood sugar through the roof.
If your numbers can happily handle porridge then it can be a satisfying choice.
For those who can handle a few more carbs than the rest of us, Weetabix, Oatibix and Shredded Wheat can make for good choices.
High in fibre, relatively low in sugar (for a cereal) and one of the more natural cereal choices available in supermarkets.
Greek yoghurt and cottage cheese
Greek yoghurt and cottage cheese make good breakfast choices.
Quick to put together and easy to tailor to your own desires by adding any of the following:
Nuts – always a good source of energy and a low carb favourite
Oatmeal or wheat bran for fibre (whole grains)
Berries are a popular choice
Fruit – cantaloupe is listed as a good accompaniment
A very simple idea - take a mix of food, stick it in a blender and drink it.
Some mixtures work better than others and it can be fun to find out which do work.
For the dedicated, making smoothies can be quite an art form to get the colour and consistencies just right.
For us with diabetes, we also need to consider the carbohydrate contentto our own requirements.
Rather than suggest one smoothie, here are some ingredient ideas to get you started for your own smoothies – be they savoury or fruity:
Avocados – help to make your smoothies creamy
Citrus fruits –oranges, pineapple, limes etc
Bananas – also help to make your smoothies creamy
Scrambled eggs and omelette
A great breakfast for keeping insulin requirements low and another choice for which you can let your imagination go by adding any of the following:
Fresh leafy spinach
Bacon / ham - meat would be used, for example, if following the Dukan Diet