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Delicious diabetic breakfast tips: what to eat for balanced blood sugar

Here are some great tips on what to choose if you’re looking for healthy breakfast options:

diabetic breakfast tips

Healthy diabetic breakfast tips

Everyone likes to start their day off differently, but there are a few golden rules: healthy diabetic breakfast tips. Start the day off right and your blood sugar is likely to behave much better throughout the day!

Breakfast cereals

  • Where possible, don’t choose breakfast cereals and rather choose a balanced protein breakfast
  • Choose high-fibre options (>6g per 100g)
  • Compare and choose options with lower sugar levels
  • Choose cereals with lower sodium levels
  • Examples to choose from: oats, rolled oats, oat bran, wholegrain breakfast cereals like bran flakes, shredded bran, low GI low fat muesli


  • Choose fat-free or low fat cheeses
  • For hard cheeses, aim for a fat content of less than 13g per 100g
  • Restrict your intake of hard cheeses to twice a week
  • Examples to choose from: Low fat or fat-free cottage cheeses, Ricotta cheese, low fat feta or reduced fat cheeses


  • Don’t make bread the base of your breakfast – rather opt for protein and vegetables as the base
  • Choose breads which claim to be ‘wholewheat’ or ‘wholegrain’
  • Opt for breads which are low GI
  • Your breads should be high in fibre (>6g per 100g)
  • Examples to choose from: Heavy breads such as health breads and seed loaves, pumpernickel bread, rye breads, low GI breads


  • Choose crackers which claim to be ‘wholewheat’ or ‘wholegrain’
  • Your crackers should be high in fibre (>6g per 100g)
  • Aim to choose the crackers lower in total fat and sodium
  • Examples to choose from: Provita, Ryvita, Finn Crisp

Milk and yoghurt

  • Choose lower fat dairy products
  • Be aware that sweetened yoghurts may contain added sugar. Choose plain or artificially sweetened yoghurt more often
  • Examples: Skim or low fat milk in liquid or powder form, low fat buttermilk, plain low fat yoghurt, artificially sweetened fruit and flavoured yoghurts

Building your cooked breakfast:

Research has shown that replacing saturated and trans fat with poly- and monounsaturated fats helps to protect against heart disease.

  • Use fat sparingly in your cooking by aiming to use only 1 teaspoon of fat per person sharing the meal.
  • Use oils such as olive, canola and sunflower oils in place of brick margarine, butter and other solid fats.
  • Look out for canola, olive or vegetable oil sprays, which allow you to use less oil in your frying pan.

The ideal plate consists of 1/4 High-fibre carbohydrate + 1/4 Lean protein + 1/2 Veg + Small amount of healthy fats

healthy diabetic breakfast options

What the ideal breakfast plate looks like:

1/4 High-fibre carbohydrate

  • Swap your chips for a slice of wholewheat toast.
  • Use wholewheat flour instead of white flour when making home-made baked goods like crumpets.

1/4 Lean protein

  • Prepare your eggs without adding additional fat to them by boiling, poaching, microwave scrambling or cooking an omelette without cheese.
  • Try poached haddock, grilled kippers or fresh salmon instead of bacon.
  • Choose baked beans as your protein serving over processed meats such as sausages and bacon, which tend to be high in fat and salt.

1/2 Veg

  • Add volume to your plate with grilled vegetables such as tomatoes, mushrooms and onions.
  • Feel like an omelette? Include mainly grilled vegetables for a filling, healthy choice.
  • Remember to use fat sparingly when preparing your veggie sides.

Beans are legumes, which are a source of protein and fibre – good for people with diabetes as they help control your blood glucose levels. Just be sure to eat beans in the serving size appropriate to your meal plan as they do contain some carbohydrates.

+ Small amount of healthy fats

A serving is usually one teaspoon to one tablespoon.

Examples – avocado, raw unsalted nuts, peanut butter (no added sugar), nut butter, olive oil, olives, canola oil, low oil dressings, low oil mayonnaise, sunflower, pumpkin or sesame seeds.

Pick n Pay is committed to promoting health and wellbeing among South Africans and employs the services of a registered dietician to provide food and nutrition related advice to the public. For your nutrition and health related queries, contact or toll free on 0800 11 22 88

What to read next?

How to interpret food labels for diabetics: How do you know if a product is going to be good or bad for your blood sugar? Once you understand what to look for on food labels, you’ll be able to choose the right products to help control your blood sugar.

Eat healthy for diabetes: The one article you need to read about diabetes and diet.

Free Healthy Food Guide: how to eat healthy with diabetes or to lose weight: This Healthy Food Guide shows you exactly which foods to choose (and which to avoid), as well as sharing which portions to eat.

Photos by Phil Hei and by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.