The perfect breakfast for
steady glucose levels and lots of energy

It's a common assumption that eating something sweet for breakfast is good because it will give us energy for the rest of the day.

But that's not exactly true.​

Even though glucose (found in starches and sugars) is our body's main energy source, if we eat too much of it during a meal, our body releases insulin to get rid of the excess. So instead of the newly digested glucose molecules staying around in our system to be used for fuel, they get stored away – as glycogen or fat. 

As a result, at equal calories, a breakfast that keeps our glucose levels steady leads to more circulating energy than one that creates a glucose spike

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Not only does a sweet breakfast lead to less circulating energy, but the glucose rollercoaster can also make us tired, hungry, and increase our cravings. 

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The best way to have steady energy is to switch to a savory breakfast, avoiding the crash we usually get a couple of hours later. 

 

If you’re looking for a perfect breakfast that gives you steady energy, go savory!

WHAT'S A SAVORY BREAKFAST?

A savory breakfast is essentially a breakfast that doesn’t taste sweet. Here are some examples of a sweet vs. a savoury breakfast and its impact on our glucose levels.

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This kind of breakfast can be very versatile; it ranges from classical eggs and bacon to something fancier like avocado toast. Also, if you’re looking for some sweet and fresh taste in the morning, you can add some whole fruit to your breakfast.

 

Even though whole fruit has some glucose in it, it’s the best way to eat something sweet because it also has fiber, which helps slow down the glucose spikes. Eat your whole fruit at the end of your breakfast to minimize its impact on blood sugar.

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WHAT DOES THE IDEAL SAVORY BREAKFAST CONTAIN?

The ideal breakfast to keep our glucose steady contains a good amount of protein, fiber, fat, and optionally some starch or fruit (for taste). Here are some ideas:

  • Protein: there are a lot of protein sources, like Greek yogurt, tofu, meat, cold cuts, fish, cheese, cream cheese, protein powder, nuts, nut butter, seeds, eggs… 

  • Fat: choose your favorite fat, like butter, olive oil, avocado, almonds, chia seeds, flax seeds, and nut butter…

    • Tip: choose always full-fat foods fat-free foods won’t keep you full.

  • Fiber: the best way to add some fiber is by eating vegetables, from spinach to mushrooms to tomatoes to zucchini to artichoke, sauerkraut, lentils, lettuce…

    • Tip: it can be tricky to eat veggies for breakfast; a great trick is to mix some spinach or mushrooms into your scrambled eggs -or tofu- or some tomatoes on your avocado toast.

    • Tip: nuts and seeds are also rich in fiber. 

  • Optional starch: you can have oats, toast, rice, potatoes…

  • Optional fruit: any whole fruit you like; the best options are berries.

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WHY IS THE FIRST MEAL OF THE DAY SO IMPORTANT?

The ideal breakfast to keep our glucose steady contains a good amount of protein, fiber, fat, and, optionally, some starch or fruit (for taste). Here are some ideas:

  • Protein: there are many protein sources, like Greek yogurt, tofu, meat, cold cuts, fish, cheese, cream cheese, protein powder, nuts, nut butter, seeds, eggs… 

  • Fat: choose your favorite fat, like butter, olive oil, avocado, almonds, chia seeds, flax seeds, and nut butter…

    • Tip: always choose full-fat foods fat-free foods won’t keep you full.

  • Fiber: the best way to add some fiber is by eating vegetables, from spinach to mushrooms to tomatoes to zucchini to artichoke, sauerkraut, lentils, lettuce…

    • Tip: it can be tricky to eat veggies for breakfast; a great trick is mixing some spinach or mushrooms into your scrambled eggs, tofu, or tomatoes on your avocado toast.

    • Tip: nuts and seeds are also rich in fiber. 

  • Optional starch: you can have oats, toast, rice, potatoes…

  • Optional fruit: any whole fruit you like; the best options are berries.

BREAKFAST CEREAL

In 2018, a Stanford University team showed that common foods, like cereal breakfast, provoke huge glucose spikes -even above 200 mg/dL- in healthy non-diabetic individuals. 

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Even though marketing touts it as part of a healthy diet, regular breakfast cereal is mostly just sugar and refined carbs, and even cereals labeled as “healthy” and “low calories” can spike our glucose. So cereal for breakfast is, unequivocally, not a good way to start the day. 

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Most granolas and muesli have just about as much sugar in them as regular cereal.

So, if you are a fan of cereals, remember this:

  • Look for cereals that don't have sugar, honey, dates, raisins, or similar in the top 5 ingredients on the packaging;

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  • Look for cereals with high fiber, low carbs, or with a nut base;

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  • Pair your cereals with proteins and fat, like whole milk, Greek yogurt, and unsweetened nut milk, instead of skim milk; or you can add some protein on the side.

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OATS

Oats are another classic breakfast food that usually lead to glucose spikes. Oats are 100% starch, and starch turns to glucose when digested. But there are a few tips that we can use to flatten their curve:

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  • Pick steel-cut oats: rolled or instant oats are more processed, so they spike us even higher than steel-cut oats.

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  • Add protein and fat: eggs are great, but you can also add protein powder, nut butter, Greek yogurt, or ghee, for example.

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  • Add fiber: there are a lot of options, like hemp or chia seeds, cauliflower rice, or all sort of nuts. 

  • Pick a friendly fruit: berries are the best option; try to avoid tropical fruit, dried fruit, and fruit juices.

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SMOOTHIES

Even though smoothies are an extremely popular breakfast option, labeled as healthy, not all smoothies are created equal! In fact, the smoothies that contain only fruit spike our glucose. When we blend fruit into a smoothie, the blades of the blender pulverize the fiber particles of the fruit, and the fiber is less useful in preventing a spike.​​​​​​​​

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A glucose-healthy smoothie is one centered around protein, fat, and fiber, with just some fruit for taste. My tips to create a glucose-approved smoothie:

  • Contain a source of protein: protein powder, nuts, nut butter...

  • Contain a source of fat: avocado, coconut oil, nut butter...

  • Have a minimal amount of fruit, and ideally berries.

  • Unlimited amounts of veggies.

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TOAST

Let's think through it: when we eat toast, which is carbs, and we add to it more carbs, like jam, for example, the spike gets bigger. But if we add to it fat, fiber, and protein, like almond butter, the spike gets smaller. 

It's also good to note that there are some types of bread that are better for our glucose: sourdough or dark seed bread. 

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  • Tip: put some clothes on your carbs. If you're eating carbs (sugars and starches), add protein, fat, or fiber to them to flatten the glucose curve.

  • Tip: pick a glucose-steady bread:

    • Sourdough bread

    • Pumpernickel bread

    • Seed bread

    • Dark rye bread

SAVORY BREAKFAST IDEAS

Here are a few ideas of savory breakfasts that will keep your glucose levels steady and help you start your day off on the right foot. 

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Dark rye toast with scrambled eggs, kimchi, tomatoes, and seeds + strawberries with peanut butter and cacao nibs

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Seed bread with butter, lettuce, smoked salmon, pickled onions, and pumpkin seeds + tomatoes + yogurt with seeds

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Rye toast with hummus, tomato and arugula

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Egg salad wrap with fresh spinach

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Zucchini and feta omelette with pickled onions

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Greek yogurt with strawberries, peanut butter, macadamia nuts, coconut chips, and cacao nibs

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Almond milk chia pudding with strawberries, blueberries and almond butter

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Smoothie with 1 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup frozen cauliflower, 1 scoop protein powder, 2 tablespoons almonds, a few drops vanilla extract, and stevia to taste

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Smoothie with 1 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup frozen cauliflower, 1 scoop protein powder, 1 tablespoon tahini, 1 teaspoon cacao powder, stevia to taste, and sesame seed (optional)

IN CONCLUSION...

If you’re looking for the best breakfast to take care of your health, have steady energy all day long, and stay full and satisfied, choose a savory breakfast.

Avoid sugar-packed foods like breakfast cereal or fruit juice; instead, eat foods rich in fiber, protein, and fat, like nuts, Greek yogurt, or egg; eat only whole fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth; and, if you need it, use only glucose-approved sweeteners, like stevia, or monk fruit.