To keep your blood sugar stable, opt for carb sources that release energy slowly.
Oats, whole wheat bread, and fruit, are good choices, dietitian Nichola Ludlam-Raine said.
For a protein-packed breakfast, try baked oats, chia pudding, or avocado and eggs on wholegrain toast.
Preventing blood sugar spikes benefits your overall health and energy levels, dietitian Nichola Ludlam-Raine told Insider.
To maintain stable blood sugar levels, dietitian Nichola Ludlam-Raine recommends having regular meals and two to three healthy snacks each day.
“If you find yourself leaving large gaps between meals or even skipping them, your blood glucose can drop to low levels which can affect your energy levels and then rise even higher at your next meal,” she said.
Aim to get your carbs from fruit and vegetables, pulses, whole grain breads, cereals, and oats, as these provide fiber and don’t cause blood sugar spikes and crashes, Ludlam-Raine said.
“Combining fats and protein with carbohydrates also helps to slow down the absorption of the glucose into the bloodstream, so balanced meals are key,” she added.
Here are nine high protein breakfast ideas that minimize blood sugar spikes.
1. Protein chia pudding with strawberries and almond butter
When soaked, chia seeds swell up and turn into a goopy pudding. They’re full of fiber and protein, and you can get even more of a boost by adding a scoop of protein powder.
For one serving, mix together 2 tbsp chia seeds, 1/2 cup almond milk (or your milk of choice), and a scoop of protein powder and leave to soak overnight. You can add any mix-ins you like, such as honey, maple syrup, or cocoa powder, and top with fruit and nut butter in the morning.
Ludlam-Raine said: “Chia seeds are a fantastic source of fiber, plant-based protein and ALA (an omega-3 fatty acid), and alongside a dose of healthy fats from the almond butter, this is a low carbohydrate choice which will help to keep your blood glucose levels from spiking after eating.
“If using plant-based milk such as almond or oat milk, it’s a good idea to add a half scoop of protein powder to boost the protein content which should help to keep you fuller for longer. Strawberries add a natural sweetness and they’re also naturally low in fruit sugars — aim for an 80 g portion for one of your five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and a source of fiber too.”
2. Chocolate protein oatmeal
Oats are great complex carbs that release energy slowly. You can make protein oatmeal in any flavor — one of my favorites is chocolate banana. The trick is to make the protein powder into a paste by mixing with a little water, then stirring. This prevents it from becoming powdery and lumpy.
Almond milk or water
1 scoop chocolate protein powder, made into a paste
1/2 banana, mashed
1 tbsp cocoa powder
Fruit, dark chocolate, and chocolate sauce or nut butter to top
1. Cook your oats with the almond milk, banana, and cocoa powder in the microwave or on the stove, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes until thickened.
2. Stir in your protein paste, add your toppings, and enjoy.
Ludlam-Raine said: “Protein oatmeal is ideal to have after a workout as it provides both amino acids to help with muscle repair, and carbohydrates to replenish muscle and liver glycogen (energy) stores. If you don’t have protein powder, then using dairy milk instead of almond milk and adding some Greek yogurt will provide a similar amount of protein.”
3. A whole grain bagel with peanut butter and banana, and Greek yogurt with blueberries on the side
Whole grain bagels (or bagel thins if you want to reduce the calories) release energy slowly, and you can top with whatever you like. Adding Greek yogurt provides a substantial amount of protein.
Ludlam-Raine said: “This is a really satiating breakfast choice with two sources of fiber from the whole grain bagel and banana. In comparison to more refined carbohydrates such as plain bagel, the added fiber means it’s digested more slowly which helps to prevent any blood glucose (sugar) spikes after eating.
“Combining protein (from the Greek yogurt) with carbohydrates also helps to slow down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. Interestingly, the ripeness of the banana can also make a difference — a less ripe banana (without brown spots) will have more resistant starch which can support blood glucose management and feed the good bacteria in your gut too.”
4. Protein pancakes
This speedy pancake recipe by food influencer Jeannette mixes everything in a blender. It serves one.
Blend all the ingredients, spoon dollops into a buttered pan over a medium heat, cook for a couple of minutes before flipping, and serve.
Ludlam-Raine said: “These sound delicious and really filling too. Oats are fantastic as a higher fiber swap for plain flour and a great source of a particular kind of fiber called beta-glucan which can help to optimize your cholesterol (as part of a balanced diet).
“Using a more ripe banana will have a slightly higher GI (glycemic index) in comparison to a more yellow/green banana but it’s a great way to reduce waste. Mashing instead of blending can also help to keep the fiber from the banana more intact to avoid this becoming a ‘free’ (added) sugar. You could even top this with a small portion of unsalted nuts for some healthy fats and added fiber.”
5. Baked apple oats
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease an ovenproof dish.
2. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, saving some of the chopped apple to sprinkle on top.
3. Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until golden on top (bear in mind it will firm up more once you remove it).
4. Drizzle with peanut butter and dig in!
Ludlam-Raine said: “I’m a fan of any breakfast that includes one or more types of fruit (diversity is key for gut health!), and this breakfast provides one of your five a day (one portion being 80g). Oats provide additional fiber, and together with the protein powder, help to reduce the overall glycemic index of the dish, which helps to increase satiety.”
6. Greek yogurt with berries and nuts
Greek yogurt is not only thick and creamy, but it’s higher in protein than normal yogurt. Similar high protein alternatives include Icelandic skyr and kerned yogurt. Top a bowlful with whatever berries and nuts you like for a low-carb breakfast or snack.
Ludlam-Raine said: “This is a great combination of nutrients, providing a small amount of carbohydrates from the berries (but a source of fiber too), protein from the yogurt, and unsaturated fats from the nuts. Aim for a 120-150g portion of yogurt, 80-100g of berries, and approximately 25-30g nuts to help keep you satiated for longer. Add some no added sugar muesli or granola for extra energy if needed.”
7. Overnight oats
I love overnight oats because you can adjust the flavors for whatever you’re craving. They’re also highly nutritious and convenient. My base is always oats, Greek yogurt, protein powder, and almond milk, and then I mix up the add-ins and toppings. Try mixing in grated apple, mashed banana, sultanas, poached plums, peaches, chia seeds, or cinnamon.
For toppings, try nut butter, banana, berries, or nuts.
100g Greek yogurt
1 scoop protein powder
Grated apple, mashed banana, or fruit of choice
Nut butter, nuts, or toppings of choice
1. Mix everything together apart from your toppings, adding enough almond milk for it to thicken overnight (especially if you’ve added chia seeds).
2. Cover and chill overnight.
3. In the morning, remove from the fridge, add your toppings, and dig in.
Ludlam-Raine said: “Overnight oats make a great base for a healthy breakfast and they’re quick and easy to make too. If you’re really short of time, you can make the base 2-3 days in advance and portion in separate jars. Add a handful of fresh fruit or 30g of dried fruit for one of your five a day, as well as a source of healthy fats such as flaked almonds, nut butter, or chia seeds, for a truly balanced start to the day.”
8. Eggs and avocado on whole wheat toast
Avocado on toast is a millennial classic, and adding eggs — whether scrambled, poached, boiled, or fried — adds more nutrients and protein.
Ludlam-Raine said: “This is another really balanced meal which can really help to stabilize blood glucose levels after eating. Variety is key, so if you wanted to switch things up a little bit you could opt for seeded bread which can have a slightly higher amount of fiber too. Add some tomatoes or mushrooms for another of your 5-a-day”.
9. Protein smoothie
Smoothies made with just fruit and or vegetables never keep me full, so I like to turn mine into big, balanced meals by adding fats and protein. Most of my shakes start with a frozen banana (peel and freeze them when they’re ripe — they make smoothies as thick and creamy as a milkshake), almond milk, and a scoop of protein powder, then I add in whatever I’m in the mood for. Here are a few that I like:
Strawberry and cinnamon: Frozen banana, strawberries (fresh or frozen), almond milk, cinnamon protein (or vanilla protein and added cinnamon), almond butter (optional)
Black Forest: Frozen cherries, chocolate protein, almond milk (go for chocolate almond milk for extra yumminess)
Breakfast boost: Banana, peanut butter, vanilla protein, oats, honey, almond milk, pinch of cinnamon
Ludlam-Raine said: “These smoothie combinations sound delicious as well as being nutritious — I would add a handful of greens such as spinach for a healthy dose of vitamin A, C, and K as well as folate too. If you don’t have protein powder, using dairy milk instead of almond milk and a little nut butter together provide a tasty source of protein.”
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