November is National Diabetes Month and the American Diabetes Association says to “Eat Well, America”. We want to help you do that.
Let’s add a little protein to breakfast…
Last week’s blog was about balancing your plate for diabetes prevention. Continuing on that theme, let’s start with breakfast, the most important meal of the day. In this hectic world of ours, we often skip breakfast, or, at best, grab breakfast “on the run.” Most to-go breakfasts consist of carbohydrates, with little or no protein. Examples are bagels, croissants, granola bars or a roll often accompanied by coffee and juice. These foods have little or no protein or fiber, and therefore are absorbed quickly producing a quick rise in blood sugar. In response to this rise in blood sugar, our bodies secrete the hormone called insulin. Insulin acts like a key, to allow the blood sugar to enter our muscles and cells and give us energy. If we take in “too many” or the “wrong type” of carbohydrates, or if our cells and muscles become resistant to the insulin, we have an imbalance. High levels of insulin can cause increased hunger, cravings for more sugary or starchy foods resulting in weight gain.
Breakfast with Protein & Fiber Helps You Avoid Diabetes
Adding good protein and fiber to breakfast, and keeping to a moderate amount of healthy carbohydrates can help you feel full longer and maintain a more even rise in your blood sugar, therefore helping you avoid diabetes. With an even rise, the insulin response is more balanced.
Some good to-go breakfasts are a slice of whole-wheat toast with one hard-boiled egg, Greek yogurt with a handful of nuts, or a half of a whole grain English muffin with peanut butter.
Milk, yogurt and cottage cheese are foods that fall into more than one category; they are a protein, carbohydrate and also have some fat content. Eggs are mainly a protein. Historically eggs have been the source of controversy; isn’t the yolk bad? The egg yolk does have cholesterol and the egg white does have most of the protein. But, our bad cholesterol is influenced more by eating foods with saturated and trans fats than by eating cholesterol. And egg yolks have the added benefit of some vitamin E and vitamin D. Egg whites have lots of protein (about 5 grams) so if you’re concerned about your cholesterol; keep the number of yolks to about four per week.
If you would like to try adding something a little more interesting to your morning routine, consider making a batch of egg muffins and freezing them. Once frozen, they can be heated up in the toaster oven or microwave. Then add a slice of whole wheat toast for a balanced breakfast.
Egg Muffins – A Delicious Healthy Breakfast
3 whole eggs
2 egg whites
1/3 cup diced onion
1 ½ cup cooked spaghetti squash or 10 oz. of frozen spinach, defrosted
¾ cup shredded light cheddar cheese
Hot sauce (optional)
- Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Place in oven skin side up and bake squash for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.
Remove from oven and use a fork to pull strands of squash (it will resemble spaghetti). Or, if using spinach, defrost spinach and drain excess water.
- Add squash or spinach to eggs, onion and cheese in a bowl and mix with a fork.
- Lightly butter or spray a muffin pan with oil. Pour egg mixture in muffin tin. Top with a few dashes of hot sauce (optional). Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top and bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Egg muffins can be frozen and reheated in a toaster oven or microwave for a quick breakfast.
Makes 6 Servings
Nutrition Information for each serving (may vary depending on ingredients chosen)
9 grams protein
3 grams carbohydrates
3 grams fat
Maybe try making a batch of these on the weekend. Eat them fresh for Sunday brunch and then freeze the rest for the work week. Being conscious of the food that you are eating does not mean having to feel or be deprived. There are plenty of delicious combinations that can help you be the healthiest you possible.