Did you know that if you eat a meal that has too much glucose in it (found in starches and sugars), your body will store it as fat (or glycogen)…?
Not only that, but by starting your day with a “sweet” breakfast, causes glucose spikes in your blood sugar levels – and these “glucose rollercoasters” make us tired, hungry, and increase our cravings for more sugar all day long.
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.
WHAT IS A SAVORY BREAKFAST?
A savory breakfast is essentially a breakfast that does not taste sweet.
This kind of breakfast can be very versatile; it ranges from classical eggs and bacon to something fancier like avocado toast. Also, if you are 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 is 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.
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 will not 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.
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.
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.
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;
Look for cereals with high fiber, low carbs, or with a nut base;
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.
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:
Pick steel-cut oats: rolled or instant oats are more processed, so they spike us even higher than steel-cut oats.
Add protein and fat: eggs are great, but you can also add protein powder, nut butter, Greek yogurt, or ghee, for example.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Dark rye toast with scrambled eggs, kimchi, tomatoes, and seeds + strawberries with peanut butter and cacao nibs
Seed bread with butter, lettuce, smoked salmon, pickled onions, and pumpkin seeds + tomatoes + yogurt with seeds
Rye toast with hummus, tomato and arugula
Egg salad wrap with fresh spinach
Zucchini and feta omelet with pickled onions
Greek yogurt with strawberries, peanut butter, macadamia nuts, coconut chips, and cacao nibs
Almond milk chia pudding with strawberries, blueberries and almond butter
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
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)
This guest blog was brought to you by Glucose Goddess