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Easy Guide to a Balanced Breakfast

When it comes to balanced meals, breakfast is often the one that clients find the most challenging to keep balanced. Do you skip breakfast as you scramble out the door in the morning? Do you find yourself hungry only an hour after breakfast? Do you feel sluggish halfway through the morning?

Easy Guide to a Balanced Breakfast | Beyond Diabetes Nutrition - Lucy Zhang, Registered Dietitian

Building a balanced breakfast helps to:

  • Fuel your body and brain to provide steady energy levels

  • Support better concentration and alertness

  • Support more balanced blood sugars

Balanced breakfasts don't have to be complicated! Here's your step by step guide to tackling balanced breakfasts every day:

Step 1: Choose a high fibre carbohydrate

  • Oatmeal

  • Whole grain toast, english muffin, tortilla wrap

  • High fibre cereal - read the nutrition facts back when grocery shopping to look for cereals that provide at least 5g of fibre per serving

  • Sweet potato

  • Fruit

Easy guide to a balanced breakfast: Choose a high fibre carbohydrate | Beyond Diabetes Nutrition - Lucy Zhang, Registered Dietitian

Step 2: Choose your source of protein

Protein is an important part of every meal. Beyond supporting lean muscle mass and a strong immune system, including a source of protein at meals can help with satiety - meaning it can help you feel full for longer.

Ideas for protein:

  • Eggs - boiled, scrambled, sunny side up, in an omelette, baked in muffin tins - anyway you like!

  • Nut butters

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Cheese

  • Cottage cheese - if you’re not a fan of the classic cottage cheese texture, try smooth cottage cheese!

  • Cream cheese

  • Tofu

  • Hemp hearts

  • Yogurt, Greek yogurt, skyr

  • Milk, soy milk, high protein plant-based milk

    • Choose lower fat milks (2% M.F. or less)

    • If using a plant-based milk alternative, opt for unsweetened varieties

    • For more protein, choose soy milk over almond or rice beverages

Easy guide to a balanced breakfast: include a source of protein | Beyond Diabetes Nutrition - Lucy Zhang, Registered Dietitian

Step 3: Include a fruit or vegetable.

Breakfast is a great opportunity to incorporate some fruits and veg into your day - healthy dietary patterns favour making non-starchy veggies and fruits about ½ of our overall intake. Fruits and vegetables provide fibre as well as various vitamins and minerals. If it’s a little easier to include a fruit at breakfast than veggies, that’s okay!

Ideas for including veggies:

  • In an omelette - spinach, mushrooms, onion, tomatoes - pack your omelette with whatever veggies you have on hand!

  • In baked egg muffins (think Starbucks)

  • In a smoothie - include a handful of spinach when making your favourite smoothies (there’s no noticeable change in taste or texture - you’ll just get a pretty splash of green).

    • Kale is another popular option - I find unless you have a very strong blender, you are likely going to notice a bit of texture with the addition of kale versus spinach.

  • As a breakfast salad - throw some greens (e.g. arugula, spring mix, spinach) together with some cherry tomatoes and you have a breakfast salad just like your favourite brunch place

Ideas for including fruits:

  • As an easy to grab side to your breakfast - apple, banana, peach, pear - reach for any fruit you enjoy

  • As a topping for oatmeal or cereal

  • As a topping for yogurt, cottage cheese, or chia pudding

  • In a smoothie - frozen or fresh fruits are both great options in a smoothie! My go to flavour combo is ½ a frozen banana + frozen mango chunks

Easy guide to a balanced breakfast: Include a fruit or vegetable | Beyond Diabetes Nutrition - Lucy Zhang, Registered Dietitian

Optional Bonus: Add extra soluble fibre.

Soluble fibre can help to:

  • Improve blood sugar management

  • Lower LDL cholesterol

  • Increase feelings of fullness

  • Normalize stool consistency if you suffer from constipation or diarrhea

Easy options to add extra soluble fibre:

  • Chia seeds

  • Ground flaxseed (Insta post)

  • Psyllium husk and powder

How to include:

  • Top your oatmeal, cereal, or yogurt

  • Blend into your smoothie

  • Sprinkle on toast - this is a personal favourite, I spread peanut butter onto a slice of whole grain toast, then sprinkle ground flax on top (the nut butter helps it stick!). I actually find the texture very satisfying!

Easy guide to a balanced breakfast: add extra soluble fibre | Beyond Diabetes Nutrition - Lucy Zhang, Registered Dietitian

Examples of Balanced Breakfasts

If you follow the above steps, it's then just a matter of assembly! Here's some examples of what an easy balanced breakfast can look like:

  • English muffin breakfast sandwich (multigrain English muffin + egg + cheese + optional sriracha/hot sauce) with an apple

  • Toast served with veggie egg omelette (spinach + onion + cheese)

  • Oatmeal topped with nut butter and berries. Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed or chia for extra soluble fibre

  • High fibre cereal with dairy or soy milk and a fruit. Try adding hemp heart to your cereal for extra protein and a tablespoon of ground flaxseed or chia for extra soluble fibre

  • Toast with nut butter and a fruit. Sprinkle a tablespoon of ground flaxseed on top for extra soluble fibre


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