If you have diabetes, keeping your blood sugar levels at reasonable levels is very important. Thus you have to start off your day by having the right cereal for breakfast. Combining your cereal which is a source of healthy carbohydrates with some protein and fat is very important.
Mostly, the best cereal for diabetics is one that is full of fiber and nutrients but with as little added sugar as possible. It is one with a low glycemic index (GI).
These are usually carbohydrate foods that take longer to digest thus slowly but steadily releasing sugar into your blood. Anything with a high GI will only cause your blood sugar levels to shoot up.
Bear in mind that the method of cooking or processing will also determine a cereal’s glycemic index. Thus highly-processed foods have a higher GI and should be avoided by people with diabetes.
To ensure that your breakfast doesn’t lead to a spike in the sugar levels, eat it together with some healthy fats and proteins. This is a recommendation by the American Diabetes Association.
Another way of determining the best cereals for people with diabetes is looking at the glycemic load. The key factors to consider include the cereal’s digestibility and its portion size. Carbohydrates with a low glycemic load are, therefore, the best for diabetics.
Why Whole Grains Make The Best Cereals For Diabetics?
Depending on your choice of cereal, you can either end up with a healthy breakfast or one that’s not. What you need to remember is that the sweeter the cereal, the more likely they are to compromise your blood sugar levels.
Most of the commercially available cereals are made using refined grains as well as sugars. Thus eating such cereals will only expose you to a lot of empty calories and very few nutrients.
Because of the refined grains, they have a high GI and therefore riskier when it comes to causing a spike in your sugar levels.
Always read the label. If the cereal lists whole grains on top of the ingredient list, this is the one you should buy. Since they are stripped of germ and bran during processing, refined grains are less healthy.
The good thing with whole grains is that it includes the grain kernel in its entirety and thus will provide you with healthy fiber. As a person with diabetes, you need a lot of fiber in your diet. It will help control the blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
The nutritional value of whole grains is also very high. You can, therefore, expect to get lots of minerals and vitamins from them.
Some of the whole grain contents of cereals include the following:
- Wild rice
- Brown rice
- Whole cornmeal
- Wheat Bran
- Whole wheat flour
What Are The Best Cereals For Diabetics?
There are some diabetes-friendly cereals that not only have a low GI but are also highly nutritious. You can consume them without having to worry about a possible spike in your blood sugar levels.
The following are the best cereals for people with diabetes:
If you are looking for a breakfast cereal that fills you up quickly and supplies you with enough energy to start the day, try a granola-type cereal like muesli.
Anything between ¼ and ½ a cup is enough.
Make sure that the muesli has little or no added sugar. A careful look at the list of ingredients will tell you if you are buying one of the best cereals for diabetics. Necessarily, an ingredient list consisting of oat flakes, dried fruits, and nuts should be preferred.
It is the ingredient list which will tell you the type of GI a particular cereal has. If a cereal has a low GI, it is beneficial when it comes to regulating the blood sugar level until you have the next meal.
It doesn’t matter whether you are type 1 or type 2 diabetic. To maintain the health benefits of muesli, don’t add any sugar. It is always good to serve your cereal with some milk or cereal.
2. Large Oat Flakes
Generally, oat flakes can be eaten raw or served as a hot cereal. You may want to go for steel-cut oats or large oat flakes, which are known to have a low GI. To give your breakfast meal a nutritional boost, you should add milk, plain yogurt or nuts.
To avoid causing a spike in the blood sugar levels, add no sugar. If you care more about the sweetness of your cereal, you can add some berries which are healthy and wouldn’t increase your blood sugar levels.
3. Wheat Bran-Based Cereals
For the mere fact that they are less refined and have no added sugar, this type of cereal has a low GI.
It can, therefore, help you better control diabetes by regulating the blood sugar levels after breakfast. With a GI of 55 and a glycemic load of 12 wheat, bran-based cereals are very healthy.
This type of cereal would be available in the form of pellets or flakes. The higher fiber content makes these cereals the best. This is a nutrient-dense cereal that also supplies you with magnesium, zinc, iron, and thiamin. In its fortified form , this cereal is also a good source of vitamin B12 and folic acid.
To avoid causing a spike in your blood sugar levels, go for sugar-free wheat bran cereals. You can then add more flavor by including apples, berries or almonds as part of the meal.
To ensure you have a quinoa breakfast in the morning, make sure you cook it the night before. The simplest way of preparing it is in water. It is vital that you follow the instructions on the package to avoid having a disaster of breakfast. After cooking, you can eat your quinoa together with salads or a veggie burger.
The reason this is one of the best cereals for people with diabetes is that it is available as a whole grain. It is, therefore, slow to digest and useful in regulating your blood sugar levels.
To get a tasty breakfast, make sure you add some fruits, vegetables, nuts, milk or plain yogurt. To avoid taking too many carbohydrates, avoid taking more one cup in a single serving.
5. Rice-Based Cereals
Among the best cereals for diabetics is the rice-based variety. It is healthiest when made from brown rice rather than the standard white grains. Apart from being gluten-free, it also has a slightly low glycemic index.
Manufacturers of this type of cereal produce it in different varieties. As such, you will find one made with honey, oats, multigrain, red berries or fruit and yogurt.
Just like the other cereals, it is essential that you read the label. You want to make sure that your cereal contains no added sugar. That can only make your cereal detrimental to your health especially when it comes to increasing the blood sugar levels.
This is a type of porridge that can be eaten as the first meal of the day. Since it has a low GI, oatmeal is a healthy cereal. It is a high-fiber carbohydrate, which takes longer to digest and, therefore, releases sugar into the bloodstream more slowly.
Eating oatmeal ensures you prevent a possible spike in your blood sugar levels.
Apart from the complex carbohydrates contained in oatmeal, you will also find some healthy fat and protein.
All of these contribute to keeping your blood sugar at healthy levels. You should, however, be very careful when choosing an oatmeal brand. Those that have added sugar are the worst. Just avoid them.
Don’t let the name fool you. This cereal is neither made of grapes nor nuts. Instead, it contains whole wheat and barley. It is made by baking to give it a nutty flavor.
Due to its medium glycemic index, Grape-Nuts is one of the best cereals for breakfast. The fortified version also contains lots of minerals and vitamins B6 and B12.
Half a cup of Grape-Nuts contains up to 7 grams of fiber which makes it suitable for any diabetic. Fiber is what helps slow down your digestion thus stabilizing your blood sugar level. You will also benefit from low cholesterol levels.
8. Cream of Wheat
Cream of wheat is one of the best cereals for breakfast given its low GI and glycemic load. It is healthy given that it’s made by finely grinding whole-grain wheat. The cereal features a subtle flavor and smooth texture.
Apart from being goods for diabetics, it is also a good source of iron which helps the red blood cells transport oxygen in your body.
To make your breakfast even more nutritious, you should include fruits, vegetables, and protein. This can also help you to lower the GI of cereal that could have detrimental effects. After all, protein is known to slow down the digestion of the carbohydrates thus helping regulate your blood sugar levels. To help prevent a spike in your blood sugar levels, ensure you have a healthy breakfast!