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What should Type 1 diabetic eat in breakfast?

What should Type 1 diabetic eat in breakfast?

Breakfast is considered the most important meal because the levels of blood sugar throughout the day very much depends on what you eat at the breakfast. But what should a type 1 diabetic eat in breakfast and why does it matter a lot? Let’s find out all the goals, strategies, tips, dos and don’ts related to the breakfast of a type 1 diabetic.

Why diet matters a lot for a type 1 diabetic?

Morning is the time when diabetics have the highest blood glucose levels. So, the choice of breakfast should be made carefully as it will impact the blood glucose levels for the whole day.

Diet is important for people with type 1 diabetes because they need to manually take insulin, maintain a healthy weight, control blood sugar levels and keep account of calories and carbs. However, unlike the old days, today the insulin availability is more than enough and all you have to do is to stick to the plan given by your doctor. That’s it, you are good to eat almost everything.

Why breakfast is considered tricky for type 1 diabetics?

Blood sugar levels for the entire day depend mostly on what you eat at breakfast. If you eat a healthy breakfast but don’t take insulin properly, the blood sugar level becomes unbalanced. Moreover, proper insulin intake is more important in the morning because both type 1 and type 2 diabetics experience high blood sugar levels in the morning.

A surprising fact is that when you wake up and your feet touch the floor for the first time, your body releases a steroid hormone called cortisol. Cortisol makes it difficult for your body to manage blood sugar in the morning. Though, the blood levels of cortisol are present throughout the day as it’s important to keep you alive but in the morning it is at the highest level.

Our body is kind of fasting all night and glucagon is released by our liver. Glucagon is converted into glucose to meet the energy needed by your body before you eat breakfast. For a type 1 diabetic, this spike in glucose level is not very welcoming and therefore insulin and breakfast are required early in the morning.

Somogyi effect

The Somogyi effect is confusing but it also plays an important role in spiking the glucose levels. It happens when you take insulin before sleeping at night and wake up with high blood sugar levels. Learn more about the Somogyi effect.

Balanced breakfast for type 1 diabetics

A balanced breakfast for a type 1 diabetic means it should contain a healthy amount of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. There is no fixed ratio of these nutrients that a t1 diabetic should eat at breakfast. It varies from person to person depending on their condition and how their body reacts to different foods.

You need to ingest a small number of carbohydrates in order to send a signal to your liver that you can manage glucose now. The liver will then stop converting glycogen into glucose. This is the reason when you don’t eat breakfast for a while after waking up, your blood sugar increases.

It is not a good approach to limit the number of carbohydrates because sooner in the day, you will crave for more. But the question here is that what is the ideal ratio or amount in grams that you should take.

When it comes to managing the blood sugar levels, high carb and low fat or high fat and low carb breakfast are considered as an ideal approach. Still, there is no fixed ratio that works for all therefore you need to find the ratio that suits you the most. Here are the max and least amount of the nutrients you should take in your breakfast if you are on a 2000-calorie diet.

NutrientLeast Amount(In Grams)Max Amount(In Grams)

However, these figures doesn’t come from any research. These are from those persons who are type 1 diabetic for more than 10 years. According to their experience, taking high amount of carbs and fats is not good in terms of maintaining blood sugar levels. This is because high amount of fats will slow down the digestion of carbs.

Consistency in balanced breakfast

Consistency is very important to maintain blood sugar levels in the long run. You have to follow the balanced breakfast plan with consistency for months and years. If you are not focusing on carbs, fats and protein ratio every day, your body will not get used to it and as a result, it will be difficult to maintain the glucose levels.

Foods that type 1 diabetics should avoid in breakfast

Surely, there are some foods that are not recommended to eat at breakfast by a type 1 diabetic. Foods that are high in carbs and calories like sodas and smoothies should be avoided. Doesn’t matter if they are labeled diet or no sugar, they will only create trouble for your glucose. In short, you should avoid products that contain a high amount of either processed or refined sugar. White bread, pasta, drinks, juices (not fresh) and cookies etc. are all not good choices for a type 1 diabetic to eat in breakfast.

Insulin dosing along with breakfast are important

Insulin doses are important to know when it comes to blood sugar management. When the liver converts glucagon into glucose in the morning and your blood sugar spikes and an increase in the insulin dose is required but it can be tricky.

The goal of every type 1 diabetic is to keep blood glucose in control. Some diabetics who don’t like to eat breakfast right away when they wake up are recommended to take 1 unit of insulin to balance the morning spike in the glucose levels. We recommend you to not miss our post on insulin dosage throughout the day.

Breakfast ideas for type 1 diabetics

Here are some recommended breakfast ideas for people with type 1 diabetes.

Low carb protein smoothie

Don’t worry if you like smoothies as you can make your own low carb smoothie and it will be of no harm to your blood sugar levels.


An omelet works perfectly for a type 1 diabetic. You can add mushrooms, tomatoes, Spanish leaf or cheese to meet your desired taste.

Raw veggies

Another simple and effective breakfast for a t1 diabetic can be eating veggies like cucumbers, carrots etc. One serving is enough for one person.


Not only easy to cook but also great when it comes to blood regulation and digestion. They provide energy for a longer period of time as compared to other breakfast items.

Greek Yogurt

Low-fat Greek yogurt is another great idea for a type 1 diabetic’s breakfast. Greek yogurt has more proteins and fewer numbers of carbs but makes sure to not take more than one portion.

Low carb sources of proteins and fats

Some of the foods that are low in carbs but have high proteins and fats ratio are:

  • Avocado
  • Cottage cheese
  • Bacon
  • Brown bread
  • Tofu
  • Nuts and seed
  • Chicken salad
  • Protein pancakes

These are a few of the breakfast ideas and if you are interested to know about more ideas like these in detail, visit the best breakfast ideas for type 1 diabetics.

Ask more about type 1 diabetes

We hope you like our post about what should a type 1 diabetic eat in breakfast. If you are a t1 diabetic, we would love to hear your experience and what you eat and how you manage your blood sugar levels, in the comment section below.

You are free to ask anything about type 1 diabetes and our researchers will try their best to come up with the best satisfactory answer. See our blog feed to learn more about type 1 diabetes.

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