Use Code CMON20 to get 20% OFF and FREE SHIPPING

6 Low Glycemic Breakfast Ideas You’ll Love!

A low glycemic breakfast, like a berry smoothie or eggs with veggies, is key to having stable blood sugar for the entire day.

plate-of-oatmeal-with-greek-yogurt-and-peaches
Table of Contents

Starting your day on the right foot is all about feeling rested and having the energy to get through the morning.

Eating foods that are lower on the glycemic index (GI) and combining them with protein and healthy fats can do more than just minimize spikes in your blood sugar. They also give your body a consistent supply of energy, which can help you feel satisfied and energized until lunch.¹

This article will review delicious, easy, and low-GI breakfasts and cover additional low-GI, nutrient-dense foods that are perfect for breakfast or any time of the day.

{{mid-cta}}

What Does Low Glycemic Mean?

The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly carbohydrate-based foods raise your blood sugar. It is based on a scale of 0 to 100, where regular sugar has a glycemic index of 100. Foods that are below 55 on the scale are considered low glycemic, while foods between 56 and 69 are moderate. Anything above 70 is a high GI food.² 

Foods that are high on the glycemic index scale are digested and absorbed quickly. Eating these foods on an empty stomach can cause a faster and higher rise in your blood glucose (and a faster drop). Refined carbohydrates, like pastries, sugar-coated cereals, and white bread, are high on the glycemic index scale.

Low-GI foods lead to a slower and lower rise and fall of your blood sugar. They provide you with sustained energy and may help keep you feeling full longer. A low GI diet may help reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and possibly obesity.³ Whole grains or high-fiber carbohydrates like oatmeal, apples, and beans are low on the glycemic index.

Read more about The Glycemic Index Here.

Low Glycemic Breakfast Ideas

Traditional breakfast foods, like cereal and milk, pastries, or toast with jam, are rich in refined carbohydrates and high on the GI scale. While they are quick and easy and enjoyable, they can wreak havoc on your blood sugar (and may cause it to be elevated for the rest of the day). 

Pairing foods that have a low GI with some lean protein and healthy fats will give you the energy you need to take on the day. 

Let’s take a look at 6 easy and delicious low-GI breakfast ideas.

1. Berry Smoothie

Smoothies are an easy on-the-go breakfast that may also help increase feelings of satiety after a meal.⁴

Dairy products like yogurt and kefir, which can make the base of a smoothie, are a good source of protein and are low on the GI scale. Plain kefir has a GI of 36 and plain Greek yogurt has a GI of 11.⁵,⁶,⁷

They are also a perfect vehicle for getting a boost of nutritious fruits and veggies, and even some healthy fats. Adding berries and other low glycemic fruits and vegetables like avocado, spinach, or kale add healthy fats, fiber, and antioxidants that are important for supporting your metabolic health too. 

2. Oatmeal with Fruit

Oatmeal is the quintessential “stick to your ribs” breakfast. This whole grain is rich in fiber and has about 6 grams of protein per serving. It contains beta-glucan, a resistant starch, which helps slow the rate of carbohydrate absorption helping to reduce blood sugar spikes. 

Oatmeal has a glycemic index ranging from 42 - 80 depending on how it is processed. Opt for steel-cut oats (GI 42) or old-fashioned oats (GI 55) instead of quick-cooking or instant oats which are higher on the GI scale.⁵,⁶,⁷

Adding low-glycemic fruit like apples and something with protein and healthy fats like nut butter makes this a great low-GI option for breakfast. The fruit adds a sweet, tart bite and nut butter adds some creaminess making it a super satisfying breakfast. 

3. Broiled Grapefruit

Grapefruit and other citrus fruits are a classic part of breakfast and the good news is they are low GI, with grapefruit at just 22.⁶ 

Sweet and tart on their own, grapefruit is a delicious part of breakfast, but if you’ve never tried broiling a cut grapefruit, you are in for a treat. Broiling caramelizes the sugar in the fruit which makes it taste even sweeter and just a little decadent. And, it only takes a few minutes under the broiler before it is ready.

Enjoy it with a slice of whole grain toast, avocado, and an egg for a hearty breakfast that will satisfy your sweet tooth and keep you going all morning. 

4. Eggs and Veggies

Rich in protein, eggs go hand-in-hand with whole grains and veggies to give you a balanced breakfast that will keep you from scrounging through the kitchen again in an hour. Because eggs do not have carbohydrates their glycemic index is 0, which makes them a great option to pair with foods (like toast) that may raise your blood sugar.

Whip together a quick omelet with eggs, chopped spinach (GI=15), roasted peppers (GI=15), and mozzarella cheese (GI=0) for a satisfying breakfast.⁶ 

Another make-ahead option is egg muffins. Use your muffin tin and whip together eggs, veggies, and some herbs, and sprinkle with a little cheese. Bake them until they are light and puffy. Cool and wrap them up individually and freeze them. You will have a delicious breakfast that you can reheat quickly even on the busiest of mornings. 

5. Beans

While beans may not be a typical breakfast item for some of us, in many parts of the world, beans are eaten throughout the day - and for good reason! They are rich in fiber and protein and most beans are low GI too ranging from 28 - 54 on the GI scale.⁵,⁶,⁷

Adding beans to breakfast is also a good way to use up leftovers and give your breakfast a boost in fiber and protein. 

Try a breakfast burrito using a whole grain or corn tortilla, scrambled eggs, and black beans. Top it with some sliced avocado and salsa and you’ve got yourself a flavorful and filling breakfast that won’t spike your blood sugar. 

6. Seafood

Seafood for breakfast, why not? You’ve heard of lox and bagels, right? Give your breakfast an omega-3 boost with the addition of protein-rich seafood. Just as eggs are 0 on the GI scale, so are other protein foods like seafood.⁶

Salmon, tuna, or shrimp make a savory addition to an omelet or can be added on top of whole-grain toast with avocado spread. Combining a 100% whole grain bread with a GI of 51 with protein-rich seafood and healthy fat from the avocado will help keep your blood sugar from spiking and will fill you up until lunch.  

Foods with Low Glycemic Levels

Those are six easy breakfast ideas to get you started, but there are plenty more low-GI foods that you can mix and match for endless breakfast ideas. Here’s a list of low-GI foods that are great additions to breakfast, or any meal!⁵,⁶,⁷,⁸

Dairy 

  • Milk (Whole - 39  Skim - 37)
  • Yogurt, including regular and Greek, plain and flavored. (GI ranges from 14 - 33)
  • Cheese  (0 - 30 depending on the type. Processed cheese is moderate in GI at 57)
  • Kefir (GI 36 for plain and 48 - 60 for flavored) 
  • Soymilk and soy-based yogurts (34- 45)  
  • Almond milk (30)
  • Oat milk (30)

Fruits 

  • Oranges (43)
  • Apples (36)
  • Bananas (underripe or green - 30, fully ripened - 51)
  • Cherries - 22
  • Peach - 42
  • Pears - 38 - 41

Vegetables 

  • Celery (15)
  • Cabbage (white - 15, Chinese - 20)
  • Carrots 39
  • Yam - 37 (Sweet potatoes -44 - 78)
  • Spinach - 15
  • Sweet Peppers - 15

Legumes

  • Chickpeas (28)
  • Soybeans (16)
  • Navy Beans (31)
  • Kidney beans (24)
  • Lentils (32)

Nuts

  • Almonds (15)
  • Cashews (25)
  • Peanuts (15)
  • Pistachios (15)
  • Walnuts (15)

Start Your Day By Monitoring Your Health

Getting your day off on the right foot can help you be more productive and energetic throughout the day. Additionally, understanding how your blood sugar responds to food and exercise can help with weight loss and improve your metabolic health. 

Since everyone responds differently to food and exercise, using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) can help you understand how your blood sugar reacts to different foods. When paired with the Signos app, your CGM data will give you insights on how your body responds to different foods (and what you can do about the ones that cause you to spike). 

Avoiding glucose spikes and dips can help support you on your weight loss journey and improve your overall health.  

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Get more information about weight loss, glucose monitors, and living a healthier life
Get more information about weight loss, glucose monitors, and living a healthier life
Subscribe now
Share this article:

References

  1. Radulian, G., Rusu, E., Dragomir, A., Posea, M. (2009). Metabolic effects of low glycaemic index diets. Nutr Journal 8, 5. https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2891-8-5
  2. Esfahani, A., Wong, J. M., Mirrahimi, A., Srichaikul, K., Jenkins, D. J., & Kendall, C. W. (2009). The glycemic index: physiological significance. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 28 Suppl, 439S–445S. https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2009.10718109
  3. Augustin, L., Kendall, C., Jenkins, D., Willett, W., Astrup, A., Barclay, A., Björck, I., Brand-Miller, J., Brighenti, F., Buyken, A., Ceriello, A., La Vecchia, C., Livesey, G., Liu, S., Riccardi, G., Rizkalla, S., Sievenpiper, J., Trichopoulou, A., & Poli, A. (2015). Glycemic index, glycemic load and glycemic response: An International Scientific Consensus Summit from the International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium (ICQC). Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, 25(9), 795-815. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.numecd.2015.05.005
  4. Onvani, S., Haghighatdoost, F., Surkan, P. J., & Azadbakht, L. (2017). Dairy products, satiety and food intake: A meta-analysis of clinical trials. Clinical nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland), 36(2), 389–398. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2016.01.017
  5. Foster-Powell, K., Holt, S.H.A., Brand-Miller, J.C. (2002). International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 75: 5- 56. 
  6. Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Guide. https://glycemic-index.net/  Accessed October 13, 2022. 
  7. Fiona S. Atkinson, Kaye Foster-Powell, Jennie C. Brand-Miller. (2008). International Tables of Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Values: 2008. Diabetes Care 31(12): 2281–2283. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc08-1239
  8. The University of Sydney. Glycemic Index Research and News. https://glycemicindex.com/gi-search/ Accessed October 13, 2022.

About the Author

Laura is an award-winning food and nutrition communications consultant, freelance writer, and recipe developer.
View Author Bio

Please note: The Signos team is committed to sharing insightful and actionable health articles that are backed by scientific research, supported by expert reviews, and vetted by experienced health editors. The Signos blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. Read more about our editorial process and content philosophy here.

Interested in learning more about metabolic health and weight management?

Try Signos.
Buy Now
A white woman leaning back on a rowing machine with his arms bent and holding the bar to his chest.
Get started with Signos
A boy is on his dad's back with his arms around his shoulders. The dad is on all fours, extending his right leg behind him, and is wearing a CGM with Signos sports cover on his left arm.
A white woman leaning back on a rowing machine with his arms bent and holding the bar to his chest.
Sign up now
< More
This is some text inside of a div block.
Articles