Cereal Choices for Blood Sugar Management
Cereal is such an easy breakfast option, but let’s be real, it can become a big problem for your blood sugar. Many cereals are high in processed sugars and low in fiber, leading to quick rises in blood sugar. It’s also easy to eat several servings in one sitting, greatly increasing the amount of carbohydrate in your meal. That being said, you don’t have to give up on all breakfast cereals to reach your blood sugar goals. But you do need to pay close attention to the nutrition facts and portion size. We can help you simplify how to choose a diabetic friendly breakfast cereal.
Here are a few tips to better incorporate a diabetic friendly breakfast cereal into your diet:
1. Read the nutrition facts label.
Choose a cereal that is low in sugar, high in fiber. As a general rule of thumb, I’m looking for at least 3 grams fiber and less than 6 grams sugar. When looking at the ingredients, whole grain should be the first ingredient!
2. Measure it out!
It is so easy to eat several servings without even realizing it. The serving size for most cereals is 1/2 cup to 1 cup.
3. Consider what you eat with your diabetic friendly breakfast cereal.
Try using unsweetened almond milk. It contains less carbohydrates than cow’s milk and soy milk. You can also try a ultra filtered milk, like Fairlife, that is higher in protein and lower in sugar. Adding fruit will increase the amount of carbohydrate. Only add if it fits within your carb count goals for the meal. Carbohydrates (grains and dairy) are digested quickly, leaving you hungry not long after eating your cereal, and can cause a blood sugar spike. Pairing your carbohydrate with a good source of protein and/or fat can keep you satiated longer, and keep your blood sugars more stable. Try adding nuts to increase the protein/healthy fats, or round out the meal with Greek yogurt, eggs, or other lean proteins.
Don’t have time to compare labels?
Here are a few diabetic friendly breakfast cereal options to try!
Fiber One Original: 2/3 cup serving contains 34 g carbohydrate, 18 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 3 g protein
General Mills Total: 3/4 cup serving contains 25 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 2 g protein
Kellogg’s Special K Protein: 1 1/3 cup serving contains 39 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 15 g protein (this one has more than 6 grams of sugar, but 15 grams of protein
Kashi Heart to Heart Warm Cinnamon: 1 cup serving contains 33 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 4 g protein
Barbara’s Original Puffins Cereal: 3/4 cup serving contains 24 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 3 g protein
If you are having difficulty controlling your blood sugar, a registered dietitian can help create a meal plan that works with your lifestyle and food preferences to better manage your diabetes. Click Rebecca Bitzer & Associates: A Dietitian for Every Condition or call 301-474-2499 to make an appointment.
An award winning recipe developer, Dietitian Kaitlin’s mission is to empower others to reach their health goals by encouraging them to get back into the kitchen. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating and Cooking with Diabetes.