Breakfast Ideas for Kids with Diabetes

It's very important that children with diabetes not skip breakfast since after not eating all night, their blood glucose (blood sugar) may be low.  Also, everyone, whether you have diabetes or not, needs food for energy to begin the day right. Kids especially need a good breakfast. Breakfast will help them to feel better, think clearer in school, and play harder.

Here are some things for you, the parent, to do to help your child with diabetes:

  • Eat breakfast yourself. No more cup of coffee and out the door! Take a few minutes and eat breakfast with your child. Be a good role model for instilling healthy eating habits; this will help your child with diabetes set good habits for life and understand the importance of eating well.
  • Choose whole grains for cereals, toast, bagels, English muffins, waffles, or pancakes.
  • Since carbohydrates are digested first, getting in and out of the blood stream quickly, be sure to include milk*, yogurt, or another source of low-fat protein to keep the energy up until lunch time.
  • Include fruit at breakfast such as 4 ounces of unsweetened apple juice or fresh orange juice, one-half of a banana sliced on cereal, fresh fruit added to yogurt, or fresh berries sprinkled onto pancakes while cooking.
  • If you're really short on time, drink breakfast in the form of a smoothie: Blend milk* or low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit, whirl in a blender and you have an instant breakfast.

Here's a week's worth of breakfast ideas for pre-school and school-age children with diabetes:

  • Sunday: Buttermilk pancakes (made with low-fat baking mix), topped with blueberries and sugar-free maple syrup. Glass of milk.*
  • Monday: Whole-grain cereal such as Cheerios, milk* with half of a banana sliced on top.
  • Tuesday: Breakfast Burrito:  a warmed flour tortilla filled with scrambled eggs (made with egg substitute and butter-flavored cooking spray), a few shreds of low-fat Monterey Jack cheese, and purchased salsa or taco sauce to taste.
  • Wednesday: Whole wheat toast spread with peanut butter and topped with thin slices of apple and a glass of milk*.
  • Thursday: Breakfast Pizza:  whole-grain English muffin, toasted and spread with a spoon of low-fat pizza sauce, and sprinkled with part-skim mozzarella cheese (place in toasted oven or under broiler to melt the cheese) and a glass of milk*.
  • Friday: Breakfast Smoothie made of milk*, low-fat vanilla yogurt, and choice of fresh or unsweetened frozen fruit (berries, peaches, or bananas are great).
  • Saturday: French Toast (made with egg substitute and whole-grain bread) topped with sugar-free maple syrup, turkey bacon or Canadian bacon, and a bowl of cut-up fresh fruit.

*Endocrinologists suggest milk with different percentages of fat for infants, toddlers, and school-age children. Check with your child's doctor to see if you child should have whole milk, low-fat milk, or skim milk.

By teaching your child with diabetes early about the importance of breakfast, you will be giving them the tools to thrive with and manage their diabetes.

Updated on: September 10, 2012