Breakfast Ideas

June 10, 2017

Breakfast can easily turn into a carb fest if you enjoy pancakes, French toast, danishes and doughnuts. Even if you reach for fairly healthy choices, such as oatmeal, whole-grain toast and fruit smoothies, you'll take in a substantial number of carb/sugar grams.  

The downside to starting your day with an overwhelming amount of sugar is that your body subsequently experiences an increase in blood sugar. Insulin is then released from the pancreas, causing the blood sugar to decrease to normal levels. According to the American Diabetes Association, however, too much sugar can impair insulin from doing its job or even lead to insulin resistance.  Many nutritionists believe that Alzheimers is "diabetes of the brain".  And recommend a low carb/sugar lifestyle to slow/reverse it's effects.

Preparing a healthier low-carb, no-sugar breakfast still means you can walk away from the table satisfied and fueled for the day, and repair imbalances in your physical and mental health

Eggs Are Carb-Free

Eggs are a natural no-carb breakfast and contain no sugar, making them a healthy addition to your morning meal.

Serve poached eggs over 1/2 cup of sauteed spinach or chopped peppers and mushrooms for, at most, 3 grams of carbs.

Top scrambled eggs with sliced avocado, which adds just 1 gram per half of a fruit.

Fry eggs with bacon or sausage -- when you skip the toast and hash browns, this classic is a nearly no-carb meal.

Keep hard-boiled eggs in the fridge for busy mornings so you can simply grab two and eat alongside a string cheese, with just a trace number of carbs, and an ounce of almonds, with just 6 grams of carbs.

Frittatas and Omelets for Minimal Carbs

Add variety to egg dishes by making them into omelets and frittatas. Fill omelets with with chopped veggies, turkey bacon, mushrooms, herbs and cheese. Most of these fillings have negligible amounts of carbohydrates. 

Frittatas are similar to omelets but are usually cooked in a cast-iron pan in the oven and look like a crustless quiche. To make a frittata, heat the pan over high heat and melt butter or other cooking oil. Add the eggs, then the fillings and finish cooking in the oven. Tasty, low-carb combinations include zucchini and Parmesan; mushroom and tomato; or asparagus and roquefort cheese.

Nontraditional Breakfast Foods

If you're worried that consuming so many eggs could be dangerous to your health, don't be. Eggs do contain cholesterol, but dietary cholesterol doesn't contribute to your blood cholesterol levels nor raise your risk of heart disease. A study published in Nutrition Journal in 2010 was one of many that shows daily consumption of eggs had no negative effect on cholesterol levels in adults.

Even if it's healthy to eat eggs daily, you may tire of them on a low-carb diet. A way to avoid carbs and sugar at breakfast is to simply let go of the idea that certain foods are for the morning.

Have a piece of roast chicken and steamed broccoli or grilled steak with sauteed mushrooms and green beans.

Try a morning plate of salmon broiled with a side of tomatoes and zucchini or a can of drained tuna with sliced avocado.

All are extremely low in carbohydrates, with the vegetables adding just 1 to 3 grams of carbs to the proteins, which have no carbs.

Elegant No-Carb, No-Sugar Breakfasts

Make scrambled eggs with goat cheese and chives for a fancy change of pace. Serve poached eggs over grilled slices of tomato or steamed artichoke hearts and top with hollandaise -- a creamy sauce of butter, egg yolks and lemon juice that's traditionally used to top eggs Benedict.

A small tomato offers just 2.5 grams of carbs and artichoke hearts about 1 gram each.

Lox served on rounds of tomato or cucumber with dollops of sour cream and fresh dill is another low-carb special-occasion breakfast food.

Serve a cup of fresh raspberries on the side of any of these meals for a sweet splurge, with 14 grams of carbohydrates. The sugar in the raspberries is all-natural, not added. This makes these berries one of the lowest-carb fruits available.

Quick Low-Carb Breakfast Ideas

Sure, you already know that breakfast is important -- but that doesn't mean it's always easy to make time for it during busy mornings. And if you're going low-carb, many breakfast staples -- like traditional cereal, muffins and English muffins -- are off-limits, so it's harder to grab breakfast on the go. Even so, you don't have to spend hours in the kitchen to get a healthy low-carb breakfast. It's actually easy to whip up a simple-but-scrumptious morning meal.

Egg-Cellent Low-Carb Breakfasts

When it comes to low-carb breakfasts, eggs are your new best friend. Not only do they pack in 6 grams of virtually carb-free protein, but they're also quick and easy to cook.

Make a healthy fiber-packed egg dish by scrambling two eggs with spinach, red peppers, mushrooms and a sprinkle of Parmesan or cheddar cheese.

Or chop hard-boiled eggs -- which you can cook ahead of time -- and mix them with black olives, chopped cucumber and feta cheese for Mediterranean-inspired egg bowl. 

If you have extra time on the weekend, prepare low-carb breakfast burrito filling from scrambled eggs, chopped veggies, low-fat cheddar and a couple tablespoons of ham or black beans. Store it in the fridge, and spoon the filling into romaine leaves for low-carb breakfast "boats" that come together in a snap. 

Quick and Easy Protein Pancakes

You might not be able to eat fluffy, carb-rich pancakes on your low-carb diet, but you can make an easy high-protein alternative. Use lower-carb ingredients to make pancakes that are just as yummy

Simply mix a scoop of flavored protein powder with an egg, a spoonful of ground flaxseed -- which is virtually carb-free -- a splash of vanilla extract and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Mix the "batter" until it reaches the desired consistency. You can add unsweetened almond milk, a spoonful at a time, to thin it out if you'd like, then cook on the griddle over low heat.

Or stir a scoop of your favorite protein powder with one egg and a teaspoon of vanilla extract, then mash with one-quarter of a medium banana, which has 6 grams of net carbs. Cook the resulting "batter" over low heat in a skillet until golden brown and voila -- flavorful pancakes, minus most of the carbs!

Experiment with different flavors to prevent boredom -- try making "strawberry shortcake" pancakes by using two or three pureed strawberries in place of the banana, or add cinnamon or cardamom for spicy flavor. 

Depending on the protein powder you choose, your pancakes could have 20 to 30 grams of protein per serving, or even more. 

Keep the toppings simple and low in carbs -- try a dollop of plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt -- each ounce has just 1 gram of carbohydrate but contains almost 3 grams of protein or whipped cream.

Protein pancakes store well in the fridge, so you can make them the night before, store them in a freezer bag overnight and eat them on-the-go the next morning. Try whipping up a large batch of pancakes on the weekend so you can eat them throughout the week.

Perfect Breakfast Parfaits

Parfaits prove that breakfast can be delicious, low-carb and Instagram-worthy. Make your parfait low-carb by placing layers of plain Greek yogurt -- which has just 6 grams of net carbs per container -- between layers of pumpkin seeds or chopped almonds, then sprinkling the whole parfait with cinnamon.

Or make a lemony low-carb parfait by mixing lemon zest into your yogurt, then topping your parfait with strawberries, which have just 5 grams of net carbs per 1/2 cup of sliced berries. 

If you're feeling creative, try a savory Southwest breakfast parfait. Layer low-fat cottage cheese -- which has 4 grams of net carbs per 1/2 cup -- with shredded cheddar and salsa, then sprinkle the parfait with jalapenos for a little extra heat.

Low-Carb Breakfasts on the Go

Don't worry if you don't have any time for breakfast preparation because you can make drive-through fare work if you're in a pinch. Avoid the traditional breakfast sandwiches available at most fast-food places -- the English muffins and bagels used to make them come packed with carbs --

and instead simply ask for a fried egg or egg white topped with cheese and meat.

Or ask for a breakfast wrap sans the wheat wrap -- you'll get an egg "bowl" similar to the one you'd have made at home. 

While fast-food breakfasts can work in a pinch, don't make them a daily part of your diet. Certain fast-food breakfasts might be low in carbs, but they're still high in sodium, so save them for an occasional treat.

List of Low-Carbohydrate Cereals

Cereal is a quick and easy meal for breakfast. There's no cooking involved -- just grab a bowl and some milk and you are ready to go. But, if you are on a low-carbohydrate diet, it may not be that simple. Most cereals are not low in carbohydrates. In fact, the main ingredient in most cereals is some kind of grain and sugar, which increases the carb count. In response to the need for a low-carb cereal, many companies have released delicious cereals that still spare the carbs.

Uncle Sam

Uncle Sam os a mix of Toasted Whole Wheat Berry Flakes & Flax seed.  It contains 10grams of fiber, 9 grams of protein, 4 grams of polyunsaturated fat to lower LDL and triglycerides (Omega-3) and less than 1 gram of sugar per serving. Non-GMO

Kellog's Special K Protein Plus

Kellog's has made a Special K cereal with all the deliciousness of the original, but without all the carbs. Special K Protein Plus provides 10 g of protein and just 14 g of carbohydrates per serving. In each serving, there is only 2 g of sugar, but 5 g of fiber. Serve this cereal with fat-free milk for an even higher intake of protein. Each serving size is a generous 3/4 of a cup and provides just 100 calories and an assortment of essential vitamins and minerals.

Nutritious Living Hi-Lo

Hi-Lo is a variety of cereals made by the Nutritious Living company. It is available in a variety of flavors including original, with strawberries, vanilla almond and maple-pecan. Each Hi-Lo cereal contains just 13 g of carbohydrates in each half-cup serving. What's more, there is only 3 g of sugar in each serving. These cereals also contain a generous amount of soy, which brings the protein content up to 12 g per serving.

Atkins Morning Start Cereal

The Atkin's eating program is famous for limiting its carbs. It is no wonder then that the Atkin's program offers a low-carb cereal. Atkins Morning Start Cereal is a healthy, low-carb alternative to the traditional cereal. One serving contains just 4 g of net carbs and 14 g of protein. It is available in triple berry, banana nut, blueberry and crunchy almond crisp flavors.


Flaxsnax is a low-carb hot cereal. In a half-cup serving of the cinnamon spice flavor, you will take in just 130 calories and 13 g of carbohydrates. This cereal contains 12 g of protein in each serving. A hot cereal cuts down on the carbs even more because it is also delicious to make with hot water, cutting out milk, which contains carbs.

Switch to Savory

Venture to the savory side.  Some options include a fried egg, warmed chicken breast slices and cheddar cheese, low-fat cream cheese and salsa, low-fat cottage cheese and sunflower seeds, or even ricotta cheese with tomato slices.

The benefit to every one of these options is that they contain protein and healthy fats that will maintain blood sugar levels. In a recent study in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," protein was found to increase feelings of fullness, reduce snacking and reduce cravings.

Go Nuts
Topping your savory selection with a healthy fat will provide lasting blood sugar control, longer satiety and benefits for your heart.

An article by the American Heart Association explains that people who eat nuts as part of a healthy diet have lower levels of low-density lipoprotein, or "bad" cholesterol, and lower heart disease risk. Opt for foods that also contain some protein, such as nut and seed butters.

Try cashew butter with raspberries, almond butter with banana slices or sunflower seed butter and raisins.  (Avoid peanuts since they are sugary legumes not nuts)

Stay Low-Carb with Egg Fritters

Eggs are virtually carb-free and packed with protein -- 6 grams per large egg, to be exact. So they're the perfect breakfast staple to keep your carb intake low. And while old favorites like scrambled and fried eggs can work in a low-carb diet, don't be afraid to get creative.

Egg fritters are made by mixing eggs, egg whites, veggies and cheese, these egg "pancakes" help you pack tons of protein into your breakfast, and get fiber, vitamins and minerals from the veggies, too.

To make them, simply pulse your favorite veggies in a food processor until chopped fine -- to pieces about the size of grains of rice -- then mix in the eggs, egg whites, shredded cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the mixture onto a griddle and cook like you would a pancake. Although you can use any veggie, these are especially delicious using broccoli.

Make a High-Protein Breakfast Salad

Salads aren't exactly standard breakfast fare -- but that doesn't mean they can't be. Leafy greens are virtually carb-free -- a cup of raw kale, for example, has less than a gram of digestible carbohydrates -- so you can bulk up your meal with two or three cups of greens without blowing your carb budget.

Top your salad with a lean protein, like turkey breast, that has 26 grams of protein per 3-ounce portion.

Or opt for scrambled eggs, lean grilled chicken, or even chopped turkey sausage as other high-protein options.

Ditch the typical salad dressing and instead use salsa -- it has 3 net carbs in 1/4 cup.

Combined with the egg and meat, this makes a delicious huevos rancheros-inspired salad that fits into even strict low-carb diets.

Eat Low-Carb Nut Butter for Breakfast

Though fluffy protein pancakes or a heaping breakfast salad might work when you have a few minutes to spare, sometimes you need to get out the door ASAP.

Keep homemade nut butters on hand for days when you have literally no time to make breakfast. Nuts supply fiber, protein and vitamins like magnesium, which makes them a healthy addition to your diet. And they're also low-carb -- a tablespoon of almond butter, for example, has 2 grams of carbohydrates but supplies 4 grams of protein.

Make your own nut butter by adding roasted, unsalted and unflavored nuts to a food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped -- and remove a few tablespoons of nuts at this stage to add back later for "chunky" butter -- then blend continuously until the nuts reach the right consistency, 10 to 15 minutes.

Flavor your nut butter with low-carb ingredients like vanilla bean powder, cinnamon or cocoa powder. Keep the jar in the fridge, and portion out a few 2-tablespoon servings in smaller containers for instant breakfast on-the-go.

Sure, eating nut butter might not feel too fancy, but it is delicious -- and lets you stick to your diet even if you're seriously in a time crunch.  Slab it on Celery sticks for on-the-go eating.