Options for Breakfast on a Low Glycemic Index Diet

Starting a new way of eating can be a challenge. Quite often it involves evaluating and changing the way you think about food completely, and this change not only impacts what you eat, but your lifestyle habits too, like grocery shopping, meal preparation, and eating at restaurants.

Oatmeal and coffee on a table
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Also, if you cook for your family, you may find resistance from your kids or spouse if they don’t want to try new foods.

But when switching to a low glycemic index (GI) diet, you don’t have to completely throw out your entire way of eating. Instead, this way of eating entails choosing foods that are nutritious but also have a lower GI (a type of carbohydrate that does not raise your blood sugar as much as foods with a high GI).

For instance, when it comes to eating a piece of fruit, choosing an apple over a banana or pineapple (both of which have a high GI) is ideal.

Here are four simple, low GI breakfast options that you can try—these delicious breakfast choices will keep your blood sugar levels stable, while also giving you the energy you need to move forward with your day.


When it comes to oatmeal, you first want to be sure you purchase the right kind. In other words, stick with whole oats or steel-cut oats, as they are low in GI, whereas instant oats are very refined and tend to be high in GI.

To give the oatmeal a pop of flavor and additional nutrients, try topping your oatmeal with a little bit of low GI fruit, like apples, peaches, or pears. You can also add in protein by mixing in a small portion of chopped almonds or pecans. For a final burst of yumminess, add a splash of pure vanilla extract and a dash of cinnamon (avoid adding any brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup).


The Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages us to eat eggs without worrying about cholesterol. Eggs are high in protein and the yolk contains heart-healthy omega-3 fats to help fight inflammation.

The great part about eating eggs is that they can be made in a variety of ways (so you don't get bored of eating the same thing every day). For example, you can scramble eggs, bake them, or hard boil them.

It's also a good idea to add in vegetables to your eggs to maximize your antioxidant intake—and don't be shy when it comes to combining vegetables. One hearty and popular combination is mushrooms, onions, and chopped tomatoes. When you combine vegetables with your eggs, first cook up your vegetables in a pain, and then add your eggs and scramble.

You can also make a frittata which means instead of scrambling the eggs right into your vegetables, place the pan (make sure you are using an oven-safe one) under a preheated broiler for a few minutes until the eggs are set.

Another option is to make a sweet potato hash. To do this, first, chop up some veggies like peppers and onions and sauté in a small amount of olive or canola oil. Meanwhile, cube your sweet potatoes and sauté in a separate pan. When the potatoes are done, toss with your veggies and add salt and pepper to taste.

Dinner for Breakfast

Remember, you don't have to have breakfast foods for breakfast. Try heating up some black beans (a good use of leftovers) and putting them on the side of some scrambled eggs with salsa and even a little low-fat cheddar cheese. Other low GI dinner options include:

  • Sweet potato
  • Pasta
  • Corn
  • Lima beans
  • Peas
  • Lentils


Smoothies are a great way to incorporate fruit and even vegetables, like kale, spinach, or avocado. To make a fruit smoothie, pull out your blender, add a base like coconut water, almond or coconut milk, and then pour in a cup of your favorite fruit, like sliced strawberries, nectarines, or apricots. You may also consider adding protein powder, seeds, and nut butter like almond butter or peanut butter for extra healthy fats and protein.

A Word From Verywell

Maybe one of the hardest adjustments to adhering to a low glycemic index diet will be eliminating those processed breakfast products, like breakfast cereals, pastries, donuts, frozen waffles, and deli bagels. This means that you’ll need to plan ahead a little bit, maybe even getting up a little earlier to make sure you have time to eat a well-balanced, healthy breakfast.

The good news is that most of the suggestions above can be prepped or made ahead of time so that you won’t even miss your old stand-by.

1 Source
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Mackie AR, Bajka BH, Rigby NM, et al. Oatmeal particle size alters glycemic index but not as a function of gastric emptying rate. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2017;313(3):G239-G246. doi:10.1152/ajpgi.00005.2017

Additional Reading

By Nicole Galan, RN
Nicole Galan, RN, is a registered nurse and the author of "The Everything Fertility Book."