Just like every meal, breakfast for diabetics can be a difficult thing.  Type 1 diabetics must keep an inventory of everything they eat and add up the amount of carbohydrates so they can inject the correct dosage of insulin.  Type 2 diabetics must try to limit the amount of carbs they ingest in order to keep their blood sugar at appropriate levels.  Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and since people with diabetes should not skip meal in general, the first meal in the morning is not something that should be avoided.  The question that every diabetic, and parent of a child with Type 1 Diabetes, asks is how many carbs are in their breakfast.  It is sometimes a tricky thing.

But breakfast for diabetics does not have to be confusing.  There are many apps on smartphones that can help you out.  There are also websites that you can visit and books that you can carry.  But for a quick reference, here is a list of common breakfast items and the amount of carbohydrates in each food.[1526]  You must take note of the unit, as the reported measurements by the manufacturer vary based on the breakfast item.

Breakfast for Diabetics(74271)Credit: Sam Howzit

Free Foods

Someone familiar with diabetes will know that a "free" food does not have anything to do with how much it will set you back at the grocery store.  A free food is a food that has zero (or very close to zero) carbs.  When it comes to breakfast, diabetics have it easy in some respects, as some of the most prevalent foods in the morning are free. 

As a rule, all meats are carb free, which is good for the following foods.

  • Sausage - Actually has about 1 gram of carbs per patty, but for all intents and purposes, it is free.
  • Bacon
  • Ham - Like sausage, ham has 1 gram of carbs per ounce, but when it comes to breakfast for diabetics, it is free.

In addition to being carb free, meats are naturally a high source of protein, which is a good thing for people with diabetes.

But meats are not the only breakfast foods that are void of carbohydrates.  The following items also are also free.

  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Cheese

Between the meats and the eggs, you can eat a full meal in the morning and barely ingest a single gram of carbs.  But that is not always possible, or wanted.  Besides, for people with Type 1 Diabetes, it is not necessary to seek out a carb free breakfast for diabetics.

Foods with Carboydrates

If a diabetic ventures outside of meats and eggs, here is how some other breakfast items break down.  Many of these vary based on brand used or restaurant, but for the most part, the carb level will be similar no matter the source of the food.

  • Toast - Varies based on the bread used, but typically 1 slice of bread is between 10-15 grams of carbs.
  • Grape jelly - 13 grams per tablespoon
  • Apricot jelly - 13 grams per tablespoon
  • Peanut butter - 3 grams per tablespoon
  • Cinnamon - 2 grams per teaspoon
  • Sugar (granulated white) 4 grams per teaspoon
  • Biscuits - 24 grams per biscuit
  • White gravy - 7 grams per tablespoon
  • Pancakes - 8-10 grams per ounce; or 10-14 grams per 4" diameter pancake
  • Maple syrup - 13-20 per tablespoon; or 30 per fluid ounce
  • Hash browns - 8 grams per ounce

Fruits are also a part of breakfast, so here are the carb counts for common fresh fruits at breakfast.

  • Strawberries - 2 grams per ounce
  • Blueberries - 4 grams per ounce
  • Apples - 4 grams per ounce (a little less without the skin, but typically less than half a gram)
  • Peaches - 3 grams per ounce
  • Grapes - 5 grams per ounce
  • Grapefruits - 2-3 grams per ounce

As for drinks, there are certainly carbs in many of those, although the amount of carbohydrates in chocolate milk and juices can vary.

  • White milk - 12 grams per cup
  • Chocolate milk - 26 grams per cup
  • Orange juice - 28 grams per cup
  • Apple juice - 29 grams per cup
  • Grapefruit juice - 23 grams per cup
  • Cranberry juice - 33 grams per cup

It is very important for diabetics to be aware of the amount of carbohydrates in each of the foods they eat.  Knowing this list can make breakfast for diabetics easier.