Sunday, September 2, 2012

Breakfasts with Under 30 Grams of Carbs

I am almost 3 weeks into my gestational diabetes diet. I am fortunate enough to have a very mild case, and have been able to keep my blood glucose within range almost all the time. I still have not gained much weight, only 12 pounds total, but no worries as long as I can keep it instead of losing it like I did the first week of the diet.

The baby is being monitored more closely now as well, to make sure he isn't getting too big. I must say, the images show he has a perfect little oval skull and a rotund little pot belly - but measures and weighs in right at the 52nd percentile. Absolutely normal as normal can be!

Food decisions have not been easy, since there are carbs in EVERYTHING. My diet started out as 6 meals spaced at least 2 hours: 15-30g, 15g, 30g, 30g, 30g, 15g. My blood sugar was dipping too low - probably due to the fact that I walk soooo much all the time. So I'm now allowed 6 30 gram meals or snacks throughout the day which is much much easier. But when searching for low-carb meals on the vast internets, a lot of people consider a low-carb meal 45 grams-ish. And complain about it! If only! That would mean a whole other world of breads, pastas, and beans that don't fit into a 30 gram limit!

I want to share what I've come up with for meals lately, since it's been quite challenging to keep every meal under 30 grams of carbs. Like many in the same situation, I find myself bound to preparing all my food at home so that I know what is in it. The dietitian told me that breakfast is always the hardest, but I disagree. Her point was to just "eat meat and vegetables at the other meals". Um, but I don't eat red meat, and I eat mostly vegetarian.... which severely limits the more filling options.

So breakfast being the easiest for me, since I do eat eggs, that is what I will share with you first.
Here's what I've been eating, some days more creative than others. Some more filling than others. Hopefully if you find yourself in the same situation, or just trying to diet, this list might spark some inspiration to start your day off right.

BREAKFASTS WITH UNDER 30 GRAMS OF CARBS

Egg Breakfasts:
Eggs only have about 1g carbs each, leaving you a carb allowance for the grains you need to get enough fiber. They are fast and easy to prepare, and the protein makes them filling. Despite not really liking them all that much, I find myself relying on eggs to keep me satisfied in the morning, especially if I have a busy day ahead. Personally, since I'm eating so many eggs now, I make sure I buy the most organic, free-range, eggs available.

1. Omelet with cheddar, tomatoes, onion, spinach and chives. Toast on the side.
Carbs: 13g counting vegetables / 2g with free veg.


Pros: Filling, and low carb enough for some toast on the side. Also, uses basic ingredients most people keep on hand.
Cons: Chopping vegetables and cooking the onions takes a little time.

2. Omelet - Mediterranean Inspired, with (pasteurized) Feta cheese, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Baked potato wedges on the side.
Carbs: 28g counting vegetables / 15-20g with free veg (count a small potato at 15g)


Pros: Feta puts a twist on the everyday eggs, mushrooms add protein, and many diabetics can process potatoes better than grains - and they are satisfying.
Cons: Baking a small amount of potato is difficult for one person, or with short time. I made them for dinner the night before and ate one potato at dinner, and saved another for breakfast.

3. Open-face Egg Sandwich with Veggie Bacon. Toast one slice of high-fiber bread (20g+ carbs), Scramble 2-3 eggs and add cheese, or herbs like chives or cilantro, or anything else you want. Add a couple strips of veggie bacon to keep it interesting.
Carbs: approx 30g, depending on the bread.


Pros: Quick and easy
Cons: High fiber bread can be bland and dry, or difficult to find.

4. Fried Eggs on Toast with a side of Fruit.
Carbs vary. With a 30g allowance: light whole wheat bread will give you 2 slices with a total 18g carbs. High-fiber or regular wheat bread can be over 20g. Fill up your 30g allowance with fruit. 1/2 an apple or peach is around 7g, 1 cup of strawberries or 1/2 cup pineapple is about 10g.
For 15g allowance: Use one slice of light whole wheat bread, 2 eggs, and 1/3 cup strawberries.


Pros: Quick and easy
Cons: If you like your yolks intact, and they break, you might start your day cursing in the kitchen.

5. "Sausage" and Egg Sandwich, or Scramble. Smart Dogs, or veggie hot dogs, make eggs a little more interesting for me. I don't eat sausage, for various reasons, but usually have veggie hot dogs in the fridge. For a sandwich, I split one down the middle and fry it for a few minutes. For a scramble, I cut it into chunks and pre-cook them before adding eggs. Use whole wheat buns (about 25g carbs) or toast to make a sandwich.
Carbs: 27g using a small whole wheat hamburger bun.


Pros: Healthier than real sausage, but still makes you feel like you're eating like you used to when you could just stop at the deli.
Cons: packages of buns are just too big to figure out enough low-carb uses before they grow moldy. Freezing them works, but is never as good!


Non-Egg Breakfasts (or snacks):
Many women have an aversion to eggs during pregnancy. Some are egg-free vegetarian. This makes a filling breakfast (that doesn't throw off the glucose numbers) much harder to come by.

1. Amy's Tofu Scramble with Hash Browns.
Carbs: 19g. But you'll need to use the rest of your allowance for ketchup, as this is a bland meal.


Pros: Fast from a box.... immediate sustainence.... and mmmmm hash browns.
Cons: Bland bland bland. Not a fan of tofu scramble.

2. Half of a Whole Wheat Bagel with cream cheese and cucumber (or tomato).
Carbs: 30-32g

Pros: I can have a bagel!
Cons: I really wanted the whole thing! I'm still hungry... and the other half went stale because I forgot about it.

3. Two Kashi 7-Grain Waffles with (Natural) Peanut or Almond Butter. Alternative topping: butter and toasted pecans or almonds.
Carbs: 25g + nut butter.
Eat only 1 for a 15g snack.
Pros: Yes, you can have waffles. And they have lots of fiber, protein and good stuff.
Cons: Say good-bye to syrup. Some people think the Kashi waffles taste funny.

4. Good Old Cereal and Milk. I look for cereals with a serving size of at least 3/4 Cup and 20-24g carbs per serving, in order to have leeway for 1/2 C of milk (6g). Cheerios/Honey Nut Cheerios have 20-22g, Fiber One 80 calorie Honey Squares have 25g. Generally oat and corn-heavy ingredient lists have less carbs, rice or wheat-intensive have too many.
Carbs: approx. 30g.

Pros: Fast and refreshing.
Cons: Not filling.

Dairy Breakfasts (or snacks):
I can not live without high-protein Greek yogurt. If you can adjust to the sour taste of plain, unsweetened, Greek yogurt, then always keep it on hand. Chobani is acceptable, but Fage is better. Fage has removed more of the liquid content (whey) of the yogurt, leaving a thicker protein rich and lower carb product. It's more expensive, but worth it. Low-fat cottage cheese is also an excellent high-protein, very low carb, choice if you have a taste for it.

1. Greek Yogurt and Fruit. 
Carbs in yogurt: 6oz Chobani - 9g carbs + 13g protein. 6oz Fage - 7g carbs + 18g protein (making it more filling and leaving more allowance to fill up on fruit).
Use fresh fruit to add fiber and sweetness:
For a 15g allowance, strawberries are the best choice. You can have about 3/4 Cup of strawberries in the yogurt, adding only 7g carbs. Pineapple or blueberries are also good choices.
For a 30g allowance, add more fruit or supplement with raw almonds or a big spoonful of granola or crunchy cereal. 

Pros: Fast and refreshing.
Cons: Some people don't like the sour taste of unsweetened yogurt.

2. Thick Smoothie. 
Carbs: 15g smoothie - 6 oz greek yogurt (7g) + fruit (7g). This could be 1/2 peach, 3/4 C strawberries, 1/3 C blueberries.
30g smoothie - use 6oz yogurt + fruit to amount to 15g carbs (2 fruits or 1/2 banana), and thin with a few tablespoons of milk.

Pros: Filling, refreshing, no spoon required, and usually a pretty color.
Cons: Washing the blender - I suggest an immersion blender like Bamix and just keeping it out all the time.

3. Low-fat Cottage Cheese with Fruit Preserves.
1/2 Cup of cottage cheese packs 16g protein and only 4g carbs. This leaves the possibilities for stir-ins endless! For a quick treat, I like to have a small bowl of cottage cheese with a tablespoon of natural fruit preserves, like Sarabeth's - about 10g carbs. 

Pros: Super low-carb. A bit of cottage cheese on the side of any breakfast will help you stay full longer.
Cons: Many people dislike cottage cheese.

SUGGESTED GROCERY LIST:
-Variety of Fruits: Strawberries or Blueberries, Peaches, Apples or Plums, Pineapple, or Cherries.

-Versatile quick-cook vegetables: Tomato, Zucchini, Onion, Baby Spinach, Mushrooms

-Potatoes (choose small potatoes, the size of your fist, to make measuring 15g servings easier to visualize)

-Fresh Herb - Chives or Cilantro go well with eggs, or even Dill

-Raw almonds or pecans, sliced or whole

-Natural Peanut Butter - Skippy 

-Natural fruit preserves - Sarabeth's

-Fiber One or other 20-25g carb cereal - Original or 80 Calorie

-Whole Grain Double Fiber Bread - Pepperidge Farm
     or lower carb Light Style Bread - Pepperidge Farm

-Organic Cage-Free Eggs - Nature's Yoke

-Lowfat Cottage cheese - Friendship 1% Cottage Cheese

-Greek Yogurt - Fage Total 0%

-Packaged Cheese - shredded cheddar or a tub of pasteurized Feta

-1% or 2% Organic, hormone-free Milk (or Vanilla Almond Milk)

-Frozen 7-grain Waffles - Kashi

-Frozen Tofu Scramble - Amy's

What do you like to eat for your low-carb breakfast? 







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