What are the Best Cereals for People with Diabetes?

Cereal with strawberry

Whether you have gestational, type 1 or type 2 diabetes, keeping your blood sugar levels within the right range is crucial. Diabetics need to be careful with the type of carbs they choose to include in their meal plan. Because cereal is a convenient breakfast option, it is worth noting that most of them can be notoriously high in carbohydrates.

Diabetes Breakfast Cereals

For diabetics, the early morning meal is the most critical meal of the day. The right diet during this time can help in the prevention of food cravings, lose weight, and aid in blood sugar stabilization throughout the day. The biggest concern for diabetics is the lack of time to prepare a diabetes breakfast. Most of them look for quick breakfast ideas, and cold breakfast cereal is always a top choice.  

What breakfast cereals are good for diabetics? This is a common question often asked by diabetes patients. A good selection of cereals suitable for diabetes type 2 should help you jumpstart your day while still keeping your blood glucose under control.  

Diabetics should consume cereals with not more than 5 grams of total sugar and 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving. A healthy diabetic breakfast menu must not have cereals containing marshmallows. Be sure to limit the intake of sugar. Choose diabetics cereals with the highest protein and fiber and the lowest carbs. Other than cereals there are a lot more good breakfast ideas for diabetics.

What Cereals can Diabetics Eat?

Many cereals are high on carb content from refined flours and added sugar. High carb content can quickly spike blood sugar levels. Diabetics should eat cereals with a low glycemic index being careful to serve in small portions. You might be familiar with the glycemic index (GI). It measures how fat carbs raise the level of blood sugar. When food is digested too fast, blood sugar levels in diabetics are bound to rise.

If you are in the prediabetes stage and continue to eat foods with a high GI, you are exposing yourself to insulin resistance which could then result in type 2 diabetes. When choosing your cereals, this is something to put into consideration. What are some of the best cereals for diabetics?

Kermit Cereal

Muesli for Diabetics

Granola and muesli breakfast cereals are dense, meaning people with diabetes need just a small portion of between a ¼ and a ½ cup. Diabetics must only consume muesli without added sugars. The ingredients used should include nuts, dried fruit, and oat flakes for a guaranteed low glycemic index. Serve your muesli with milk or yogurt and do not add sugar to it if you are diabetic.

Cream of Wheat for Diabetics

Is cream of wheat good for diabetics? Yes. Made from farina, cream of wheat is a hot cereal that makes a better breakfast choice than sugary pastries. These cereals are made from refined wheat and contain high fiber bran and germ. The GI of regular wheat cream is 17, and instant wheat cream scores 22. If you are diabetic can’t do without a bowl of wheat cream, choose the regular one for better control of diabetes.

Ingredients recommended for diabetes type 2 which you could use to top your hot cereal include flaxseeds, walnuts, and fresh fruit. Some of the fruits people with diabetes can eat include oranges and other citrus, grapes, apples, ripe banana, and pineapple. Grits can also be included in a diabetes meal plan because they are excellent at maintaining healthy levels of blood glucose and can also control weight.  If you are diabetic craving milk and choose to prepare your cream with it instead of water, skim milk would be the better choice.

Types of Cereal

Whole Grain for Diabetics

A lot of diabetes cereals even those labeled as sugar-free have empty calories, few nutrients and high glycemic indexes. Choose cereals that include whole grain as their first ingredient if you are diabetic. This is because refined grains extract germ and bran during processing making them less healthy for diabetics. Grain kernel present in the whole grains is a healthy fiber needed in a diabetic diet.

Fiber is great at controlling diabetes blood glucose and is also known to lower the risk of heart disease. When choosing bran, go for those that are sugar-free meant for diabetics. The best cereal for gestational diabetes is whole-grain such as bran flakes because they raise blood sugar slowly. Oat bran is high in fiber and supports gestational health.  Add more flavor to your meal with berries or almonds. Whole grains are present in the following cereals:

  • Whole wheat flour
  • Oatmeal
  • Barley
  • Oat Bran
  • Brown rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Whole cornmeal

Cornflakes for Diabetes

Corn flakes have an average glycemic index of 93 and a GL of 23. They can be purchased plain, coated with sugar, or in nut and honey variations. Milled corn is the main ingredient, and has a very high GI rating. Understand that milling corn means removing the outer layer. What’s left is starch which has fast digestible carbs and very little nutritional value.

Cereal with milk

How healthy is Cereal for Diabetes Type 2?

Cereals do not have the same nutritional value and GI. Some are healthier, while others should be avoided in a diabetes breakfast menu. Many cereals contain minerals and vitamins. The best time for a diabetic to eat cereal is before exercise. Exercise helps in burning sugar. If you have diabetes and are taking oral medication or insulin, be sure to take carbs before the exercise to prevent your blood glucose from dropping.

You can lower the carb content by indulging in healthy diabetic breakfast ideas such as choosing a hot cereal (oatmeal). But is instant oatmeal good for diabetics? The answer is yes. Oatmeal is a hot, healthy cereal that helps in regulating blood sugar quickly in diabetics because of its high fiber count and a low GI. Diabetics who eat a meal of oatmeal especially during breakfast have a better glucose and insulin response.

The most basic form of making oatmeal is cooking oats in hot water. Quaker oats are a great addition to a diabetes type 2 diet. Add high fiber cereals (nuts), protein, and healthy fat into your diabetes meal. With diabetes, you can also choose unsweetened almond milk over cow’s milk for fewer carbs. One of the best cold cereal brands for diabetics is cheerios and Quaker Crunchy Corn Bran.