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I always advise people when they attend my practice to begin the day with a breakfast always!! It amazes me the amount of people who do not eat a breakfast and keep a very irregular pattern when eating. Diabetes loves routine, it loves regularity, it loves a pattern, as it helps to keep blood sugars balanced and stable. Think outside the box when it comes to breakfast. Irish people tend to be very traditional when it comes to their breakfasts, sticking to the same old porridge, cereals and sliced toast. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try something different everyday so you won’t get bored.

Quick Sample 7 Day Breakfast Planner

For example a seven day breakfast plan may look something like this:

Day 1 : Weetabix x 2, with skimmed/low fat milk & chopped fruit

Day 2: Scrambled egg on 2 slices of wholemeal toast

Day 3: Porridge (watch portion sizes!)

Day 4: Smoked salmon with poached egg and two slices of toast

Day 5: Fruit Salad with a low fat diet yogurt

Day 6: Fruit Smoothie

Day 7: Grill Sausage, Rasher, egg and 2 slices of wholemeal toast

Other Breakfast Options

•    Unsweetened, natural yoghurt mixed with fresh fruit and muesli.
•    Yoghurt, fruit and nut smoothies
•    Rolled oat porridge cooked with soy or rice milk, mixed with fresh fruit & nuts
•    Rye toast with a poached egg, and fresh fruit
•    Whole-wheat pita stuffed with scrambled egg, and fresh fruit
•    All-bran muffin with nut butter spread, and fresh fruit
•    Natural yoghurt with fresh berries, topped with sunflower seeds & nuts
•    Wholegrain toast with salmon & avocado, and fresh fruit
•    Buckwheat pancakes topped with lightly stewed fruit
•    Pumpernickel toast topped with melted low-fat cheese, and fresh fruit
•    Rye toast topped with light cream cheese, and fruit
•    Vegetable omelette, whole-grain toast, and fruit
•    Muesli with yoghurt, fresh fruit, and nuts

Foods to Avoid

•    Processed, high GI breakfast cereals (that’s most of them!)
•    White and wholemeal breads, croissants, crumpets and pancakes
•    Sugar laden jams, marmalades and spreads
•    Full fat dairy products, such as milk, yoghurts and cheeses
•    Fat laden meats, such as bacon and sausages
•    Store bought, sweetened, processed fruit juices
•    Sugar in tea, coffee, or on cereals

Preparation is key and remember to keep it simple. Below are some ideas for those amongst you that are not afraid to experiment!! Diabetes Insight loves suggestions and new ideas so if you have a recipe you have tried and would like to submit, please use the contact form below!!!

All following recipes are demonstrated and available to taste on our Cooking Well for Diabetes Course… on courses are available on the bottom of the page.


Banana & Cinnamon Porridge

Serves 6

  • 200g of porridge oats with bran
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 medium bananas
  • 2 tablespoons clear honey
  • 300g strawberries, hulled & halved

Bring 1 litre of water to the boil in a large saucepan then pour in the porridge oats, stirring all the time until well mixed. Stir in the cinnamon. Bring to a simmer, then gently for about 10 minutes, adding extra water if liked to give a soft consistency. Stir occasionally. Roughly mash three of the bananas and stir through the porridge. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey. Slice the remaining banana and mix with the strawberries. Spoon the porridge into bowls and serve at once, topped with fruit.

Leftovers will keep in the fridge 1-2 days.

Per Serving: 221 kcals, 3g fat, 0.5 saturated fat, 45g of carbohydrates, 0.01g sodium

A variation on porridge was submitted through our Facebook page by Allison Green, as follows: 

Make up some porridge as normal and open up a can of sugar free fruit cocktail,drain off the juice and try keep half of the can for tomorrows porridge….its yummy and no sweetener needed


Ham and Cheese White Omelette

Serve 1

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3 slices of extra lean chopped ham
  • 2 slices of low fat swiss cheese
  • Fat free cooking spray

Heat a non stick pan on medium heat, spraying it with a little cooking oil. Scramble all the ingredients together and pour them into pan. Flip the omelette on its side when halfway done, and them turn onto other side, allowing it to finish cooking.

Per Serving: 6.3g carbohydrates, 255 calories, 10.9g fat. 6.5g saturated, 0.7g sodium


Apple Oat Bran 

Serve 1

  • 1 medium apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup of oat bran
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp wheat germ
  • 1 tsp flax seed
  • 1/2 tsp Splenda
  • 1 tbsp sliced almonds

Simmer your favourite variety of apple in 3 tbsp of water for approximately 3- 5 minutes. Set aside. Prepare 1/3 cup of Oat Bran according to package directions. That is, bring 1 cup of water to boil over high heat. You can add 1/8 tsp of salt – but I do not find this necessary. Slowly stir in Oat Bran, stirring constantly to avoid lumping. Return to boil and reduce heat to medium for several minutes. Remove from heat. Add apples, flax seed, wheat germ, brown sugar substitute and mix well. Serve in a bowl and sprinkle with almonds


Fruit Smoothie

Serves 4

  • 16oz plain non fat yogurt
  • 2 small bananas
  • 1 cup of sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup of raspberries,blueberries etc
Blend ingredients together. Be aware that using frozen strawberries have 4 times as much sugar per serving
Per Serving: 120 Calories, Carbohydrates 28.5g, Fat 0.3g, Saturated fat 0.1g. Sodium 0.68g
To further slow down the release of naturals sugar from the smoothie and balance your blood sugar levels further, you can add a tablespoon of flaxseed.

Low GI Granola

Add fresh chopped fruit such as strawberries, blueberries and apple to granola as well as yogurt. I always recommend Irish Yogurts to my clients as many yogurts, while might appear healthy, can have a very high sugar content. They are widely available across the country in all good supermarkets. 1320313950_2


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  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats (not instant)

Additions (Optional):

  • 1 tbsp. wheat germ (raw or toasted)
  • 1 tbsp. wheat bran
  • 1 tbsp. unsweetened coconut
  • 1 or 2 tsp. spice (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, etc.)
  • 2 tbsp. any seed, e.g. sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, flax
  • 1/4 cup any unsalted nut, e.g. walnuts, pecans, almonds, shelled pistachios, cashews, peanuts

Liquid Ingredients (Required):

  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 tbsp. liquid sweetener (honey, maple syrup, rice syrup, molasses etc.)
  • 1/8 tsp. flavouring (vanilla extract, almond extract, lemon extract, etc.)

After-the-facts (Optional):

  • 1/4 cup any dried fruit, e.g. raisins or currants
  • chopped dates or figs
  • chopped dried apples, pears, peaches, pineapple, apricots
  • dried cherries, blueberries, cranberries

Cooking Instructions

1   Preheat oven to a slow 250°F.

2   Toss together oats, spices, and other additions (germ, bran, nuts, seeds, etc.) if using. (Don’t go overboard on the wheat bran or germ. They’ll absorb the oil and your oats won’t toast well.)

Note: Use an “Old Fashioned” thicker rolled oat, not instant oatmeal. I’ve made a fine granola with Old Fashioned Quaker Oats, but Quaker has a brand called Mother’s that provides a slightly thicker oat flake, which results in a chewier granola.

This is a basic recipe for granola. You can experiment with the limitless combinations of nuts, seeds, fruits, and tiny marshmallows in the shape of monster movie characters. Just remember that nuts and seeds are added prior to baking (for a nice toasted flavour!), while dried fruits are added after baking. Raisins are notorious for turning into swollen, burnt-tasting little nodules when baked.

Spices are discretional too. Add more or less depending on your taste. I like to add pinches of nutmeg, ginger, clove, allspice, cardamom, or dried lemon/orange zest. Be frugal with salt. Since there is very little liquid for salt to dissolve into, it will adhere to the exterior of the flakes and produce a pronounced salty taste, more like a pretzel. I’ve used as little as 1/8 tsp. with unappetizing results.

3   In a small bowl, microwave or gently heat on your stovetop the oil, honey, maple syrup, and vanilla until it’s thin and runny. Pour the warm mixture over the oats and blend very well.

Note: This is a good opportunity to try an unrefined oil – the baking temperature is low so smoking and oil deterioration from heat aren’t problems. Unrefined oils also pack flavour. Peanut or sesame oil work well. You can also reduce the amount of sweeteners. But save at least 2 tbsp. to help crispen and brown the oats.

4   Spread the uncooked granola evenly across a baking sheet. A 10 by 15 in. sheet works well for this recipe, but you’ll need something larger if you want to make more. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until just beginning to turn golden. Turn off the oven, leave the oven door slightly ajar, and let the granola toast, if more browning is desired, for another 5 or 10 minutes before removing.

5   Let the granola rest undisturbed in the pan until completely cooled, up to an hour. Break up and pour into a bowl, mix with dried fruits, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


Banana & Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes

Probably our most successful and favourite recipe on the Cooking Well Courses, these are multi purpose as they are delicious for lunch, snack and desert!! The batter can be kept in the fridge for up to two days, just make enough as they are delicious!

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Makes 6 pancakes
Time it takes: 15 minutes


100 g (1 cup) buckwheat flour
1 tablespoon ground linseed (flaxseed)
1/2 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup skim milk, soy or rice milk

1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, smashed
2 free range eggs
125 g blueberries (optional)

Combine smashed banana and eggs.
Add almond meal, linseed, baking powder and cinnamon.
Fold in blueberries if using.
Rest for 5 minutes.
Heat a pan over a low heat and add a little olive oil.
Spoon pancake batter into rounds onto the pan and flatten slightly with the back of your spoon.
Cook over a very low heat. Take your time and don’t rush.
Flip over and finish cooking.
Serve and enjoy alone or with a little honey and natural yoghurt.

Gluten free – low GI – protein rich


Cooking Well For Diabetes Course


Further breakfast ideas an options can be found on at my Cooking Well for Diabetes Course. If you feel you could benefit from further help and assistance or are struggling with the whole concept of cooking for yourself or someone with diabetes, our Cooking Well for Diabetes Course may benefit you!!! This 4 week course provides you with all the tools, resources and aids needed to cook healthy, easily and conveniently for diabetes. All our courses are designed and facilitated by Helena Farrell RGN, MSc Diabetes, who combines medical knowledge, with a passion for healthy eating and cooking.

I can’t recommend these courses highly enough!

Jackie, Cork

Cooking Well for Diabetes is suitable for people with Type 1 & 2 Diabetes, Pre-Diabetes, families and carers of people with diabetes. All courses include a cookery demo with tasters, portion size measurement aids, a copy of the Low GI Diet Book and much much more. If you would like to speak to some of the participants who have benefitted from these courses, we would be more than happy to put you in contact with them.

All our courses are 4 weeks in duration, run 2 hours per week either on a week day evening or a Saturday. If you miss one week, we would be more than happy to facilitate your attendance on another course, so you don’t miss out on any of the course content.

Cost: €100 or pay as you go option of €25 per week. Discounts available (terms and conditions apply)

For further information please click here 

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