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What to Eat for Breakfast on a Low-Carb Diet

by
author image Jill Corleone, RDN, LD
Jill Corleone is a registered dietitian and health coach who has been writing and lecturing on diet and health for more than 15 years. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Diabetes Self-Management and in the book "Noninvasive Mechanical Ventilation," edited by John R. Bach, M.D. Corleone holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition.
What to Eat for Breakfast on a Low-Carb Diet
Keep it simple at breakfast with hard-boiled eggs. Photo Credit Natikka/iStock/Getty Images

No matter what diet you follow, breakfast is an important meal. It gives your body energy after an overnight fast and keeps hunger away to prevent overeating later in the day. On a low-carb diet, you can't start the day with regular bagels and cereal, but there are other options that'll satisfy your taste buds, whether you like sweet or savory morning meals.

Egg Options

Eggs, with less than 1 gram of net carbohydrate per large egg, are a no-brainer low-carb breakfast option. The term "net carbs" refers to the digestible carbs used for carb counting on most diet plans. Scrambled, poached and hard-boiled all make tasty choices for breakfast. For a few carbs, cook up an omelet stuffed with six asparagus spears and 1 ounce of Swiss cheese for 4 grams of net carbs. A crustless quiche made with cheddar cheese and spinach also works. The carb content may vary depending on the amount of cheese and spinach you add to your recipe. Bake two beaten eggs mixed with 1/4 cup of red peppers, 1/4 cup of green peppers and 2 tablespoons of chopped red onions in a muffin tin for a make-ahead breakfast option. This egg "muffin" has about 5 grams of net carbs.

Low-Carb Pancakes and Waffles

Pancakes and waffles aren't out, but you'll have to modify your usual recipe to cut the carbs. In place of wheat flour, try almond or coconut flour, each with 3 grams of net carbs per 1/4 cup. But you may need to experiment with your recipe to come up with the right combination of dry to wet ingredients. If you're using almond flour, consider adding an extra egg for better texture. Coconut flour absorbs fluids rapidly, so you may need to add more liquid to get your batter to the right consistency. In addition to eggs, use unsweetened almond milk, which has 1 gram of net carbohydrate per cup, to mix up your low-carb pancakes and waffles. There are also commercially available low-carb pancake and waffle mixes.

Top with sugar-free syrup, with zero grams of net carbs, or low-carb fresh fruits such as raspberries or strawberries, which have 3 grams and 5 grams of net carbs per half cup, respectively.

Nontraditional Breakfast

Who says you have to eat a traditional breakfast as your morning meal? Anything goes, really. Slices of turkey rolled in romaine lettuce leaves, with 1 gram of net carbohydrate per leaf, are a quick and easy breakfast. For a filling meal that cooks up fast, try a stir-fry of 1/2 cup of cubed firm tofu, 1/2 cup of broccoli, 1/2 cup of cauliflower and 1/2 cup of bok choy. Stir-fry them in sesame oil and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce for a total of 7 grams net carbs. Grilled salmon with a cup of green beans also works, supplying 6 grams of net carbs. Last night's low-carb dinner leftovers make a convenient breakfast too.

On-the-Go Low-Carb Breakfast

Mornings are often rushed, which may be why some people skip breakfast. If you're short on time, you'll need quick low-carb options you can eat on the run. Blend up a 7-gram-net-carb smoothie with a cup of unsweetened almond milk, 1/4 cup of whole-milk ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of sliced strawberries and ice. Or throw a couple of peeled, hard-cooked eggs into a lunch bag with celery sticks, five cherry tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of cream cheese to eat when you get to the office. This on-the-go breakfast has 6 grams of net carbs.

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