Blood sugar landmines, and other breakfast items.

muffinsI’m standing in line at Starbucks for my daily fuel-up of caffeine when I realize….crap – I forgot my breakfast in the fridge at home. My usual weekday brekky is micro-waved egg-whites with a lil’ turkey sausage and soy cheese mixed on top – it’s low in carbs, easy to make, and easy to stash in the office kitchen. Bummed out for forgetting, I turned my attention to the glass cases to see if there was anything I could take to go.

My eyes were met with enough carbohydrates to fuel a jet plane. Muffins, bagels, scones, you name the bread product, it was in there. I picked up a fruit and yogurt parfait: 67 grams of carbohydrates….more than a Coke. Yikes. I finally got excited when I saw the “Protein Plate” – until I saw that it included a mini-bagel and peanut butter totaling 40 grams of carbohydrate. It did have a hard boiled egg and some cheese in it, but for nearly 6 bucks, it didn’t seem worth wasting half a plate of food.

Knowing it was a bad idea, I asked for the small, low-fat blueberry muffin, and guessed on the carbs. Bolus was delivered. Blood sugar disaster ensued. I soared to the 300s by midmorning and crashed low in the middle of my lunch, forcing me to pound a bottle of juice mid-salad. I told my sympathetic co-worker that the next time I’m tempted to buy a food of convenience that is potentially blood glucose suicide, I would be calling her to talk to me off the ledge.

Sometimes it’s really tough to find a low-carb food on the go, and even if there are options, those yummy carby snacks are usually staring you in the face too, tempting and taunting with their fresh-baked goodness. On business trips I often find myself stocking up on beef jerky and almonds at the snack shop, lest I subject myself to whatever the airlines choose to feed me (or not feed me is more like it these days.) I definitely try to keep low-carb foods on hand so that I always have something reach for when someone brings pizza to the office lunch meeting, or I’m heading to the movies and don’t want to destroy my BGs with popcorn, but sometimes, it just isn’t possible.

Does anyone know of good/healthy/low carb snackies that are available at fast food restaurants? Or maybe some good back-ups in case of forgetfulness to stash at the office?

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Comments

As a starbucks employee who has been on a weightloss plan for the last year I have had to learn how to eat at while at work without taking in over 600 calories at a time.

I admit, I am not diabetic (and know very little about diabetes), but back in September I weighed 214 pounds at 5’7, well on my way towards all kinds of health problems. As a result of working at Starbucks and successfully losing nearly 50lbs at this point I have the calorie count of everything there memorized.

While there are some lower calorie options, truth be told there are really no non-carby foods at starbucks, the best advice I can give is to order one of the breakfast sandwiches, the ham one only has 330 calories with the bread, and toss the bread, not very appetizing I know, but you’ll get egg and cheese, and meat, so fats and protein, and by not eating the english muffin itself you avoid the carbs. Otherwise, you can (at least in Canada where I work), get their fiber and protein powder steamed into the milk for any drink you want which adds calories and makes you feel fuller until you can find a better option…

Hope that was some help…

My airport emergency breakfast is McDonald’s eggmcmuffins,(300 cal, 12g fat, 29g carb with 2g fiber, 3 g sugar and, unfortunately, 840mg sodium). But I never leave home for travel without a few FiberOne bars (different varieties are pretty similar nutritionally, but the oats & peanut butter is 150 cal, 28 g carb, 9g fiber, 9g sugar, 4.5g fat and 105mg sodium). The bars are my saving grace on no-feed airlines and snacks in cycling). When I’ll be away for several days I take 1 – 2 bars a day with me in case meals are delayed, nothing but carbs on the Continental Breakfast – and BTW, in contrast to the American hotel version with donuts, sweet rolls and bagels :( , when you’re really ON the Continent, e.g. Italy, their version is heavy on sliced deli meats, salamis, fruit and cheeses along with whole grain cereals and yogurt (and pastries, but at least there are alternatives).

All right already – sorry – I just realized that the typo corrections all ended up as blog entries. Only the last one counts ;)

Got it! No worries :) Great idea with the egg McMuffin – I didn’t know those only had 29 carbs! I am on that one.

Mai – great suggestions and GOOD FOR YOU for losing all that weight, that is truly amazing! Even though you don’t have diabetes, your healthy tips and ideas are good for everyone, diabetic or not. Thanks for commenting and for checking out the blog.

The perfect oatmeal at starbucks is also not bad. It has 25 carbs, but has a decent amount of fiber to off set it. You can also add nuts to give it a bit more volume. Also if you ever have questions about meals that don’t have nutritional info, the thedailyplate.com (part of livestrong.com) has almost everything covered. You can add the app to your phone or look it up on your phone browser.

Great topic, I’m always looking for low carb alts for breakfast and lunch. Any more ideas? :)

I have also always been wondering, does coffee mess with your blood sugars? Well I guess caffeine in general?

It depends on the person with caffeine. For me, coffee/caffeine in general does not appear to do anything to my BGs. Some people claim it makes thei sugar go up, but I think some of that may be that people tend to have coffee in the morning when you “wake up” hormones are starting to rev your adrenaline which sends the BG up, and also, people forget that milk and half and half have enough carbs to push the numbers up, even if its only a little bit. Most doctors I have spoken to do not believe that caffeine will affect BGs though. As usual with diabetes, this is another one of those “it depends” situations…

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