We’ve been raised to think we needed to wake up with a hearty breakfast to fuel our body for the day. While that’s true, somewhere along the way, breakfast has deteriorated into a sugar-, fat- and calorie-laden feast as items like raspberry white chocolate chip pancakes and blueberry cheese blintzes dominate the menus at eateries across the country.
The food we eat at home isn’t much better. Bagels, donuts, yogurt, cereals, pastries and other culprits lurk in waiting with an attempt to sabotage healthy eating before 8:00 a.m. They cause sugar crashes, play with your metabolism and result in weight gain if you are not conscious of when you eat them or don’t eliminate them entirely.
According to nutritionists, we should consume a maximum of 12 grams of sugar per day although the average American ingests nearly double that – 23 grams daily.
The most colorful cereals include food coloring, which the FDA has determined can increase hyperactivity in children with ADHD. Read the labels before you buy cereal.
While some brands jump out as obviously unhealthy, others hide their sugar content in healthy-sounding names, masked with added protein or similar cover-ups.
Other Breakfast Offenders to Watch For
- Bagels with cream cheese – Often touted as a healthy breakfast option, bagels contain pure starch, which acts as sugar. The added cream cheese boosts saturated fat and calories.
- Yogurt – Some yogurts contain 18 grams of sugar, which is more than a standard-sized brownie. Avoid yogurts with any flavors that sound like dessert as these will likely be some of the worst culprits. Look for plain yogurt and add your own fruit instead.
- Fast-food sausage biscuits – These contain an abundance of trans-fats in addition to an excessive sodium content and nitrates and nitrites.
- Granola – Nutritionists don’t view most granolas as a healthy breakfast option, citing an overabundance of sugar and calories.
- Pastries and doughnuts – While it’s tempting to grab one on the run, pastries and doughnuts boast up to 50 grams of sugar. Dumping that much sugar into your system leads to a huge sugar crash, causing increased carb/sugar cravings and leading to a vicious cycle of sugar consumption.
- Non-dairy creamers – Loaded with trans fats, these artificial foods can increase your risk of stroke or heart attack. Substitute chocolate milk, low-fat milk or vanilla almond milk instead.
Breakfast should help stabilize your weight, combat disease, gear up your cognitive skills and boost your metabolism, giving you energy for the day. Instead of looking to carbs for your morning fuel, steer toward a protein-based meal instead.
Traditionally, eggs work well, especially when paired with various vegetables. In addition, they fill you up, carrying you through until mid-afternoon or even dinner, depending on when you eat.
People often eat breakfast for dinner, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you might try switching up your meals. For example, the Japanese will sometimes consume miso soup, rice and fish for a power-packed start to their day.