Hit the NutritionReset button on these 7 common breakfast choices

Breakfast is considered, by most, to be the most important meal of the day – but that depends entirely on what you’re eating for your morning meal.

Put a spring in your step as you start your day with the ideal breakfast that should include a range of nutrient-dense foods that are rich in fibre, contain protein, and healthy fats. But, our reliance on quick and convenient food is making it easier to forget these fundamentals. We are then choosing breakfast foods that are highly processed or lack important nutrients.

Find out how to reset these 7 popular breakfast choices:

1. Is breakfast cereal nutritious?

Although breakfast cereals are quite often considered a nutritious choice for children and adults, several types are highly processed and rich in refined grains and added sugar. Eating too much added sugar may contribute to chronic health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver problems. Refined grains are low in roughage, which is a key to helping you feel fuller for longer.

There is one upside to cereals, however… many types are now also fortified with essential vitamins and minerals, such as iron, thiamine, folic acid, and vitamin B12.

But to reset this breakfast choice look for varieties that are made from whole grains, such as oats, brown rice, or wheat brands that contain little to no sugar.

Food for thought:

Balance your cereal meal by pairing it with some plain unsweetened yoghurt and a piece of fruit.

2. Is white toast with margarine a healthy option?

Toast topped with margarine is a quick and classic breakfast choice.

The bad news though, is that white bread is made from refined flour, which means it’s lacking in fibre and essential nutrients. There’s a saying, “the whiter the bread, the sooner you’re dead” and it may be a little chilling, but white bread is really bad for you!

Equally alarming, some types of margarine contain trans fats, a type of fat that can increase inflammation and contribute to heart disease.

Food for thought:

Rather go for sourdough, whole wheat bread, rye, or health bread whenever possible and choose healthier toppings like; sliced avocados, hummus, nut butter, cottage cheese, or ricotta which will still give you a creamy taste.

3. Is a muffin really your best choice?

Grabbing a carrot muffin seems like a healthy choice, right? Wrong…

Store-bought muffins contain large amounts of refined flour, vegetable oil, and sugar. There are plenty of recipes available for healthy muffins you can make at home (or buy from health shops), which often feature ingredients like whole wheat flour, fresh fruit, or Greek yoghurt.

Food for thought:

If you love store-bought muffins, save them as an occasional treat, eat half and keep half for later.

4. Why you should skip the fruit juice

You may think that fruit juice is an easy way to ramp up your fruit intake, but many fruit drinks on the market actually contain very little fruit and lots of sugar or high-fructose syrup.

And even 100% fruit juices often contain high amounts of natural sugar and are missing the fibre you’d get from eating whole fruits. It’s much better to choose whole fruits over their juice counterparts.

Food for thought:

Make your own smoothies with your favourite fruit and vegetables, and dilute with water or low-fat plain yoghurt.

5. Is sweetened yoghurt healthy?

Did you know that many popular varieties of fat-free flavoured yoghurt are packed with added sugar – some containing up to 60% as much sugar as vanilla ice cream?

Additionally, you may be tempted to buy fat-free yoghurt to keep calories down, but fat is an important nutrient that should be considered (that will even help you feel full for longer).

A better option is to have full-fat yoghurt with a fruit of your choice, rather than opting for the high-sugar alternative.

Food for thought:

Instead of purchasing yoghurt with added sugar, opt for plain yoghurt and ramp up the flavour with tasty ingredients like raw honey, fresh fruit, nuts, and seeds.

6. Is eating granola bars healthy for you?

You may think that granola bars are a great grab-on-the-run breakfast option, but you may as well grab a Bar One instead. Granola bars are often pretty similar to chocolate bars in terms of nutrition.

Sadly, many granola bars provide only 1–3 grams of fibre and are very low in protein. Some of the most popular brands contain a combination of added sugars, chocolate chips, or dried fruit. Large amounts of these sugars can increase inflammation, blood sugar, and insulin levels.

There are some good ones out there – so look for granola bars that are low in sugar and made from nutrient-dense ingredients like oats, nuts, and seeds.

Food for thought:

Get creative in the kitchen and try to make homemade bars using ingredients like oats, coconut, nut butter, and dates. Yummy!

7. Why you should skip the waffles and pancakes

Waffles and pancakes are always a treat for weekend breakfasts whether at home or at restaurants. But, waffles and pancakes are usually made with white flour, a refined grain that contains very little fibre. In addition, pancakes and waffles are typically topped with sweet flavoured pancake syrups, which contain high fructose, and lots of added sugar.

Fact: one tablespoon of pancake syrup has 8 grams of added sugar, and it’s easy to pour a few tablespoons on your pancakes and eat more added sugar than is recommended in an entire day!

To give pancakes or waffles a healthy twist, try making them using whole wheat flour, oat flour, or almond flour. Eating more plant-based whole foods with fibre is linked to decreased insulin resistance.

Food for thought:

Ditch the syrup and top yours with fresh fruit, nut butter, plain Greek yoghurt, and a drizzle of pure honey.

So, there you have it. Breakfast has the potential to set you up for a great day by providing a hearty dose of fibre, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Many popular breakfast foods are missing these key nutrients which can leave you ravenous long before lunchtime! To avoid this, try resetting your usual go-to breakfast with some of the healthy options outlined above. This will certainly give your morning meal a nutritious upgrade and keep your gut health in check and your tummy fuller for longer.

Last thought:

If you need more breakfast ideas that are both delicious and nutritious, check out a few of the healthiest breakfast ideas in the cook section on my website.

Thank you for reading and here’s to healthy eating!

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