COMMON BREAKFAST PITFALLS TO AVOID
Breakfast is the single most important meal of the day, yet too many of us resort to grabbing unhealthy on-the-go foods that pack on extra calories from fat and sugar, or worse, we skip eating breakfast altogether and overeat at our next meal. Plan your breakfast meals ahead of time. Cook steel-cut oatmeal and separate it into plastic containers to store in your fridge and reheat whenever you’re ready. Or, double up on preparing hard-boiled eggs or yogurt and fruit parfaits. These energizing foods are good sources of lean protein and/or fiber and will help keep you energized while stopping hunger and cravings in their tracks. To help you avoid unhealthy food choices at breakfast, consider whether you’re making any of these common mistakes:
1. Having a glass of orange juice or other fruit juices with your meal. A glass of juice may be a standard part of your breakfast, but it’s just not diet–friendly due to the concentrated sugar and general lack of fiber. Instead, enjoy fresh whole fruits, like oranges, apples, strawberries, or cantaloupe, which are packed with fiber, antioxidant vitamins, and minerals.
2. Having a breakfast muffin, scone, or pastry to go. Muffins, scones, and pastries are an easy morning breakfast item, but they are often made with refined white flour and white sugar, which can contribute to cravings, and most are made with butter, which is high in saturated fat. Many breakfast pastries these days are also outrageously large, some adding more than 500 calories in just one.
3. Slathering on the cream cheese. Everyone loves a “shmear” but you need to choose your cream cheese wisely. As a healthier alternative to full-fat cream cheese, use a tablespoon of light cream cheese or dairy-free cream cheese substitute as part of your fats/oils allowance on occasion. Instead of a huge white-flour bagel, enjoy half of a small whole-grain bagel, a whole-wheat mini bagel, or a piece of whole-grain toast and add some sugar-free jam.
4. Assuming all Greek yogurt is healthy. Like other full-fat dairy products, full-fat plain Greek yogurt is high in saturated fat and calories. You should also watch out for fat-free Greek yogurt that contains fruit. Even though some brands claim to use “real” fruit, they are often made with sugary, processed fruit syrup and not with the actual fruit itself. Look at the amount of sugars in the Nutrition Facts panel in such products, particularly if you have cravings for sugar.
-Tips from FrancesBoardman