How to Ruin a Healthy Breakfast
By Shereen Jegtvig, About.com
Updated April 28, 2009
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An egg is a great way to add protein to your breakfast.
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The foods you choose for breakfast can provide you with the energy you need and lots of vitamins and minerals to help keep you healthy. Not all foods are good for you and choosing the wrong foods can turn a healthy breakfast into a high-calorie, nutrient-poor breakfast quickly. Here are some common ways that people ruin a healthy breakfast.
Making Breakfast Too Sugary
Next time you go to the grocery store, take a look at all of the pre-sweetened cereals. Basically, these sugary cereals are just boxed of candy with a few vitamins and minerals added in. The sugar problem isn't just in boxes of cereal -- many people associate breakfast with sweet pastries and things you pop into the toaster. Sugary, high glycemic breakfasts have been associated with poorer mental performance. And in one study, women who ate high glycemic breakfasts burned less fat than women who ate low glycemic breakfasts. Stay away from extra sugar:
Choose unsweetened, whole-grain breakfast cereals. Just add a little sprinkle of sugar on top, but no more than a teaspoon.
Instead of a pastry, pop a slice of whole-grain bread into the toaster and then top it with a 100% fruit spread. You still get the sweet flavor, but a lot less sugar.
Have a bowl of hot oatmeal with fresh berries and chopped walnuts. Not sweet enough? Add just a dab of real maple syrup or a teaspoon of brown sugar.
Not Enough Protein
Isn't it interesting how we associate certain foods with breakfast? Sugary cereals, pancakes and waffles smothered in syrup appeal to many people. These foods are high in sugar and starches, but low in protein. Protein keeps you feeling full longer so you won't feel so hungry in the middle in the morning. Make sure you get some good quality protein:
Have a piece of 100% whole-grain toast with peanut butter or almond butter and a glass of milk.
Eat an egg or two. Eggs help you feel full, and they are a great source of lutein that helps keep your eyes healthy.
Use protein powder in a fruit smoothie.
Eating Lots of Saturated Fat and Processed Meats
Bacon, sausage and ham are common meats you may eat at breakfast time. Bacon and sausage are high in unhealthy saturated fat, which increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, and all three are high in sodium. Processed meats also contain nitrites, which have been linked to colon cancer. Stay away from processed, high-fat meats:
Eggs are an great source of protein. Choose omega eggs, which contain omega-3 fatty acids. Have a poached egg served over 100% whole-grain toast.
Lower fat meats like chicken or turkey can be eaten at breakfast. You can buy turkey sausage and turkey ham, but they may still contain nitrites and large amounts of sodium.
Try salmon or tuna with a light mayonnaise on 100% whole-grain toast. Each is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Avoiding Whole Grains
Most of those sugary breakfast cereals and pastries are also low in fiber. Whole grains provide fiber, which can keep your cholesterol levels and keeps your digestive system healthy. Choose whole grains and high-fiber foods:
Eat 100% whole-grain, unsweetened hot or cold breakfast cereals.
Use 100% whole-grain bread instead of white bread for your toast.
Make low fat oat bran muffins.
Not Eating Any Fruit or Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are usually low in calories and rich in nutrients and phytochemicals. Experts recommend that we eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day (no, that bowl of fruit-flavored cereal doesn't count):
Make an omelet with mushrooms, peppers and onions.
Slice a grapefruit or orange in half and serve with a slice of 100% whole-grain toast with peanut butter.
Add berries, raisins, or bananas to your whole grain cereal.
Skipping Breakfast Altogether
Maybe you're in a rush or you think skipping breakfast is a good way to cut calories. But it really isn't. People who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight, probably because they eat too much later in the day. You can have a quick but healthy breakfast:
Keep ready-to-eat foods handy like hardboiled eggs, nuts, and fresh fruit.
Make a fruit smoothie for breakfast.
Make your own breakfast cereal bars with healthy whole-grain cereals.
Shereen has been the About.com Guide to Nutrition since 2004.
During her practice as a nutritionist and as a chiropractic physician for 16 years, Shereen saw how eating healthy foods (or not-so-healthy foods) impacted her patients' well-being every day. She decided that she wanted to reach a larger audience so she left practice to become a health and nutrition writer as well as the nutrition guide for About.com. Shereen is a member of the American Dietetic Association.
Shereen has a master's degree in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut and she was previously certified as a Certified Nutrition Specialist. She also has a doctor of chiropractic degree from Northwestern College of Chiropractic in Bloomington, Minnesota.
From Shereen Jegtvig:
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Editorial By Ray Gollis:
Pretty cool article by Shereen. I try to eat a nutritious breakfast when possible. I believe everybody should start out with whole grains. Either oatmeal, whole grain bread, granola or rye bread. That is good Shereen says to eat a poached egg. I would agree that this is better than eating fried egg. The problem I see is most people are eating saturated fats that include meats like: bacon, sausage and ham. These meats will lead to high blood pressure, strokes and heart attacks. I try by best to stay to this diet. I try to eat a omelette that has alot of vegetables like a western omelette that includes: green peppers, onions and mushroooms. Hey, if you want to get rid of stubborn belly fat, and build muscle
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