Food Network Magazine staged a breakfast face-off and asked a registered dietitian to name the better choices. The results might surprise you.
Cow’s Milk vs. Soy Milk
WINNER: Cow’s milk. To make soy milk taste better, many manufacturers add sugar (especially to flavored kinds). Plus, soy milk doesn’t naturally contain as much protein or calcium as cow’s milk. Soy milk can be a healthful alternative if it’s fortified and doesn’t have too much added sugar, but unless you’re lactose intolerant, just stick with 1 percent or skim milk.
Smooth Peanut Butter vs. Chunky Peanut Butter
WINNER: It’s a draw. The amount of salt, sugar and oil in peanut butter can vary by brand and even within each brand, but smooth and crunchy versions are the same nutritionally—one is just ground more than the other. The healthiest option: peanut butter without added sugar or salt.
Jam vs. Jelly
WINNER: Jam. The two main ingredients in jelly are fruit juice—which is high in sugar—and sugar. Jam and preserves are chunky because they’re made with actual fruit. Although jam manufacturers still add a lot of sugar, at least you get a little more fruit (and vitamin C) in a serving.
Regular Yogurt vs. Greek Yogurt
WINNER: Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is really just regular yogurt thickened by straining. Because the liquid has been removed, it has about twice as much protein, nearly half the carbs, and less sugar by volume than regular yogurt. Just note that some of yogurt’s calcium is in the whey, which is removed from Greek-style versions. So if you’re concerned about calcium intake, stick with regular.
Steel-Cut Oats vs. Rolled Oats
WINNER: It’s a draw. Some people dismiss rolled oats, claiming they are more processed than steel-cut ones: Rolled oats are flattened, steamed and lightly toasted, while steel-cut oats are left raw and simply chopped. But both versions are, in fact, whole oats, and their nutrition labels are virtually identical. Choose based on the texture you like. (Quick oats are just as nutritious, too.)
Our Expert: Takami Kim is a registered dietitian with NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital’s Department of Food and Nutrition.
(Photographs by Marko Metzinger/Studio D)