The most important meal of the day can often be the most hurried, which is why so many of us look to reach for something healthy and fast. But breakfast foods can be deceiving — when choosing a quick grad-and-go breakfast, watch out for these 7 foods.
Some folks assume that you can’t go wrong with anything “bran” but many packaged and fast-food bran muffins tip the scales at over 440 calories and 15 grams of fat each! A down-sized homemade version is the way to go.
There’s no disputing that oats are good for digestion, curbing appetite, and heart health but that can be over-shadowed by the sugar and preservatives found in most packets of flavored instant oatmeal. Get plain (even instant is fine) and flavor it up yourself.
Is your favorite smoothie a cool blend of fruit and yogurt or an over-sized, sugar-laden concoction of junk? With all the different versions of smoothies available, it’s easy to choose the wrong one. Whether you hit up a smoothie shop or opt for a bottled version – stick to a sipper with fresh ingredients and 300 to 400 calories, max.
Just about every cereal on the shelves touts its whole grain content – including sugary kids’ cereals. Inspect ingredient lists for whole grains at the top of the list and sugar further down the line.
Breakfast sandwiches are one of the most popular grab-and-go breakfasts. But if you’re hitting up the drive-thru or tearing open a box from the freezer section, prepare to down more than one-third of your sodium for the day. Then sift through the staggering list of ingredients, most of which are impossible to pronounce. If you’re willing to take 5 minutes (literally, that’s all it takes) to make your own, you’ll end up with a healthy, quick and hand-held breakfast.
Here’s a classic example of how not all frozen foods are created equal. While there are some waffles made with decent stuff, others are an ingredient nightmare. Refined flours, processed oils and preservatives galore! Pay close attention, many brands, especially those marketed to kids, should be avoided. Instead, make an extra batch of homemade waffles on a weekend and freeze the leftovers for busy mornings.
Granola walks a fine line between healthy breakfast and belly buster. Sweeteners like corn syrup, rice syrup and honey, tossed with high-calorie dried fruit, nuts, seeds and oils translates to 250 to 300 calories and 13 to 16 grams of fat per ½ cup serving (basically a handful). Chose brands carefully and keep portions humble.
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »