The Big Breakfast Debate (3:38)
You know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but you might not know that these so-called healthy breakfast options could be contributing to weight gain.
Smoothies Fool You
With so many fruits and veggies, how could a smoothie be bad for you? “Smoothies and juicing are very easy ways to drink a lot of calories without recognizing they could be providing hundreds of calories,” says Patricia Skolnik, RD, LD and clinical nutrition manager at Doctors Hospital of Augusta in Augusta, Georgia.
“Plus, they digest quickly, so we end up wanting to eat again. Over the course of the day, we end up eating more calories than we might intend.” For a healthier smoothie that will keep you full all morning, pair fruits and veggies with a base like water, low-fat yogurt, or milk and a protein like protein powder, almond milk, or nut butter.
… And So Does Granola
Granola bars are easy, on-the-go breakfasts -- they can also contain as many calories as your favorite dessert. Many kinds of granola bars contain additives like sugar, corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils, which turn your "healthy" breakfast into a calorie bomb. Look for granola bars with simple, natural ingredients with oats, grains, fruits, and nuts, or try making your own at home!
You Add Sweeteners to Your Coffee
Drinking a cup of coffee is a delicious, natural way to jump-start brain function and, according to some studies, may reduce the risk of type-2 diabetes and some cancers. Just beware the calorie-laden add-ins like sugar, flavored syrups, creamers, and whipped cream, which can add hundreds of calories to a regular cup of joe. For a healthier -- but tasty! -- option, choose flavored coffee beans like almond, hazelnut, or French vanilla.
You Choose Low-Fat Options
Don’t let low-fat or sugar-free muffins, cereals, or granolas fool you -- they can be worse for your waistline than their regular counterparts. “When you’re modifying a product, whether it’s reducing the fat or taking the sugar out of something, another ingredient is going back in,” says Skolnik. “It might be lower in fat, but generally that means it’s going to contain more sugar.”
You Skip Breakfast Entirely
“I think breakfast is the most important meal of the day; we’re literally breaking the overnight fast,” says Skolnik. “Any time we go without food, our bodies recognize it, slow the metabolism and won’t burn energy as quickly.”
Eat three or four meals per day to ensure a steady flow of nutrients, recommends Skolnik. Even if you’re not hungry in the morning, nibble on some fruit or whole-grain toast to jump-start your body’s metabolism and digestive system.