Breakfast can often be hailed as the most important meal of the day, providing the energy and nutrients needed to kickstart our mornings. Many health experts express how we shouldn’t skip eating in the morning and discuss how it can derail our weight goals by overeating towards the end of the day. However, amidst the numerous breakfast options available, some foods may be misleadingly labeled as healthy. Many of the foods that are considered breakfast staples can be packed with processed ingredients, sugars, and artificial flavors.
To shed light on certain breakfast items that may not be as nutritious as they appear, we spoke with Lori Walker, a registered dietitian, freelance food and nutrition writer, and creative recipe developer. She revealed to us that the three breakfast foods we should minimize to avoid having a bigger waistline are cereal, yogurt, and smoothies.
Cereal has been a beloved breakfast choice since childhood, offering a wide variety of flavors and textures, making it a quick and convenient meal option. However, it’s essential to be aware that many cereals are heavily processed and packed with added sugars, which may not be the healthiest breakfast choice. Walker says, “Many cereals marketed as healthy are actually high in sugar and contain refined grains, which can cause weight gain.”
Numerous store-bought brands are rich in refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats, making them unsuitable choices for individuals trying to manage or reduce their weight. Instead, you should opt for cereals that don’t have processed ingredients, aren’t high in added sugars, and are made from whole grain sources.
Although yogurts like Greek yogurt are known for their gut-friendly benefits, it’s essential to be cautious about certain commercially made yogurts that disguise themselves as healthy options but are actually loaded with sugar. “While yogurt is an excellent source of protein, most store-bought brands are packed with added sugars and artificial ingredients that can be harmful to your waistline and overall health.” Most yogurts in grocery stores contain preservatives, added sugars, and artificial colors. It’s important to read the food label to avoid these ingredients that could potentially harm your health and expand your waistline. Walker gives us a better option to eat instead: “Greek yogurt is higher in protein than traditional yogurt, and it has more of the beneficial probiotic bacteria that aid digestion. Look for brands that are lower in sugar and check the nutrition label to make sure there aren’t any artificial ingredients.”
This one can come as a surprise, but when you realize why you should stay away from smoothies, especially store-bought ones, when trying to slim down your waistline, you’ll understand why! Smoothies can be jam-packed with ingredients that come with a lot of calories; add to that some sugar-loaded fruits or unhealthy liquids, and you’ve got one fattening recipe.
“Store-bought smoothies are often packed with added sugars and lack fiber, so they may fill you up quickly but not keep you full for very long. This can lead to overeating later in the day,” Walker says. Instead, go for smoothies made with low-sugar fruits and avoid heavy liquids such as milk. Examples include almond milk, fruit, greens, nut butter, and protein powder to get a healthy start to the day without adding extra inches around your waistline.
Overall, opting for moderation and mindful choices is the cornerstone of a wholesome breakfast. By consciously selecting nutrient-rich and low-sugar alternatives, you can achieve a slimmer waistline. Walker ends with, “Eating a healthy breakfast is key to maintaining a healthy weight and waistline. The best breakfasts are those that are high in fiber and protein, low in added sugars, and include whole foods; not only will you stay fuller longer, but you’ll also be giving your body the essential nutrients it needs to stay healthy.”