Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We’ve all heard the saying, and with good reason. Breakfast is our chance to replenish our body’s fuel after 10 hours of overnight fasting while we’ve been asleep.
Making smart decisions on what we eat in the morning can boost our energy levels, concentration and productivity, enabling us to take on the world!
Conversely, making the wrong breakfast choices, may give us a quick boost, but leave us feeling sapped and sluggish by lunch time. We may even be tempted to make further bad food choices throughout our day to compensate.
Here is our run down of the 15 worst breakfast foods that you’re probably eating every day. You’re going to be shocked by some of these, especially number 15!
1. Sugary, highly-refined cereals
We all know that children’s cereals in colourful boxes should be avoided due to their terrifyingly high sugar content. But, even more dangerous are the breakfast cereals which are marketed as “healthy” choices, but also contain high sugar content.
We actually love breakfast cereals. Cereal is a super quick, easy, wholesome and nutritious way of filling up in the morning, ready to start the day. But only if they’re made with whole grains, and contain no added sugars.
Popular puffed rice, honey coated nut cereals and frosted flakes (either big name brands or supermarket own brand equivalents) will normally be ladened with spoonfuls of sugar.
Aside from the long-term health implications of consuming too much sugar, a sugary start to your day will only sustain energy levels for a very short time. But once this sugary hit has been digested, we’ll be left feeling hungry very quickly, and, quite possibly, reaching for another unhealthy choice.
Make sure you check the nutritional values of your cereal and ensure there are no added sugars. Opt for cereals that are made with whole grains and are rich in belly filling fibre that will help to sustain you until lunchtime. Choose shredded whole wheat cereals, corn flakes that aren’t coated in sugar, traditional porridge oats, but avoid microwavable porridge which can often contain hidden, sugary syrups to add taste.
2. Pancakes or waffles
If you’ve ever made pancakes from scratch, then you’ll know that they’re made from flour, eggs, milk and sugar, plus a raising agent that gives them their fluffiness such as bicarbonate of soda. Vegan pancake recipes do also exist that include substitutes for the eggs and milk and gluten free flour alternatives can also be used to make gluten free pancakes.
But the one thing they all have in common? Sugar! Waffles are pretty much the same, too. Yet they’re both a very common breakfast option. Adding to the sugar load of a pancake or waffle based breakfast is the fact that we don’t often eat pancakes and waffles plain. Who does?
We load them up with sugary syrups and crispy bacon that’s high in saturated fats and salt, only adding to the calorie content whilst not really adding much to the beneficial nutritional value.
What’s more, more often than not, the flour used to make both is white flour, which has been processed to remove the whole grain and beneficial B vitamins. So it really is best to leave these to holiday breakfasts only!
3. Bagels and their fillings
Bagels are heavier than many other bread products, and they’re a popular choice for breakfasts on the go as they tend to hold onto their contents better than normal bread without going soggy.
Most bagels are made using white flour, which as we learned above, is flour with all its beneficial nutrients and fibre stripped away. So you’re not getting much nutritional value from eating a bagel.
Then there’s the problem of the most popular fillings for bagels – butter, cream cheese and salt beef – all of which are high in fat and in the case of salt beef, a lot of salt and chemical processing ingredients.
So if bagels are your thing, keep them to a minimum and try them with low fat cream cheese, smoked salmon or peanut butter, all of which provide beneficial protein to help energise your morning.
4. Muffins and pastries
Muffins are delicious, but let’s face it, by eating a muffin for breakfast, we’re pretty much allowing ourselves to eat cake for breakfast and surely that’s only for our birthday each year?! Even a muffin that’s sold to us as ‘healthy’ such as a fruit filled blueberry muffin, is still more or less a cake.
That said, a blueberry muffin does at least contain fruit, which is a healthier choice than a plain muffin or worse, a chocolate chip muffin. Blueberries are a great source of antioxidants and vitamins that help to keep the immune system healthy, so if you’re going to choose a breakfast muffin, choose a fruit one. And even then, save them for the occasional treat!
Savoury muffins could also be a better option, but watch out for cheese muffins that are high in saturated fats. We’ve seen muffins made using courgette and minimal sugar, which might not tick the sugar crave box, but they certainly won’t start you off on the back foot for the day.
The same goes for those baskets of delicious looking breakfast pastries we see in hotels. They’re most definitely left for hotel and holiday treats if we want to avoid a sugar overload for breakfast!
5. Fruit juice
Who doesn’t love coffee and orange juice with their breakfast? As a small addition to an otherwise balanced breakfast, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a small (around 150ml) glass of fresh juice. The problems start if you’re drinking much more than this every day.
If you think about oranges, how many could you eat in one go? One or two is our guess. But if you have a large glass of freshly squeezed (either by yourself or a shop bought fresh orange) juice, you could be consuming double that.
Oranges are healthy, as are any other fruits used to make juices. They contain high levels of vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals. But fruit also contains fructose, a fruit sugar. So if you’re consuming one or two oranges, then you’re not consuming much fructose. But take that to four or more oranges in one sitting, just as a drink, then you’re consuming more sugar than you think. So if we drink a fruit juice alone for breakfast, we’re likely to feel hungry pretty soon afterwards.
Fruit juices also remove the fibre content from the fruit, since you’re not consuming the pulp. Fibre is important for good gut health. So consume whole fruits and keep juices to a minimum. And definitely opt out of fruit juices with added sugars!
6. Low fat or fat free yogurts
Yoghurt, either made with cow’s milk or a non-dairy alternative such as soya, is a healthy choice as it’s rich in protein and probiotics (good bacteria that help to look after a healthy gut).
So at first glance, we’d be forgiven for thinking that a low or no fat yoghurt was an even healthier choice. But beware. Often, fruity varieties of these seemingly good for us yoghurts contain more added sugar than the full fat varieties! (Even plain or Greek style low fat yoghurts sometimes also contain added sugar.)
The problem is, fats and sugars make things taste good. Remove on, and generally the other is added to enhance the flavour. So if something is advertised as low fat, then always make sure that you check the ingredients list and nutritional information for sneaky added sugars.
They can be listed as sugar, sugar syrups, honey or glucose – if in doubt, check the traffic light system. If it’s red for sugar, then the chances are, your ‘healthy’ breakfast yoghurt contains added sugars.
Aside from that, low fat yoghurt without added sugars isn’t very calorific and won’t sustain you for very long. So add some fruit of your choice and sprinkle with chopped nuts or oats to make a deliciously healthy and filling breakfast.
7. Breakfast bars
If ever there was a food that’s been more marketed as a healthy option when actually it’s not, then we’d be hard pushed to find one over breakfast bars. Often sold as options for athletes and those who exercise regularly and don’t have time to make a bowl of granola or muesli, breakfast bars need to be treated with caution.
This is because they’re often far from the substitute for a healthy cereal that they claim to be. So our advice is definitely to read the label. Like many of the cereals we mentioned above, cereal bars often have high levels of added sugar, most commonly from the sugar syrups and honey used to stick everything together into a bar shape.
Plus, because they’re not consumed in a bowl with cow’s milk or a non-dairy alternative such as soya or almond milk, they lack protein too. Protein keeps us fuller for longer, so consuming one of these bars as your breakfast will probably mean that your belly rumbles a short time later.
So opt for those that have lower sugar levels, no added sugars and have an added protein source such as peanut butter. Or consume a healthier version of them with a glass of milk.
8. Bacon and other processed meats
Bacon, sausages, ham and other types of processed meats might taste nice – but that’s generally because of the added salts and the processing techniques used that are designed to appeal to our tastebuds. (Well, those of meat eaters, anyway.)
Processed meats are high in saturated fats which are highly calorific. Consuming such foods can lead to health problems, including weight gain.
Adding to the problem is the level of salt often found in these kinds of meats. Eating too much salt can at best make us feel thirsty and dehydrated. Plus, processed meats are linked with problems later in life with the stomach and intestines.
On the plus side, bacon and sausages do provide protein, which keeps us full and sustains us for all the tasks we need to get done each morning. But a healthier breakfast option that’s rich in animal protein is eggs, so opt for a couple of poached, boiled or scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast for an energising, healthy, lower fat breakfast.
9. Cheap food breakfast things
Envision the scene. You’re depleted, behind schedule for work and you have a major gathering to go to with no chance to fix your sluggishness with a sound smoothie. Or on the other hand you’re on time for fill in as you have a cutoff time to meet, yet you had a couple of an excessive number of beverages the previous evening and you have a headache.
What are you going to do? Like so many of us in this present circumstance, there’s nothing for it – you need to go through the closest cheap food focal point and snatch something from that point. Hotdog biscuits, cheddar toasties, hash tans and bacon butties – and so on, you can track down it.
Also, certain, you’ll get a moment shot in the arm. However, it may be fleeting, and it probably won’t actually help you through your gathering or cutoff time before you feel the accident coming on.
Cheap food morning meals are regularly seared, handled or both, and contain elevated degrees of soaked fats and salts and in the event that we include a bubbly beverage or immense juice, vigorously sugar loaded, as well. None of which is a sound method for beginning the day and in the event that we go with these decisions right off the bat, we’re bound to keep on making them over the course of the day.
10. Sweet espresso drinks
On the off chance that you want an espresso (or two) AM before you can work or try and ponder driving or conversing with a partner, then you’re in good company. A huge number of us go to the espresso pot each day, blurred looked at and languid. Then, at that point, ping! We’re alert and prepared to confront the day.
There’s nothing intrinsically undesirable with espresso. As a matter of fact, wealthy in cell reinforcements help to keep the safe framework solid and can lift our state of mind no closure.
In any case, it particularly really relies on how we decide to drink our espresso. In the event that we drink extra-enormous cups of espresso with added full fat dairy milks, calorific nut milks, sugar and extravagant syrups, then, at that point, we’re including an entire heap of calories as fats and sugars.
Assuming that we’re consuming one of these extravagant espressos another undesirable breakfast decision, then, at that point, we could be positioning ourselves to surpass our calorific admission for the afternoon. Yet, on the other limit, in the event that we’re just consuming a dark espresso for breakfast, we’re not just in a calorie shortage finding it hard to feel stimulated, we’ll miss out on the gainful supplements, fiber and protein we’d get from a fair, solid eating regimen.
11. White bread and margarine
Who doesn’t cherish some crunchy white toast trickling with liquefied spread? The issue with eating this consistently as a morning meal however, is twofold.
First up, white bread. White bread is made utilizing white flour, which is flour that has been handled to eliminate the wholegrain, earthy colored part. In doing as such, alongside the wholegrain, the useful nutrients, explicitly B nutrients, are likewise taken out. A superior choice is earthy colored bread, that is made with non or insignificantly handled wholegrain wheat, complete with its valuable supplements.
Furthermore, in the event that our spread of decision is margarine, we could be getting more fat than we anticipated. All spreads contain some degree of fat, even low fat ones. Margarine is the same, however margarine has additionally been handled to make it simple to spread directly from the cooler. It’s during this cycle that trans fats can be added, otherwise called to some extent hydrogenated oil.
There are calls to boycott trans fats since they’ve been brought into question over their expected connections to specific medical problems, for example, issues with pulse and high glucose. In the UK, their utilization is being progressively gotten rid of yet they might in any case be available in imported food sources. Spread, albeit higher in fat, is a superior choice since it isn’t as handled and doesn’t contain trans fats. In any case, one way or the other, keep your bread brown and your spreads to a base.
Alright. So we should discuss doughnuts. Scrumptiously sweet, sweet, jammy doughnuts. They’re perfect, correct? Yet, you needn’t bother with us to let you know that they’re not an incredible breakfast decision. High in immersed fats (doughnuts are pan fried, in the event that you didn’t have the foggiest idea!) what’s more, sugars, and low in the solid stuff, for example, fiber and nutrients, doughnuts are without a doubt a treat food.
Yet, the issue would they’re say they’re is, sold in bistros, and when do we most frequently visit a café? Truth be told, at breakfast time! Furthermore, they stay there, looking all beautiful and round and donut y, baiting us in through the glass. In the event that we’re feeling especially drained, focused or profound, the possibilities are, we’ll dump the yogurt and granola we were anticipating, and select a donut all things being equal.
A long way from keeping us full until noon, we’ll hit that recognizable sweet high subsequent to eating a donut, then crash when our glucose levels drop again a brief time frame later. Noon feels like hours away, and we snatch a chocolate bar to push us along. Sad for our smart dieting plans.
So certainly keep these treats as incidental treats.
13. Pop Tarts
Pop Tarts previously hit our morning meal tables at some point during the 1990s in the UK and wow did they become famous! They’re advantageous, delectable and loaded with fun, yet that is where the great stuff closes. These thrilling morning meals in-one are stacked with white, handled flour, fake colourings and sugar – loads of it, around four teaspoons for every Pop Tart.
As grown-ups, we could pine for a nostalgic think back to our life as a youngster when we didn’t need to stress over the dangers of sugar for breakfast. In any case, selecting a Pop Tart for breakfast (or giving them to our children) ought to truly just be on an extremely periodic premise.
Beginning the day with such a lot of sugar will unavoidably give us that super charged sugar rush, trailed by the considerably more inescapable accident where we feel torpid and hazy brained, hankering the following sugar hit. We’re then bound to pursue more undesirable decisions over the course of the day.
However, not just that. Consuming a high sugar diet can cause medical issues, for example, weight gain and high glucose levels, which can have all the more terrible results sometime later. So keep the tomfoolery, misleadingly hued, sweet breakfast thoughts (that additionally need numerous different supplements of any advantage to our wellbeing) to the uncommon treat.
14. Shop purchased smoothies
Smoothies are an extraordinary approach to guaranteeing that we’re getting a decent admission of products of the soil alongside the entirety of their nutrients, minerals, cell reinforcements and other phytonutrients.
The issue is, frequently assuming we get one for comfort from a shop, the possibilities are, there’s a type of added sugar to add pleasantness that requests to our sense of taste. Regardless of whether this sugar is as honey, agave syrup or maple syrup, it’s actually sugar, it’s actually adding pointless calories it’s as yet not adding some other dietary benefit.
So the response is – to make your own! Which might be more straightforward than you suspect, you’ll simply have to put resources into a blender or expert smoothie make like a NutriBullet. When in doubt, you’ll require fluid as a base, so water, cow’s milk or a dairy free option, for example, oat milk or protein rich pea milk.
Then, at that point, add a little banana for thickness, and a modest bunch of berries and some other cleaved natural product (frozen works impeccably, we love strawberries, cherries and melon). Something green is great as well, so in the event that you’re daring, a modest bunch of hacked kale, or for a better taste, attempt spinach. Then, at that point, at long last a spoonful of nut margarine or yogurt for a protein support. Whizz it all together, which requires seconds, and away you go – a solid, low sugar smoothie for breakfast in a hurry.
Indeed, bananas! We realized you’d be stunned by this one. As a food, bananas are very great. They’re loaded with fiber that assists with caring for a sound, smooth moving stomach and they’re plentiful in micronutrients, for example, potassium, L-ascorbic acid and cell reinforcements that assistance to advance a solid resistant framework.
But on the other hand they’re genuinely high in sugar, which as we’ve gained from this rundown of terrible breakfast decisions, can cause glucose ups and downs, driving us into compulsion to nibble before noon.
Sugar is a kind of carb, so eating bananas implies eating a considerable lot of carbs, with minimal great fats and essentially no protein. So a basic banana for breakfast will not support you for a really long time, and you’ll be ravenous in a matter of seconds as they’re not a total food when eaten all alone.
Take a stab at adding bananas to natively constructed smoothies or cleaving them up and having them on wholemeal toast. Adding a slight spread of your #1 nut margarine will add a wholesome hit of protein and solid fats. So flip out for bananas, simply ensure you’re eating them with another thing to keep you full lengthy into the morning.