Would you say you make pretty healthy breakfast choices most days? Because we all know that a bacon butty or an almond croissant should be reserved as a treat. But what if we told you that your "healthy" daily breakfast choice may not actually be all that good for you? Breakfast, as it turns out, is a bit of a minefield if you're trying to watch your waistline, and it's also a seriously important meal to get right.
"Breakfast is similar to the opening act of a play," says Georgia Bellas, a nutritionist at Fresh Fitness Foods. "It sets the scene for your day and can significantly influence your meal choices later in the day. Often, however, what are presumed to be healthy selections are quite often mistakes in disguise and could be stalling your weight-loss goals," she adds. Here, Bellas reveals seven common breakfast blunders and how to fix them.
Granola is healthy, right?
In theory, yes. However store-bought granola, especially the toasted kind, often contains hidden sugars and saturated fats. This means that they are both heavy in calories and cause an unwanted spike in blood sugar levels. Opt instead for the untoasted variety, or better yet, make your own at home. Simply mix together rolled oats, buckinis, nuts, seeds, cinnamon, coconut and mix with a little honey; then oven-bake until golden and delicious!
Low-Fat is better than full-fat
False! Low-fat milks, yoghurts and other dairy products substitute the lack of fat with sugars and artificial sweeteners to replicate the mouthfeel and taste of their fuller-fat cousins. Opt for regular full-fat unsweetened yoghurts and milks, as fat is actually digested slowly by the body and helps decrease the rate at which we break down carbohydrates. Meaning you'll be satiated for longer. If natural yoghurt isn't to your taste, try adding a little fruit or honey for added natural sweetness.
Not factoring in protein
If your breakfast isn't quite hitting the spot, try adding a little protein. A high-protein breakfast will ensure that you are fuller for longer, preventing unnecessary snacking and overeating at other meals. Eggs are a great source of healthy fats and protein, and they can be cooked in a variety of ways, which means your breakfast will never be boring. If eggs aren't really your thing, try opting for whole-grain carbohydrates such as rolled oats and buckwheat and having them with Greek yoghurt, which is fairly high in protein.
Egg whites instead of whole eggs
While egg whites are a low-calorie, low-fat source of protein, much of the nutrition lies in the yolks, packing a punch in terms of iron, vitamin B and vitamin D. Recent studies have also indicated that the fat in egg yolks does not affect blood cholesterol levels. Include a whole egg in your morning omelette to ensure your body is equipped with all of the micronutrients it needs to stay healthy.
Washing down breakfast with juice
A glass of orange juice in the morning sounds healthy enough, but not when you consider how many oranges are needed to produce one glass. Fruit juices tend to be packed with sugar, so instead of chugging a glass of OJ in the a.m, why not eat the fruit itself? Whole fruits will still provide all the vitamins and minerals, along with that all-important hunger-quenching fibre. Alternatively, opt for a veggie-based juice with only one serving of fruit. Try juicing one green apple with carrot, celery and ginger!
Saving time with a breakfast bar
A common favourite amongst time-poor Londoners, breakfast bars are unfortunately packed with high-sugar ingredients and little protein, leaving you feeling hungry and unsatisfied. If time is your biggest obstacle, try prepping your breakfast the night before. Overnight oats only take a few minutes to whip up and can be easily eaten on your morning commute.
Eating on the go
Once again, time (or lack thereof) seems to be the biggest challenge to healthy eating. Grabbing a bite on the go in snack-size portions will only fuel those early hunger pains. This may lead to unhealthy snacking and bingeing later in the day. If you struggle to eat big in the morning, ensure that you are equipped with healthy snacks such as nuts, fruit and natural yoghurt, and make sure your next meal is protein-rich and full of veggies to keep your tummy happy.
Small changes to your breakfast habits can make all the difference when it comes to maintaining a healthy, thriving body and reaching your weight-loss goals. Whether you're making a swap, being more prepared, or making a conscious effort to provide your body with the fuel it needs to smash the day, a few tweaks can go a long way.
Want your breakfast delivered? Check out Fresh Fitness Food, which offers healthy food delivery packages from £25 per day.