Science and breakfast are often contradictory. On one hand, the food industry made breakfast out to be the most important meal of the day despite the fact that skipping it doesn’t really have bad consequences. On the other hand, a quality, hearty breakfast can improve your mood and prevent depression. It looks like the trick is to know what to eat and what not to eat for breakfast.
1. Buttered toast
Unlike what most people think, breakfast should not necessarily be a non-fat meal. The trick is finding the right kind of fat to eat in the morning. Butter does contain fat that helps you process vitamins but it contains a lot of saturated fat too which can cause damage to your heart as well as weight gain.
Instead: Spread peanut butter over your toast. This study found that peanuts and pure peanut butter can help you feel less hungry during the day because it increases the production of peptide YY, a hormone that regulates hunger, making it a great breakfast.
2. Small flakes and breakfast cereals
Breakfast cereal is a tricky classic. Although very practical, the most popular breakfast cereals do contain a huge amount of sugar that can later become abdominal fat. This study also shows that small flakes are linked to higher calorie consumption because people tend to serve less cereal when flakes are bigger.
Instead: Eat sugar-free, homemade oatmeal that contains a healthy amount of fiber and almost no sugar. Reducing your sugar intake in the morning can help you avoid that midmorning tired feeling. If you’re eating sugar-coated flakes anyway, try buying bigger flakes.
3. Pancakes and waffles to go
Although easy to take with you when in a rush, most frozen pancakes, waffles, and cookies contain refined carbohydrates. This is not necessarily bad, depending on your diet, but refined carbohydrates can make you feel hungrier during the day. They also contain little to no fiber and a lot of trans fats that are harmful for your health.
Instead: Make them at home and opt for wholemeal flour or check nutritional values for high-fiber pancakes. You can also simply replace them for some wholemeal toast.
4. Low-fat yogurt
Non-fat yogurt has become a widely available alternative for breakfast. Unfortunately, it often contains many sugars to add flavor and little protein. Studies have also shown that full-fat yogurt actually helps to lose weight. Protein consumption in the morning can help you feel less hungry during the day, which full-fat yogurt is packed with.
Instead: Choose a full-fat yogurt with no sugar.
5. Grab-and-go fruit juice
Most fruit juices contain just as much sugar as soda, according to this study, making them one of the worst choices for breakfast or consumption in general. It also contains almost no fiber. Interestingly enough, this is not why they’re a bad breakfast replacement. Not having to chew can make you feel less satiated, which is why it’s important to start the day off chewing, preferably on fruit.
Instead: Eat regular fruit. It’s a great way to activate your digestive system in the morning and prepare it for higher calorie intake in later meals.
Apples, garlic, pears, beans, and peaches all contain fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols or FODMAPs. They are carbohydrates that people are sensitive to because they’re more difficult to digest than others, which leads to fermentation in the stomach and intestines, hence that bloated feeling. They’re not to be avoided but should ideally be eaten later in the morning once your digestive system is more active.
Instead: Eat small quantities of these foods in combination with a healthy amount of fat and protein to help you digest them.
What do you normally have for breakfast? Do you think it helps you stay fit or do you want to change your habits? Let us know in the comments or share your tips with us!