Breakfast is our favorite meal and we could eat it all day. “A healthy meal should provide a combo of protein, fat, and carbs with at least 5 grams of fiber,” says Alix Turoff, a New York City nutritionist and trainer. But not all foods meet these measures. And it’s really easy to assume healthy sounding breakfast and morning snack options are in line with your weight loss goals. Stay away from these popular morning foods if you want to slim down.
Fruit is part of a healthy weight loss plan. Fruit juice is the enemy: Juice can add pounds. “It lacks fiber so what you’re getting is just a carb that’s going to spike your blood sugar,” says Turoff. But you thought fruit had fiber. And it does. But fiber gets lost when a fruit is juiced. All of the phytonutrients found in fresh whole fruit doesn’t translate to just juice, says Turoff. You’re much better off squeezing some fresh citrus into a tall glass of water. Or just eat the real thing. Berries are best (a half cup of raspberries gives you 4 grams of fiber, blackberries 3.8 and blueberries or strawberries 1.7 grams). Kiwis are right up there with 2.7 grams of fiber.
It looks healthy and it sounds healthy, but eating granola is just like eating dessert. Fug. Turoff says it’s loaded with calories and sugar. And sometimes chocolate chips and dried fruits (a big sugar source). No wonder we love it so much. But weight loss is more important than adding some crunchy toppings to yogurt. While it’s possible to find granola with better stats you need to read labels carefully and watch portion size. Chances are you’re eating multiple servings in one meal.
Whole Wheat Bread
You probably think that you’re avoiding white flour and only eating healthy wheat bread. But just because a food is described as “whole wheat” or “seven-grain” doesn’t mean it’s good for you unless it has at least 4 grams of fiber. “Refined wheat, aka white flour, contains no nutrients and leaves your body hungrier than when you sat down to eat,” says Dr. Marizelle Arce, a naturopathic physician. Any food that lists “wheat flour” or “unbleached enriched flour” is pure weight gain promoting junk. “These empty calorie carbs will cause the next meal you have to be stored and turned into fat,” she says.
We just warned you about bread so you might be thinking about switching to a gluten-free loaf. It must be weight-loss friendly! Nope. “Unless you have a gluten intolerance, there is no reason to substitute foods for their gluten counterparts,” says Turoff. GF versions of your fave foods (bread, pancakes, waffles, muffins) are always higher in calories and carbs than the original versions. “If you’re going gluten free and cutting out all processed food, that’s a different story,” she says, “but don’t be fooled by foods that sound healthy just because they’re ‘gluten-free’.”
Yogurt seems like a sensible choice for a late breakfast or mid-morning snack. We do it all the time. “Yogurt is a good source of protein, calcium, vitamin D, and probiotic bacteria such as L. acidophilus, but not all yogurts are created equal,” says Jenny Dang, RD, the founder of Eat Your Dang Veggies. Flavored yogurts contain more than 15 to 18 grams of total sugar. Sure some are natural but most are added empty calories. “You can reduce your added sugar intake by choosing plain, unflavored yogurt and flavoring it with fresh or frozen fruit, nuts, cinnamon or a drizzle of honey,” says Dang. “The fruit will give you an extra nutrient boost of vitamins, minerals and fiber.”