By: Natasha Archary
Breakfast is the most overlooked meal of the day. With more parents rushing out the door to make the early school runs, children are bearing the brunt of bad food choices to start the day.
It’s not easy to pay attention to what you’re putting on the table every morning, but it’s time you gave your family’s first meal more thought.
A 2006 study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, reports that the trend of skipping breakfast is increasing throughout the world. A fact that is linked to increased weight gain, lethargy at school and work and chronic fatigue.
There’s a reason breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, it kickstarts your body’s “engine”, running on the energy you fuel it with.
The wrong foods can put you at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. According to Diabetes South Africa, approximately 85 – 90 % of those diagnosed with the chronic condition, suffer from Type 2. Many go through their lives with the condition going untreated and undiagnosed.
Do yourself a favour and avoid the following foods for breakfast to set you on the right track for the rest of your long day:
- Processed cereals
By the time your fruity, multi-coloured, grain cereal hits the packaging that contains all it’s glory, it’s nothing but over-processed, sugar-laden junk. With nothing of nutritional value. Stripped of all the whole grain goodness, you’re eating empty calories packed full of harmful chemicals and preservatives.
- Flavoured yoghurt
Think you’re giving your body all it needs by eating a bowl of fruit flavoured yoghurt with real fruit pieces? Think again. Don’t be fooled by any labels or brands that claim “LOW” or “NO FAT”, on any product.
This does not make it a healthier option because the fat that’s removed is replaced with artificial sweeteners and flavour enhancers. Fat is flavour and if it’s being removed they have to find clever ways to improve the taste of their product to keep consumers happy.
You’re better off choosing a full fat, all natural yoghurt. Greek is the best bet, it’s got no added sugar and is thick and creamy. A little is all you need.
- White bread
Is one of the worst breakfast foods you can include in your diet in general. Even worse in the mornings. With a high glycemic index (GI), the refined grains break down rapidly, causing spikes in blood glucose levels. White bread is also low in fibre, which will leave you starving before lunchtime.
Nothing beats the smell of bacon in the mornings, yes we can all agree to that but it does nothing for your expanding waistline and heart health. Bacon contains a high saturated fat and sodium ratio. Putting you at risk of heart disease, stroke and high cholestrol levels.
A study published in the American Journal of National Cancer Institute links processed meats to an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
- Baked goods
Pancakes, muffins, cakes and scones are yummy but contribute significantly to your expanding waistline. Nothing could be worse than a doughnut though. These deep fried, golden, sugar bombs are loaded with trans fat, white flour and unnatural amounts of sugar.
Avoid all pastries, you’re better off eating an apple or slice of whole wheat, avo toast.
- Fruit juices
Unless your juices are fresh pressed, don’t drink any fruit juice that you pick up off supermarket shelves. The chances of drinking concentrated (packed with sugar) fruit nectar are high. You’re not getting any nutritional value from these juices so don’t fall for the genius marketing behind these products.
- Store bought granola bars or muesli
Think these are healthy alternatives to grab on the go? Well, I hate to burst that bubble. They’re not. Most contain nothing but syrup and fat. Organic versions do not fair any different so do not be fooled by impressive healthy terminology.
If you don’t have the time to go home-made, opt for a bowl of good old fashioned oats, with a bit of almond milk and nuts. Packed full of essentials nutrients and vitamins to keep you going for longer.
Giving your family a solid, healthy diet takes a lot of effort to make informed choices. You don’t want to go through life feeling restricted either so find a way to reach equilibrium with their snacks and breakfast treats. If you know your children love pancakes, use whole-wheat flour or rice flour (if your family is gluten free). There are so many healthier alternatives for you and your loved ones that a boring diet plan can no longer be the excuse you give for not eating better.
Everything in moderation is still the addage to live by, so enjoy your cheat meal every week but remember to make up it with a 30 minute workout to burn the added calories. Hey, no one said being healthy was easy.