We know that not everyone is a morning person. These cold mornings make it extra hard to get moving (Thank you for being our savior, bulletproof coffee.) Fueling our bodies properly is the key to get us going and keep us high energy all day.
Several of the foods that are marketed as “healthy ways to start our day” are actually not nearly as healthy as they claim! In an effort to give us a morning boost to our energy and make a meal taste “better,” many of our favorite dishes actually just spike our blood sugar!
In case you’re wondering, this is not a good thing at all.
After your blood sugar spikes, the after effects when your blood sugar finally drops includes symptoms such as feeling sluggish, potential weight gain, and, if you keep up the pattern, increased risk of chronic disease.
So let’s talk about what some of these fake “healthy” foods are and share some great, truly healthy alternatives so that you’re ready to start your days off on the right foot.
5 “Healthy” Breakfasts that Actually Just Spike Your Blood Sugar
Most Store-Bought YogurtsWhile yogurt is a fairly healthy snack, compared to many options on the market, most brands pack a TON of sugar into their yogurts to make them taste more sweet. In fact, a typical, 6-ounce serving of most commercial yogurt brands contains around 22-30 grams of sugar! And that’s A LOT of sugar to start your day. (We typically recommend around seven grams of sugar if possible.)
But we do know that making your own yogurt can be kind of a hassle. Instead, we recommend being cautious and trying to find a yogurt without artificial sweeteners added in. Good choices that are available in many national grocery stores include Fage Total 2% Greek Yogurt Plain or Stonyfield Whole Milk Greek Yogurt. Neither of these options include artificial flavoring or sugary sweet fruits.
Also, if you are sensitive to dairy, don’t shy away from trying options that are made with coconut, sheep, or goat’s milk. These options typically include more natural flavoring and, we think, are equally as delicious.
Breakfast CerealsIf you’ve been coming to The REBEL Workout for a while, you’re likely aware that many breakfast cereals are jam packed with sugar. In fact, one serving of many breakfast cereals includes more sugar than your average donut!
But did you know that most manufacturers actually strip most of the nutrients that might remain within the highly processed flours used to make many of the cereals we see on the shelves. Then, after taking out the good stuff, the manufacturer adds in low quality chemical versions of vitamins and minerals so that they can make whatever nutritional claims they need to put on the packaging. This leads to significant nutritional deficiencies and imbalances.
Instead of sugary breakfast cereals, we recommend leaning towards steel cut oats or muesli as a healthy alternative. Carefully mix ½ cup of either option with ½ cup hot water and feel free to add in fruit, coconut sugar, and/or a spoonful of honey to taste. A delicious, much healthier alternative for you and the whole family.
Store-Bought SmoothiesWhen we think of smoothies, we typically think of natural fruits and delicious greens mixed with our preferred milk, lightly mixed with a dollop of ice, and BAM! But, unfortunately, if you’re buying your smoothie at most stores ready-made, then you’re actually not getting a very healthy option at all.
Most storefronts, whether McDonald’s, Starbucks, Jamba Juice, or any number of other spots, create something more resembling a high-sugar, no-fiber, smoothie-looking, essentially-milkshake concoction. Their options are devoid of much of the nutrition in favor of creating an incredibly sweet mixture that pleases our typically overly-sweetened taste buds.
Instead of trusting these pre-made mixtures, we recommend sticking with making your own smoothie at home whenever possible. If you’re looking for a recipe, then we recommend trying our green detox smoothie to cleanse your whole system of toxins - especially helpful during the holidays!
Protein or Breakfast BarsUnfortunately, while on-the-go protein and breakfast bars may seem like a quick and convenient meal replacement, they’re typically packed with a large amount of sugar and won’t satisfy your appetite for long.
Though, luckily, this market is becoming healthier at a much faster pace than some of the other categories we’ve mentioned previously, with several new-to-market, more local brands becoming readily available in national grocery chains.
For some of our favorite brands, we recommend checking out this post from the blog. It highlights some tried and true snack and protein bars that we love, enjoy regularly, and highly recommend from personal experience.
Fruit JuicesWhether you’re choosing a fruit juice as a meal replacement or as a side to your otherwise obviously nutrition-packed meal, it’s typically not the healthiest way to grab one of your daily doses of fruit. While most juices are packed with the same amount of sugar as a soft drink, almost all are also missing quite a few nutrients that are ideal to creating a well-rounded breakfast meal.
Even vegetable-focused juices, such as kale juice, lack protein and will leave you feeling hungry again by mid-morning!
Though, by comparison, fruit juices typically contain no fiber in addition to lacking protein and even more sugar than beverages we would typically consider to be sugar-sweetened. (Yucky soft drinks!)
Instead of reaching for the orange or apple juice, consider sticking with water and, if you need more flavor, tossing in a slice of lemon. And never use fruit juice as a meal replacement, because you’ll be missing out on many nutrients that are necessary to start your day right.
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