As fruity-nutty-whole-grain as granola may be, it can be loaded with fat and sugar. While a standard serving size is a quarter-cup, most people would eat twice that, setting themselves back 300 calories (without milk). Instead of pouring yourself a bowl, use a couple of tablespoons as a yogurt of cottage cheese topping.
Breakfast can be tricky. Hungry or not, you may feel like you should eat something. But pick the wrong item and you could blow half your day’s calories, carbs, fat and sodium on this one meal. Here are some of biggest breakfast culprits and lower-calorie, nutrient-rich alternatives.
Skip the biscuit, croissant or bagel, and the sausage or bacon, all of which load breakfast sandwiches down with calories, fat and sodium. Opt instead for whole-grain English muffins, Canadian bacon or ham, and egg or egg whites. Whether to add cheese or not is up to you: One slice has about 100 calories, 5 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat and almost no carbs; reduced-fat cheese and will save you about 40 calories and 4 to 5 grams of fat.
A typical plain bagel weighs in at about 3.5 ounces and 300 calories, not counting the cream cheese, and most offer little in the way of fiber and other nutrients. Stick to half a bagel, and make it special with a smear of cream cheese, lox, lettuce, tomato and onion. Or try a low-carb, high-fiber, high protein bagel.
A “loaded” burrito with sausage, cheese, eggs, and hash browns weighs in at 700-plus calories and a day’s worth of fat. Instead, try one of several varieties of frozen breakfast burritos with fewer than 300 calories per serving. Or think about having a lunch wrap or veggie burger instead.
Bran does not a healthy muffin make, even if it’s studded with dried fruit, nuts and veggies like pumpkin or zucchinis. Most muffins are little better than cake, with some packing 600 calories or more, mostly from empty carbs. High-carb breakfasts set you up for a sugar-crash later in the day. Eating a breakfast sandwich is a better choice than any muffin.
A stack of pancakes and a side of sausage weighs in at 800-900 calories. But pancakes can be a healthy option, if you chose whole grain buckwheat pancakes or waffles and stick to one waffle or two pancakes. Add fruit, yogurt and just a little syrup.
Some of these drinks are more akin to milkshakes than a cup of joe. So it bears repeating: Check the nutrition information (if available) before placing your order. And follow these rules: Stick to a 12-ounce size; opt for 2 percent or skim milk, and go light on the sweeteners (consider non-calorie sweetener like stevia and non-calorie flavored syrups).
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