It's easy to fall into the rut of eating a sugar-laden breakfast every day. But mixing up your morning meal, both with savory and low-sugar sweet options, can make a big health impact. Try some of our suggestions and see for yourself.
It may seem like we are bombarding you with the adverse effects of added sugars, but the addiction is potentially real for some of us. If cutting it out entirely isn't necessarily something you're willing to do cold turkey, why not start with breakfast?
Many of us intuitively reach for a sugary breakfast without even realizing it – jam smeared bagels, instant flavored oatmeal, honey-sweetened wheat flakes (with those extra-sugary clusters), Starbucks pastries (I mean, you're already in line, right?), and syrup drizzled pancakes or waffles – but research shows that the most unfavorable food to fill your body with after a 10-12 hour fast is refined flour and sugar. This especially goes for kids, too.
"Sugar rapidly raises blood sugar at a time the body is least able to process it, with adverse effects throughout the day" says David Ludwig, director of the Optimal Weight for Life Clinic at Boston Children's Hospital. The concentrated sugars may fill you up temporarily, but they'll have you reaching for your third cup of coffee by 10 a.m. which will leave you drowsy and less able to concentrate by mid-morning.
Switch up your morning routine and think savory. Every sensible (and realistic) diet has a little wiggle room for added sugars, but you're best to not use them all up by 9 a.m. A savory breakfast that includes whole grains, berries, and even vegetables gives you a far better chance at achieving your daily fiber goals, keeping you full until lunch, and avoiding that mid-morning slump. Eggs, avocado toast, and sweet potato hashes are all great savory starts, but how about a few suggestions for the classically sweet breakfast?
Try these instead:
Savory oats - Top oatmeal with thinly sliced avocado, fresh tomatoes and even a sprinkle of cheese and you'll save 12g added sugars over the instant maple, peach, or apple cinnamon-flavored stuff.
Nut butter on whole grain toast - Fast, portable, filling, delicious, and super low in sugar. Skip the jam, which has about 12g sugar per tablespoon.
Savory yogurt – Yep, that's right. Skip the sugar and try fresh cucumbers, crunchy walnuts, and a drizzle of olive oil. You'll save 17g sugar for every tablespoon of honey you skip, and 7g for every 1/4 cup of granola (better yet, try our savory version.)
Egg-topped waffles and pancakes - I know we aren't all in love with runny yolks, but I sure am and love to sop up my morning flapjacks with a little poached egg, crumbled bacon, and fresh tomatoes. The egg packs an extra 6g protein and you'll save about 12g sugar per tablespoon over syrup.
Cold cereal - Yes, it's possible to go savory here, too. My favorite combinations are actually both savory and naturally sweet. Try peanut butter, sliced banana, and cinnamon over bran flakes or berries, goat cheese, and walnuts over shredded wheat. You'll save anywhere from 10-15g added sugars per serving.
Most of us are resetting our schedules and routines this month getting back into school routines. There's no better time than now to start trimming the sweet stuff, too.