Trying to eat healthy can be a very confusing endeavor. The packaging of many food products try to make the food item sound and look healthy, but when you get to the nutrition label and ingredients you can see how it’s easy to be fooled. A cracker label might say it has whole grains in it but when you get to the back you see that the first ingredient is enriched wheat flour which means the wheat berry grain has been decimated and most of the good fiber and protein has been taken out. Or you might think you are doing yourself a favor drinking 100% Florida orange juice as part of your breakfast but you are really getting quite a bit of sugar to start off your day. And for many people this is at a time of day when they are the most insulin resistant- meaning their body can not handle that sugar as well.
Lets look at five common breakfast items and compare labels to demonstrate why you might choose one over the other.
Eat This Instead
Low Sodium V8 instead over fruit juice.
When you compare Tropicana juice to V8 you’ll see that Tropicana has 26 grams of carbohydrates with most coming from sugar. The same 8 oz serving of V8 has only 10 grams of carbohydrates and even has a little fiber. Choose the low sodium version because it has far less sodium. The USDA recommends those with hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease or even over age 51 to limit sodium intake to 1500 mg daily. If you love juice to start your day then switching to V8 is the better choice.
Try Oatmeal Bread over White Bread
Not everyone is ready to part with “white bread”. A tanned version of white, Oatmeal bread is made with whole grains (check the list of ingredients to make sure the first word listed is “whole” or “100% whole”). You will get more fiber and even a bit more protein by eating the oatmeal bread instead of white bread. One slice of oatmeal bread has 3 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein compared to less than 1 gram of fiber and 3 grams of protein in the white bread.
Try whipped butter instead of stick butter.
So you are a butter lover. You like to top that crunchy, crispy lightly browned toast with butter! Yummm. You can still enjoy the flavor of butter with much less of the artery clogging saturated fat by switching to whipped butter. Whipped butter is stick butter whipped with air making it lighter without compromising on taste. One tablespoon of whipped butter has 3.5 grams of saturated fat while the same amount of stick butter has 7 grams of saturated fat. The USDA recommends no more than 20 grams of saturated fat based on a 2000 calorie diet. One tablespoon of butter and an ounce of cream cheese on toast of a bagel will deliver nearly 2/3 of your daily limit of saturated fat, and that’s not including the cream you might be adding to your coffee.
Top your bagel or toast with peanut butter instead of cream cheese.
One ounce of cream cheese has 6 grams of saturated fat and only 2 grams of protein while two tbsp of peanut butter has only 2 grams of saturated fat and 8 gms of peanut butter. Although it has more total fat than cream cheese, most of it is the heart-healthy unsaturated fat. Peanut butter also has 3 grams of fiber. Have that along with your oatmeal toast and you will be getting a much greater amount of protein and fiber with less bad fat than you would with white toast, topped with cream cheese. This is a much healthier and more filling way to start your day. Avoid peanut butters that contain palm oil or hydrogenated oils since they are bad for your heart. Teddy makes a great peanut butter and contains just dry roasted peanuts and salt.
Eat fat-free plain Greek yogurt instead of sweetened yogurt.
Greek yogurt delivers much more protein than other yogurts – about 15-17 grams in 5 oz versus 6 grams in regular yogurt. Buy plain Greek yogurt and add your own fruit instead of buying the ones with fruit because sugar is being added as well. Choose non-fat or low fat over full fat to reduce the saturated fat.
If you want a little crunch you could mix a half cup of whole grain cereal like Uncle Sam’s in with the yogurt, along with some fresh or frozen berries. Berries are high in cancer-fighting antioxidants and will give the sweetness your mouth is looking for. This kind of breakfast would give you about 20 grams of protein and some great fiber. And it’s quick to assemble if you are in a hurry.
Find Your Pace To Healthy Eating
Eating healthy is about making gradual substitutions that don’t compromise your taste. Often times the hardest part of making food changes is just knowing what choices are out there and why they are better for you. Making sure you are getting a good amount of protein, some fiber from whole grains and minimizing the unhealthy fats will make you feel fuller and improve your health. And you might find that the choices you make are not a compromise, but actually tastier!!