We’ve all been told that breakfast is the single most important meal of the day because it gives you the energy you need to start off the day right. Most often, however, we don’t have the time to prepare a healthy breakfast, so we often end up grabbing unhealthy, on-the-go options just to satisfy our growling stomachs. The following is a list of unhealthy breakfast foods that you should stay away from.
Despite the fact that ‘fruit’ is in the name, most fruit juices are actually really unhealthy. Most of the colorful juices you see in the grocery store have more sugar and preservatives than actual juice. Therefore, you usually don’t get the vitamins, freshness, or other benefits of real fruit. Instead, try making freshly squeezed juice, or opt for water, tea, or a piece of fruit.
Who doesn’t love crispy, greasy, smoky bacon? While it’s probably one of the best-tasting breakfast sides, it’s not all that good for you. All you’re really doing is giving your body an excess amount of sodium and saturated fat, which could lead to heart issues and/or weight gain. If you must, eat it in moderation. However, you could also try Canadian bacon, lamb bacon, or beef bacon as an alternative.
Most pastry manufacturers that make low-fat pastries will replace the fat with sugar to compensate for the flavor. However, sugar and even sugar alcohols can be damaging to your digestive tract, give you jitters, and make you crash. If you know the effect that high-glycemic foods have on your body, you’ll understand why you should avoid these types of foods. As an incentive, your skin will likely look nicer if you just ditch the sugar.
It’s not easy to skip over the doughnuts in the breakroom when they’re calling your name, but it’s really best to stay away. Most doughnuts have a ton of sugar and are made with processed white flour, both of which will suddenly raise your blood sugar. This may then lead to extreme hunger an hour or two later or even diseases like diabetes. If you’re still craving a doughnut, have one that’s made with gluten-free wheat flour and protein additives. They aren’t super healthy, but they’re better than a standard doughnut. Here’s the best option—sprinkle a slice of whole-grain toast with cinnamon for a similar-tasting treat.
Toast & Spreads
Toast often accompanies nearly any breakfast, but depending what you put on it, it could be sabotaging your diet. If you slather a piece of white toast with sugar-filled jelly or jam, you’re eating too many carbs, which will likely lead to a crash later. Instead, try a piece of whole wheat toast with an egg or avocado on top.
Drinking coffee in moderation can actually be good for you, but you shouldn’t use it as a meal replacement like many people do. That will often result in an energy boost and jitters. Plus, it’s often loaded with sugars and additives, and you usually end up drinking the majority of your calories for the day without any real nutritional value, which isn’t something you want to make a habit of. Instead, have a cup of coffee as a part of a healthy, balanced breakfast, which will often give you the energy you crave. Don’t have time for a full breakfast? You can make a meal replacement shake for breakfast on the go.
Usually, the more colorful the cereal box, the more sugar per serving. Unfortunately, many delicious cereals are jam packed with tons of sugar, so make sure you pay attention to the sugar content when you go grocery shopping. As a rule of thumb, you should stick to cereals that have fewer than 10 grams of sugar per serving. If you eat a lot of sugar right away in the morning, you’ll likely crash later and feel sluggish. As an alternative, you could make a bowl of oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts.
An occasional breakfast sandwich containing meat, egg, cheese, and bread won’t do too much harm, but you want to make sure that you don’t eat them every morning. The issue with breakfast sandwiches is the bread, which contains a lot of additives and not a lot of nutritional value. As a whole, breakfast sandwiches usually have a lot of carbs, sodium, and saturated fat, but there are other ways to enjoy the flavor of a breakfast sandwich. For instance, you could have a poached egg with a slice of toast and a side of ham.
If made properly, smoothies can be a delicious and healthy breakfast option, but many of the premade smoothies you see in stores have a lot of sugar and additives and aren’t made with the best ingredients. On top of that, they’re usually rather expensive. If you want a healthy smoothie, make your own! All you need to do is blend together some healthy ingredients, like spinach or kale, almond milk, fruit, and ice.
Despite its healthy reputation, not all granolas are good for you. As sad as it may seem, store-bought granola usually has similar nutritional facts as a large glazed doughnut. Because we automatically assume that granola is healthy, a lot of people opt for it as a breakfast option, but did you know that you could make your own granola? All you need to do is purchase some nuts, seeds, whole grain oats, and whatever spices you want. Mix them all together in a large bowl, pour it on a cookie sheet, drizzle a little honey over it, and stick it in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Be sure to check it frequently to prevent it from burning.
Pancakes with Syrup
Pancakes are generally made with highly processed ingredients that have little nutritional value. While a few pancakes likely won’t cause much harm, all the ingredients you put on top of them, like butter, syrup, chocolate, and whipped cream, are terribly unhealthy. On top of that, most restaurants offer pancakes in huge portions, so there’s really nothing healthy about this breakfast favorite. Instead, try a bowl of oatmeal complete with berries, honey, and some homemade granola.
Light yogurt is packed with artificial sweeteners, which make it taste sweet without the extra calories. However, all that leaves you with is a cup of chemicals. In addition, light yogurt tastes fairly bland. As an alternative, try some Greek yogurt with fruit and nuts.
No matter what you order, most breakfasts are served with a side of crispy potatoes. Even though they’re delicious, they’re also really bad for you. Instead, try having a small side of hash browns, a baked potato, a baked sweet potato, or a small serving of sweet potato fries.
Despite its healthy-sounding name, multigrain bread is anything but healthy. Most store-bought multigrain breads are actually made with processed flour, which means that it’s no healthier than white bread. Of course, you could always make your own wholegrain bread or find it at a local bakery.
Whether they’re in the form of cereal bars or “healthy” nutritional bars, breakfast bars almost always have significantly more sugar than fiber. If you’re looking for a grab-and-go breakfast, try a Kashi or Kind bar.
If you love piling the bacon or ham on your plate in the morning, you might want to ease up. While delicious, they are terrible for your health with all the nitrates and preservatives, both of which can increase your risk of cancer later on. Instead, opt for eggs, cottage cheese, or mixed nuts.
Muffins are essentially dessert, so they shouldn’t be your first meal of the day. They have a ton of sugar, butter, processed white flour, and a bunch of other unhealthy ingredients. In addition, most muffins are way too big and contain a lot of sweet-flavored additives. If you want a muffin for breakfast, make sure you practice portion control by eating a small portion of a large muffin or buying mini muffins that equal about two ounces, and always pair it with a healthy main dish. The best option, however, would be to spread your favorite fruit preserve on a whole wheat English muffin.
Fast food breakfast options are rarely healthy. There are a few healthy choices in some places, but it’s very unlikely that most people pick the healthy option. Instead of running through a drive-thru, wake up 20 minutes early and make a healthy breakfast without all the grease.
Fruit is really good for you, and a cup of fruit is the perfect portion size. So why is a fruit cup so bad for you? It’s because prepackaged fruit cups often contain lots of preservative and are packed in sugary syrups. Instead, look for fresh fruit at the grocery store or farmer’s market.
Sausage Biscuit Sandwiches
Sausage biscuit sandwiches, which are a fan favorite at McDonald’s, might taste good, but they aren’t worth the calories. In all reality, nothing about this breakfast choice is healthy. The sausage contains a lot of trans fat and sodium, which can raise your blood pressure. Add that on top of a buttery biscuit made with processed white flour, and it’s no wonder you should stay away from it. Instead, try a slice of Canadian bacon or lean ham on a whole wheat roll.
Flavored Non-Dairy Creamer
Often times, the things you add to your coffee, such as sugar, syrups, half-n-half, or flavored non-dairy creamers, are much worse than the coffee itself. They can add an astounding number of calories to your otherwise low-cal coffee, and the more cups you have, the more calories you consume. You can gradually wean yourself off of it by adding less and less each day until you are drinking black coffee, or you can swap the calorie-laden creamer with skim milk.
Omelet with Cheese & Meat
If eaten alone, eggs are an excellent source of protein. They also contain vitamins A and D, and even though some people claim they have a lot of cholesterol, eggs are still healthy when eaten in moderation. Plain omelets are a great breakfast option, but when you add cheese and/or meat, you add lots of fat as well. Instead of meat and cheese, make an omelet with peppers, onion, mushrooms, and avocado.
Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise Sauce
While this breakfast is high in protein, selenium, and vitamin D, it’s also high in calories and fat. Eggs are healthy on their own, but when they’re paired with ham and Hollandaise sauce on top of a buttered English muffin, it becomes a high-calorie breakfast that you should avoid. Instead, make some scrambled eggs on a slice of whole wheat or wholegrain toast with some avocado, smoked salmon, and a poached egg.
Bagel & Cream Cheese
Nothing goes better together than bagels and cream cheese. However, bagels are loaded with carbs, which are rapidly converted into glucose, and glucose raises your blood sugar. If you have too much glucose in your system, it can lead to weight gain and/or Type 2 diabetes. Plus, you have the added sugar and fat from the cream cheese on top. Instead, reach for a whole wheat bagel or English muffin and add avocado, peanut butter, or an egg.
Due to their fluffy texture, delicious flavor, and versatility, it’s no wonder why waffles are a breakfast favorite! While most waffles are made with a lot of sugar and then covered in liquid sugar, there are healthier options available. For example, you could make whole wheat waffles with a blueberry ginger syrup.