It can be tricky to decide what to eat in the morning. This is especially true during the weekday when you’re in a rush to get to work, school, or an appointment. The Cheat Sheet spoke with health experts and nutritionists to get their advice on the worst foods to eat for breakfast. Here’s what they had to say.
1. Cereal with skim milk and a banana
This is a very common breakfast and is often thought of as a healthy option. Yet this combo contains all carbs, little protein, and no fat, so it will not be a filling breakfast. It will digest within 90 minutes and can unfortunately cause a spike in your blood sugar levels quickly.
Lori Zanini, RD, CDE, founder of Lori Zanini Nutrition
2. Prepared foods
Hash browns, quick-cook oats, bacon, and even eggs prepared in restaurants are bad breakfast options because they’re loaded with salt. Sodium causes you to retain water, which leaves you bloated from the start of the day.
Lisa Hayim, MS RD, founder of The Well Necessities
3. Carb-heavy meals
The worst foods to eat in the morning are foods that are all sugar and carbs. Specific examples include bagels, English muffins, muffins, yogurt, cold cereal with milk, and toast with jelly. This is because sugar is metabolized very quickly and spikes blood sugar level quickly. Once metabolized, blood sugar levels crash, and it leaves you feeling tired, lethargic, and craving more sugary foods one to two hours after eating. This carb-laden breakfast is not satiating or setting you up to have good energy levels the rest of the day.
Melissa Eboli also known as Chef Via Melissa
Pastries are a treat. It’s made from layers of butter and refined sugar. A pastry in the morning means that a) you’re in for a huge sugar crash at about 11:00 a.m., and b) your glucose reserves are full for the morning. This means your body is unable to sufficiently harness the glucose it needs while it works on the influx of pastry-related sugars.
Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics
5. High-calorie foods
The morning has a big impact on the rest of your day. If you’re concerned with how many calories you’re eating, having a high-calorie breakfast can make the rest of the day miserable. A chocolate chip muffin at Dunkin’ Donuts can set you back nearly 600 calories and won’t be nearly as filling as many other options. You don’t want to spend the rest of the day trying to play catch up.
Mary Weidner, Co-Founder of Strongr Fastr, a meal planning app
6. “Heavy” foods
The worst foods you could eat for breakfast are heavy and will weigh you down for the rest of the day. I’m talking about eggs, bacon, potatoes/hash browns, and even yogurt. You want to start your day light and energized! If you are working out first thing in the morning, you don’t want to eat any of these heavy foods because you don’t want your body preoccupied with digestion. You want it to be able to perform a great workout. You can nourish your body with the food that it needs after you’ve worked out. And even then, it’s unlikely you will want to be eating bacon after a hard workout! If you’re not working out in the morning you don’t need all of that food and calories first thing in the morning. Eat light and have a substantial lunch later.
7. Corn Flakes
For many working Americans, breakfast is often eaten on the go. Most of us aren’t fortunate enough to have an in-home chef like me preparing their meals for the day. So, breakfast tends to include whatever is convenient—from breakfast cereals to muffins, pancakes, to power bars. And while some convenience foods tout healthy labels, such as “low fat,” “low carb,” or “whole grain,” most of them are high-glycemic and sugar-laden.
Foods that have a high glycemic index (GI) cause the body’s blood glucose to rise quickly—lower index, slower rise; higher index, faster rise. When high GI foods are eaten for breakfast, we put our bodies in a cycle of carb and sugar craving, consuming, spiking, and then crashing. Corn flakes—frosted or otherwise—is one of the worst offenders in this category with a GI of anywhere between 81 and 93.
Kimberly Barnes, founder of Might Be Vegan
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