Good & Bad Breakfast Choices

By Sara Ipatenco

Your morning meal is perhaps one of the most important ones you eat all day. Eating a nutritious breakfast can help improve and maintain your health as well as refuel your body after a night of sleeping. Adding a healthy breakfast to your morning is possible if you know what foods to choose and what foods to avoid.

Bagels vs. Donuts

Whole grains are one way to satisfy your morning hunger as well as provide your body with the nutrients you need to start your day. A whole grain bagel is a nutritious part of your breakfast, because it will supply fiber as well as B vitamins and protein. Donuts do not contain whole grains or fiber and are too high in sugar to be considered healthy. A breakfast full of sugar will give you initial energy, but it will only last for a short time before you are hungry and tired again. Spread your bagel with peanut butter for an added dose of protein and vitamins.

Bran Flakes vs. Sugary Cereal

Bran flakes are another good source of fiber and nutrients that will fill your stomach without adding a huge amount of sugar to your meal. Sugary cereals are often low in nutrition and the sugar they contain will not get your through the morning until your next meal. In her book, "The Change Your Life Challenge," Brook Noel reports that whole grain cereals, such as bran flakes, will help prevent overeating and will encourage you to eat healthier foods for the rest of your meals. Serve your bran flakes with sliced fruit for an added bit of sweetness without the unhealthy effects of added sugar.

100-Percent Fruit Juice vs. Fruit Drinks

Many bottled and canned juices claim to be made of fruit, but if you look closer they have little real fruit juice in them. Drinking 100 percent fruit juice is a better choice at breakfast. It will help energize you and get you started toward eating at least five servings of fresh fruit during the day. Citrus juices, such as orange or grapefruit, are particularly energizing and can be added to your bagel or bowl of cereal.

Lean Ham vs. Bacon

Traditional breakfast meats, including bacon and sausage, are high in calories and saturated fat, which will fill you up but will cause you to feel run down shortly after you are through eating. Lean meats will supply the protein you need to start your day, Noel notes, without causing you to consume too much unhealthy fat. Add a slice of lean ham to a toasted bagel or add as a side to an egg white omelet.

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