Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and even in the era of fasting you would be hard pressed to find many a nutritionist who does not include a nutrient rich meal in the first half of their day.
Generally speaking, breakfast meals are healthy – cereal, toast, fruit – right? Hmmm, not always. A closer look at the menu at the local café will quickly reveal a few so called ‘healthy’ breakfasts a nutritionist would never eat.
Acai bowls are not only visually gorgeous, but surely with all of their granola, fresh fruit, nuts and seeds they would be a nutritionists dream? Unfortunately, when you break down the individual ingredients found in an acai bowl the mix of fruit juice, fruit puree, toasted muesli and nuts can mean even a small acai equates to at least 600-800 calories and a massive 60-80g of sugar.
While the ingredients appear fresh and wholesome, the nutrients of an acai bowl resemble more of a dessert than a wholesome breakfast meal.
We have been told multiple times that Sourdough bread is a much better choice nutritionally than white bread, but what we are not told is that the average serving size of sourdough is double that of a regular serve of wholegrain toast.
This means that you can eat almost your entire days’ worth of carbohydrate in a single meal and that is not including the heart slabs of butter or avo you top your toast with. If you love your sourdough, remember one slice is a serve and look for filling protein rich toppers such as eggs or smoked salmon.
We are seeing more and more bagel places pop up around town, and when topped with lashings of cream cheese or avocado they are a delicious breakfast option.
Nutritionally though, the heavily packed carbs mean that a single bagel contains 70-80g of carbohydrates per serve, almost what we need for an entire day minus much protein. This means that as a daily breakfast on the go, you are better to leave the bagels in NY and choose a lighter, protein rich option instead.
Yoghurt and granola
You can find yoghurt pots with fresh fruit and granola at most cafes, and even supermarkets, and indeed they generally look like one of the healthiest breakfast options to go.
However, a closer look at the nutritional panel generally shows that these yoghurts are made with high sugar yoghurt and the fruit is often fruit puree, which again concentrates the sugar content. Tubs can contain as much as 500 calories and 50-60g of sugars per serve. Make sure to opt for ‘No Added Sugar’ yoghurt and enjoy it with fresh fruit.
While a mix of milk, seeds, honey, fruit and yoghurt may sound like an exceptionally healthy choice, if you consider that each one of these ingredients contains a significant number of calories, before you know it you have a large meal as opposed to a drink once you finish your smoothie order.
If you do enjoy ‘healthy’ drinks other than water, try and limit yourself to just 2-3 ingredients per order. Keep in mind that vegetable juices are much lower in kilojoules than fruit and milk mixes, and watch high sugar additions such as yoghurt, honey and flavoured syrups.
Susie Burrell is a nutritionist. Continue the conversation on Twitter @SusieBDiet.