Bagels, Muffins, Waffles, and Toast continued...
"A lot of the good you get from the fiber, you can lose with the excess calories," says Somer.
Further, if the top of the muffin looks shiny, or if it leaves a slick taste in your mouth, chances are that the fat content is too high, she says.
If you're not sure how much a muffin weighs, experts say, don't eat more than half. Always skip the butter, and, whenever possible, choose a variety that is high in fiber (like bran or oat) and low in fat and sugar.
Heller tells WebMD that the same applies to a bagel breakfast.
"A whole-wheat bagel with some peanut butter or low-fat cream cheese can be a great 'take it with you' breakfast, but it becomes a bad choice if the bagel is something like 7 or 8 ounces," she says. (To put that into perspective, an 8-ounce bagel would measure about 4 _" in diameter.)
Again, if you don't know how much it weighs, eat only half, and embellish it with high-protein toppings like lox, peanut butter, or low-fat cheese.
And what about the classic continental breakfast of toast or an English muffin? Either can be a healthy choice, as long as you follow a few simple rules.
"First, make sure the bread is whole grain and the English muffin contains at least some whole grains," says Somer.
Next, skip the butter and jam and opt for almond, soy or any nut butter, or low-fat cottage cheese for protein (or try low-fat cream cheese).
You can swap out the toast for frozen waffles if you like, Heller says, but look for brands made with whole wheat, and with a minimum of sodium, sugar, and fat.
Breakfast That Tastes Like Dessert
Among the latest breakfast crazes is the smoothie -- usually some combination of fruit, yogurt, and juice whipped in a blender to milkshake consistency.
While smoothies can be a healthy fare, the benefits may come to a screeching halt if you buy certain pre-made versions in a convenience or grocery store.
"Some of these supermarket smoothies have up to 20 teaspoons of sugar in each serving, and many of them have high fat content as well," says Somer.