Breakfast on the Run: Thinking Outside the Box
Is your quick breakfast as healthy as you think?
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
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
"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
Even smoothies you buy in a local diner or breakfast bar can be anything but
healthy, Heller tells WebMD: "Some of them are made with ice cream -- full
fat," she says.
Reading the labels can help you decide whether your smoothie is healthy or a
high-calorie treat. But to be absolutely sure of what you're getting, Heller
and Somer say, your best bet is to make smoothies at home.
"You can even make it the night before, store it in the refrigerator,
and in the morning give it a 10-second whip, and you've got an instant healthy
breakfast," says Somer.
Not quite as decadent-seeming as a smoothie, but just as good, is a bowl of
yogurt. Grabbing a carton will add protein, calcium, and other nutrients to
your diet. And to help lower the fat and calories, Somer suggests, you can buy
an unflavored low-fat or no-fat type, then add fruit, honey, or jam on your
"There can be up to 9 teaspoons of sugar in a fruit yogurt," Somer
says. "You are never going to put in as much as what is done for commercial
preparation, so flavoring it yourself is going to be a lot healthier."
When it comes to '"out the door'" breakfasts, perhaps nothing is
faster or easier than a cereal bar. But experts say these generally leave a lot
to be desired.
"What makes cereal such a good choice is the high fiber, the low sugar,
and low fat, and the addition of the milk and the fruit," says Somer.
Without all that, she says, most cereal bars just aren't up to speed.
If you must eat them, Klein recommends saving them for an after-dinner treat
and selecting healthier fare for your breakfast. If you need a quick,
inexpensive fix in the morning, try grabbing a banana as you walk out the
Fast and Healthy Breakfast Tips
To help you think outside the box, Somer and Heller offer five additional
tips for quick, healthy, and nutritious breakfasts:
1. Night-Before Oatmeal. Put a serving of rolled oats, a
serving of hot milk, and a little sugar into a vacuum-sealed thermos bottle and
set on the counter overnight. The oats will steam to perfection, and in the
morning you'll have an instant hot breakfast.