Breakfast Fast and Easy
A high-fiber cereal - 3 to 5 grams of fiber per serving -- is optimal, Stokes advises. "But don't overdo it if you're not used to it, because too much fiber can cause constipation, diarrhea, or an upset stomach."
As for sugary cereals, "it's better than nothing," he says. "Some breakfast is better than no breakfast. The last thing anyone should do is skip breakfast. Otherwise, you'll be eating something even worse later on - candy bars and potato chips -- because you're starving."
An even better option: "Some moms take sweetened cereal and mix it with unsweetened cereal. Or they take unsweetened cereal and mix it with something a little sugary -- yogurt or low-fat pudding."
Smart Breakfast Made Simple
"Breakfast doesn't need to be elaborate," Stokes tells WebMD. "My philosophy is, the simpler the better." He keeps frozen blueberries or peaches on hand. "They're even more nutritious than fresh anyway because they are picked at peak time, and frozen immediately." Canned peaches (in natural juices, no sugar added) are also a good option.
Peanut butter, eggs, low-fat yogurt/milk are other good choices, he says.
His quick breakfast suggestions:
- Banana with peanut butter
- Banana sliced into yogurt
- Oatmeal with fruit -- like apples, blueberries, or peaches
- Small tortilla with a few tablespoons of peanut butter and chopped strawberries. Roll it up, slice it. It works for kids and adults.
- Breakfast smoothies -- berries, ice, and milk or yogurt. "They're portable -- throw some in a cup, and you're out the door," he notes.
As for the much-beloved bagel - sadly, it's the calorie equivalent of five slices of bread, says Stokes. "Just eat half. Better yet, don't bring them into your home. You'll just end up eating the whole thing so it won't go bad."
Best option: "Go for the smaller bagels, the little ones that are like hockey pucks. Spread some almond or cashew butter on it instead of cream cheese. People think cream cheese is a dairy food, but it's not -- it's fat. If you must have cream cheese, buy low-fat. Honestly there is no difference in taste. Add a little bit of jam, some sliced strawberries."