By Brandi Koskie - DietsInReview.com
It's pretty unacceptable to eat a candy bar for breakfast. "That's not healthy" and "it's not breakfast food" would be two reasons someone would pass. You've no doubt heard your kids ask to eat a candy bar for breakfast, and you've no doubt replied with a stern "no." The thing is, the yogurt, breakfast bars and parfaits you probably do eat and serve for breakfast have as much sugar as candy bars. Isn't it funny how we can justify one food item because of the name or the packaging, but a similar one we can't?
It's no wonder wonder our kids have a hard time paying attention in school and we don't have the energy to fuel the first half of our day without turbo-charging at the coffee machine.
One of the healthiest changes you can make for yourself and your family is to makeover breakfast. It truly is the day's most important meal, and most of what you're already eating doesn't deserve to be called breakfast.
We compared 10 popular breakfast foods, some of which you might actually think are healthy, to popular candies, plus offer some healthier swaps that will fuel your day.
Yoplait Light Fruit-Flavored: 100 calories, 14g sugar
Sugar Equivalent: 9 Gobstoppers
Healthy Swap: Try Greek yogurt like Chobani or Voskos. They are naturally flavored with whole fruit and don't have added sugar.
Krispy Kreme Glazed Donut: 200 calories, 10g sugar
Sugar Equivalent: 4 packs of SweeTarts
Healthy Swap: Make a quick ham and egg scramble on an English muffin, which you can eat on the go. This provides the protein you need to start your day.
Strawberry NutriGrain: 130 calories, 12g Sugar
Sugar Equivalent: 5 packs of SweeTarts
Healthy Swap: Prepare steel cut oatmeal with a dollop of your favorite no-sugar-added strawberry jam. Pack it in a thermos and eat at your desk if you're crunched for time.
Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon PopTarts: 210 calories, 16g sugar
Sugar Equivalent: Hershey's Milk Chocolate with Almonds
Healthy Swap: Toast a piece of whole grain bread, spray with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, and sprinkle with cinnamon and Truvia. Add two scrambled eggs for a more balanced breakfast.
Frosted Mini Wheats with Skim Milk: 291 calories, 24g sugar
Sugar Equivalent: 1 Nestle Crunch bar
Healthy Swap: Try a plain bowl Shredded Wheat with skim milk and a few fresh berries for a healthier, sweeter breakfast. Be on the look out because General Mills is reducing sugar in cereal.
Banana Berry Jamba Juice: 409 calories, 84g sugar
Sugar Equivalent: 4 Mounds bars
Healthy Swap: Make your own using plain Greek yogurt, half a banana and a few strawberries and/or blueberries. Add this to ice and a splash of skim milk in a blender, then pour in a travel mug.
Blueberry Eggos with syrup: 370 calories, 38g sugar
Sugar Equivalent: 2 Almond Joy bars
Healthy Swap: Van's Belgian blueberry frozen waffles use natural ingredients, and when you sweeten with a drizzle of honey you'll reign in the sugar. You could also try a schmear of plain fat-free cream cheese for a richer taste.
McDonald's Fruit 'n Yogurt Parfait: 160 calories, 21g sugar
Sugar Equivalent: 1 Payday bar
Healthy Swap: Get a cup Chobani's or Voskos' fruit Greek yogurt and put your own homemade granola on top for a sweet, crunchy and affordable breakfast treat.
Banana Nut Otis Spunkmeyer Muffin: 458 calories, 32g sugar
Sugar Equivalent: 1 Hershey's Milk Chocolate bar
Healthy Swap: Each weekend bake enough muffins for the week. Then, pop it in the microwave for a second and enjoy a warm muffin on your way to work. Recipes like Biggest Loser Banana Muffins, Pumpkin Walnut Snack Muffins or Cranberry Orange Muffins let you control the ingredients and calories.
Maple Brown Sugar Quaker Instant Oatmeal: 160 calories, 13g sugar
Sugar Equivalent: 7 Pixy Stix
Healthy Swap: Top steel cut oatmeal with 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of 100% pure maple syrup for only 5 grams of sugar.
No one is hiding this information, it's right there on the package. So take the time to read the labels and know what you're eating. Then, know that you can still enjoy the flavors and textures you love with a few minor adjustments. Your mornings will thank you!
Preparing to start the new year on a healthier note? Try this:
20 Healthy New Year's Resolutions You Should Make
5 Healthy Cold Weather Breakfast Recipes
Healthy Toppers Keep Oatmeal Boredom at Bay
Nutritional values from CalorieKing.com and ACalorieCounter.com.
By Brandi Koskie - DietsInReview.com