Kefir with cereal and berries—A rare departure from my usual

I tend to be a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast. Oatmeal wins most mornings. However, it’s worth noting that I am childless and work only part time—and at home most days. My schedule gives me a good deal of flexibility, and my nutrition training has given me good at brainstorming ways to make healthy meals a priority without adding a lot of stress—I do recognize that this is not “typical,” but it does help me work with people to come up with what works for them.

Other things that can help someone with a busy lifestyle or a lack of extensive clinical coursework (I would not wish Organic Chem on anyone) are visual examples and publications that compare different options in easy-to-understand language. While I’m not a fan of “good food”/”bad food” language, knowing what you should keep an eye out for when making a quick decision can be useful, especially to someone adjusting to a new way of eating.

Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but not all morning foods are created equal. Choosing from the tens of thousands of options at the grocery store is far from easy, so Dave Zinczenko of Men’s Health has created a new edition of the popular Eat This, Not That. This one highlights the best and worst breakfast foods from the supermarket.

The Pancakes and Syrup and Sausage Links Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowls won the Worst Frozen Breakfast award, with its 710 calories, 34 g fat (12 g saturated), 1,000 mg sodium and 35 g sugars. According to Zinczenko, that’s like eating 12 Dunkin’ Donuts Sugared Munchkins. Instead, he suggests Jimmy Dean D-lights Turkey Sausage Bowl, which has 230 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated), 700 mg sodium, and 1 g sugar.

Kashi Summer Berry Granola (1 cup with ½ cup 2% milk), with 505 calories, 14.5 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 24 g sugars and 14 g fiber nabbed the Worst Cereal Honor. Calorically, one bowl is about equivalent to 17 Nabisco Ginger Snap Cookies. A better option? Kashi GoLean Original (1 cup with ½ cup 2% milk), which offers 205 calories, 3.5 g fat (1.5 g saturated), 12 g sugars, and 10 g fiber.

You can read more here.

While I sometimes find it a little silly to focus on “that has as many calories as a 22 peppermint patties” or whatever it may be, I do think it’s a great way to help people tune in to what they’re really feeding themselves. You (probably) wouldn’t eat a bunch of candy for breakfast, so maybe this frozen meal you have a coupon for isn’t really the best thing to start your day with either.

While it’s true that sometimes these kinds of guides may read like you’re just trying to identify the lesser evils,  I’m a fan of the harm-reduction model, so I think seeing where you can make better choices in situations where you’re crunched for time or options is great.

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