e-Wise Woman: Health tips for women on the go | Issue 1 | Spring 2011

Breakfast -- the Real Rush Hour

The downside to skipping breakfast:

        • Skip breakfast to save time, and you'll actually slow yourself down, with lower concentration and productivity.
        • A study by the National Weight Control Registry has shown that a good breakfast will set you up to make healthier food choices throughout the day and will keep you from getting too hungry and overeating at lunch.

Here are some ideas for quick breakfasts to avoid … and what to choose instead.

Tempted by an instant, pre-packaged breakfast?

The grocery store offers many options, but as with most processed foods, proceed with caution.

Breakfast bowls, in the freezer section, offer reduced-fat options using ingredients such as egg whites, turkey bacon or sausage and reduced-fat cheese.

The Benefits?

  • Microwaveable in minutes, they can be nutritious, filling and low-fat options for breakfast.
  • Just 230 - 240 calories, seven grams of fat and an impressive 19 to 23 grams of protein.

The Drawbacks?

  • Sodium content is a whopping 700 to 730 mg (29 percent of the recommended daily allowance).
  • The ingredient lists include partially hydrogenated oils, also known as trans fat, which raises "bad" (LDL) cholesterol and lowers "good" (HDL) cholesterol.
  • Ingredients also include disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate, which can cause gastric irritation, as well as the carcinogens BHT and sodium nitrate.

A Better Option?

A cup of low-fat yogurt sprinkled with fresh fruit and wheat germ

Toaster pastries, found in the cereal section of most grocery stores, offer a box of six or eight pastries, usually packaged two to a single foil packet

The Benefits?

  • You can get up to 20 percent of your folic acid and eight to 20 percent of your iron. Some brands have 10 grams of fiber per pastry.

The Drawbacks?

  • Eat both pastries in the foil pack, and you'll take in 360 to 400 calories, including eight to 10 grams of fat, 240 to 330 milligrams of sodium and 30 to 34 grams of sugar.
  • Second on the ingredients list is high fructose corn syrup, a chemical sweetener. Also high on the ingredients list, the petroleum-based preservative Tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ).
  • Many of these pastries also contain artificial colors and flavors.
  • The high sugar content contributes to weight gain and cavities, and the excess sugar will leave you hungry well before lunchtime.

A Better Option?

Spread a whole-grain English muffin with low-fat peanut butter, and top with apple or banana slices.

Improving health. Enhancing lives.