9 Breakfast Foods That Can Totally Zap Your Energy During The Day
Some of us love avocado toast while others of us are bigger fans of french toast, but no matter your preference, it's important to know how your morning meal can impact how you feel. There are certain breakfast foods that can leave you tired and lethargic, and avoiding them can make all the difference in how you feel the rest of the day. It might not seem like it matters much, but your diet plays a big role in your energy levels and how well you are able to focus.
"Breakfast is the first opportunity to fuel your body for the day after going many hours without anything to eat," says Tory Tedrow, RD, CNSC at SugarChecked over email. "A well fueled person is going to have higher levels of energy vs. someone who hasn’t eaten anything in 8-12 hours. Studies show that people who eat breakfast tend to have more stable blood glucose levels throughout the day. This helps keep your energy stable throughout the day as opposed to having rushes of energy and crashes later on."
To avoid a groggy morning or the dreaded afternoon slump, try ditching the following nine breakfast foods, which can easily zap away your energy.
They're quite tasty, but we're not sure who invented the idea of a donut for your first meal. "Deep fried and high in sugar — 25-50g a pop — your blood sugar will spike and crash and you will be ready for your next meal in an hour," says Chef Franklin Becker, Founder of Hungryroot over email.
2. Breakfast Pastries
Like donuts, this "breakfast food" is more of a dessert. "Breakfast pastries have no fiber, no protein, no B vitamins, and a rush of white flour and sugar that will leave you with a crash 1-2 hours later," says Monica Heather Auslander, MS, RD, LDN over email. "You will literally feel like pastry filling."
3. Sugary Cereal
Even though you probably ate a lot of cereal as a child, it's not your best option. "High in sugar and lacking in nutrients, you will start your day with a major sugar spike and crash quickly," says Becker. "Don’t be fooled: Fruit Loops and Cocoa Puffs aren’t the only offenders. Make sure to read the label to check on sugar levels, refined carbs, and artificial ingredients."
"Pancakes are one of those foods that sit in your stomach like a rock, but then leave you hungry and cranky two hours later," says Tedrow. "Add the fact that they’re usually smothered in syrup, and you have a double whammy of sugar, which isn’t conducive to long-term energy."
5. Flavored Instant Oatmeal
"Oatmeal in and of itself is a healthy breakfast food, but these convenient packets are chock full of added sugar," says Tedrow. "If you’re looking for convenience, choose the plain version and sweeten it yourself." Use something more natural like honey or fruit, and you'll find the natural sugar along with fiber will keep you more energized.
6. Bagel & Cream Cheese
Bagels are made with tons of white flour, and adding some cream cheese doesn't do much for nutrients. "Even 'whole wheat' bagels are mostly white flour with a few wheat crumbs thrown in," says Auslander. "Bagels have more carbohydrates than most cake, and since it's white, it's rapidly turned to sugar in your bloodstream."
7. Fat-Free Yogurt
"Fat-free yogurts add sugar to improve the taste and texture that is affected when the fat is removed," says Tedrow. "The combo sets you up for a sugar rush followed by a crash. You can make a healthier version using plain yogurt (full fat tastes best) layered with fresh fruit and some nuts for crunch and healthy fats to keep you fueled and full of energy all day."
8. Bacon, Egg, And Cheese Sandwich
"A fried greasy egg coupled with processed meat, cheese that is high in saturated fat, a biscuit filled with empty carbs and butter, and no fiber: Time for a nap," says Becker. If you want a sandwich for breakfast, stick to making one at home using whole grain bread, home-cooked eggs, and other healthy ingredients like avocado.
"Yes, there tend to be some awesome oats, but granola bars are often laden with sugars, cheap fibers that make you gassy, very little protein, syrups, dried fruits, and other simple carbohydrates that turn straight to sugar in your blood," says Auslander. You're better off sticking to plain oatmeal or making your own granola at home.
When in doubt, opt for whole foods high in fiber and protein, and avoid foods that are processed and loaded with hidden sugars.
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