A bagel scores very high on the glycemic index, meaning that the carbohydrates in a bagel are converted quickly into glucose and this results in a spike of blood sugar levels. Too much glucose in your bloodstream can lead to weight gain and Type 2 diabetes. Bagels are also usually topped with a rich layer of cream cheese, which only adds more unnecessary saturated fat. An English muffin topped with peanut butter is a much better alternative.
The breakfast sandwich seems like an unassuming, all-in-one morning meal, complete with bread, eggs, cheese, and meat, but it’s far from the best way to start your morning. The sandwiches don’t contain a lot of fiber and are heavy in salt, fat, and calories. Even though they’re convenient, try just scrambling an egg at home and slapping it on a slice of whole-wheat toast instead. This little alteration can save your child hundreds of calories.
Even when they’re absent of chocolate, a croissant is more dessert than breakfast. The croissant gets its signature flaky nature from a high butter to flour ratio. All this butter makes the croissant very high in saturated fat.
Eating one doughnut a day for a week can add an extra 1,500–2,000 calories, which translates to about an extra pound of fat to the body. Doughnuts are not a good choice for a child’s breakfast because they are filled with sugar and contain no fiber.
Frozen pork sausage patties require more additives than unprocessed meat in order to preserve their texture, shape, and freshness when reheated. Additionally, processed red meats have been found to pose a higher risk of cancer when cooked at high heats. Try skipping the pork and instead go for a chicken sausage, which is lower in calories and saturated fat.
Hash browns are basically breakfast French fries. Often deep-fried, they are loaded with oil and can contain traces of dangerous trans fats. Home fries are a better option if potatoes are a must because, despite their name, they’re not submerged in oil.
Pancakes are another breakfast staple that seem harmless but provide no nutritional value. The batter is made of refined carbohydrates, and it offers very little in the form of protein or fiber. Most pancakes are topped with a maple-flavored topping that doesn’t actually contain any maple at all — it’s predominately corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup. To provide your child with a sweet breakfast snack, instead offer French toast made with whole-grain bread ; the egg batter and whole grains provide a more nutritionally sound breakfast.
Cereal used to be a common breakfast staple, but then doctors, dentists, nutritionists, and most importantly, parents all realized that frosted cereals contain as much sugar as a candy bar. Stick with lightly sweetened cereals like Cheerios, Special K, or Kashi.
Many brands of yogurt include added sugars, making this breakfast staple deceivingly unhealthy. Instead, try mixing a cup of Greek yogurt with a spoonful of both peanut butter and jelly or add a bit of honey. This minimizes the added sugar while also taming the yogurt's tang.
Toaster pastries are warm, sweet, and gooey, but they are made almost entirely of refined flour and sugar. A warm piece of whole-wheat toast with a spread of jelly or preserves is a healthier alternative that tastes just as good.