Morning makeover! Trade in disguised dessert for a nourishing breakfast.

By Margaret Simmons-Bradle

Ice cream or cookies for breakfast? Even young children know that’s a no-no, and yet many typical American breakfasts are desserts in disguise. The abundance of sugar and processed flour found in commercial breakfast cereals, muffins, waffles, pancakes, and bread rivals that of cookies, cakes, and other sweet treats. And while yogurt can be a good source of protein, calcium, and beneficial bacteria, many sweetened yogurts have more sugar than ice cream!

Seeing these typical American breakfasts for what they are is the first step to reclaiming your morning meal. Then start ratcheting up the nutritional value. If you enjoy yogurt for breakfast, opt for low-fat, no-sugar-added plain yogurt with fresh berries, vanilla extract, and cinnamon instead of a packaged "yogurt dessert." Instead of white toast with butter and jelly, top 100 percent whole-grain sourdough toast with almond butter and half a banana. Or start thinking outside the box — literally and figuratively.

Breakfast does not have to mean cereal, pancakes, or bagels, notes Cleveland Clinic medical director Roxanne B. Sukol, MD. "You can eat leftover salmon with carrots and hummus, slices of avocado on a bed of arugula or in a wrap,” she says. "You could heat up a bowl of lentil soup, crack an egg and put the white into a small bowl with a scoop of pesto and bake it in the toaster oven for 10 minutes, or cook a sweet potato and add a generous spoonful of peanut butter. Let your imagination run wild!”


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