Do you know what food companies are good at? They’re good at calling something by a different name to make people believe it’s OK to eat on a regular basis. Take the morning muffin for example. These are frequently sold at convenience stores, big box grocers, restaurants or coffee houses. They can range in size from tiny “mini” muffins (1 oz. size) to a standard sized 4 oz. muffin.
Flavors A to Z
From A to Z, nearly anything can be made into a muffin- apple, banana, blueberry, bran, carrot, cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, oatmeal, or zucchini. The sky’s the limit here. These “breakfast foods” are often marketed to children as well. Muffins are just another example of highly processed food.
While muffins may be studded with blueberries or other fruit or nuts, they’re typically full of the same familiar ingredients you’d use to make a cake: sugar, flour, and fat. Maybe the frosting is missing, but let’s call a muffin what it is. Dessert.
As more and more restaurants are complying with the FDA rule of displaying nutrition information, the truth can be a bit shocking. A recent menu review revealed the following nutrition facts in a popular fruity muffin: 1 muffin- 650 calories, 33 grams of fat, 8 gram of saturated fat, 42 grams of added sugar, and 820 mg of sodium. Why, pray tell is this on the breakfast menu? In the world of processed foods, this one “takes the cake”.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day- so let’s make it count. It should be nutrient-dense, not just calorie-dense. Let’s add some fiber, protein, and FOOD in the food to give people long-lasting energy versus a calorie and fat load first thing in the morning. That muffin may be fine when split into quarters and shared a dessert. Or, it could be skipped completely.
Below are some quick breakfast ideas:
• Hard-boiled egg, whole-grain crackers, and fruit
• Wheat Chex, dried fruit, and nut mix
• String cheese, whole-grain crackers, and grapes
• Rolled oats with chopped nuts and raisins- microwave for 2 minutes
• Greek yogurt parfait with fresh or frozen fruit
• Peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread with fruit
• Chia pudding with ginger and mangoes
• Oatmeal energy bites
Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD