The breakfasts that are making you fat

WE ARE regularly told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so naturally what you choose at this meal is important when it comes to weight control.

While we may see inspiring images of mega smoothies, breakfast bowls and tempting coffees on social media, the reality is that these choices while visually appealing are not always helpful when it comes to weight control. So here are some of the most common breakfast choices, and the ones that are not so great for our weight.


The choice seems harmless enough but when we take a closer look at a large coffee served with large slices of Turkish toast or Sourdough we are looking at roughly 600-800 calories, or almost double what we need for the first meal of the day. The main issue is the large slices of bread, which are often topped with plenty of butter and spreads. When this is teamed with a large serve of milk you have far too many breakfast calories and enough carbs for the entire day, and that is including a gym visit. If you must pick up a quick breakfast on the run, opt for a small coffee or piccolo and team it with a small breakfast wrap.


As gorgeous as they look, when you consider that an acai bowl is made up of a concentrated fruit puree, fruit juice, muesli and more fruit, you are looking at more sugar than a breakfast meal should ever have. The key thing to remember is that a 'healthy' breakfast does not necessarily translate into a calorie-controlled option, and while all the ingredients in a smoothie style bowl are generally 'healthy' they are also packed full of calories. This means the standard acai bowl is closer to a dessert than a protein rich breakfast choice.

Might look like there’s some healthy ingredients in here, but there’s far too much sugar in an Acai bowl if you’re trying to lose weight. Picture: Eugene Hyland
Might look like there’s some healthy ingredients in here, but there’s far too much sugar in an Acai bowl if you’re trying to lose weight. Picture: Eugene Hyland


Now smoothies can be a great choice nutritionally but the key is getting the right mix of ingredients. The standard smoothie that is served at cafes and major outlets tends to have a heavy base of fruit yoghurt and fruit, which leaves it high in calories and low in protein. For example a popular smoothie mix of yoghurt, milk, fruit, honey, nuts and coconut will give you at least 600 calories and up to 30g of sugars. On the other hand if you love a smoothie, choose small serves, ask for Greek yoghurt or protein powder to bump up the overall protein content, choose one added fruit and include extra low calorie, low sugar ingredients such as berries, extra vegetables and flavours such as cinnamon and vanilla which do not add extra calories.

Cafe bought smoothies are usually loaded with sweet fruit yoghurt. They’re delicious, but not really great for calorie control.
Cafe bought smoothies are usually loaded with sweet fruit yoghurt. They’re delicious, but not really great for calorie control.


Another 'healthy' option that is easy to pick up on the run but the main issue is that most yoghurt sold in food courts and cafes is fruit based yoghurt that is packed full of sugar, along with added muesli and fruit puree which can add 20-30g of sugars to your 'healthy' breakfast. High sugar breakfasts will give you a quick hit of energy that lasts an hour or so before you find yourself hungry and irritable later in the morning looking for more sweet food. If your preference is yoghurt and fruit for breakfast, simply grab a tub of Greek yoghurt from the supermarket and enjoy it with a banana and a small handful of nuts. This simple option is low in added sugars, high and protein and offers the nutritional goodness of good fats which will help to keep you full until lunchtime.


Let's be honest with ourselves, the slice of banana bread that comes as a deal with your coffee, is cake, not bread. If you made your own banana bread at home with wholemeal flour, fresh banana and minimal added sugar it would actually be a good choice but the commercial banana breads that are available contain up to 400 calories in a single slice and 20-30g of sugars. Be strong, limit the banana bread to special occasions and seek out a simple slice of toast with avocado, cheese or nut spread to team with your morning coffee if that is your preferred breakfast.

Admit it. Everyone knows this isn’t really ‘bread’.
Admit it. Everyone knows this isn’t really ‘bread’.

Topics:  diet sugar weightloss wellbeing

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