Breakfast no-nos: five foods to avoid in the morning

What’s the best fuel to start your day, and which foods should you avoid?

Over ripe banana for breakfast

What’s the best way to start your day? For too long, we have been led to believe that some breakfast foods are beneficial. Today, we look at the five food choices to avoid at the start of your day.

1. Bananas
Yes, you read that correctly. Bananas may seem like a healthy grab-and-go breakfast item, full of good stuff such as potassium, fibre and magnesium. But according to nutritionists, they are loaded with sugar – a massive 25 per cent. But isn’t it natural sugar, you ask? The reality is, sugars are sugars. So, while a banana in the morning may give you an energy boost, you’re at risk of crashing sooner. You can still have your morning banana, just pair it with a healthy fat to help your body absorb all the nutrients properly. Peanut butter, natural yoghurt and porridge are great accompaniments.

2. Store-bought muesli
This one goes for almost all those premixed cereals you find at the supermarket. Sure, honey, oats and dried fruit might seem like a healthy combination, but flip the box and read the nutritional information, and you’ll find these cereals are loaded with fat and sugar. In fact, most boxed granola contains up to 10 grams of fat (equalling 400 calories) per serving. All that sweetened dried fruit and refined wheat flakes/oats are only adding to the problem. The solution? DIY muesli is a great way to go. Try combining wholegrain oats, raw nuts, organic dried fruit, seeds, spices and a touch of natural sweetness, such as raw honey.

3. Pancakes, waffles and croissants
Because these foods contain a lot of empty carbs, pancakes, waffles and croissants should really only make the breakfast menu on special occasions. It isn’t just the refined carbs we have to worry about but also the foods typically paired with them; pancakes with maple syrup, waffles with jam, croissants with ham and cheese. All in all, you’d do better with a breakfast of protein and complex carbohydrates, which gives you longer-lasting energy and will keep you fuller for longer. Try poached eggs on toast with some avocado.

4. Take-away coffee and muffin
If you’re one to exit the house in a hurry and pick brekky up on the road, you’ll be no stranger to the take-away coffee and muffin combo. In terms of energy, these two items are wonderful for perking you up and giving you enough sugar to start the day. But you’ll soon run out of steam and begin to crave a top-up. A coffee is a perfectly acceptable morning drink but the muffin is basically a glorified snack cake, usually packed with refined sugar, sodium and trans-fat oils. However, it’s easy to mix up your own healthy morning muffins to take with you. Just make sure to use wholegrain flours (such as oat, quinoa or spelt) and natural sugars (such a raw honey, organic maple syrup).

5. Smoothies
Ever wondered why breakfast smoothies are so easy to drink? Yep, sugar and fat. Many fruit smoothie stands use a combination of full-fat milk, sweetened yoghurt and fruit juice concentrate in their smoothies. Another problem with blended meals is that your body doesn’t absorb all the nutrients from the fruit and dairy properly, so you’re losing out on important nutritional value. But breakfast smoothies don’t have to be all bad. You can make your own fruit smoothies using fresh fruit, skim milk, raw honey and natural yoghurt.



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    6th Sep 2016
    I have been eating banana in porridge for years and it's kept me going for hours. I don't touch sugar at all.
    6th Sep 2016
    Might have to stop eating all together!
    6th Sep 2016
    Lots of science gone into this very doubtful opinion piece!!

    Stop putting up unresearched opinion as fact!
    6th Sep 2016
    Agree Mindy.
    7th Sep 2016
    Ditto, much of this is crap.
    6th Sep 2016
    ...... so what do we eat that won't destroy us???
    6th Sep 2016
    I agree with you Mindy. There is so much conflicting and constantly changing advice out there about nutrition. My unprofessional, unresearched opinion is NOT to avoid bananas in the morning, or any time of the day for that matter. They are fruit for heaven's sake and no one will ever convince me that natural fruit of any kind should be avoided. Some experts say that the sugar in fruit is processed by our bodies differently to added processed sugar. But then again, is it? Who really knows? In the meantime, keep eating and enjoying your bananas in the morning.
    6th Sep 2016
    Talk about falling for the fads.

    Skim milk, the stuff left after they have taken the good stuff [cream] for other products is 2% fat.

    Full cream is only 4% fat. I doubt anyones body is going to notice the difference in a glass or 2.
    6th Sep 2016
    Poor old banana. How did he get on the "bad" list? I am willing to bet there isn't an over weight person out there will say they got that way from eating bananas.
    6th Sep 2016
    Porridge, yum. I no longer bother soaking the oats overnight; just add water and cook straight away in the morning. Plus - home-made muesli. Yum. Lots of nuts and seeds which I love and are "good for you." Or good for me, anyway.
    6th Sep 2016
    Raw honey as opposed to which honey?
    B J
    6th Sep 2016
    Dont worry folks, just wait a week & the bloody experts will change their mind about this.
    7th Sep 2016
    Bananas contain only half the amount of sugar mentioned and this is combined with fiber and B group vitamins to make it a healthy whole, even if eaten alone. Moreover they have a low GI and hence the warning of a sugar crash is nonsense.

    As to muesli, it is possible to find a good one, provided the sugar and fat content are
    mainly derived from nuts, seeds and dried fruit. This may be tricky as the list of ingredients does not provide % content unless these items are mentioned on the front of packet. A simple method for sugar is to taste a small mouth full devoid of dried fruit. Fat will likely be revealed by a toasted texture, like in granola, as well as listed highish in the list of ingredients as oil. If there is a % listing for some of the ingredients, look at the positioning of sugars and oils in relation to that to get a better estimate. Look for fibre content ~10%.

    Again the critique of smoothies is dubious. What is wrong with full cream milk, it should be preferred by children, the elderly and physically active. Malabsorption of nutrients from smoothies vs fruit is just nonsence.

    Pretty crass contribution.
    casper dude
    10th Sep 2016
    Everything in moderation folks!
    13th Sep 2016
    I eat a banana in my fruit salad every morning: 1 banana (small to medium), some papaya, two strawberries, and a few frozen berries. I make sure the banana is not too ripe. I look forward to this every day and I don't feel a crash afterwards. Half hour later I eat the rest of my breakfast which includes home made almond milk. Keeps me going until lunch.
    The pom
    2nd Nov 2016
    I put a bowl of oats with a dried apricot to soak in water overnight and when I come back from my 6am bike ride I add a little milk and cook the porridge for breakfast, having a cup of green tea while waiting for the porridge to cook. this seems to keep me going till lunchtime
    but I suppose as a youngster of 83 I may have to change when I get old
    5th Nov 2016
    Heard on the news this morning

    Consumption of one egg per day linked to 12% reduction of stroke risk

    The study is published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Researchers report that consumption of up to one egg per day had no association with coronary heart disease (CHD) and a 12 percent reduction of stroke risk. These findings come from a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies dating back between 1982 and 2015, which evaluated relationships between egg intake and coronary heart disease (total of 276,000 subjects) and stroke (total of 308,000 subjects).

    "Eggs do have many positive nutritional attributes, including antioxidants, which have been shown to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. They are also an excellent source of protein, which has been related to lower blood pressure."

    One large egg boasts 6 grams of high-quality protein and antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, found within the egg yolk, as well as vitamins E, D, and A.

    So eat an egg for breakfast everyday :)
    5th Nov 2016
    Did they test free range eggs, barn laid or caged eggs? I would suspect that the nutritional levels differ on the cruel caged ones especially. Buy wisely, and end cruelty to animals for human consumption. Most of these studies are flawed anyhow. Just eat more veg, fruit and fibre.
    26th Nov 2016
    I often put a number of slices of banana, and blueberries on my cereals, (including porridge ), and have no problems.Like you Jackie, keeps me going.

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