The problems with diet and weight appear almost daily in media sources. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently report obesity at 33.8 percent in adults and 17 percent in children. The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics released information in 2012 that found sugar intake exceeded the recommendation of 15 percent per day. After reading this update, I share some of my own adjustments to reel in the fat and sugar.
Evidence to Support Healthy Eating
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends food patterns using the five food groups (fruit, vegetable, grain, protein food and dairy) and limiting amounts from fats and sugars. In teaching people about these food patterns, I use the current evidence-based 2010 Dietary Guidelines. Since breakfast may contain high levels of calories, I find it is easiest to initiate changes by switching foods at breakfast.
How to Conquer Sweetened Morning Cereals
Cereal represents a popular foodstuff for the morning eating ritual. The Iowa State University advises switching to a lower sugar cereal with less than 8 grams per serving. Read the Nutrition Label on the container to determine the sugar grams. During my last trip to the grocery store, I compared the sugar content in popular cereals. The list below reveals what I found about the sugar content.
High Sugar Content
*Honey Smacks 15 grams
*Froot Loops 12 grams
*Honey Nut Cheerios 12 grams
*Captain Crunch 12 grams
Low Sugar Content
*Cheerios 1 gram
*Oatmeal 1 gram
*Corn Flakes 2 grams
*Rice Crispies 4 grams
Adapt to Unsweetened Cereals Gradually
The key to changes in the diet involves a gradual transition to prevent our taste buds rebelling and rejecting the move to healthier food. I gradually switched to a lower sugar content cereal by initially mixing the sweetened cereal to one with less sugar. Second, I added dried or fresh fruit depending on the fruit in season to improve the flavor of the unsweetened cereal.
To Eat or Not To Eat Frozen Waffles
Frozen waffles come in a variety of flavors. I find reading the label a must to determine content. An unhealthy selection of waffles contains 2 grams of saturated fat and 9 grams of sugar such as Eggo Thick & Fluffy Waffles Cinnamon & Brown Sugar. A healthy choice of waffles contains 0.5 grams of saturated fat and 3 grams of sugar such as Eggo Nutri-Grain Waffles Low Fat. In addition, I choose a whole grain waffle to improve the nutritive value.
Use Breakfast for Daily Fruit Requirements
The USDA advises two and a half cups of fruit per day. My family prefers bananas or blueberries to flavor unsweetened cereals, but enjoys strawberries or cherries to top waffles for a tasteful treat. If fresh fruits are not available, dried fruit such as cranberries or raisins, or frozen fruit make excellent substitutes. Microwaving frozen fruits makes tasteful syrup for on waffles.
Considering Meat for Breakfast
Meats add protein, an important food for growth and maintaining a healthy state. The Mayo Clinic suggests instead of preparing pork or beef, switch to turkey, chicken or vegetarian to obtain lean or fat-free. Substituting turkey or Canadian bacon reduces fat, but my family prefers regular bacon. Therefore, I cook the bacon on racks in the microwave to drain off the extra fat.
Nutritive and Non-nutritive Sweeteners
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (ADA) nutritive substances refer to caloric sweeteners such as sugar and honey; whereas non-nutritive substances are zero or low calorie sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin and sucralose. In teaching classes, I advocate the ADA position that consumers can safely use nutritive or nonnutritive sweeteners when consuming a diet following the USDA Dietary Guidelines.