Smoothies and smoothie bowls
Where you go wrong: Adding everything but the kitchen sink. “People aren’t very conscious of what they’re putting in their smoothies and bowls. They just toss it all in,” says Angela Ginn-Meadow, RD, a national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The problems crop up with the additional calories from too much fruit, peanut butter, and protein powder.
The fix: Ginn-Meadow recommends measuring out your portions. Toss in more veggies than fruit—the latter of which you should limit to 1 cup—to load up on nutrients and save on calories. Stick with 1 Tbsp of peanut butter and just 1 or 2 scoops of protein powder (we like this one). “For every 1 g of protein there are 4 calories,” says Ginn-Meadow, and each scoop of protein powder typically contains 10 to 20 g of protein, which is sufficient for a meal.
The fix: Ginn-Meadow suggests sticking with a ¼ cup or less of granola, and maintaining a ½ yogurt to ½ fruit ratio. “Treat it like sprinkles—it’s a fun topping.” Vandana Sheth, RDN, CDE, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, suggests going savory instead of sweet. Her fave combo: Cucumbers, tomatoes, cumin, and cilantro plus Greek yogurt.
Where you go wrong: You make it way too sweet. You may catch more flies with honey, but you also get more calories. By adding sugar, honey, or agave to your overnight oats you also cause your blood sugar to spike and crash.
The fix: Instead, add in ¼ cup of fresh fruit or a sprinkle of nuts for flavor. “By relying on the natural sugar in fruit and in dairy you’ll cut back on calories, and will eventually change your palate,” Ginn-Meadow says. Additionally, Sheth recommends reaching for steel-cut or whole grains, instead of other heavily processed grains.
Where you go wrong: Going heavy on the meat. “There’s a lot of added fat that can go into a burrito, from bacon, sausage, and chorizo,” says Sheth. Breakfast burritos can be a great choice thanks to the grains in the tortilla, protein from the eggs, and fiber from the vegetables. What you don’t want: extra saturated fat.
The fix: Sheth recommends adding black beans for fiber and plant-based protein. Add flavor with fresh salsa, which is low-fat. If you really want to add meat, Ginn-Meadow suggests turkey, which is lean, and adding veggies for texture.
DIY barista creations
Where you go wrong: Has anyone ever asked if you’d like some coffee with your sugar? “If you’re adding a lot of milk, sugar, and syrups you’ve made a dessert rather than a cup of coffee,” Sheth says.
The fix: If you must sweeten your coffee or add cream, make just a small cup. For added flavor, sprinkle in cinnamon or cocoa powder. “Often, we’re seeking the aroma more than the actual flavor,” Sheth says.
Where you go wrong: Making it a meal. Don’t be fooled by all the juice cleanses and juice bars you see everywhere: Juice is just a drink. Depending on what kind of juicer you’re using, most of the fiber is strained out in the process. Because juice lacks protein and fiber, it will leave you feeling unsatisfied if it’s your only source of nutrients in the morning, says Sheth.
The fix: Limit the portion size to 8 ounces, and pair it with something that has protein and fiber, such as a piece of whole-grain toast with nut butter. “When you pair protein and fat with a carbohydrate, your body will be more satisfied, and you won’t be as hungry,” Sheth says. If you have diabetes, Sheth suggests laying off the juice entirely, because it will cause a quick spike in your blood sugar.