Breakfast on the Run: Thinking Outside the Box

Is your quick breakfast as healthy as you think?

By Colette Bouchez
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD

Which of the following foods do you think constitutes a healthy breakfast?

  • A bran muffin
  • A supermarket smoothie
  • A cereal bar
  • A bowl of corn flakes

If you're like most folks, you probably think any of the above would be a pretty healthy way to start your day.

In truth, experts say, any of the four could be a less-than-optimal choice -- unless you know what to look for.

"A lot of times breakfast foods play on certain buzzwords that we have come to associate with good health, but you have to look at the whole picture -- everything a food contains -- before you can determine if it's really a good choice," says Miriam Pappo Klein, MS, RD, clinical nutrition manager at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.

At the same time, studies show that it's vital to eat breakfast. Skipping it can lead to problems in both the short and the long run.

"Research shows that people who skip breakfast frequently consume a greater number of calories throughout the day than those who start the day with a meal," says Samantha Heller, MS, RD, senior clinical nutritionist at New York University Medical Center.

Studies also report that those who eat breakfast think better, start their day in a better mood, and have more energy to burn, Heller says.

So what should you choose to start your day off on the right foot? Experts say there are plenty of choices -- if you learn think outside the box!