Starting the day with oatmeal is a great idea. Only if you do not add these harmful products to the porridge. Find out why they are bad and how to replace them.
Oatmeal is truly the breakfast of champions. It is not only quick and easy to prepare but also cheap, and it is a hearty and very healthy dish. You can use it on a daily basis, getting a generous portion of useful trace elements at the very beginning of the day. But just like with salad or yogurt, a few wrong choices of toppings can turn a wholesome dish into a food disaster, damaging your body.
Here are five oatmeal additives to avoid and what to choose instead.
Whatever you do, stay away from the worst porridge toppings – dried fruit with added sugar, like dried pineapple or cranberries. They are almost always made with added sugar and sometimes artificial sweeteners. There are a lot of harmful substances in a very tiny portion.
Always choose fresh (or frozen) fruit over dried fruit. A whole cup of chopped strawberries contains just over 8 grams of sugar, while just a third of a cup of dried cranberries has 26.
Nutella and similar chocolate spreads
This is not only about Nutella, but also about any similar products. Many manufacturers of chocolate spreads emphasize the “benefit” of their product but do not pay attention to their marketing tricks. Of course, such a spread consists of “plain quality ingredients such as hazelnuts, skim milk and a little cocoa”, but manufacturers usually do not mention that sugar is always the first ingredient in the list of ingredients (so it is the main component). Then, sugar is followed by palm oil, a controversial ingredient in terms of ethics and diet.
Instead of chocolate spread, try adding real hazelnuts and a generous tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder to your cereal. Both the rainforest and your body will be grateful for such a choice.
Brown sugar has no nutritional value – only a lot of empty calories that raise blood sugar levels. It is generally better to stick to unsweetened cereals with vegetable oil, seeds, and spices to taste.
Opt for a natural sweetener like maple syrup or honey if you still need to add a sweetener other than fresh fruit. They are also high in sugar and calories, but at least they contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Also, keep an eye open for sugar. One teaspoon of any natural sweetener is an acceptable amount. However, 2 tablespoons of honey contain more calories than a bag of instant oatmeal, which you should definitely keep in mind not to overdo it.
Just because sugar is banned doesn’t mean you should add artificial sweeteners to oatmeal.
At least you can use natural stevia or fruit compote without added sugar.
However, leaving oatmeal without any topping is also a bad idea. Without adding fats and proteins, oatmeal will not saturate the body for long enough. According to Wendy Bazilian, MD, and author of The Superfoods RX Diet, “empty” cereal can even raise blood sugar levels.
Add a healthy source of fat to your oatmeal, like chopped walnuts, and protein, like pea powder (or both!). Wendy Bazilian warns to avoid all those advertised high-tech, mega-whatever protein powders filled with artificial sweeteners, colors, preservatives, vitamin-mineral shakes, and other ingredients. Instead, choose one of the natural products with a short and simple list of ingredients.
You can also add seeds and grains to cereals. They are always useful and add a pleasant taste.