Diets in Review - Find the Right Diet for You

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4 Breakfasts Worth Waking Up For, Including a Vegetable Frittatta Recipe

By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D. for TheBestLife.com

I love breakfast foods, so I’ve always wondered why anyone would deliberately skip this meal. Cereal, oatmeal, waffles, eggs, latte—what’s not to like? And if you opt for healthy versions of these foods, breakfast could be your most nutritious meal of the day. Here’s how to make the most of your morning meal.

Cereal

Check the ingredient list to make sure that all the grains in the cereal are whole. Then check the label to make sure that you’re getting no more than 5 grams of sugar and at least 4 grams of fiber per 100 calories. If your cereal is very low sugar, such as Food for Life’s Ezekiel cereals or Uncle Sam’s, it’s fine to sprinkle on a few tablespoons of granola (which might exceed the “5 g sugar per 100 calories” rule in larger amounts). Here’s what to put in your bowl:
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5 “Health” Foods That May be Making You Fat

By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist

Wondering why the scale is stuck even though you’re eating healthfully? It may be that you’re being duped by diet deceivers—foods that may seem (or even be) nutritious but actually pack a lot of fat and calories. Beware of these five seemingly slimming bites.

Hummus

It seems low calorie, with just 50 to 80 calories per two-tablespoon serving, but hummus is so delicious that it’s easy to scoop up a 3/4 cup. For an appetizer, stick to about 3 tablespoons with half a small whole-wheat pita. Or make a hummus sandwich your main course, using about 1/3 cup hummus in a medium whole-wheat pita stuffed with tomatoes and lettuce.

Smoothies

Most smoothies, including those made with frozen yogurt, fruit juice and fresh fruit, can be more like large desserts than a healthy boost. You can easily slurp down 800 calories depending on what you toss in your blender. Take a cue from the way we treat smoothies at Best Life; they serve as either a complete, balanced breakfast (like this Berry Smoothie) or as a 120- to 175-calorie snack (made with 1 cup of soy milk and a banana, for example).
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Honey Smacks Top List of Most Unhealthy Cereals

Honey Smacks Cereal BoxKellogg’s Honey Smacks cereal is over 50 percent sugar by weight, putting them at the top of Environmental Working Group’s list of the ten worst cereals. The organization, dedicated to protecting children’s health, analyzed 84 popular brands, finding that only one in four brands meet appropriate nutrition guidelines for children.

The Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children was formed by Congress in response to rising levels of childhood obesity. The group is exploring the possibility of setting advertising standards for foods with high levels of sugar, salt and fat. However, lobbyists are fighting back on behalf of cereal manufacturers, who spend millions on marketing sugary breakfast foods to parents and kids alike. Currently, the industry has set a voluntary standard for the sugar content of cereal by weight at 38 percent, while the USDA recommends a limit of 26 percent.

After Honey Smacks, sugar also accounted for more than half of Post Golden Crisp’s weight, but were closely followed by three Quaker Oats products. “The cereals on the list are relatively higher in sugar because the sugar is reported as a percentage of the cereals’ weight,” commented Registered Dietitian Mary Hartley. “Since these cereals are light and airy, there have relatively more sugar by weight.” However, when kids eat sugary cereal, they’re missing out on more important nutrients. “The main problem with sugar for healthy people is that it ‘displaces calories’ from foods that contain nutrients – vitamins, minerals, fibers, compounds with antioxidant activity, etc. – replacing those calories with a food that contains only energy from carbohydrate,” said Hartley.

“I was stunned to discover just how much sugar comes in a box of children’s cereal,” said Environmental Working Group’s Senior Vice President of Research Jane Houlihan. “The bottom line: most parents would never serve dessert for breakfast, but many children’s cereals have just as much sugar, or more.”


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Food Companies Change Child Marketing Standards

A group of major food companies, including General Mills, ConAgra Foods and Kellogg, have announced that they will be voluntarily setting new advertising standards in order to cut back on marketing unhealthy foods to children. This comes after rejecting similar guidelines proposed by the federal government.

Under these new self-imposed standards, the food companies can still market their products to children, but only if they meet specific nutritional criteria. If they still want to market to children, some foods may have to make their ingredients more healthful.

“Now foods from different companies, such as cereals or canned pastas, will meet the same nutrition criteria, rather than similar but slightly different company-specific criteria,” said Elaine Kolish of the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, a group formed by the food industry.
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Weetabix Cereal Paying Children to be Mobile Advertisements

“So, wait?! You’re going to pay my child $400 to wear a shirt with your company’s logo on it?”

This may very well be the line that has recently dropped out of many parents’ mouths as Weetabix, a popular cereal brand in the U.K., has been experimenting with a whole new type of advertising.

Weetabix is a whole grain cereal similar to America’s shredded wheat-style cereals. The company has begun hiring children with very busy social lives to wear the company logo while they attend their extra-curricular events. In return, the children are earning about $400. The company is intending to send the message that children who eat Weetabix can pack more into their day than their friends who opted for a different breakfast.

This move hasn’t come without controversy. Many opponents of this campaign are claiming that children are being sold as mobile billboards. As these socially active kids attend their clubs and run the sports fields, they are reaching a whole new market of potential consumers.


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