Done right, a bowl of yogurt (and the right toppings) can be the picture of a health-promoting breakfast. But somewhere between fruit on the bottom and fruit on the side came the squeezable yogurt in a tube, specifically marketed toward kids.
While we can all applaud a parent's effort to provide youngsters with a protein-rich breakfast or snack, these travel-ready yogurts conceal some less-than-desired ingredients thanks to the health halo surrounding yogurt in general.
Yogurt certainly can be healthful. Nutrition experts recommend picking a variety with at least some fat to help you feel full, and switching to Greek-style yogurt for the additional protein. The fruit-flavored kinds can be loaded with added sugars, though, to the point that they should be considered a treat.
And while the calcium in yogurt is a plus, keep in mind some youngsters are sensitive to dairy, and would be better served with eggs or a high-fiber cereal with dairy-free milk.
Here's what's really inside those tubes:
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"I rotate four main breakfasts: What: Oatmeal with nuts/seeds and chopped fresh fruit When: Particularly good on hungry mornings What: Green smoothie When: I've had a bigger dinner and am not super hungry or if it's a hot day and I want something refreshing What: Pesto tofu and spinach scramble with sprouted whole-grain toast When: I have a little extra time and I want something savory instead of sweet What: Almond butter on sprouted whole-grain toast with fresh fruit When: I am in a big rush. Such an easy grab-and-go breakfast!" -- <em><a href="http://dawnjacksonblatner.com/" target="_blank">Dawn Jackson Blatner</a>, RD, CSSD, LDN</em>
"One of my favorite breakfasts is two scrambled eggs in one teaspoon of olive oil. I slice a six-inch whole-wheat pita in half and stuff half the eggs in each. I top the eggs with one ounce shredded cheddar cheese and salsa. Today I added a tangerine, but I always have some type of fruit for breakfast. I want my calories to work for me, so I choose nutrient-rich foods nearly all the time. My breakfast always has one serving of each of the following: whole grains, dairy and fruit, and about 20 grams of protein to keep me full." <em>--<a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/MyPlate-for-Moms-How-to-Feed-Yourself-Your-Family-Better/196841697040535" target="_blank">Elizabeth M. Ward</a>, MS, RD</em>
"Pizza for breakfast! Split and toast a whole-grain English muffin and top each half with tomato sauce, part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese, grated parmesan and a shake of crushed red pepper. Pop them in the oven and broil until the cheese is hot and bubbly. So easy and 100 percent delicious!" --<em><a href="http://www.joybauer.com/" target="_blank"> Joy Bauer</a>, MS, RD, CDN</em>
"Many days I have a smoothie made with: skim milk, low-fat Greek yogurt, frozen banana, one to two tablespoons of flax meal, one to two tablespoons of peanut or almond butter and ice. Or I have a home-made whole grain waffle (I make extra over the weekend and toast in the mornings) with peanut butter and topped with fresh blueberries and a glass of skim milk." -- <em><a href="http://www.susanmitchell.org/" target="_blank">Susan Mitchell</a>, Ph.D., RD</em>
"A few things I love: Whole wheat toast and a scrambled egg with cheddar and grapefruit sections, or Triscuits and a piece of cheddar cheese and grapefruit sections, or a bowl of cereal with milk. And I like to start the day with a low fat chocolate milk or a cup of OJ. For cereal, I suggest picking one with at least three to five grams of fiber per serving and no more than double that amount in sugar. Topping cereal with fresh berries and/or nuts or seeds and nonfat milk gets in lots of food groups and key nutrients to fill you up and get you going in the a.m." -- <em><a href="http://elisazied.com/" target="_blank">Elisa Zied</a>, MS, RDN, CDN</em>
"Here's the truth: I usually eat two breakfasts! I usually have a glass of kefir with puréed strawberries at about 7:30 or 8. Then at about 10 or 11, I'll have something more substantial, often scrambled eggs and salsa or a frittata made with leftover vegetables from the night before. The kefir alone wouldn't be enough to power me through until lunch, but I'm not hungry enough first thing to eat a bigger breakfast. The other advantage is that the kefir is light enough that I can go to the gym or do a powerwalk immediately after drinking it without feeling weighed down." -- <em><a href="http://nutritionovereasy.com/" target="_blank">Monica Reinagel, </a>MS, LDN</em>
"I love this because the protein in the cottage cheese and Grape Nuts keeps me full. I use: 1/2 cup Daisy Brand Low Fat Cottage Cheese 1/4 cup Grape Nuts (original) 1/4 cup fresh California strawberries" -- <em>Katherine Brooking, MS, RD, co-founder of <a href="http://www.appforhealth.com/" target="_blank">AppforHealth.com</a></em>
I have rolled oats with chia seeds and cinnamon and maple syrup during some autumn and winter cold mornings. But during warmer months, I have a protein smoothie before workouts. <em>Recipe:</em> 2 scoops whey (or other) protein powder 1 ripe banana 1 cup fresh/frozen organic blueberries, strawberries and raspberries 8 ounces unsweetened almond/coconut milk 1 tablespoon coconut butter 1 teaspoon maca powder 1 teaspoon camu camu powder 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Pinch pink Himalayan salt Blenderize and top with cacao nibs or beans, golden flax seeds and chia seeds. Serves two. -- <em><a href="http://rocnutrition.com/" target="_blank">Rochelle Sirota,</a> MS, RD, CDN</em>
"I enjoy two breakfast choices: Cherry Vanilla Oatmeal: Old-fashioned oatmeal slow cooked with dried cherries. I add vanilla bean and vanilla extract. Drizzle in warm honey. Florentine Omelet: Egg whites with sauteed spinach, onion and red pepper, melted jack cheese and a slice of whole grain toast. -- <em>Angela Ginn-Meadow, RD, LDN, CDE</em>
"My favorite <a href="http://www.appforhealth.com/2012/03/protein-pancake-recipe/" target="_blank">protein pancakes</a>! <em>Recipe:</em> 1 small ripe (overripe is perfect) banana 2 eggs or 4 egg whites 1 tablespoon peanut or almond butter Pinch of cinnamon, if desired Drop of vanilla or almond extract, if desired <em>Instructions:</em> 1. Mash the banana, add the egg and mix well. Stir in nut butter and any spices or extract. 2. Heat a nonstick skillet on medium heat and use some oil or nonstick cooking spray to ensure the pancakes don't stick. Pour a large spoonful of batter into hot pan and cook until browned on one side (three minutes or more), flip and brown the other. -- <em><a href="http://www.appforhealth.com/about-us/julie-upton/" target="_blank">Julie Upton, </a>MS, RD, CSSD</em>