[By Nelson Harper]

Good Morning, Bonjour, 早安 and Buongiorno!

From pre-school kids to weight watchers, it has always been drummed into us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Most of us would like to believe that we are starting off the day right, with perhaps some of the healthiest food choices we are making for the entire day. However, many do not realize that some of these “healthy” breakfast choices are in actual fact sabotaging our waistlines and causing us to gain weight unknowingly! To help you plan a diet that works, here are five common breakfast mistakes to avoid, how to combat them and how to eat your way to a healthier YOU!

Whole grain breakfast cereal

Is this really a healthy breakfast option to start your busy day with? This is a super easy way favored by working gals on the go, simply pour some “healthy” cereals into a big bowl and mixed it up with low fat or soy milk. Ditto. The truth is, this cannot be further from the truth or what we believed to be true. Chowing down whole grain cereals may be a healthier breakfast option if you are choosing them over coco pop, fruit loops or cornflake. However, do you realize that the sugar content of most pre-mixed cereals is at least ten grams or more per serving? Besides, the chunks of granola and desiccated, dried fruity bits are totally nutrition-less and laden with harmful HFCS, High Fructose Corn Syrup. Make sure you understand your food labels the next time you reach for those attractively packaged boxes of breakfast cereals that lined the supermarket aisle. This will help you to avoid the common mistake of eating too much refined sugar for breakfast, a terribly bad way to start off your day.

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Sweetened oatmeal

Oats are often thought of as one of the healthiest breakfast options and rightfully so if you are eating the correct type of oats, that’s it. Instant ones that come with glossy packaging touting them to be heart healthy are in fact saccharine saboteurs, often sweetened and loaded with 15 grams or more of sugar per serving!

Oatmeal is an excellent grain, but its plethora of health benefits can be ruined by adding too much sugar to it. Rolled oats take only five to ten minutes to cook through on the stove top and is well worth the minimal effort, with its naturally bland taste easily altered with sugar-free add-ins. Drizzle some organic honey and stir in a spoon of organic peanut butter with some crushed walnuts and almond slivers for a nutty bite. Alternatively, add in a handful of fresh summer berries and slices of bananas for an exceedingly refreshing fruity treat. My personal favorite is to dice up a small apple and microwave it for a few minutes, stirring that into my oats with a hearty dash of cinnamon. Totally yummy especially on rainy mornings!

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Orange juice

Before you reach out for another glass of freshly squeezed OJ, just be aware of the fact that juice is higher in calories and sugar per content than the actual fruit itself. So skip the orange, pineapple or watermelon juice and eat the whole fruit itself.

“Just do your mathematics— it takes at least 3 oranges to produce a tall glass of juice but we rarely eat more than 2 cut oranges at any one go, thus limiting our sugar and calorie intake.” Explains Dr. Toby Hui, senior aesthetics physician from the SW1 Clinic (formerly from The Sloane Clinic) with a keen interest in holistic weight management. “Besides, juicing will break down important fibers that aid in digestion and help to give us that sense of satiety to help stave off hunger pangs and see us through the busy day ahead.”

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Fruit yogurt

Low fat fruit yogurt seems to be the healthiest choice around but this is yet another successful marketing gimmick that is actually helping you to pile on pounds instead of losing them. The pulpy ‘fruit’ sitting at the bottom of the cup yogurt is nothing more than pure sugar that offers great taste but useless empty calories. Besides, by taking out the fat, a ton of artificial additives got to be pumped into such “low-fat” preparations to make it more palatable and thus marketable.Plain Greek yogurt mixed with some delicious fresh fruits contains less than half the amount of sugar you’ll find in flavored yogurts and contains twice the amount of fiber too. Another major benefit is that Greek yogurt is also packed with protein as well as probiotics to aid your digestive system, making it truly one of the healthiest breakfast option ever.

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Not eating enough

In the modern day society of rush hours and deadlines, many urbanites are making the huge mistake of not eating enough for breakfast. It might arguably work for the French mademoiselle but a butter croissant downed with a big cup of coffee and two ciggies is not what you want for the most important meal of the day. A healthy hearty breakfast sets the stage of eating and determines your metabolism throughout the day.

Remember these words of wisdom when it comes to healthy eating and dieting, “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a nobleman and dinner like a pauper.” With these tips in mind, plan ahead for what you going to have for breakfast tomorrow and dream about that tonight!

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