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Geisinger becomes the first member of Risant Health

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it can sabotage your efforts to eat healthy if you’re eating foods that only appear healthy.

“It’s always the healthy choice to eat breakfast in the morning,” said registered dietitian nutritionist Kim Segiel, RDN, LDN, Geisinger Wyoming Valley. “However, many breakfast foods that are marketed as healthy are actually very high in sugar.”

Here are some of the breakfast foods that aren’t as healthy as you might think, and what you should eat instead.

Fruit juice

Fruit is healthy, so fruit juice must be healthy, too, right? Wrong.

“Just because the bottle or carton of juice says ‘natural’ or ‘100 percent juice’ doesn’t mean it’s healthy,” Segiel said. “Many fruit juices typically contain a lot of sugar, some of it even added by manufacturers.”

Although fruit naturally contains sugar, fruit juice lacks the fiber real fruit contains.

“It’s true that some fruit juices have vitamins and minerals, but whole fruit supplies the same nutrients, plus it has fiber, which slows your body’s absorption of sugar,” Segiel said.

Instead of pouring a tall glass of fruit juice at breakfast, rehydrate with water and slice up whole fruit for its essential fiber and nutrients. Plus, whole fruit’s fiber will make you feel full longer.


Grab-and-go yogurt seems like a win-win in the hustle and bustle to get ready for work and school – it’s quick and healthy. But it’s actually not as healthy as you may have thought, even the reduced fat variety.

“Some single-portion containers of yogurt contain upwards of 18 grams of sugar – talk about a sugar rush!” Segiel said. “A miniature Snickers bar contains the exact same amount of sugar as some yogurts.”

Yogurt can be loaded with sugar and can contain variable amounts of protein. Instead of sugar-laden yogurt, swap it out for Greek yogurt or try plain yogurt with whole fruit.

Greek yogurt has nearly double the amount of protein as regular yogurt, containing an average of 15 to 20 grams of protein. Regular yogurt contains an average of 9 grams of protein,” Segiel said. “Greek yogurt is significantly lower in sugar too.”

Instant oatmeal

If you thought instant oatmeal was a healthy start to your day, it’s not. While some oatmeal can be a great choice for breakfast, instant flavored oatmeal simply isn’t.

“Like fruit juice and yogurt, instant flavored oatmeal is bursting with sugar,” Segiel said. “On average, flavored instant oatmeal contains 3 to 4 teaspoons of added sweeteners.”

One teaspoon of sugar equals 4 grams of sugar – that means your instant flavored oatmeal that contains about 3 to 4 grams of sugar or sweeteners comes out to as much as 16 grams of sugar. Additionally, some brands add sodium to your instant oatmeal as a preservative.

“Make a healthy oatmeal breakfast by looking for plain instant oatmeal with no added sugar, or steel cut or old-fashioned rolled oats. This kind of oatmeal provides you with a hearty dose of vitamins, protein and cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber,” Segiel said.

Your plain or old fashioned oats are still healthy if you sweeten them yourself with 2 teaspoons of real maple syrup, brown sugar or fresh fruit, which will increase the fiber content.


Granola has always been considered a healthy breakfast food, but not all granola is created equal.

“Grains, dried fruit and nuts mixed together sounds healthy, but that’s not always all that’s in your morning granola,” Segiel said. “Sugar is hidden in a lot of granolas as molasses, evaporated cane juice, brown rice syrup, and oat syrup solids.”

Make sure your granola is healthy by carefully reading the nutritional facts and ingredient list, paying particular attention to fiber and sugar. Make sure that you won’t be consuming more than 8 grams of sugar per serving – otherwise you could wind up eating a sugary carb-heavy meal topping around 400 calories per serving.
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