Please Stop Eating These Breakfast Foods ASAP

Make sure your first meal of the day is actually a healthy one.

Food & Drink

OK. So raise your hand if breakfast is your absolute favorite meal of the day. If that's the case, is it because of all of the health benefits that this particular meal offers (more energy, a kick in your metabolism, a boost of productivity, etc.)? Or is it because of the type of foods that you like to eat; ones that just happen to be your absolute favorite ones overall? If the answer is "B", while I'm certainly not out here to rain on any parades, I do want to encourage you to check out these 10 foods, just to see if the kind of breakfasts that you're having is working for or against you.

If, at the end of this, you discover that the answer to that little dilemma is also "B", while I'm not saying that you've got to go without the foods that bring you so much joy forever, you definitely should strongly consider pushing your plate back more often. Breakfast is supposed to be both good to and for you. To make sure that happens, certain foods need to be consumed sparingly. Here are the ones that top the "Yeah, you might want to be careful with that" breakfast list.

The 10 Worst Breakfast Foods

1. ONLY Fruit Juice


Fruit juice comes from fruit and fruit is good for you; therefore, everything about fruit juice can't be the devil—and it's not. The antioxidants in fruit juice can help to boost your immune system and detoxify your body at the same time. Fruit juice is also a quick and delicious way to get certain vitamins and minerals into your system. Problem is, a lot of us don't drink pure fruit juice. Instead, we go for a cocktail or some other form of juice that is loaded with sugar.

In fact, I once read an article that said juices like Ocean Spray 100% Cranberry Juice and Minute Maid Enhanced Pomegranate Blueberry actually contains more sugar than freakin' soda does!

If you don't want to drink only water in the morning, I get it. But try and either squeeze your own juice and/or check out this list of brands to buy and ones to avoid. Oh, and always remember that fructose, even though it comes from fruit, is still sugar. And when it comes to sugar consumption, moderation is always key.

2. Breakfast Bars


I know. Breakfast bars are convenient AF. Here's the thing, though. When's the last time you checked the ingredients on the label to see how many words you could actually pronounce? Unfortunately, some of the most popular breakfast bars are loaded with sugar and preservatives; ones that can cause your blood sugar levels to skyrocket, if you're not careful. If you still want to eat 'em but you'd like a cheat sheet to determine which are better than the rest, I've got you. An article on The Daily Meal's site shared that ones like KIND Blueberry Breakfast Bars and Go Raw Raisin Crunch Sprouted Bar are pretty good for you while others like Kellogg's Special K Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Meal Bar and Nutri-Grain Fruit & Oat Harvest Baked Apple Cinnamon, you need to take a hard pass on. Whatever you go with, try and not make breakfast bars a staple. Eat them when you are truly in a pinch.

3. Flavored Yogurt


Ah, yogurt. Precious yogurt. Let's go with the good news first. Yogurt is full of calcium, vitamins B and D, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. Most yogurts contain probiotics too. If you're looking for a meat alternative to get a good amount of protein into your system, yogurt's totally got your back. Some studies even indicate that yogurt can help to keep your heart healthy. Problem is, if you opt for flavored yogurt, between the artificial flavoring and coloring and sugar content, you could end up doing your system more harm than good. As far as figuring out which yogurt is best, the first thing to keep in mind is to apply the "less is more" rule when reading the label. In other words, the more ingredients that you see, the more you're increasing your chances of taking things into your body that it doesn't need. That said, make sure that sugar isn't in the top 3-5 ingredients. Also, check to see that the percentage of Vitamin D that the yogurt contains is on the higher side. Something else that can help you out is the article, "What's the Healthiest Yogurt? We Asked a Nutritionist". It breaks down some pretty popular brands and why some are—and aren't—healthy for you.

4. Sugary Cereal


Does nothing make you happier than a big ole' bowl of cereal? If so, I'm not gonna ruin that for you. The pros to eating cereal is many of them are a great source of whole grains, fiber, protein, healthy carbs and even vitamins like B-complex and Vitamin E. Thanks to all of this, cereal can be a great way to give yourself an energy kick at the start of your day. The "con" is a lot of us don't opt for boxes of unprocessed cereal (cereal where grains haven't been ground to a pulp and then mixed with sugar and preservatives before being dried and packaged). We prefer the kind that has as much sugar and artificial colors and flavors as possible. And considering that men should only consume around 36 grams of sugar a day, we should take in no more than 25-30 grams, and some cereal brands have double that amount per serving—well, I'm pretty sure you can see why sugary cereals are the ultimate breakfast no-no.

So, how do you go about selecting a cereal that will do more than just our taste buds good? Well, the more whole grain you see listed on the label, the better. Under 10 grams of sugar per serving is wise. Also, try and avoid cereals that contain "processed fiber" because they won't be able to keep you as regular or lower your cholesterol levels like unprocessed fiber can.

(By the way, if you wanna know if your favorite "junk food cereal" tops the list, check out "28 of the World's Highest Sugar Cereals". Brace yourself. Some on there may catch you totally off guard.)

5. Instant Oatmeal


A lot of us grew up having oatmeal for breakfast, at least a couple of times a week. Good thing too because oatmeal is considered to be a whole grain food that contains an unbelievable amount of manganese (141 percent of your reference daily intake), along with phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, folate and vitamins B1 and B5. Oatmeal also has the antioxidants avenanthramides in it that can help to lower your blood pressure, the fiber Beta-glucan that promotes bacteria into your digestive tract and, there is even a study that says that babies who eat oatmeal significantly lower their chances of getting asthma later in life. Just make sure that the oatmeal that you eat isn't instant. The packaging of them alone sounds off alarms of how many preservatives they contain. Plus, it's pretty common for instant oatmeal to have more sugar and less fiber than if you make a bowl the old-fashioned way.

6. Frozen Waffles


If I had a favorite breakfast comfort food, it would probably be French toast first with waffles being a close second. They both are delicious, but neither are the healthiest on the planet. Honestly, they're basically considered to be a pastry and, as far as waffles go, they are usually loaded with white flour and sugar—and that's before you pile on butter and syrup. The only thing more unhealthy than a homemade waffle is a frozen one. If you look at the label, it usually doesn't have nearly enough of the daily amount of fiber that your body needs while still offering up plenty of preservatives to keep those waffles sitting in your freezer for weeks on end. Hey, I don't want to deprive anyone (including myself) of some chicken and waffles every now and then, but try and save that for special occasions rather than making it your automatic weekend go-to, OK? Cool.

7. Toaster Pastries


Out of everything on this list, the one that I'll probably have the shortest commentary on is toaster pastries. You know, like Pop Tarts. They're like edible Kool-Aid, if you ask me and there is nothing good, healthy or beneficial about that. They are off-the-charts with the sugar, very low when it comes to fiber and protein, and then have the nerve to come two per package which means you're taking in a ton of empty calories. So, since there is really nothing redeemable about them, how about taking a firm pass, even if you're tempted to eat them, just for nostalgia's sake.

8. Bagels


Hmm. A toasted bagel with butter used to be a fave food of mine. If you also enjoy this particular food (only with cream cheese or some other topping), let me start with why bagels aren't necessarily the worst of the worst when it comes to breakfast options. Each bagel is around 11 grams of protein, three grams of fiber and a fair amount of manganese, copper, vitamin B-1 and even a bit of iron and zinc. The challenge is they are also high in calories, refined carbs and, oftentimes gluten too—and that's before you put your toppings on! Bottom line, if bagels are your thing, you definitely don't need to eat them daily, you should go with a topping like hummus or nut butter, and to get some extra protein into your system, consider topping your bagel with an egg, a slice of salmon or protein—just to balance everything out.

9. Jellies


Here's the thing about most jellies. More times than not, the more popular brands contain a ton of high fructose corn syrup (you can read more about why that is the devil incarnate here), artificial coloring, artificial flavors and preservatives. Nothing about any of that is good for you (no matter how great the combination may taste). So, it really is best to leave commercial brands alone altogether.

The only exception is if you go with a brand that is as natural as possible. That way, you can take advantage of the pectin (which is a form of fiber) and other nutrients that the fruit that makes the jelly provides. To tell you the truth, the healthiest jelly that you can eat is the kind you make at home (get tips on how to do that here). But if you'd prefer to get some at your local grocery store, Welch's Natural Concord Grape Spread is a jelly that contains no high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors or flavors. (You're welcome.)

10. Omelettes


Now before you freak out on this one, let me just say that yes, eggs are good for you. They're high in protein, folate, zinc, calcium and vitamins A, B12, D and E. They are able to raise the level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which is "good cholesterol", in your system. The choline that's in eggs can help to build healthy cell membranes. Eggs even contain amino acids that can help to increase your muscle mass. But the reason why I chose to close out with omelettes is because sometimes, all of the oil that they're made in, along with the tons of meat and cheese that go inside of them can be like eating a potential heart attack for breakfast!

That's why, first, it's so important to select the best kind of eggs—either pastured ones from a local farmer or Omega-3s, DHAs or organic ones from your local grocery store (you can read why here). As far as making omelettes go, try and put more veggies than meat (and cheese), prepare them in a healthy fat like olive, coconut and mustard oil, and use more cumin and paprika than salt (salt is high in sodium). If you follow these simple tips, you'll be able to enjoy your omelettes, knowing that they truly are giving you what you need in order to have a great day.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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