Is low-fat yogurt a healthy breakfast choice?

This is a question that I often get asked, so I’d like to share my thoughts in this post.

Low-fat yogurt is not my preferred choice in yogurts. I would recommend an organic, no-sugar added full-fat yogurt if you can tolerate cow’s dairy. If you can’t, I’d steer clear altogether or consider goat’s milk yogurt.

Why full-fat?

Fat provides satiety for one thing. When we consume foods that contain fat in small amounts, we are less likely to eat more of that food. This is a good thing. Rather than binging and eating massive amounts of the zero fat version, eating a smaller portion of the full-fat yogurt can ensure a proper portion size. Read more here about this topic. Scroll down to “low-fat yogurt” once in that post to hear my thoughts on why I don’t eat this food anymore.

I also think it is best to rotate foods and not eat the same breakfast daily. Even if you are consuming full-fat yogurt, consider other options from time to time to ensure that your body has a break from digesting fats in dairy. There is a theory that prolonged exposure to foods (habitual eating of the very same food in large quantities over time) could potentially make you more prone to developing a food sensitivity.

What are your thoughts on oatmeal?

Of course eating oats and oatmeal rather than baked goods and pastries first thing in the morning would be a better choice. This is only the case if one is eating oatmeal with no added sugar, artificial preservatives, or additives. The issue with oats is that they may not be appropriate for everyone. For one, many oats are manufactured in facilities that also produce gluten-containing grains and products, so if you are gluten sensitive or a celiac, be careful. There are, however, certified gluten-free oats on the market if you want to play it safe.

The second issue is concerning those who are trying to watch their weight. Oats are comforting and comfort foods can be difficult to control when it comes to portion sizes. Eating a bowl of yummy oatmeal first thing in the morning may be setting you up for blood-sugar issues and without adequate protein or fat to balance out that carbohydrate intake in the morning, fat storage rather than fat burning may be favored.

For an active individual, a bowl of oatmeal is probably just fine, but consideration should be given for the inactive one who is sensitive to carbs — especially first thing in the morning.

So what do you recommend I eat instead?

I’m a big proponent of eating protein-rich meals and veggies in the morning as healthier breakfast alternatives to the aforementioned foods.

Here are some ideas to help break the fast and start your day off nourished:

  • leftovers from lunch or dinner meals (ideally containing protein)
  • eggs
  • smoked salmon served over spinach or your favorite greens (skip the bagel)
  • collagen peptides smoothie with spinach, blueberries, and coconut milk
  • chia pudding (chia contains fiber, some healthy fats, and some protein)

Read more on Rethinking Breakfast in a previous post.

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Mike is a holistic nutritionist that helps people feel more optimistic about their health and wellness through changes in diet and lifestyle shifts.

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