If your goal is to eat healthier in the new year, and you’ve got your eyes on a bowl of granola for breakfast, you may want to reach for a tub of Greek yogurt instead.
While many granolas contain whole grains, they are also loaded with sugars, syrups, and honey — refined carbohydrates that can cause your blood sugar to spike, leading you to feel hungry before it’s time for lunch. Greek yogurt is a better choice since, if paired with berries and chia seeds, for example, it will keep your energy up and your tummy sated for hours thanks to a combination of fiber and protein.
“It’s important to have fiber and protein at meals and snacks because those are the things that help us feel full for longer,” says Lauren C. Kelly, MS, RD, CDN, a clinical dietitian at the Center for Advanced Digestive Care at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. When it comes to large portions of carbohydrates, “even some of the healthier ones will spike the blood sugar, which inevitably drops, and then we tend to crave things to bring our blood sugar energy back up again, which is usually carbohydrates. When you build your meal around protein and fiber, these spikes and drops don’t happen as much.”
This is just one principle Kelly and colleague Alexandra Rosenstock, RD, CDN, a clinical dietitian for ambulatory adult GI at the Center for Advanced Digestive Care, suggest following if your goal is to incorporate more healthy eating into your day in the new year. Others include paying attention to macronutrients in each meal, staying hydrated, and preparing healthy food that’s easy to grab when you’re hungry. (Macronutrients are carbohydrates; protein and amino acids; fats and cholesterol; fiber; and water.)