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The Worst Breakfast Foods You Should Never Start Your Day With

If you're eating these, it's time for a wake-up call.

When it comes time to kick off your day, you want to make sure you're enjoying a nutritious breakfast of lean proteins, filling fibers, and healthy fats that keep you full and focused until lunch rolls around. Heading to the grocery store, you know there are tons of breakfast foods available, but not all of them are actually good for you.

There are plenty of options that are packed with sugar and ingredients you can pronounce. Yikes.

Here, we break down the worst breakfast foods you're never going to want to start your day with. Sorry, but these unhealthy breakfast foods are better left in the store than in your shopping cart!

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Sugary Cereals

Sugary cereal

Too often than not these sugary cereals resemble eating a bowl of candy for breakfast. Cereals that fall into this category are made with flour, oil, and sugar—the same ingredients we use to make baked goods. We dug in and found the top three worst sugary bowls of cereal.


Reese's Puffs

reeses puffs

Per 3/4 cup: 120 calories, 3 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 160 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (1 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 2 g protein

This really shouldn't come as much of a surprise, as it's a cereal inspired by a candy. But with barely any fiber and tons of carbs and sugar, this is one option you don't want to have in the morning. And for added measure, Oxford researchers rated this breakfast choice the least healthy cereal in the supermarket.


Honey Smacks

kelloggs honey smacks cereal box

Per 1 cup: 130 calories, 0.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 45 mg sodium, 32 g carbs (2 g fiber, 18 g sugar), 2 g protein

Remember how sweet the milk would taste after consuming this cereal? That's because over a third of this breakfast option is made up of pure sugar!


Krave Chocolate

kelloggs krave chocolate cereal

Per 1 cup: 170 calories, 4.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 32 g carbs (2 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 3 g protein

If you serve yourself a standard-size full cup (and it'll likely even be more), you're looking at eating quote a bit of sugar first thing in the morning. Why? well, this cereal is mostly chocolate-flavored filling that also happens to contain plenty of artificial colors and flavors.

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Frozen Waffles, Pancakes & French Toast Sticks

Belgian waffles

These classic morning starters are destined to put you in diet debt. The common breakfast choice can be packed with some of the worst carbs in America such as simple carbs—making them too easy to digest and not very promising when it comes to keeping you full and focused. And while some packages claim to offer whole grains and fiber, it's important to flip the box over and look for high values of fiber and whole-grain ingredients; many packages don't offer the ideal servings. With healthier alternatives made with flax seeds and real whole-grain ingredients, we're curious as to why these nutrient-lacking waffles are still so popular. Next time, do yourself a favor and skip your purchase of these at the grocery store.


Kellogg's Eggo Blueberry Waffles

eggo blueberry

Per 2 waffles: 180 calories, 6 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 370 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 4 g protein

Really want some fruit with your breakfast? These are not the way to go. With barely any fiber, and blueberries falling very low on the product's list of ingredients, you can leggo this Eggo.


Kellogg's Eggo Chocolatey Chip Pancakes

eggo chocolatey chip pancakes
Courtesy of Kellogg's
Per 3 pancakes: 260 calories, 8 g fat, (2 g saturated fat), 490 mg sodium, 42 carbs (1 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 6 g protein

Yes, these pancakes do have some protein to offer. But, 1 gram of fiber and 12 grams of sugar just don't do it for us. Not too mention, these pancakes are missing a serious case of whole grains!

Morning Juices

Unhealthy orange juice bottle held in front of fridge

There really is nothing like a glass of orange juice in the morning, but it's time for you to move on. OJ and many other fruit juices are loaded with sugar and relatively low in all other aspects of nutrition—especially when they're mass-produced and highly processed. If you have to sip some sweetness go for a freshly squeezed juice or a cold-pressed one. That way you're sure no nutrient value is stripped away during the heating process.


Tropicana Probiotics Pineapple Mango

tropicana pineapple mango probiotic juice
Courtesy of Tropicana
Per 8 fl oz: 140 calories, 0 g fat, 10 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (0 g fiber, 29 g sugar), <1 g protein

You might see "probiotic" on the juice label and think it must be good for you, but don't be fooled. Research finds that products rich in sugar are linked to adding bad bacteria to your gut. That's because sugar is the primary source for fueling bacteria that destroy powerful good probiotics. So what does that mean? Sugary drinks with probiotics don't do the trick when it comes to adding healthy bacteria into your system.


Welch's Grape Juice

welchs grape juice
Per 1 serving: 140 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 10 mg sodium, 37 g carbs (35 g sugar), 1 g protein

There really is no other way to put it except that Welch's iconic grape juice is loaded with sugar—and that's about it.


Ocean Spray 100% Juice No Sugar Added Cranberry

ocean spray cranberry juice

Per 8 fl oz: 100 calories, 0 g fat, 25 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (0 g fiber, 23 g sugar), 0 g protein

Sure at first, "no sugar added" looks great, but once you take a deeper look—ingredients become disappointing. What they mean by no sugar added is cane sugar. They still use various fructose-heavy fruit juice concentrate to sweeten this drink and bring it up to 23 grams of sugar per serving. The biggest problem with fructose is that our bodies convert this sugar into fat and inflammatory compounds, according to a Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry study. This is why it's on the list of drinks you should always leave on grocery store shelves!

Flavored Yogurt


Yogurt can be a healthy choice, as long as you're not going for the artificially flavored kinds. These flavored yogurts are filled with added sugars, unnecessary calories, and even harmful ingredients. Next time you're taking a stroll down the dairy aisle go for a yogurt packed with health halo benefits like probiotics and protein.


Dannon Fruit on the Bottom Peach

Dannon peach fruit on the bottom yogurt 5.3 oz cup

Per 1 container: 130 calories, 1.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 75 mg sodium, 25 carbs (0 g fiber, 21 g sugar), 5 g protein

Eating this yogurt for your breakfast is like eating a candy bar. Filled with different varieties of sugars and reduced-fat milk, nutritiously beneficial ingredients are curiously missing from the menu.


Yoplait Whips Chocolate Yogurt Mousse

yoplait whips chocolate

Per 1 container: 160 calories, 4 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 90 mg sodium, 26 carbs (0 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 5 g protein

Most would think that whipping more air into a yogurt means there is less room for calories and all the other unwanted bad guy ingredients. Unfortunately, this rendition of a "healthier" yogurt is made with mono- and diglycerides. Heads up, these additives may contain artery-clogging trans fats.

Don't miss Why Some Foods Can Still Have Trans Fats, Even Though They're Banned.


Stonyfield Organic Low Fat Smooth & Creamy Vanilla Yogurt

stonyfield vanilla

Per 3/4 cup: 120 calories, 1.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 95 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (0 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 6 g protein

Don't let the "low-fat" angle trick you. This organic vanilla yogurt from Stonyfield contains 16 grams of sugar. Hard pass!

Smoothies and Shakes


These easy grab-and-go breakfasts are a total bust when compared to smoothies you can make at home. Most store-bought renditions are high in calories, high in sugar, and are missing many of the satiating macronutrients (like protein or healthy fats) you would get from your homemade drinks with ingredients like yogurt, peanut butter, or protein powder.


Naked Piña Colada Smoothie

naked pina colada
Courtesy of Naked Juice
Per 1 bottle: 310 calories, 3.5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 66 g carbs (7 g fiber, 54 g sugar), 2 g protein

We love smoothies that are flat belly friendly. Sadly, this drink crafted by Naked just doesn't make the cut. With a whopping 54 grams of sugar and a slacking 2 grams of protein—you'd be better off whizzing some yogurt and berries in your blender at home.


Dannon DanActive Strawberry & Blueberry

Dannon danactive probiotic drink

Per 1 bottle: 70 calories, 1 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 45 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (0 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 3 g protein

Much to our disappointment (but not to our surprise) this "Strawberry & Blueberry" drink doesn't have any fruit in it at all. In fact, the only fruit ingredient is used for coloring. Don't let these seemingly healthy options trick you.


Bolthouse Farms Strawberry Banana

bolthouse farms smoothie

Per 1 bottle: 250 calories, 0.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 25 mg sodium, 61 g carbs (5 g fiber, 52 g sugar), 1 g protein

Just like its competitors; this juice is loaded with tons of sugar. There's more sugar here than what's in five Krispy Kreme Original Glazed donuts!

Instant Oatmeal


Like yogurt, oatmeal can be a great breakfast option. But what you want to be careful with are the premixed, instant packets. That's because they offer less fiber and more sugar.


Quaker Protein Instant Oatmeal—Banana Nut

quaker banana nut oatmeal

Per 1 prepared packet w/ skim milk: 270 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 230 mg sodium, 46 g carbs (4 g fiber, 18 g sugar), 14 g protein

You would think that by Quaker offering up this protein-enhanced option would make things right, but nope. This banana nut flavor has 18 grams of sugar. That's just too much to justify how much protein you get in this meal.


Quaker High Fiber Instant Oatmeal Maple Brown Sugar

quaker maple brown sugar oatmeal

Per 1 prepared packet: 150 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 210 mg sodium, 35 g carbs (10 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 4 g protein

Filled with calorie-confusing artificial sweeteners, these packages use a man-made added fiber called maltodextrin. This sneaky additive is high on the glycemic index, which means it's digested quickly (as opposed to dietary fiber) and may actually spike your blood sugar! Not to mention these packets dish you a whopping 7 grams of sugar.

Toaster Pastries

strawberry poptarts

The only good thing toaster pastries have going for them is their ability to bring back old memories. But that is exactly where they should stay. These sweet options leave your body with little no energy due to their insufficient totals of protein and fiber and their overkill counts of sugar. You didn't think that toaster pastries were that bad? That's because most are listed as 1 pastry per serving. The loophole is that they are often packaged with two in a pack. So while you're eating the two in the plastic wrapper, you think you're consuming the nutrition numbers from just one. That's why it's always important to understand nutrition labels.


Pillsbury Toaster Strudel Cream Cheese & Strawberry

toaster strudel

Per 2 pastries with icing: 370 calories, 15 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 290 mg sodium, 54 g carbs (1 g fiber, 20 g sugar), 5 g protein

This dish may have done the trick for you as a kid back in the day, but now your body needs way more. It's no wonder why Toaster Strudels made it on our list of The 100 Worst Frozen Foods in America!


Frosted Strawberry Milkshake Pop-Tarts

kelloggs pop tarts frosted strawberry milkshake

Per 1 Pop-Tart Pastry: 200 calories, 6 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 200 mg sodium, 36 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 2 g protein

If you're really looking to throw away your calories, this Pop-Tart is definitely the way to do it. And while you're reading the nutrition label make sure you double all the numbers because two come in each individual package…

Not-So-Healthy Cereals


Sugar-coated cereals were destined to be on this list. But did you ever wonder how beneficial "healthy cereals" are? You'd think that companies would have caught on and created cereals that were low in sugar and high in nutrients, but that's not really what happened. Instead, brands learned how to market and began printing seductive phrases on their cereal renditions like "antioxidants" and "whole grains." Unfortunately, the FDA doesn't regulate these marketing terms that often upgrade their appeal to consumers. That's why it's so important to turn boxes over and take a look at nutrition labels.


Kellogg's Smart Start Original Antioxidants Cereal

kelloggs smart start breakfast cereal

Per 1 1/4 cup: 240 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 260 mg sodium, 56 g carbs (3 g fiber, 18 g sugar), 5 g protein

Polar opposite to its name, there isn't anything so smart about this high-sugar, low-fiber cereal.


Quaker Life Cinnamon Multigrain Cereal

life cinnamon cereal

Per 1 cup: 160 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 200 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (3 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 4 g protein

With the word "Multigrain" in its title, consumers believe they're making a healthy choice choosing this brand of cereal. But once you flip the box over to view its ingredients, you'll find a medley of sugars, flours, and artificial coloring.


Special K Cinnamon Brown Sugar Crunch Protein Cereal

Special k protein cereal cinnamon

Per 1 cup: 160 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 230 mg sodium, 29 g carbs (4 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 9 g protein

We always advocate for protein in every meal. But that is not the case when it comes to this cereal, where the majority of the protein most likely comes from genetically modified soy isolate. And when sugar is listed as the second ingredient, you know you're in trouble.

Breakfast Breads & Biscuits

We hate to ruin your brunch order—but it's time to break up with this breakfast category. Bagels, breads, and biscuits in their purest form are gluten and sugar. They lack in beneficial ingredients. Wondering how bad these breakfast breads really are? Most bagels share the same nutritional values as a soda when it comes to carbs and sugar. And we know you'd never have a soda for breakfast!


Thomas Plain Mini Bagels

thomas plain mini bagels

Per 2 bagels: 250 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 440 mg sodium, 50 g carbohydrates (2 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 8 g protein

These rounds simply have nothing going for them. No flavor, nutrition, or whole grains.


Pepperidge Farm Brown Sugar Cinnamon Swirl

pepperidge farm brown sugar cinnamon swirl bread
Courtesy of Pepperidge Farm
Per 1 slice: 110 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 21 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 4 g protein

This bread comes with a very long list of ingredients. And a full 25% of that list is made up of different types of sugar. There's nothing sweet about that.


Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers Original Biscuits

pillsbury grands flaky layers biscuits
Courtesy of Pillsbury
Per 1 biscuit: 180 calories, 6 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 460 mg sodium, 27 g carbs (<1 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 4 g protein

These bad boys are quite deceiving. The advertised 0 grams of trans fat on the label may give this bread a leg up compared to its competitors but turns out that claim may not be true. A discovered hidden ingredient is hydrogenated soybean oil, a secret agent for these unwanted dangerous fats. Just one of these biscuits provides you with a full 13% of your daily fat intake.


Pillsbury Grands! Cinnamon Rolls with Extra Rich Butter Cream Icing

PIllsbury grands cinnamon rolls

Per 1 roll with frosting: 300 calories, 7 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 550 sodium, 55 g carbs (1 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 5 g protein

Time to give these classic rolls a rest. With enormous quantities of fat, sugar, and sodium we can't find anything to like about this treat. More similar to a dessert, we wouldn't serve these rolls at any time of day.

Breakfast Bars

Protein bars

Bars for breakfast can steer your day in the wrong direction. These grab-and-go options claim to be great sources of protein and fiber. Many times they are loaded with chemicals and hidden forms of sugar. You'd be shocked to see how many ingredients can be shoved into these tiny meal supplements. When you're picking out breakfast bars check the ingredients list for things you can pronounce, with small amounts of sugar, and higher amounts of protein and fiber.


Honey Nut Cheerios Milk 'N Cereal Bar

honey nut cheerios milk n cereal bar
Courtesy of General Mills
Per 1 bar: 160 calories, 4 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 100 mg sodium, 28 g carbs (1 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 4 g protein

Milk and cereal in a bar—what a creative idea. If only this one worked. Choosing this bar as your breakfast is as nutritionally beneficial as eating two Rice Krispie Treats when comparing fiber, sugar, and fat.


belVita Cranberry Orange Breakfast Biscuits

Per pack: 230 calories, 8 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 220 mg sodium, 36 g carbs (3 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 3 g protein

Here, you're basically eating cookies than having a nutritious breakfast. Next time you're rushing out the door slap some nut butter on a piece of sprouted grain toast and grab a banana.


Nature Valley Crunchy Oats 'n Honey

nature valley oats n honey granola bar

Per 1 packet: 190 calories, 7 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrates (2 g fiber, 11 g sugars), 3 g protein

Loaded with sugar, these carb-heavy bars will make your blood sugar spike and plummet, leaving you hungry and wanting more food soon after eating. Plus, these bars are bound together with 7 grams of fat from inflammatory canola oil and not nuts. Next time you need a bar on the go try something with better ingredients, like any of our best protein bars.

Breakfast Entrée

Bacon egg cheese breakfast sandwich

A frozen breakfast can make starting your day a lot easier, but it can also put a real damper on your weight loss goals. Many times, these frozen entrees are drenched in serious amounts of salt and additives. They are also often filled with corn syrup solids, processed cheeses, and high fructose corn syrup.


Jimmy Dean Meat Lovers Breakfast Bowl

jimmy dean

Per 1 Bowl: 480 calories, 37 g fat (15 g saturated fat, 0 g trans fat), 1,280 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (2 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 23 g protein

The amount of sodium that you get from this one meal is just not worth it!


Great Value Parma Melt Breakfast Sandwich

great value parma melt

Per 1 sandwich: 540 calories, 27 g fat (11 g saturated fat), 1,190 mg sodium, 48 g carbs (2 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 26 g protein

This is one breakfast sandwich you're going to want to leave in the freezer aisle! You're much better off making a breakfast sandwich yourself.


Bob Evans Sausage & Potatoes Bowl

bob Evan sausage potatoes

Per 1 bowl: 440 calories, 25 g fat (12 g saturated fat), 1,470 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 36 g protein

This bowl simply makes for a dish that is way too high in sodium. Seeing a theme here with these breakfast entrées…

Be sure to check out The Best Frozen Breakfast Foods while you're at it, too!

Breakfast Condiments

assorted jam

Who would've thought that a little squeeze of jam or a little smear of ketchup could damage the value of your meal? When it comes to dieting, many condiments aren't very flat-belly-friendly.


Heinz Tomato Ketchup

heinz tomato ketchup

Per 1 tbsp (17 g): 20 calories, 0 g fat, 180 mg sodium, 5 g sugars

When it comes to ketchup, Heinz Classic is not the way to go. Not only is the typical ketchup higher in calories and chemicals but, research shows that organically-grown tomatoes produce more cancer-fighting lycopene, vitamin C, and other free-radical fighting antioxidants. And after our blind ketchup taste test, we realized it tastes better too!


Smucker's Goober Grape PB & J Stripes

smuckers goober
Per serving (2 tbsp): 220 calories, 11 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat) 125 mg sodium, 30 carbs (2 g fiber, 21 g sugar), 5 g protein

Though the sweetness of jelly may be delicious with your peanut butter, spreads like these are nothing to stock up on. High fructose corn syrup and corn syrup are the third and fourth ingredients listed here. No thanks!


Pearl Milling Company Original Pancake Syrup

pearl milling company pancakes
Courtesy of PepsiCo, Inc.
Per 2 tbsp: 100 calories, 0 g fat, 30 mg sodium, 25 carbs (0 g fiber, 15 g sugar), 0 g protein

This pancake syrup is far from natural grade A Maple Syrup. It's made up of high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and carcinogenic caramel coloring. And due to the dull flavor of this chemically processed condiment, more calories are added on top of your breakfast to ensure sweetness in every bite.

Coffee Killers

bubbling coffee pot next to mug

Coffee on its own is loaded with benefits. Did you know Americans get more antioxidants from this energy-pumping drink than any other food source? There are so many more reasons to enjoy your cup of joe, but, only indulge if you can keep it in its best state. Sure a little milk and sugar won't hurt you, but everything else you may be putting in your coffee might!


Starbucks Bottled Vanilla Frappuccino

Starbucks vanilla frappuccino 13.7 fl oz bottle

Per 1 bottle: 200 calories, 3 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 100 mg sodium, 37 carbs (0 g fiber, 31 g sugar), 6 g protein

We get that sometimes your kick of coffee is needed to start your day, but more than 30 grams of sugar does not need to be included.


International Delight Cold Stone Creamery Coffee Creamer

international delight cold stone creamery sweet cream coffee creamer
Courtesy of International Delight
Per 1 tbsp: 35 calories, 1.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 20 mg sodium, 5 g carbs (0 g fiber, 5 g sugar), 0 g protein

Coffee and milk are the dynamic duo—not coffee and chemical-filled creamer! This choice is bad news, filled with palm oil as well as mono- and diglycerides. And to the blind eye, nutrition facts like these may seem OK, but one serving is a tablespoon. If you're doing an unmeasured pour, it's typically equal to four times that amount.