Healthy Alternatives to Jam & Jelly

The old-fashioned piece of toast slathered in overly sweet jam or jelly is a favored breakfast item for adults and children alike. Toast consists of mainly carbohydrates, which turn to sugar in the body. When you layer a sugar-based jam or jelly on top of toast, you end up with a sugar bomb. This sets the body up to crave more carbohydrates and sugar as the day goes on. Fortunately, there are ways to swap out the jam and turn your toast into the base of a balanced breakfast.

Pieces of toast with jelly on top. (Image: gkrphoto/iStock/Getty Images)

Avoiding a Sugar Spike

The downside to starting your day with an overwhelming amount of sugar is that your body subsequently experiences an increase in blood sugar. Insulin is then released from the pancreas, causing the blood sugar to decrease to normal levels. According to the American Diabetes Association, however, too much sugar can impair insulin from doing its job or even lead to insulin resistance.

Swap a Different Sweet

Instead of processed jams or jellies, choose a homemade fruit compote or fruit salsa. A fruit compote is essentially fruit that has been chopped and cooked down to form a delicious gooey topping. Fruit salsa is simply cut fruit, usually marinated in an acid like lemon juice and served cold. Any fruit combination can be used, so get creative.

Switch to Savory

Venture to the savory side to adorn your toast. Some options include a fried egg, warmed chicken breast slices and cheddar cheese, low-fat cream cheese and salsa, low-fat cottage cheese and sunflower seeds, or even ricotta cheese with tomato slices. The benefit to every one of these options is that they contain protein and healthy fats that will maintain blood sugar levels. In a recent study in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition," protein was found to increase feelings of fullness, reduce snacking and reduce cravings.

Go Nuts

Topping your toast with a healthy fat will provide lasting blood sugar control, longer satiety and benefits for your heart. An article by the American Heart Association explains that people who eat nuts as part of a healthy diet have lower levels of low-density lipoprotein, or "bad" cholesterol, and lower heart disease risk. Opt for foods that also contain some protein, such as nut and seed butters. Try cashew butter with raspberries, almond butter with banana slices or sunflower seed butter and raisins.

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