Catherine Lippe, EYN Partnership Registered Nutritionist
Toast can be a great snack or breakfast option but it’s important to make sure that what we put on our toast is full of nutrients not sugar.
Jams, marmalades, and curds are often popular choices for spreading on toast but are they any good nutritionally? If you have ever made your own jam you’ll know just how much sugar is added and how long the mixture must be boiled for. Boiling fruit at such a high temperature for so long means that many of the vitamins are lost and the high sugar content is enough to make your dentist shudder!
It’s also helpful to take a look at the labels of popular spreads to help us understand how suitable they might be. When checking labels on foods it’s important to look at the per 100g column rather than per portion. If the sugars (usually described as carbohydrates ‘of which are sugars’) are listed as 22.5g or above, you can consider this to be a high sugar food. When we look at marmalades, jams and curds the sugar content per 100g is typically in excess of 50g! This is well above the 22.5g threshold and certainly classifies them as high sugar options.
So what are some healthier alternatives for toast toppings? I’ve got some simple ideas for you that are full of useful vitamins and minerals and, importantly, won’t disappoint the dentist…
Cheese: Cheese is a good source of protein and calcium which promotes healthy bones and teeth.
Peanut butter: Peanut butter is a good source of protein and iron. Protein is needed for proper muscle growth and repair and iron helps to transport blood around the body and support a healthy immune system.
Chopped cherry tomatoes (or squished canned tomatoes), basil and olive oil: Tomatoes provide many vitamins and minerals particularly vitamin C which helps to keep cells healthy.
Mashed berries (fresh or frozen): All fruits and vegetables contain many different vitamins, minerals and fibre all of which are helpful in keeping us healthy. Eating lots of different fruits and vegetables will help to make sure you are getting a range of different vitamins and minerals.
Mashed avocado: As well as containing useful vitamins, avocados are a good source of monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are good fats which can help to keep your heart healthy.
Sliced banana: As with other fruits and vegetables bananas contain many useful vitamins, minerals and fibre. Bananas are a particularly good source of potassium which helps muscles, the nervous system and the heart to function properly.
Scrambled egg: Eggs are a good source of protein and iron and also contain some vitamin D which is important for bone health.
Scrambled egg with tinned salmon: Adding salmon to your scrambled eggs is a great way of providing some helpful omega 3 fatty acids which are important for a healthy brain and heart. Because smoked salmon is very high in salt we recommend using tinned salmon instead. Tinned salmon gives all the benefits of omega 3 fatty acids with less salt, but please check tinned fish carefully for any bones.
Cream cheese: Cheese is a good source of protein and calcium which promotes healthy bones and teeth.
Cream cheese and sliced strawberries: The addition of strawberries to your cream cheese topping provides extra vitamins and minerals particularly vitamin C for healthy cells.