Registered Dietitian Breakfast

I'm not kidding. On the first day of Registered Dietitian School, I think every RD student must be taught to recommend the Registered Dietitian Breakfast: orange juice, yogurt and granola, often with berries.

I wish I could tell you this is a joke, but over many years, I've heard this recommendation from virtually every RD I've known or heard speak to groups. (And I've known a bunch. It's my business.) I'm suspicious when a group espouses exactly the same thing.

It has always driven me crazy, and still does. For one thing, they consider yogurt protein.

If you're thinking that yogurt IS protein, please understand they've been making this ridiculous recommendation for decades -- long before the recent Greek yogurt trend started. That's important to keep in mind.

Before the craze, all yogurt - even the unflavored, unsweetened kind - was mostly carb with only a smidgen of protein. No yogurt had enough protein to compensate for the sugar in the OJ, the berries and the granola, especially when combined with the lactose in the yogurt. Yet RDs were blithely, shamelessly recommending it.

Even since the popularity of Greek yogurt, though, it's a bad recommendation because it's made with no specifications, no qualifiers. Sure, SOME Greek yogurts actually have enough protein to be considered protein food, but many do not. They're called Greek only because they've been created to feature that creamy texture that's considered characteristic of Greek-style yogurts. People really like them, but their protein content is relatively low.

And after all these years, non-Greek varieties of yogurt don't have much protein. They never did.

None of these food facts, however, has stopped RDs from recommending this infamous breakfast. Consistently, too, even though it's basically sugar, sugar, sugar and sugar. I even see it recommended in articles that offer breakfast suggestions for both regular folks and athletes. Some of the articles display pretty color photos of the breakfast.

In my humble opinion, the pretty picture doesn't make the sugar go away. It doesn't increase the protein content of the meal.

Again, the type of yogurt is almost never specified or clarified. But even telling the reader or the listener that it should be "Greek" won't fully help. Not when there are too many Greek-style yogurts available - and when, as previously mentioned, many of them have very little protein.

So which recommendation would make me stop ranting about, and railing against, the Registered Dietitian Breakfast? RDs could tell clients who want to try that meal to look for yogurt brands that contain between 18 and 22 grams of protein per serving. And lose the OJ.

How simple is that?

Okay, I freely admit RDs know some important stuff for sure, and many have their clients' welfare in mind at all times. Nevertheless, I'd give anything to meet even one who doesn't recommend this same breakfast. It absolutely has to be the first lesson they ever learn in RD school. How else could you explain such a bizarre phenomenon?

If it weren't part of the RD curriculum, why would they all say the same thing? Why would they have recommended it years before any yogurt, anywhere, had much protein?

You have to wonder, though: why would any curriculum include granola?

Avoiding unnecessary sugar and getting enough protein are only two keys to a healthy lifestyle. I help people conquer food addictions so they can keep moving forward (no matter what) with their goals to lose weight, improve their heath dramatically, transform their relationship with food, and stay that way. I'm available for coaching, lectures, workshops. Please visit

Joan Kent

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