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Better alternatives to sugary foods

Some foods may not be as healthy as you think. Here are some better alternatives.

PORTLAND, Ore. — All this week at KGW, we’re focusing on nutrition in our “Journey to Wellness” series.

On Wednesday, we told you about foods that aren't as healthy as you think, and now we're giving you better alternatives.

They say the most important meal of the day is breakfast, and for a lot of people that breakfast consists of cereal.

“I mean I grew up on cereal. But it's a highly processed food. It has a lot of sugar. It doesn't have a lot of nutrition necessarily,” said Courtney Cronk as she walked a grocery store aisle with us.

Watch: Legacy Health dietitian Danielle Toepfer talks about nutrition

Cronk is a nutritional therapist. She suggests making something more substantive, like overnight oats, or before you start the week you can do a little baking.

“What we do once a week, is we'll make a huge batch of what we call egg muffins. You whisk up like 18 eggs, you add whatever vegetables you have in your house,” she said.

Her breakfast is both healthy and filling

Credit: Courtney Cronk

If you like yogurt, it’s important to know that most of the flavored ones are packed with sugar. Cronk said a better option is full fat plain yogurt.

“Fat is brain food. Fat feeds your brain,” said Cronk.

“Then you put blueberries on it ... it's an extra step but it's a much healthier choice.”

If you like juice or sweet drinks, Cronk said an alternative is infusing your water to give it a little flavor. You can use a little fruit, vegetables, or herbs.

When faced with the question of diet or regular soda, Cronk has an answer.

“You're better off weaning yourself off diet soda by going to the regular soda of your choice.”

That’s because of aspartame. It’s a sweetener the federal government has deemed safe, but Cronk has a different opinion.

“Aspartame, all those chemical sweeteners, are horrible for you,” she said.

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RELATED: KGW's Journey to Wellness: Exposing the foods that may not be as healthy as you think

When it comes to oil, olive oil is one of the best. But if you're using it to cook at a high temperature, say 400 or 450 degrees, it can break down. So for cooking at higher temps, Cronk suggests going for other options like coconut or avocado oil.

Finally, we're coming up on the holidays and if you're looking to bake, there are alternatives to the typical processed sugar you might use.

“Maple syrup is shown to be anti-inflammatory .. think about honey, it's a natural,” said Cronk.

But she said if you're thinking of using agave, think again.

“It's really no more healthy than high fructose corn syrup. It's highly processed,” Cronk said.

While she says it may be a little more expensive to choose the healthier options, it’s worth it.

“You're gonna pay for it now or you're gonna pay for it with your health later.”

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