Nutella: It’s No Longer What’s for Breakfast

It’s the perfect blend of chocolatey, nutty goodness. It’s smooth and fluffy. And with every bite, spoonful, or spread, your taste buds rejoice. It’s been a longtime favorite of parents and kids around the world because of its “healthy” premise. It’s Nutella, and it’s delicious. But is it really the healthy snack that its commercials promote? Here is a closer look into the makings of Nutella.

Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker in Italy, created Nutella in the 1940s. During World War II, when chocolate rations were being stretched thin, Ferrero found that the hazelnut supply was booming, so he added them to the chocolate rations. He called his new creation Nutella. It was imported to the U.S. 25 years ago and has become a household name.

Since then, Nutella has been touted as a healthy snack with commercials stating, “Breakfast loves Nutella.” Its commercials show happy moms and even happier and healthier kids. The reason Nutella is branded as a healthy snack is that its ingredients include skim milk and real hazelnuts. However, the first two ingredients listed on the label are sugar and palm oil, which means these two ingredients make up the majority of Nutella.

The serving size for Nutella is listed as two tablespoons, but two tablespoons of Nutella contain five hazelnuts, a smidge of skim milk powder, half a teaspoon of palm oil and 5.5 teaspoons of sugar. Scientists who have broken apart the components of Nutella say that one serving of Nutella has the same amount of sugar as five Oreo cookies.

Nutella doesn’t quite make the cut for being a wholesome, healthy breakfast. However, for college students, Nutella is a great, chocolatey treat that is there  to comfort us after a long day or a hard test. And while it can be a nice snack, just remember to stick to the serving size and spread it on two pieces of whole wheat bread or smear it on a banana. The best way to eat Nutella is to treat it as a snack or a dessert, not as a meal because of its lack of nutrients and excess sugar.

Here are some fun ways to use Nutella as a snack:

  • Use it as a dip for apples.
  • Dip bananas in Nutella and freeze them for an on-the-go bite.
  • Blend Nutella into your daily smoothie if you’re craving some extra chocolate.
  • Layer Nutella in a yogurt parfait with fruit and granola.
  • Mix some Nutella into your homemade granola for extra flavor.

Katie Nahay is a junior at Auburn University majoring in nutrition dietetics. She plans to become a registered dietician and then continue on to physician assistant’s school or continue writing in the nutrition field.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Goodman

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