Choosing a Healthy Breakfast Cereal
By Sara Butler
You hear it all the time: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Yes, you should be eating a balanced breakfast each morning. For many people, cereal is a quick and easy way to inject some nutrients into their morning routine. But the cereal aisle is a nutritional minefield. Here’s how you can navigate the cereal aisle in order to get a cereal that is healthy and satisfying but doesn’t taste like cardboard.
Tips for Choosing
There are a few ways you can find a satisfying and healthy option in the cereal aisle. You should follow these tips to help make your cereal choices healthier:
- Go for whole grains – You can’t go wrong with fiber-rich whole grain cereals such as a shredded wheat, oatmeal, or Raisin Bran.
- For your sweet tooth – It’s OK to choose a cereal that’s a little boring and then spice it up when you get home. Consider adding fresh or frozen fruit to your cereal as well as fresh, sliced bananas.
- Go for healthy milk – Instead of full-fat milk, try soymilk or low-fat and skim milk for your cereal.
- If your kids demand sweetness – Aside from fruit, you can also try to mix healthy options with the not-so-healthy ones. You can mix chocolate puffs with shredded wheat, for example. This helps to give sweetness but is still healthier than a whole bowl of the sweet stuff.
What about Labels
You should know that the labels on cereal boxes that claim a cereal is whole grain aren’t really giving you the full picture. Instead of taking their word for it, go straight to the nutrition label to find:
- Rule of fives – This rule means you choose cereals with at least five grams of fiber per serving and fewer than five grams of sugar.
- Protein- Make sure each serving has at least three grams this muscle-building nutrient.
- Top ingredients – The first ingredients on the list should be wheat bran or whole wheat, not simply wheat.
- Avoid certain elements – Just say no to a cereal that has hydrogenated oils, artificial colors, dyes, or other chemical preservatives on the list. They don’t belong in your healthy diet!
Not all cereal is created equal, so remember that the next time you're shopping in the cereal aisle. Cereal can be a great breakfast staple if you know what to look for and how to make it healthy!
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