Who doesn't like a good bowl of cereal? There is something so unassuming and nostalgic about the whole experience of cereal. And in today's time strapped society, who can be blamed for relying on it as a quick and easy meal solution? Unfortunately, it is not always the healthiest choice. Cereals are often loaded with sugar, lacking in protein and more or less devoid of nutritional value. But don't despair, the volume of choices in the cereal aisle means there are certainly healthier options hiding behind the frosting and mini marshmallows. To find a cereal that will give you fuel and start your day off right, think about these three factors given to us by Tina Gowin, RD, CDN: sugar, fiber and whole grains. Here are a few more things to keep in mind when choosing your cereal:
- Limit sugar. Fewer than 10 grams per serving is ideal for taking away your craving for something sweet without turning breakfast into dessert. This is also incredibly important if you are looking to avoid the sugar crash a little later in the day (to say nothing of the headaches, irritability and anxiety that can come with those crashes).
- Embrace fiber. 3 grams of fiber per serving will help to keep you feeling fuller, longer. A high fiber diet helps with digestion and keeps you regular. Fiber can also reduce cholesterol, keep blood sugar levels steady and possibly improve your physical performance.
- Don't skip over the ingredients list. The first ingredient should be a whole grain. Whether it's whole wheat, whole oats or whole barley, whole grains help to promote heart health. It is also important to look for ingredients that you can recognize and pronounce, rather than processed ingredients.
- Power up with protein. Loading up on protein at breakfast can help stave off hunger later in the day. If this is your goal, look for brands that are more than 5 grams per serving. If you favourite cereal falls a little short in this department, pair it with an egg or some yogurt.
- Keep portions in mind. It is really easy to forget that cereals have serving sizes. And often, they are a whole lot smaller than you might think. Gowin suggests you measure out the serving first to see if more is actually needed. You can always add fruit or nuts as a healthy way to make that serving size feel larger and more filling.