Ready-to-eat cereal is easy and convenient. It has been a breakfast staple since the 1960s, although the first record of cereal, developed by a doctor, was in 1863. It’s easy to walk down the cereal aisle and get overwhelmed by the claims on the boxes. When we were kids, we wanted cereal with the coolest toy inside. As adults, we’re hoping for cereal with the coolest health benefits.
Is Cereal Healthy?
Processed foods like cereal are typically not at the top of the list where health is concerned. They may start great, but by the time you add in additional sugar, they swerve in the other direction.
In truth, cereals are made from grains and commonly fortified with vitamins and minerals. This addition of vitamins and minerals is much needed in our diets these days, giving cereal a healthy nod.
Knowing both of these things, does that make cereal a good breakfast or not? The answer is that it depends on the cereal you choose.
Focusing on Healthy Cereals
A 100% whole grain morning cereal with at least three grams of fiber and no more than six grams of added sugar is the optimal choice. If you can find more fiber and less sugar, that’s even better.
It’s important to check the portion size and the ingredient list. Serving sizes range from as little as 1/4 cup to as much as 1-1/4 cup. Realizing that serving size isn’t much, consider adding more nutrients to your serving rather than tripling or quadrupling the portion size.
Serve it over Greek yogurt rather than milk to increase the protein level, or serve some Greek yogurt alongside. Don’t forget to include some fiber-rich fruit, such as berries, chopped apples or pears, or some juicy pomegranate seeds, as well as some healthy fats, such as chopped peanuts pecans, walnuts, or almonds, as well as pumpkin, chia, or powdered flax seeds. You can also eat your cereal with a banana or a hard-boiled egg on the side.
Healthy Options for a Good Breakfast
- Kashi 7 Whole Grain Nuggets: This cereal is lower in sugar than other Kashi cereals. It also contains seven grams of fiber to keep you feeling full.
- Total Whole Grain: This whole-grain cereal contains vitamins. It’s also versatile. You can crumble it up as breadcrumbs to coat chicken or add to other recipes.
- Grape-Nuts: With seven grams of fiber and six grams of protein, this cereal helps you easily get through the morning.
- Quaker Honey Nut Oatmeal Squares: The honey-flavored sweetness added to the crunchiness of this cereal is a bowl of sunshine every morning.
Next time you’re in the cereal aisle, consider your options. You’re sure to find one that meets the healthy checklist above.