10/27/2017

Ultimate Guide to Healthy Cereals

We know the super foods, typically some form of nut or bright leafy green, but when it comes to an overall efficient meal I’ll fill my bowl with healthy cereal. What is considered a reliable breakfast food helped me through weekend mornings feeding myself when the parents slept in, overcoming bad food in college, and eating on the run in those hectic single city girl days. Now, with motherhood, it’s the go-to option when hunger calls despite the time crunch called family life. Though cereal need not be the loud packaging variety with enough sugar to disintegrate a tooth, it’s a matter of understanding ingredients that may be included on those super food lists such as oats and almonds. Here is our guide to the ultimate healthy cereals with guidance from our trusted nutrition expert Eliza Savage, RD at Middleberg Nutrition in Manhattan.

A healthy breakfast with the added bonus that kids can prepare themselves.

Is Cereal a Healthy Breakfast Option?

Yes, absolutely, you just have to make an educated choice and enforce portion control. What you pair the cereal with is important, especially as many cereals are relatively low in protein. If you can’t have grass-fed, organic milk or plain greek yogurt with your cereal, then I would suggest boosting protein and fat with chia or flax seeds and/or nuts. Fresh fruit can provide added sweetness and additional fiber.

Review the nutritional panel for cereals low in sugar, high in fiber and no artificial coloring.

How to Choose Healthy Cereal Options?

◦ Look for first ingredient to be listed as 100% whole grain, unless you have a specific dietary restriction, like gluten-free.

◦ Low in sugar (under 10g per serving).

◦ Good source of fiber (at least 3g per serving).

◦ Free of artificial colors or dyes (these have been shown to cause hyperactivity in children, and have no nutritional benefit for anyone!)

◦ Look for protein. Many cereals do not have a ton of protein, so you can increase protein with milk or an organic, grass-fed yogurt. See above for other ideas.

◦ Check portion size (should be 1/2 cup or 1 cup). You’ll notice that granola or high-sugar, high-calorie cereal generally has a portion size of 1/3 or 1/4 cup.

Healthful + Nutritious Toppings:

Almonds/nuts, chia seeds, cinnamon, dried fruit/fruit, flax, honey, yogurt.

Healthy toppings that add to the taste and make it a more well rounded meal.

Is gluten a no no?

Gluten is only off limits if someone has an allergy or intolerance. If not, 100% whole grain is a nutritionally sound choice. Unfortunately, gluten-free cereals do tend to have more additives and generally have lower protein and fiber as a result of the rice or wheat-alternatives used.

Do you have to stick to organic offerings or are there mainstream versions that are beneficial?

Choosing organic is best, but not always the “best” nutrition-wise.

 

Best overall cereal?

This is so individual, based on the person and their restrictions. Though I would suggest the following healthy cereal options:

General: Cheerios, Trader Joes O’s, Barbara’s High Fiber Medley, All-Bran, Kashi GoLean, Cascadian Farms Purely O’s, Total, Wheaties, Heart to Heart, Grape Nuts.

Gluten-Free: Jessica’s granola, CheeriosBarbara’s Puffins, Rice Chex, Arrowhead Mills Buckwheat Flakes, Nature’s Path Mesa Sunrise, Purely Elizabeth Hot Cereal, Bob’s gluten free rolled oats.

Resources:

Colored bowls: http://www.boboandboo.com.au/

 

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Comments

  1. Its hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, but you sound like you know what youre talking about! Thanks

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