Despite all the ‘health’ claims made by your favorite cereal brand, a bowl of cereal might not be your perfect nutritious meal to jump start your day. Selecting the right breakfast cereal is not as easy it might seem to be. The delectable breakfast item might contain the extra sugar, fats and refined carbohydrates that you might prefer to avoid.
Tips for choosing a healthy cereal
Read the nutrition label
Neither the picture on the front of the box nor the advertisements will tell you about the real nutritional facts about the cereal. To understand whether the ‘healthy cereal’ is actually healthy, read the nutritional facts featured on the box.
Ingredients in healthy cereal
Healthy cereals should be a major source of whole grains. Sometimes manufacturers blend whole grains with refined grains. If you notice that your breakfast cereal contains ingredients such as rice, corn meal, milled corn or wheat flour along with other whole grain products such as oatmeal and puffed or shredded wheat, the cereal can’t be called a 100 percent whole grain product.
A healthy cereal must contain at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Usually the fiber content is higher in cereals containing bran than in lighter cereals.
Also, mind your sugar intake while having a bowl of healthy cereal. A single serving of a healthy cereal should contain less than 8 grams of sugar. To monitor your sugar intake, besides checking the amount of added sugar in the cereal, see whether your healthy cereal contains raisins or dried fruits. Cereals with dried fruits and raisins will have much higher sugar content.
Stay away from cereals that contain trans fat. Once you notice the term ‘partially hydrogenated’ on the nutrition label, avoid having the cereal for breakfast.
Right serving size
You can gain weight even by overeating healthy foods. Your healthy cereal will become your weight loss foe if you have large bowls of cereals. To prevent overeating, do not fill your cereal bowl up to the brim. Instead of using a tablespoon, use a teaspoon for eating the cereal. By slowing down your eating speed, you can lower the risk of overeating.