Written by Erika Martin BSc Nutrition Candidate
Reviewed by Andrea Miller MHSc, RD
We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day; essential to starting the day off right. I often like to include cereal in my breakfast, but with so many cereals claiming to be “healthy choices”, it can sometimes be overwhelming to choose.
Here are my tips, for navigating the cereal isle. Choose a cereal with at least 5 grams of fiber, at least 3 grams of protein, no more than 180 milligrams of sodium and no more than 8 grams of sugar with the ideal range being around 4-5 grams. Enjoy it with low-fat milk or fortified unsweetened almond or soy milk.
Beware of the ‘health halo’ effect when reading front-of-package cereal box information. Many cereals branded as “healthy choices”, may in fact be high in sugar and sodium. Some cereals may have one unique benefit, such as increased protein content, while containing more sugar and sodium than the lower protein options. Some cereals may appear to be healthy because they contain dried fruit and bran, but beware these cereals may have up to 31 grams of sugar and 365 milligrams of sodium, per serving.
Look for cereals containing whole grains, nuts and seeds. One of my new favourite cereal brands is Kashi. They have a variety of cereals that meet the nutrition guidelines stated above. This brand also offers of gluten-free options for individuals with gluten intolerance. Some of their cereals contain up to 12 grams of sugar – this is generally the result of dried fruit – so it is important to check for this.
Below are some of my favourites that meet the nutrition guidelines:
Kashi Cocoa Spice Kashi Go Lean Original
Kashi Honey Puffed Oats Kashi Organic Autumn Wheat
A great thing that I love doing to my cereal is to add cinnamon, chia seeds, nuts or cut up fresh fruit such as bananas, strawberries, blueberries or apples. This increases the nutrient and fibre content of my breakfast.
More information on choosing healthy cereals: http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/food/article/how-buy-cereals