How to Pick Out a Healthy Cereal

Breakfast! Don’t you know it’s the most important meal of the day! But really, it is!

While it would be great if we all got up extra early every morning to make an egg white omelet, the honest truth is that it’s not always in the cards. You’re in a rush, you need to pack a lunch, other stuff is going on, you just spilled the oatmeal EVERYWHERE. This is why it’s great to always have alternatives, easy alternatives, on hand and at your fingertips. 🙂

Since when was cereal worth it’s weight in unobtainium anyway? I would love to be able to buy FiberOne or some of the other great fiber-rich cereals every week but $4+ for a box of cereal? I don’t think so! Shop the sales and get the best deal you can.

So ok, what should you look for in a box of cereal? And no, the answer isn’t collectable spoons and toys. In what I consider the most important order:

  1. FIBER! Even Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory knows the importance of getting your daily amount of fiber. I need to do a post on fiber soon. Fiber is digested slowly and helps stabilize and maintain your blood sugar level, this means you feel fuller longer and are less likely to have a sugar crash later and eat something you shouldn’t. I’d aim for at LEAST 5g of fiber in your cereal. It seems like the more fiber a cereal has, the more expensive it is. FiberOne has some great cereals with 12g. Be careful though, they also just came out with a new cereal that’s only 80 calories but it contains fake sugars that will only make you want to eat more later and sabotage your nutrition goals in general. Aim for 35-40g of fiber in your daily diet. The more you can get in the morning, the easier it will be.
  2. SUGAR – and by sugar I mean NO SUGAR. Aim for low low LOW sugar cereal. And make sure the sugars in it are true. I try to find cereals with 8g of sugar or less. Eat a high sugar cereal in the morning and by lunch you’ll wonder why you are SOOO hungry. Here’s a great list of 10 great cereals with low sugar.
  3. PROTEIN – Protein in the morning is a great way to get your brain active and your metabolism revved up. More great cereals.
  4. WHOLE GRAINS – as with any carb-based food, stear clear of white flours and choose cereals with the words “bran” and “whole grain.”

Some of my favorite cereals are a bowl of grape nuts with a sliced banana on top. Quaker oats makes a new cereal similiar to Cheerios called Whole Hearts. It comes in a red box and has 5.3g of fiber in 1cup. A little bit more sugar than I’d prefer at 10g but eating little heart shapes in the morning makes me happy.

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5 thoughts on “How to Pick Out a Healthy Cereal

  1. eek sorry to be a downer but i feel like healthy and cereal is an oxymoron! If it comes in a box its processed. i prefer making porridges from pumpkin, ground nuts etc… and if you are looking for high protein breakfast you cant beat eggs!

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    • I’m with you, Amy, in that cereal isn’t the healthiest choice out there because it’s processed but for many people it’s still an affordable and easy option for breakfast. Especially for parents with kids and busy lifestyles. I’m a true believer that you should try to eat things as natural as possible but that when you do have to eat processed foods there are healthier choices than others 🙂

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