Although cereal sales have dropped over recent years (based on published sales figures) many families still begin their day with a bowl of the crunchy goodness. A quick glance at the endless options in the cold cereal aisle of your grocery store underscores the popularity of this simple food. What’s not to love about this tasty (reasonably) inexpensive and SO convenient breakfast option?!
While cereal CAN be a healthy breakfast meal, it can easily go the other way. Here are a few things to think about the next time you pour yourself or your kids a bowl of flakes, nuggets or oh’s.
Look for whole grain cereals that have at LEAST 3 grams of fiber and as close to zero as possible when it comes to sugar (aim for no more than a max of 6 grams of sugar per serving). Some cereals that claim to be “healthy” are nothing more than sugary breakfast treats with a sprinkle of whole grain.
Don’t grab the biggest bowl in the cabinet for your cereal. A ¾ cup serving of an unsweetened cereal is about right, but many bowls will hold easily three times that amount!
Let’s face it... many people are MORE hungry following a breakfast of cereal than if they had skipped out on this meal altogether! Include protein and healthful fats to keep you full longer: For example add a handful of chopped nuts to your cereal, or serve it with cheese or an egg or two. Even a spoonful of almond butter or peanut butter enjoyed alongside the cereal is a great way to add needed protein and healthful fats.
Frequently Asked Question: “But doesn’t the milk that I have with the cereal add protein”?
Answer: Yes, milk DOES provide 8 grams of protein per cup, which helps to balance out the 12 grams of carbohydrate that are also in that cup of milk. Ideally, when cereal is used as a breakfast meal, it is wise to pair it with an additional protein and healthy fat source (OTHER than the milk). Not only does the additional protein and fat help to slow down the blood sugar response, but it will also provide a more lasting degree of satiety