There is nothing like a bowl of breakfast cereal when you need to rush out the door. It is much better than eating a donut, and it gives you energy to power through your morning.
However, when you buy cereal there are so many choices that navigating through the cereal aisle can be a daunting task. It can be hard to find cereal that isn’t too sweet or loaded with carbohydrates.
This is when reading the nutrition label can help you make smart choices. Here are four things to consider when purchasing breakfast cereal:
Look for High Fiber
Oatmeal is a good source of fiber, and protein and you can add fresh or dried fruit to add a little sweetness. Raisins are often a favorite and for extra fiber, chop up a few nuts for a topping.
Oatmeal can be made in five minutes, or you may prefer to make up a big batch to last the week.
Purchase Low Sugar Brands
Frosted Flakes™ now come in cinnamon and chocolate flavors. Who wouldn’t like those flavors? This tasty breakfast cereal packs ten grams of sugar and only one gram of fiber per ¾ cup serving. Talk about a sugar high!
It may be too much to ask for to get your family to eat cereal with no sugar at all, so try a whole wheat cereal such as Raisin Bran. ™
It contains the same amount of sugar as Frosted Flakes™ but it has four grams of fiber to keep that belly full until lunchtime. Raisins add sweetness and can count toward your five daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
Make Sure It’s a Healthy Portion
This is where you need to be able to read and understand food labels. Some cereals such as granola are 200 calories for ¼ cup of cereal. This small size may have you reaching for a snack mid-morning.
One cereal I can vouch for is Puffins™. You taste that extra crunch, it’s a little sweeter, and you can eat ¾ cup for just 110 calories. Plus, it packs a nutritional wallop at 5 grams of fiber.
Read the Nutrition Facts Label
Look for the Nutrition Facts label on the side or back of the package. This is where you’ll find all the information you need to know. Check the sugar, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and the ingredients list. Go prepared with a few key numbers and be sure to bring your reading glasses, if needed.
Here is what to look for:
- Sugar: 5 grams or less per serving
- Fiber: 3 grams or more per serving
- Fat: 3 grams of fat or less per serving
- Vitamins and minerals: Look for calcium, vitamin D, folic acid, vitamin C
- Ingredients: The list should begin with whole grain or whole wheat
There are ways to make breakfast cereal even more nutritious. Topping with a banana or other dried fruit, sprinkling on a few chopped nuts, or adding a dab of yogurt would send the flavor over the top.