My usual weekly trip to the supermarket made me realize the wide choice of breakfast cereals displayed on aisles.
It is such a wonderful, attractive display and innumerable choices of flavours, tastes, combinations etc to choose from. How can we forget the “claims” such as lose weight in two weeks, reduce cholesterol, get smarter with more iron and an array of flavours such as honey, banana, mango, strawberry etc. It is so tempting to pick up at least one box before leaving the supermarket.
Clients too ask me which one do I recommend and is healthy. There was a case where two friends of mine took up the ‘K challenge’ and they lost weight, but lost interest eating the same cereal four times a day. Yuck!!
But lets get smarter to choose the right and healthy breakfast cereal with the following pointers-
- Watch out for sugar content. The label says carbohydrates and sugar separate. If the numbers of these are almost close, this indicates that the cereals have large amount of sugar. Avoid those that have refined flours such wheat flour or maida, corn etc. Look for whole grains as they are high in fiber. The sugar content should not be more than 3-5 grams per serving. So frosties, honey coated ones are out. Avoid those that have sugars such as corn syrup, invert syrup etc.
- Added fruits, dried fruits etc just add up to the sugar content. It is advisable to add fresh fruit or fresh dried fruit such as raisins etc.
- It is absolutely great to have a fiber rich breakfast. Most of the breakfast cereals are low on fiber. Hence choose those that have more than 5 grams of fiber per 30-40g of cereal serving, not for the whole pack. Also look for cereals which say ‘all bran’ with whole wheat, oat bran on the cover. This helps to lose weight and reduces the glycemic index of the food.
- The protein content too should be between 3-5 grams per serving and with 200 ml skimmed milk should provide 10-12 g of protein for that meal.
- Avoid cereals which have colour added, artificial flavours etc. Opt for organic cereals which have least number of ingredients.
- Opt for cereals that have less than 400mg of sodium.
- Most of the cereals are low in fat. Hence do not fall for the weight loss claims. They are just sales gimmicks. You think Lara Dutta survives on such cereals! You will end up looking like the pruned cereals. Avoid those that have saturated or trans fats.
You can make your Breakfast cereal healthier by
- Using skimmed milk or soy milk with the cereal.
- Adding nuts, fresh cut fruits, wheat germ, flaxseed for the extra benefits
- Mix your healthy cereal with a little of the frosties or chocos. Adds taste and keeps kids happy.
My personal favourites are Kelloggs All bran wheat flakes, Pristine beginnings which has organic whole wheat, millets etc.
Have a happy and healthy breakfast.