Tag: transfats

Tips to choose a healthy breakfast cereal

Tips to choose a healthy breakfast cereal


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.

Microwave Popcorn is harmful!!!!

Microwave Popcorn is harmful!!!!

Microwave popcorn

Popcorn has always been a healthy snack and is high in fiber and are good carbohydrates. But now for the super duper busy or plainly lazy people have access to microwave popcorn. But really, it is not a substitute for air popped popcorn.


Let us have a look why?

  • Microwave popcorn are very high in salt and hence can cause water retention and cause bloating. Most of them contain about 400-5o0mg of salt while the Recommended Dietary Allowance of sodium per day is 2000mg. Hence it provides a major chunk of the sodium needed per day.
  • It is also high in fat. We blindly pick up the buttered ones thinking it is healthy. These also contain vegetable oils and also trans fats as the oil may not be of good quality. The oil can add up to a lot of calories. They contain about 28 grams of fats for 100 grams of popcorn. So you may be getting 250Kcal on from fat.
  • Microwave popcorn will not help you to keep portion control as it contains more than one portion, although it does not mention portion size. Hence if you really want to eat, split the portion 3-4 times.

The calories vary from 500-600 Kcals. Hence if you take Act 2 popcorn, the quantity is 85g. So if you divide into 3 portions which will be 28g, then the calories will come down to 160-200kCal. Hence don’t pop and chow down the whole packet. You may be not doing any good if you are restricting calories.

Next, the popcorn bags contain chemicals such as perflourooctonoic acid(PFOA) which is present in the lining of the bags which vaporise on microwaving and studies have shown the chemical being linked to infertility and causing cancers.


popcorn image

Benefits of air popped popcorn

  • You can control the amount of salt you add or you can have it without adding any salt.
  • Healthy oils can be added and again you can cut down on the oil you add.
  • You can determine the portion size you want to eat.
  • Cheaper on the pocket.

Popcorn is my favorite snack and I use a microwave popcorn maker which you can use fresh corn kernels, not the prepacked ones and I add no salt and oil. I love adding organo or pepper for flavor. If you do not have the time to use a skillet, follow my method…

Making Healthy Food Choices

Making Healthy Food Choices

food_choicesWe are given choices to choose some of the most healthiest foods…Lets have a look at them.

  1. Fresh fruit instead of juices- Fruits are rich in fiber and low on sugar and calories while fruit juices are devoid of fiber and high in sugar. Hence it is healthy to munch on a fruit than gulp juices.
  2. Avocado instead of butter and margarine- Avocado is rich in good fats aka monounsaturated fats while butter is rich in saturated fats and margarine of transfats etc.
  3. Multi grain bread instead of white bread- Whole grain breads are great on fiber and balance sugar levels and give the feeling of fullness and white bread is stripped of all its nutrition and has no fiber.
  4. Baked potato instead of potato chips- Potato with the jacket helps to retain all its nutrients while chips are refined and deep fried and also have lots of salt.
  5. Brown rice instead of white rice- brown rice is rich in fiber and is more nutritious than white rice.
  6. Skimmed milk instead whole milk- Low fat milk helps to cut down on saturated fats while whole milk is rich in calories and fats.
  7. Steamed rice instead of fried rice- Steamed rice helps to retain more nutrients than fried rice.
  8. Lean meats instead of sausages and other processed meats- sausages are high in saturated fats while lean meats are trimmed of all the artery clogging fats.
  9. Fresh fruit instead of dried fruits-Dried fruits are richer in calories compared to fruits and are lesser filling.
  10. Eat more beans rather than meats- You get the protein without the calories and fats and beans have more fiber.

Making such choices choices help you to get healthy and fit….