Is cereal good for you?
Is cereal good for you and other health questionsIs cereal good for you? That's a loaded question if there ever was one.
If you feel like a little kid each time you open up the box, it may mean there's too much sugar inside. And if it tastes like cardboard, it may be too healthy.
What can you do to find that perfect breakfast? Let's find a happy medium for breakfast lovers out there and figure out how to find a nice balance between both health and taste.
What Makes a Cereal Healthy?
Do you still eat Lucky Charms? Are you over 30 years of age? If so, it may be time to switch things up. According to MPH and RD Elaine Magee, in her WebMD article on healthy breakfasts, ingredients you should be looking for in your breakfast aisle include:
- Whole grains
- High in fiber
- Bran options
According to Sandra Affenito -- a PhD, RD, CDN, and associate professor in nutrition at Saint Joseph College -- buyers should find ones that are high in fiber in addition to being made of whole grains. Those who eat more whole grains are at a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease.
For those looking into possible bran options, a boosting of the fiber occurs when the bran title is added to your box ingredients. With this addition, you are fuller after eating thanks to the lower glycemic index of bran. The glycemic index simply measures the effect of certain foods on blood glucose levels, post-meal. Low glycemic foods will allow for a slower absorption of carbohydrates found in the food, as well as slower overall digestion.
A box of corn flakes offers twice the glycemic index than that of a bran breakfast. Overall, adding bran to your diet can help to lower weight and improve health, while not allowing the blood sugar to spike and then drop quickly, as higher glycemic foods do.
What Makes It Unhealthy?
Here are a few things not to look for when strolling down the breakfast aisle:
- High in sugar
- Contain high content of saturated fat
- Those with trans fat on the ingredients list
As mentioned previously, if you cut out the bad list above, but your breakfast tastes like fresh cardboard, it's not going to be a great situation for you in the morning. When it's like a horror movie as you slowly open up your breakfast cupboard, you know there are probably better choices out there.
For the sugar content, be careful to understand if said sugar is coming from fruit sources or "candy" sources. If from fruit, it's okay to have a slightly higher sugar count on your box. That being said, it's always good to try and keep the sugar as low as possible. Fruits will add fiber, Vitamin E, Vitamin B's, and a host of minerals to your diet. Magnesium, selenium, iron, and more can all come from fruits added into the ingredients list.Some Great Tasting (and Healthy) Breakfast Picks
Is cereal good for you? And if so, can you find something that is both healthy and tasty at breakfast? Here are a few options for those looking to balance health and taste for that morning meal to help you take on the day:
- Fiber One
- Fiber One Honey Clusters
- Quaker Oatmeal Squares
- Post Grape-Nuts Trail Mix Crunch
- Shredded Wheat
- Wheat Chex
- Kashi 7 Grain Nuggets
These products have copious whole grain counts, enough fiber to keep you healthy and regular, low-ish sugar counts, and brands which can be easily found in your aisle. Thus, it's pretty simple to find cereals that offer health, taste, and lasting appeal.
If you understand sugar counts, fiber tallies, low glycemic index foods, trans fat, and processed foods, you're on your way toward choosing a healthy and tasty breakfast which you can enjoy each morning. When you know you are treating your body right, everything else will follow.Resources:
Livestrong: Good&Bad Cereals
WebMD: Choosing a Healthy Breakfast Cereal.
Above photo attributed to musicfanatic29