September is quickly coming to an end, but before it leaves us I wanted to do a post supporting September as Better Breakfast Month. Y’all know I love me some alliteration, and it being about breakfast is even better. So for Build a Better Breakfast, I wanted to share my tips on one of my all time favorite foods: Cereal.
The are 3 more boxes hiding behind these
I love cereal, and I have a really hard time stopping at just one bowl. I have been asked a few times about how I pick out healthy cereals amongst the many high sugar and preservative filled boxes out there. Cereal can be full of really great things, or it can be a box of a whole lot of nothing. And trust me you can find healthy cereals that don’t taste like cardboard. There are a few steps involved in how I eat cereal:
First, I start in the store with the Nutrition Label.
Sugar: The first thing I look at on the label. The sugar content is a make or break for me. Just for a reference, anything above 5g of sugar will increase your blood sugar level. Definitely try to stay under 10g per serving. My top cereal range between 0g-7g of sugar usually. There is a difference between natural sugar and added sugar too.
Next, my eyes go to calories and serving size: The cereals I buy range between 50-200 calories usually. But the serving size is important too. How much can you eat for those calories. My range seems wide, but we will get to that later. I want my total breakfast to be around 350 calories.
Protein and Fiber: I like my cereal to a few grams of both protein and fiber in it. The more the better. And the longer I will stay full with these two nutrients.
Fats: I prefer low to no fat. But I will take a little bit of healthy mono-saturated fats over one with more sugar. Little to no saturated fat is ideal.
If the nutritional stats look good, then I head to the Ingredients:
I look at the first 3 ingredients, those are the most abundant ingredients. I want whole grains listed first, and I prefer that sugar, corn syrup, or any of variation of sugar not be listed in the top three.
I also try to look for cereals with whole food ingredients and no preservatives, artificial coloring or flavoring, no refined sugars. Basically, make your recognize and can pronounce all the ingredients. For the best options, based on the ingredients list it is something you could recreate.
Back at home, I always measure out cereal:
It is very easy to underestimate how much cereal you are eating. I always use a measuring cup and make sure my proportions are correct.
I like to eat a lot and breakfast is my favorite meal. I usually mix 1/2-3/4 of a serving of higher calorie/high sugar content cereals like flaked cereal with a lower calorie/ low-to no sugar cereals like puffed cereal or Fiber One or Trader Joe’s O’s (like cheerios with 1g of sugar/serving)
Toppings: I add to the filling power and nutritional profile of my cereal with a bunch of berries, banana, and or low sugar protein power. Chia seeds or ground flax make great additions as well for a dose of healthy fats.
Milk: Low fat, skim, or non diary milk. My go-to is always unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Chocolate is also nice sometimes.
My Top 5 High Calorie or Sugar Cereals:
1. Puffins: I love them all, but the cinnamon are by far my favorite.
2. Nature’s Path Flake Cereal: Particularly Heritage Flakes, Millet Rice Flakes, and Mesa Sunrise
5. Kashi Go Lean or Kashi Heart to Heart
Runners Up: Kashi U, Kashi Cinnamon Harvest, Grape Nuts
Top 5 Low Calorie / Little No Sugar Cereals:
1. Any Nature’s Path Puffed Cereal: Rice, Millet, Amaranth, Kamut
5. Trader Joe’s O’s Regular and Multrigrain (basically Cheerios)
Hope you got some helpful info to build a better breakfast with cereal. It is also great on top of yogurt, and smoothies, even ice cream : ) Happy Eating!
Do you love cereal? What is your favorite brand?
Finally, check out my new Live Beautiful Page in the menu underneath my banner. And tell me, What did you do that you are proud of today? I finally got that Live Beautiful Page up – it has been in draft since I started the blog.